Water power should once again make a contribution

I was pleased to read the article by Sir Bernard Ingham re Green Energy in the June 7 edition.

The debate re Wind Farms will continue to rumble. Recently it was reported in the National press that there are currently 43 new wind farm projects being built and another 245 in the pipeline. This debate has been going on for over 18 years and an article from the Todmorden News on this issue was included in the first edition of the Talking Newspaper for Todmorden in November 1993.

I agree with most of what Sir Bernard had to say about wind farms and nuclear energy.

However, I was disappointed about his dismissal concerning water power.

He has obviously forgotten local history. Water mills should be remembered for the prosperity they brought to the Pennine valleys and the Calder Valley in particular.

Before the invention of the steam engine, water power was used to power the mills, with the same water being used to power other mills further down the valley.

By the creative use of weirs, dams and the mill race, water wheels were used to drive the weaving looms and spinning frames in many local mills. The clever use of cogs and belt drives enabled dozens of machines to be driven by the power generated by the use of a single water wheel.

Surely it is not beyond the ability of modern engineers and entrepreneurs to recreate or refurbish the water systems to drive turbines to make electricity. It should also be noted that steep valleys and fast flowing streams are not essential for water mills to work. The most famous water mill in the country is the one at Flatford, painted by John Constable.

I believe it could be done more cheaply, with a much smaller carbon footprint and with much less visual impact on our landscape than the wind farms which are ruining our moorlands and skylines.

R.W. Wainwright,