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Nadder Community Energy - April

We’ve all seen the headlines. ‘Huge increase in raw sewage released into UK waterways.’ ‘Water companies are regularly dumping raw sewage into UK rivers.’ ‘Only 6% of Britain’s rivers on course to be healthy by 2027.’


Not the most savoury reading over our breakfast cornflakes, but a huge problem which we at Nadder Community Energy, wearing our sustainability hat, are concerned about. Fortunately, risks to human health are fairly minimal, except for freshwater swimmers, but frequent large discharges can disrupt rivers’ ecosystems and threaten wildlife.

The biggest dumps are during storm overflows, when the sheer volume of surface water gets into the sewers and is too much for the treatment works to cope with. It simply has to be diverted untreated into the rivers. There’s nowhere else for it to go.


In ‘exceptional’ circumstances the Environment Agency deems these as ‘permitted discharges’ and demands careful monitoring in an effort to ensure compliance with agreed standards and guard against widespread abuse. But too many discharges go unmonitored and too many circumstances are not ‘exceptional.’


The water companies know they should be doing much more to tackle the problem. On its website, Wessex Water agrees that overflows ‘have no place in the 21st Century, but it will take time and significant investment to progressively eliminate them.’ They say they are pledged to a 25% reduction in hours of storm discharges by 2025 and are investing £3 million a month to stem the flow.


They also say they are working hard to increase the capacity of their treatment works which, in Tisbury’s case, is likely to be a rather pressing issue if the proposed Station Works development goes ahead as currently envisaged. Up to 86 homes and a 40-bed care home will doubtless put a considerable extra strain on the filter pans down the Chicksgrove Road. This hasn’t been much discussed at the recent Appeal Hearing, but would almost certainly require a big expansion, assuming there’s enough investment and physical space to do so. We shall see.


Now, on an altogether much more uplifting note…


The directors of Nadder Community Energy are putting together a new portfolio of solar installations which we plan to launch as our second Solar for Schools Share Offer. We are looking at 5-6 schools and related community buildings with a combined photovoltaic (PV) power of at least 250 kilowatts. All the sites are within a 15-mile radius of the Nadder Valley and satisfactory feasibility studies have been carried out by our Project Manager, Emma Worth of Nadder Energy.


We will be looking to raise about £250,000 from members, friends and supporters to install these arrays and our financial modelling for a ten-year capital repayment schedule shows a promising return. On the strength of this we are aiming to offer investors an annual interest rate of around 4 percent – an attractive proposition in the current climate, especially for an ethical investment helping the schools to keep their energy bills down and the UK to reach its Zero Carbon target.

We are hoping to work closely with the schools on marketing the Share Offer among parents and teachers as well as existing NCE members and supporters, and we anticipate strong demand.


Details soon. Watch this space!


Alan Maryon-Davis, Chair NCE



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