The following timeline is by no means an exhaustive list of milestones achieved, meetings undertaken etc.

Summer 2010
  • The idea of building a hydro scheme on the River Tyne at Hexham was born, seeded both in Transition Tynedale and Hexham Community Partnership
Autumn 2010
  • Transition Tynedale and Hexham Community Partnership formed a joint team to investigate the potential for the scheme.
  • Further research conducted by volunteers
  • Initial fundraising conducted
  • The group presented to Hexham Town Council, which decided to provide full support to the scheme
December 2010
  • Pre-feasibility work commenced, undertaken by IHT (Inter Hydro Technology Ltd, a division of R G Parkin & Partners Ltd)
March 2011
  • First draft of initial feasibility findings issued by IHT
  • Detailed financial model of cashflows produced
  • Detailed investment appraisal analysis conducted by core team, looking at (1) Simple payback period (Years); (2) Net Present Value of scheme cashflows; and (3) Internal Rate of Return.
July 2011
  • Completion of initial feasibility report by IHT
  • Detailed financial model of cashflows and investment appraisal analysis updated
  • Discussions with Tyne Rivers Trust (“TRT”) on possibilities to combine work on hydro project with TRT’s planned fish pass
December 2011
  • Energyshare funding of £100,000 won after an eight month, three-gate funding bid process, including a national public online vote
January – May 2012
  • Procurement process for external consultants

This involved: preparing tender; advertising for bidders; assessing bids received; interviewing shortlisted firms; taking up references; contracting with preferred supplier Cundall Johnston. 

March 2012
  • Presentations and discussion at Hexham Auction Mart with TRT, Hexham River Hydro, the Environment Agency and representatives from the many anglers, angling clubs and riparian owners along the river Tyne.  Discussions helped to shape the brief to the hydro consultant team to ensure a full assessment of the benefits and any potential impacts that Hexham River Hydro may have.
May 2012
  • Preferred consultants, Cundall, commenced work on detailed feasibility study
June 2012
  • Meeting with TRT to allow consultants to explore potential links with TRT fish pass plans
End July 2012
  • Completion of detailed feasibility report by Cundall
  • Detailed financial model of cashflows and investment appraisal analysis updated. Detailed financial model now incorporating projected P&L and B/S for first 40 years of scheme
August 2012
  • Presentation by HRH core team and consultants to members of Transition Tynedale and Hexham Town Council and the Board of Hexham Community Partnership, 21 August 2012. Unanimous support to continue work.
  • Presentation of report to TRT
  • Consultant team instructed to continue with detailed design
September 2012
  • Continuing work on financial model of P&L, B/S and cashflows
  • TRT decides it cannot continue with its independent plans for fish pass and will stand aside to allow HRH to proceed without the challenges of partnership working
  • Discussions with Northumberland County Council on potential involvement with project design and finance
October 2012
  • Public meetings to inform the design

The meetings were timed to have a sufficiently advanced design to present in detail and yet also to have time left to build feedback from these sessions into the design before it was finalised.
Two separate public meetings were held.  One meeting specifically focused on the fishing interests and the other included the wider public/visitor interests. An independent facilitator chaired these meetings to ensure that everyone’s voice was heard and every point captured.

  • Screening Opinion on environmental impact assessment received from Northumberland County Council on 29 October, more than 4 months after formal request for this opinion had been submitted. The significant delay and the final content of the Opinion were both new issues.
January 2013
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (“EIA”) Scoping Document presented to Northumberland County Council (“NCC”) by Cundall
February 2013
  • Substantial completion of detailed design report by Cundall with exception of any additional EIA work required by NCC. Still awaiting NCC response.
  • Detailed financial models updated
April 2013
  • Receipt of NCC opinion on full EIA scope
May 2013
  • Final version of detailed design report issued
June 2013
  • Public announcement by Hexham River Hydro team that their work will cease on Hexham River Hydro since it cannot proceed as a standalone community renewable energy project.

For more information on the many consultations undertaken, see ‘The Design – Consultations


Hexham River Hydro, an energyshare project made possible by British Gas and supported by Carbon Leapfrog, Cooperative Enterprise Hub, Vattenfall and The Naturesave Trust


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