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MP meets minister to win fairer deal for Cumbria hydropower

March 5, 2013 1:22 PM

Kentmere HydroSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron last week met with Energy Minister John Hayes to discuss the future of hydropower and the potentially devastating impact that current proposals could have on the future of the hydro power industry.

At the meeting, also attended by Charles Crewsden, Chairman of Gilbert Gilkes & Gordon Ltd, and Mark Cropper of James Cropper PLC and Ellergreen Hydro Ltd, Tim pressed the case that under current proposals for Feed In Tariffs (FiTs), hydropower could lose out because it is smaller scale and unlike other forms of energy production the industry supply chain is almost exclusively British.

Tim expressed his fear that unless the plans were changed there could be a boom and bust in the hydropower industry which could be very damaging to Cumbria's local economy and asked the Minister to make the new rules much more flexible to support hydro energy schemes.

Tim also emphasised the importance of smaller hydropower schemes as a vital source of incomes for farmers, particularly in the uplands, who can use fast running water through their lands to support their farming income and keep the businesses financially viable for the long term.

In response to these calls Mr Hayes made clear that he was very supportive of hydropower as an important source of energy in the UK, particularly focusing on the smaller more community based schemes. Mr Hayes also agreed to look at ways of making the FiT scheme more flexible to support the hydro energy sector.

Commenting Tim said: "Across the South Lakes and Cumbria there are a huge number of hydropower opportunities that could be unlocked for businesses, farmers and communities. Our meeting with the minister gives us real hope that the policy will be changed to boost hydro energy in Cumbria and support excellent local firms like Gilkes and Ellergreen."