HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

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Pete C.
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HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by Pete C. » Thu Mar 05, 2009 5:53 pm

Right - bit of late breaking news on this one...

Rushcliffe council have had plans lodged for a hydro-turbine in one of the lock gates that runs alongside the whitewater course at HPP. Potentially great news, as we all know there's plenty of water volume and up to 2.8m of gradient drop. To all intents and purposes it looks like a great scheme.

But - and this one's fairly substantial - there's no consideration in the planning application for the knock on effect to flows down the whitewater course itself. There needs to be.

Let me paint you a picture. In a couple of weeks time the course reopens after its refurbishment - probably to much critical acclaim. Everyone loves the fact that it's flowing back at 26 cubic meters a second, rather than the feeble 17 cumecs it's been throttled back to for so long. The features get their power back, the Student Rodeo's the best ever, Paddlefest draws in the punters like you wouldn't believe and the Brits get every single podium place going in the European slalom champsin May.

Then, during the summer, this hydro scheme goes in. It generates a handful of megawatts, but it also skims off 18 cumecs (that's what the BCU are telling me) which will drop the flow on the course by a hell of a lot. The course is down to lower-than-you've-ever-seen levels, you can't even scrape an end in the Muncher and all the other wild new features turn utterly chod. Then - to top it off - Teesside reopens deeper, more powerful and substantially better than HPP!

That's why we need support from anyone with an interest in the course. Thanks to opengov, it's all online (as is any planning app) for anyone who's interested to see. Just visit the Rushcliffe council portal page and it's all up there to download (the case number is 09/00156/FUL).

What we need to do is get some objections in to the scheme. Now, I was initially a bit sceptical about objecting to a rather worthy-sounding micro-HEP scheme. It turns out that an objection isn't the same as putting your hand up and shouting, 'This mustn't happen!' Instead, it's a way of lodging a serious concern that needs to be looked at before the development's approved. And in this case, I'd say it's a fair and reasonable objection - they might stuff up our multi-squillion pound* upgraded whitewater course if they don't consider the river flow.

It's simple enough to do online - just click through to the comment form and let Rushcliffe council know about any concerns. I'm ticking the 'object' box, and my grounds are that there are no considerations to safeguard the water volume flowing down the whitewater course. That's all - put that in the conditions and I think the plan's a winner...

So - have a look, see what you think and if you want the course to stay running for the next 25 years, drop 'em a quick objection! You need to get it in by this coming Monday. It'll only take 2 mins, but the more objections we get then the better our chances of getting the condition in.

Cheers,

Pete.

* - all figures are approximate.

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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by orlandinio » Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:19 pm

thanks for making it so easy to object / raise concern, i suspect "mrs emily carr" will have full mail box in the morning

Your comments: will this scheme affect the flow of the river through the white water course along side the weir ? it is a well used and internationally regarded site that brings much needed revenue to the local economy. would it be better at a site like gunthorpe or bleasby where there are no other users to influence ?

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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by meatballs » Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:20 pm

Done

Comments on planning application number: 09/00156/FUL
Application address: Holme Lock Adbolton Lane Holme Pierrepont Nottinghamshire NG12 2LU


hmmmmz?
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ol
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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by ol » Thu Mar 05, 2009 7:00 pm

Nice one Pete, all done...

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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by newkid » Thu Mar 05, 2009 7:09 pm

Thanks for doing this Pete, I've filled it in.

One question, have you got a new job with the BCU? Shouldn't they be doing this?

Anyway, this is irrelevant for now, everyone get on with petitioning the council!

Phil

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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by iainporter » Thu Mar 05, 2009 7:28 pm

Done. Cheers Pete.

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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by paddletastic2 » Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:48 pm

I'm off to play polo now and have just spotted this. Planning application objections is something I do profesionally. I will place an objection later.

However if people do comment (and volume of comments are important).

Please note that an aproval would be in contridition of the council's own policies:

CRT11
THE FOLLOWING AREAS WILL BE SAFEGUARDED FROM DEVELOPMENT WHICH WOULD
PREJUDICE THEIR RECREATIONAL, TOURIST AND COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL WITH
PARTICULAR PROTECTION GIVEN TO ENVIRONMENTAL AND WILDLIFE FEATURES WHICH
CONTRIBUTE TO THE CHARACTER OF THE AREAS:
a) RIVER TRENT
b) RIVER SOAR
c) GRANTHAM CANAL
d) GREAT CENTRAL RAILWAY

and

CRT 4

PLANNING PERMISSION FOR PROPOSALS WHICH WOULD LEAD TO A LOSS OF PLAYING
FIELDS, PUBLIC OPEN SPACE AND IMPORTANT AMENITY SPACE WILL NOT NORMALLY BE
GRANTED EXCEPT WHERE:

Please qote these grounds in your comments.

The local planning framework is here if you would like to put your own comments based on policy:

http://www.rushcliffe.gov.uk/doc.asp?cat=8281

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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by Poke » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:33 pm

Well spotted Pete.
Objection lodged!
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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by ChrisBainbridge » Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:56 pm

Hi This is the website of the company applying for the permission http://www.benecoenergy.co.uk/. it may be worth dropping them a line as well to let them know how important this is to the paddling community.
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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by paddletastic2 » Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:10 am

Objection added.

Please note there is a time limit on objections, all comments need to be submitted by 9th March.

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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by TechnoEngineer » Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:29 am

Well I guess that neither the WW course nor the hydro plant have to run at full capacity all the time, so the ability to vary the take-out would no doubt be useful.
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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by AndyK » Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:34 am

Pete C. wrote:but it also skims off 18 cumecs (that's what the BCU are telling me)
So are the BCU being proactive in coordinating a formal response on our behalf?

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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by Dave @ TRC » Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:45 am

There doing all this work at the center !! Its all most comical the incompetence of these councils, there they had the opportunity to incorporate this in to the design but no, there idea is to spend twice the money to pull the place apart twice unbelievable ??



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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by AndyK » Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:49 am

TechnoEngineer wrote:Well I guess that neither the WW course nor the hydro plant have to run at full capacity all the time, so the ability to vary the take-out would no doubt be useful.
But in order to make a plant economically viable, you would not have it idle during the daylight or opening hours of HPP, it would have to on near constantly.

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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by mfflower » Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:55 am

Much as it pains me (I have a rough idea how difficult it is to get things such as this through the planning system) I've also raised an objection.
I'd be more than happy to see it go in (subject to them sorting out the minimum flows), but I just know that unless the council set planning constraints this is going to run come-what-may, and to hell with the flow down the slalom course.

Does anyone know what the normal flows in the trent are? The report mentions that there is a hydro scheme at beeston lock with the capacity for 60cumecs.

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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by RichA » Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:42 am

What's the lowest summer flow rate of the Trent past HPP? If it is 50 cumecs then I can't see a problem as there will be sufficient water to run HPP at 26 cumecs and the HEP scheme at 18 cumecs as well. I won't be objecting until I find that out. I've got a feeling though that the low flow at HPP is less than 50 cumecs, but I could be wrong.

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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by Debaser » Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:50 am

Hmmm...interesting reading in the EIA report. From page 17;
Upstream movements of salmonoids are attracted to downstream flows and therefore a 50mm screen, after the draft tube, has been designed to stop fish entering, however the Canoe Slalom Course will continue to provide attractive flow for upward fish passage.
(my bold and underline)

But...but...as we all know, kayaks (and canoes and rafts and swimmers) can't possibly mix with fish, they scare them to death, and would surely prevent migration as well as any screen. The Trent must therefore be ecologically dead upstream of HPP.
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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by freddie » Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:55 am

The information they seem to be working on is:

River mean flow: 84.5 m³/s
River median flow: 57 m³/s

Slalom course flow: 14-28 m³/s(day), 14 m³/s (night)

I can't see any low flow numbers, so I have no idea how it would be if it was summer and everywhere was dog-low, people might not be able to use HPP either then.

the other thing I'm wondering about is that if the plant takes off 18 cumecs, how it would effect the height of the water going in/out of the course.
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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by Pete C. » Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:00 am

RichA wrote:What's the lowest summer flow rate of the Trent past HPP? If it is 50 cumecs then I can't see a problem as there will be sufficient water to run HPP at 26 cumecs and the HEP scheme at 18 cumecs as well. I won't be objecting until I find that out. I've got a feeling though that the low flow at HPP is less than 50 cumecs, but I could be wrong.
Hi Rich! The objection is that this information needs to be in the planning application for the committee to make an informed decision. It's not that you don't want the scheme to go ahead, it's that you want it taken into consideration. 'Objection' is just planning-jargon for this. So if I were building a house, my neighbour might make an objection that when I leave the drive my car headlights shine straight into their bedroom. That wouldn't mean they don't want me to build it - it just means that they'd want the condition imposed that I have to change the end of my drive to divert the light.

In terms of low summer flows, it's loads lower than that. In the 1995 drought (the year the Tryweryn almost folded) then paddling the course was like running a concrete box canyon - the water level was running at (I think) 10-15 cumecs. If you had a hydro scheme taking that, the centre just wouldn't survive commercially.

The BCU are doing their bit on their end - I just thought I'd offer a bit of help to share the info. I'll give you a couple of quotes from Chris Hawkesworth (from BCU facilities), which I'm sure he won't mind me posting up here to give some background to the project:
Chris Hawkesworth wrote:18 cumecs is a lot of water, and in the summer the Trent barely has enough to feed the slalom course and as you know we can often tell when the lock is opened because the slalom course dips slightly. In addition the Colwick sluices are leaking, so this volume must be taken into account also.

The actual generator will have variable blades, that can be adjusted for water volume.
It is possible for the generator to run at night after the centre has closed.
It can run also above the following :-
Course (WWC) 24 cu mecs.
Navigation estimated say 11 cu mecs.
Colwick leakage estimated say 20 cu mecs.
Total 55 cu mecs.

Ergo, the turbine could have everything above 55 cumecs and below that it must cut out.

...

To summarise, we do not have a problem PROVIDING that a management regime is put in place that FULLY RECOGNISES other legitimate users of the water including amenity and recreation.

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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by RichA » Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:11 am

The river height above the barrage/HPP top end should stay the same. The barrage is automatically adjusted based on river level (height) as opposed to flow rate I believe.

Good point from the EA about HPP as a fish pass! I'll quote that if I ever get hassled on a river...


Pete, yes I agree with your objection description. If for example the base flow was 200 cumecs then I would not even consider raising an objection. As it is more marginal I will do so, but will still want to investigate it myself. On a seperate note, are you still in Notts? I've got a few questions to ask you about areas in the Alps if you fancy a free beer or two sometime...

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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by Woods » Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:05 am

Objection lodged. *Bump*

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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by RichA » Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:40 pm

For anyone wanting a template or just ideas, feel free to base it on this. Don't just copy it as I'm sure it will be ignored.
I object to the proposed HEP scheme, unless due consideration AND ACTION has been taken to ensure the survival of the HPP canoe slalom course.

As I'm sure the council are aware (as you are taking over the site lease or ownership I believe) the course is vital for the National Watersports Centre as a source of income, particularly from whitewater rafting.

The slalom course requires 26 cumecs of water to run as designed, especially after the current refurbishment work. If the proposed HEP scheme requires say 18 cumecs of water to operate then the minimum viable flow rate in the River Trent past HPP/Colwick must exceed 44 cumecs AT ALL TIMES.

The consideration I want taken is to conduct research into the minimum flow rate of the river and to see if this is enough to operate both the refurbished slalom course AND the HEP scheme at all times. If it does, no problem. If it does not, then I fully object.

I believe that the council must consider this very carefully as the financial viability of HPP/NWS is dependent on having enough water in the River Trent to operate. I have not known of a water shortage preventing this, but an HEP scheme may tip it over the edge, especially in the summer at peak rafting time, thereby losing the greatest profit from the site.

I would be happy to answer any further questions you may have.

Regards,

Nothing like a financial incentive to get the council to listen.

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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by linda » Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:54 pm

Historical flow infomation for the Trent at Colwick, which I believe is the gauge by HPP is available here, http://www.nwl.ac.uk/ih/nrfa/webdata/028009/g.html

If you open the long term hydrograph pdf you can see low flows for most years are well below 50 m3/s. Doing a quick sum of the daily flow minus 44 suggests the course (or the HP scheme) couldn't run on 31% of days between 1958 and 2006.
Last edited by linda on Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by TechnoEngineer » Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:03 pm

AndyK wrote:
TechnoEngineer wrote:Well I guess that neither the WW course nor the hydro plant have to run at full capacity all the time, so the ability to vary the take-out would no doubt be useful.
But in order to make a plant economically viable, you would not have it idle during the daylight or opening hours of HPP, it would have to on near constantly.
I don't agree; the payback period of small hydro systems is usually in the order of 5 years, if it's running at reduced flow for, say, 25% of the time, on request from HPP, it's not going to stretch the payback period too far. It doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing thing as some of the sample objections imply.

Hydro schemes are highly likely to be used in the future to help supply/demand balancing on the National Grid (as the amount of fossil plant declines), so I'd expect them to be capable of producing variable output on demand.
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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by RichA » Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:33 pm

More info on proposed plans:

http://www.document1.co.uk/blueprint/Do ... /00156/FUL


This reference to the location of the proposed scheme shows where it will be in the old lock gates:

http://www.document1.co.uk/blueprint/Cl ... ntType=PDF

Is that area not used as a mooring site at the moment?

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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by Simon » Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:58 pm

These things go around again and again.

There was an application for this to be installed about 15 years back and various canoeists entered objections, on the same sort of themes as today. The scheme never happened, I don't know why, but it seems like it is coming back to life again for another go.

Just a couple of comments based on my experience of working a lot at HPP many years back.
RichA wrote:The river height above the barrage/HPP top end should stay the same. The barrage is automatically adjusted based on river level (height) as opposed to flow rate I believe.

Yes but up to a point - and there is a potential for a problem here.

My understanding is that the barrage control mechanism automatically sets the barrage gate heights to maintain a stable water level upstream. Which is fine. But it is quite a simple control mechanism which was designed for when the barrage was the only variable. Now you add in HPP, and a hydro turbine, and a lot of leakage through the barrage, and the control mechanism struggles to cope with a complex set of dynamic variables it was never designed to work with.

In my own humble opinion I think there is a real risk that the hydro will get the go ahead based on flow calculations that that the slalom course and hydro scheme can co-exist peacefully. But those calculations are based on an asumption that the barrage control system can manage the water levels in such a complex situation, which is will not. So we will end up with the course being restricted anyway in low summmer flow.

As part of the investigation for the last hydro scheme we asked if the turbine could run backwards, as a pump, to supply water to the slalom course in very low flows. Is it worth exploring that again?

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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by Old Coach » Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:28 pm

Objected to on behalf of UK Freestyle.

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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by paddletastic2 » Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:29 pm

There are only a few days to go in this and a lot of support will be needed.

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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by newkid » Sun Mar 08, 2009 9:09 pm

I went to HPP today and I notice there are a few signs about this where the canal boats are moored. Does anyone know anything about this? Maybe they have a large campaign also?

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Re: HPP hydro - could it kill Nottingham's whitewater course?

Post by RichA » Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:17 am

Simon wrote:
RichA wrote:The river height above the barrage/HPP top end should stay the same. The barrage is automatically adjusted based on river level (height) as opposed to flow rate I believe.

Yes but up to a point - and there is a potential for a problem here.

My understanding is that the barrage control mechanism automatically sets the barrage gate heights to maintain a stable water level upstream. Which is fine. But it is quite a simple control mechanism which was designed for when the barrage was the only variable. Now you add in HPP, and a hydro turbine, and a lot of leakage through the barrage, and the control mechanism struggles to cope with a complex set of dynamic variables it was never designed to work with.

In my own humble opinion I think there is a real risk that the hydro will get the go ahead based on flow calculations that that the slalom course and hydro scheme can co-exist peacefully. But those calculations are based on an asumption that the barrage control system can manage the water levels in such a complex situation, which is will not. So we will end up with the course being restricted anyway in low summmer flow.

As part of the investigation for the last hydro scheme we asked if the turbine could run backwards, as a pump, to supply water to the slalom course in very low flows. Is it worth exploring that again?

Simon
Thanks for that Simon, good to learn something new every day!


Is the proposed scheme a council initiative or something private? If it is council, and the council are taking over the lease or ownership or whatever it is of the entire watersports site, then surely it's in their best interest to insure the slalom course is open all the times, especially in the middle of summer when rafting will be most popular and water levels lowest. Does anyone know any more about that side of things?

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