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Hydro-electric generator noise

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Generating power from rivers using Archimedean Screw generators: the Frome in Somerset -the Iford installation is it noisy?

Having had an email from Nick Stevens Chairman of Freshford Parish council that the Archimedean screw generator at Freshford Mill pond has not been approved yet, even though work has already been undertaken I decided to visit Iford where the same company (to be confirmed) that has designed the generator for Freshford has a completed installation. The video of that visit is below.


Archidean screw generator at Iford Somerset

There is hardly any additional noise other that the noise of the weir, which is completely acceptable in a riverside setting.  The "garden shed " that hides and is used to deaden the sound of the generator will blend in with its environment and could be partly hidden by natural planting of indigenous species of shrubs. In fact, at the time of my visit the concrete sides of the helical blades were decorated with icicles. Using my videocameras zoom lens results in an increase in the sound volume but this is equivalent to getting closer to the source of the sound. 

To return to the Freshford installation, the planning application is at BANES details:

11/05463/FUL � Hydro-electric scheme on the River Frome

"This hydroelectric scheme is sited at Farthingham Weir on the River Frome south east of the Freshford Mill site.  Its position is within the boundary of Hinton Charterhouse Parish Council, and it is for them to give a formal response to the proposals. Hinton Charterhouse Parish Council are due to meet next on Tuesday 14th February and I anticipate - I have not seen the Agenda - that this application will be before that meeting for consideration. "

". . .Since the site is only just over the Freshford boundary, and lies adjacent to Freshford Mill, Freshford Parish Council have a legitimate interest in making comment on the application.The application will be considered by the Parish Council at its meeting on Monday 13th January.

You may view the Application on the B&NES Planning Portal site.The period of consultation runs until the 1st March.The Application is under consideration and, contrary to what you say, has not been granted."  Nick Stevens Chairman Freshford Parish Council

My view is that if the proposed generator at Freshford Mill Pond will generate no more noise than the installation at Iford I would support it.

Posted on 18 Feb 2012 by Geoff Edwards

Generating energy from the river Frome at Freshford Somerset

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Generating power from rivers using Archimedean Screw generator noise nuisance: the Frome in Somerset

It appears that an application to generate electricity from the river Frome at or rather near to Freshford Mill has been "rubber stamped" by planning. Why do I consider that? Because work has been undertaken without full consultation with local residents who might be affected.:


Close inspection of Freshford Parish Council minutes, those that are available in February 2012, being only December Minutes, provide no information about the planning application that may be subject to various planning policies: Green belt, Area of outstanding natural beauty AONB, site of special scientific  interest SSSI and conservation area. The latter does not apply to the field in which the development is taking place, except that the site is intimately associated with Freshford Mill which is IN a conservation area. After all the installation that has been undertaken, and I presume with full planning permission is actually under way. So for example, those residents who live opposite the development and could be affected by noise from the development have had no opportunity to lodge a complaint.

Freshford Parish Council has not managed to provide residents with information about this proposed development. In fact, what must have taken place has been concealed from the public. Why? because planning proposals usually, only result in neighbours being consulted. But what is a neighbour? Those residents of Freshford who live on the A36 side of the Frome valley do not hear traffic noise from the A36 but those who live opposite do hear traffic noise. So when this Archimedean screw based generator comes into operation what will be the effect on the environment?   A continual noise?  At present Freshford and Westwood residents, who might be affected, do not know what to expect.  Perhaps the development will not create a noise nuisance, but if if it does, what is our remedy? My view is that the most beautiful parts of our countryside MUST be preserved for others not those that just live in the area, of course until they move or die, but for everyone, in this country and abroad.  

Here is an extract from the Oxford Mail:

“In this formerly peaceful residential corner of Oxford it is now impossible to escape this terrible noise, even with all one’s double-glazed windows closed. It is like being imprisoned in the engine room of an ocean liner.”

and another:

 “It is really insistent and particularly bad for those who live on the riverside. It is a throbbing sound and it gets noisier at certain times � probably with the water level. But the thing is it never stops.”

What has Freshford Parish council done to protect residents and the environment from the possible nuisance of noise from this Archimedean Screw type generator? On record, the Freshford parish council website nothing! Or does the threat of perpetual noise from this water powered generator not exist?  If so consider the following

Westwood Parish Council concern over noise nuisance at Avoncliff proposal for Archimedes Screw generator

Councillors noted that a significant number of Avoncliff residents had made representations during the public adjournment to register their firm opposition to the proposal to install two Archimedes screw turbines and that knowledge of this proposal had emerged following an application to the Environmental Agency by the applicant (SPE Developments Ltd) for permission to 'extract water' from the River Avon - a requirement if water turbines are to be installed. The objections had centered, largely, on their visual appearance (they will be extremely large and incongruous in the setting of the North Mill in the hamlet of Avoncliff), the noise impact (Archimedes's screw turbines are very noisy), the adverse effect on water flows and water 'back-up' both locally and downstream at Bradford on Avon and the disproportionate scale of the venture - the electrical power to be generated will greatly exceed the domestic requirements of North Mill and it has all the hallmarks of a commercial enterprise (selling power back to the National Grid).


Westwood Parish Council discussed this matter and resolved unanimously to support the residents of Avoncliff in their opposition to the proposed installation of two Archimedes screw turbines at North Mill.


The Parish Council confirmed that it fully supports the generation of 'green' energy but such schemes must be tailored to meet the likely demands of the property involved and to be sympathetic to the location of the property and the environmental impact such schemes will have on the locality. The Council observed that there are other types of turbines suited to such environmentally sensitive locations that would have minimal environmental impact and that would generate electricity far more efficiently than is possible with an Archimedes screw turbine.


The Clerk was asked to write to the Environmental Agency, Wiltshire Council and the Wiltshire Council member for Westwood and Winsley expressing these sentiments.

Westwood Parish Council minutes  

Posted on 05 Feb 2012 by Geoff Edwards

Freshford Mill update December 2011

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Freshford Mill update December 2011

"Freshford Mill � Councillor Hugh Delap of Freshford Parish Council has been in contact with the YRD Freshford Ltd administrator. They have raised concerns over a Freshford website which
has un-factual information about the village in general and the Mill in particular posted on it. HD confirmed that this is nothing to do with the PC and is not endorsed by them." From freshford parish council minutes October 2011

Statement: although the website is not identified by name we have not received any requests from Freshford Parish council or any resident of Freshford to amend any content at any time on this website either recently or in the past.   Geoff Edwards Editorial team

Neighbourhood forums

The Localism Bill does promote neighbourhood forums but is somewhat unclear Neighbourhood planning changes in the Localism bill  This website does have a forum on which registered users may exchange views, publish articles, raise concerns and provides an opportunity for others to discuss these concerns. 

The website does thus provide a valuable service to the village and is part of the means be which residents may take part in the democratic process. The forum will of course contain expressions, opinions, and questions that may not be factual. Surely, the YRD Freshford Ltd adminstrator is not suggesting that unfavourable articles and comment be removed?  




Posted on 11 Dec 2011 by Geoff Edwards

Freshford Mill rainfall

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Freshford Mill rainfall

Rainfall has been measured on Staples Hill which is close to Freshford Mill since the Summer of 2008. The graph of the rainfall has been added to Freshford Mill

Posted on 14 Jan 2011 by Geoff Edwards

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