An innovative hydro electric scheme has been commissioned using water from a 19th Century Nidderdale lead mine by an award-winning conservationist to help fund more rural conservation works.
Retired businessman Paul Garforth, who won a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Conservation Award in 2001, has implemented one of the first hydro electric schemes of its kind with legal support from Harrogate law firm, Barber Titleys.
Paul Garforth, who has planted tens of thousands of trees, reinstated and formed new hedgerows, as well as rebuilding substantial stretches of old dry-stone walls on his 185-acre estate near Pateley Bridge, acquired the source from Yorkshire Water as the water quality from the mine no longer met consumer standards, with help from Barber Titleys partner and property lawyer, Richard Davis.
Almost 500 metres of new pipe was laid to connect to an existing main which takes the outflow from the mine. A turbine house was built to hold a twin-turgo turbine which generates electricity at about 12.5Kwph, depending on water flow, with a 35 metres fall from the mine entrance to the turbine.
Paul Garforth, who created the scheme with a six-figure investment, said: The whole supply is marketed to the National Grid and has an approximate five-year payback period. I’m planning to use part of the proceeds to continue funding conservation works. During the week that the scheme started almost 2,000 trees were planted on nearby bare land, next to the Nidderdale Way.
Lead mining in Nidderdale thrived from Roman times until the 1880s with lead used for items including piping. The industry was revived temporarily in the 1930s before ceasing before the Second World War.
Richard Davis said: This was a highly unusual assignment but one very much in keeping with the modern quest for renewable energies. I suspect we shall see more requests of this kind and will be well placed to advise landowners. Paul Garforth has carried tremendous conservation projects and it is nice to think that part of his future work will be funded by water rising through historic mines.
Barber Titleys, which can trace its roots back to 1880, has 30 staff with specialist strengths in planning, commercial, residential and agricultural property, family law, private and charitable trust services and all matters relating to wills and inheritance planning.
Main photograph: GOING WITH THE FLOW: Pictured (L to R) at the hydro electricity scheme using water from the outflow of a former lead mine near Pateley Bridge are conservationist, Paul Garforth, and the head of Barber Titleys property department, Richard Davis, who provided legal advice on the acquisition of the water source from Yorkshire Water Authority.