Furious residents in the very posh Osney Island that worried about flooding because of a hydro-electric scheme, are understood not to be assuaged by the response of the trustees to accusations.
Osney island used to be a term attributed to the area around the monastery at the end of Mill Street, described in a saucy tale by Chaucer. But, suddenly, in the early 1900s, the original island became “new Oseney”, even though “New Oseney” is really old Osney. Both areas, in general, used to be places rented to the “working class”.
Prices in the new Osney, that is to say Osney Island, are beyond the dreams of most people. Even in the old Osney, that is to say in Mill Street and environmens, they would give most people an attack of the heebie-jeebies.
David Hammond, who describes himself as an Osney Island resident, hit out at accusations that the hydro scheme could cause flooding.
In a document seen by Volesoft, Hammond said: “Dear All,
“I think it is a shame that this helpful Island communication link is being used to circulate misinformation about the Island’s Hydro scheme.
“These are the facts.
“There is no danger whatsoever that the Hydro will cause flooding. Everything is totally within the control of the EA, certainly not with “shareholders or do gooders”. In fact the Hydro has the potential to assist matters in the event of a flood. Sometime [we expect this summer] the new Radial Gate will become fully automated & so directly communicating with the Hydro.
“To be specific about last Thursday’s shutdown of the Hydro. The Hydro group were meeting at 9.00pm to discuss removing debris from the trash screen, and noticed the generator had shut down at 7.30pm. Several of us immediately went down to the lock to investigate. Ray was called but said he was off duty and gave us a Teddington number to phone. After a number of phone calls Ray’s boss managed to persuade him to alter the radial gate to normalise river levels. However AT NO TIME WAS THERE ANY RISK OF FLOODING. The EA is fully aware of what is happening to river levels at all times. On Friday the Hydro consultant rectified a minor software problem.
“The bigger picture is that when Osney Sustainable Island Group [OSIG] started this venture, nearly 15 years ago and long before Osney Mill turbine was even thought about, the Island was canvassed to find out what support there would be for a local Hydro scheme. The Group received an overwhelming mandate to proceed. However the Group needed to receive the EA’s agreement and support at every step of the way, and together with the required Planning approval, capital investment and a lot of volunteer input, things of necessity have moved quite slowly.
“We are only too aware that the site looks unfinished at the moment. Due to the unusually dry summer the Hydro has not been able to run and therefore generate the income as expected – up untill now. Now there has been some rain the Hydro is generating on average 40kw; it has reached over 32,000kWh in the last 5 weeks, and is providing an income of around £300/day through the FIT. However in the short term Osney Lock Hydro still need to raise a little more capital to complete the scheme so that it is fully landscaped and open to the public with interactive information panel. [And it would be nice to catch the graffiti vandals before that happens!]
“As a final point we would welcome anyone who is interested in helping us clear the trash screen to keep the Hydro running at full capacity. At the moment we have a small working party but would be very grateful for any offers of additional help.”
Hammond added in his communication to firstname.lastname@example.org: “I think it is a shame that this helpful Island communication link is being used to circulate misinformation about the Island’s Hydro scheme.”
Earlier, other Osney Island residents complained. One resident said: “I think the EA have made a dreadful mistake in allowing the hydro experiment, however well meaning it was intended to be. The hydro below Osney Mill was already established and working fairly well. The land between the island and the lock has never looked worse. The weirs that it has displaced were effective controls to the river’s flow.
“As to the building itself? Words fail me. Ski lift?
Will it’s output heat a kettle for the workers in the EA yard where the output is now directed?
“I have enjoyed boating on the Thames for about 40 years. I dare to suggest that I understand it a little. Oh for the Thames Conservatory, how they are missed! J”.
Ray who manages the Lock, could not be contacted at press time.