LYNTON and Lynmouth could again be at the forefront of creating electricity from the power of nature and continue a relationship which began in Victorian times. The executive committee of North Devon Council was being asked yesterday (Tuesday) to ratify p
LYNTON and Lynmouth could again be at the forefront of creating electricity from the power of nature and continue a relationship which began in Victorian times.The executive committee of North Devon Council was being asked yesterday (Tuesday) to ratify plans to earmark £75,000 towards developing a hydro electric scheme at a location on the East Lyn River that would power around 150 homes a year.It is in the same area where a hydropower system was installed in 1890, putting the towns among the first to have electric street lighting.The council commissioned a study by consultants Renewable Power to look at generating electricity using the steep and fast flowing East and West Lyn Rivers.It identified six locations, costs, potential income from selling energy to the national grid and how long each would take to pay for itself.The preferred East Lyn option would cost £400,000 to build, generate an income of £58,000 per year and pay for itself in the shortest time of 11 years. The council and landowner would have to reach agreement and a community group be formed to work to secure £325,000 in funding and develop it further.Councillor Faye Webber, the council's portfolio holder for environment and sustainability, said the hope was to make enough money to plough back into developing the schemes at other locations along the twin rivers."It's a very exciting project and one I am pleased to be involved with," she said."It's something positive that is actually doing something for the environment - it worked before and there's no earthly reason why it shouldn't work again."Mrs Webber said there would be a meeting soon of all interested parties to look at the options for the preferred site.The first hydropower station was destroyed in the great Lynmouth Flood of 1952, but the tradition continues in the villages, with the water powered Cliff Railway and a private hydropower scheme still attracting tourists to Glen Lyn Gorge.Lynton town councillor John Travis was deeply involved with the new scheme when he held the environment portfolio post with the previous district council."The original generated most if not all of Lynton and Lynmouth's needs," he said."This is economically viable ...and I think would make a small but important contribution towards saving the planet."It also adds an extra dimension to the tourist trade and I think that's the way forward, promoting ourselves as a community that generates its own energy from green sources."Suzette Hibbert, chairman of Lynton Community Development Trust, said they were keen to take a leading role to help the project to fruition.