PLANNING permission has been granted for renewable energy to be produced at Whalley weir.

The power house, which will generate electricity from the River Calder, will be built by Whalley Community Hydro and use the movement of the river’s water to create electricity.

The power will then be fed into the National Grid and generate money for other local renewable energy projects.

Chris Gathercole, chairman of Whalley Community Hydro, said the scheme had been getting a lot of encouragement.

He said: “Local people are very supportive about it and we have a lot of support from the local chamber of commerce.

“The idea is to generate income from the sale of the electricity and use it for the benefit of the community.

“The income that we get when we have paid off the loan is then fed back into the community - the money will go towards buying more renewables like solar panels for community use in village halls or domestic properties.”

The project’s developers have assured residents living close to the structure that the noise of the equipment will not be heard over the sound of the weir itself.

Provisions are also going to be put in place to ensure that wildlife is not affected by the structure, including a fish pass, which will help them get past the obstruction.

Whalley Parish councillor Ian Sayers said he recognised that a balance had to be struck between concern for visual appearance and the need to increase renewable energy supplies.

He said: “I think it is good that a community can get together and push to get something that is almost revolutionary.

“I am a great believer in the beauty of the Ribble Valley and I think we have got to keep the valley as it is - it is beautiful and we don’t want to muck it up.

“We don’t want to spoil that beautiful view but we have to progress so I am supportive of this.”

Construction is expected to start in the spring of 2013 and the scheme is now looking for financial support to help fund the project Tim Ashworth, a Whalley resident involved with the scheme, said: “Now we have planning permission we will be preparing the prospectus and we would love to hear from anyone who wants to learn about the scheme.”

For more information on becoming involved, contact Mr Ashworth on 01254 823103.