Mid Devon Mills group catches Government attention

By Crediton Courier Newspaper   |   Editorial   |
Sunday 30th October 2016 4:16 pm
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Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton and MDDC Councillor Richard Chesterton are pictured with Andrew Baker, owner of Thorverton Mill. ()

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MEMBERS of the Mid Devon Mills group travelled to Westminster recently to meet with the Industry and Energy Minister on plans to restore local mills to generate electricity.

The meeting, organised by Tiverton and Honiton MP, Neil Parish, was attended by local mill owner Brendan Bellis and Mid Devon District Council representatives to discuss the project with the Minister and plan the next steps for bringing historic mills back into use to generate hydro-electric power.

The “Mills Project” involves the restoration of historic mills, weirs and leats in Mid Devon to generate energy for local communities. Other potential benefits include better management of local waterways, reduced flood risks and a boost to local jobs and growth.

It is being developed by the Hydro Mills Group (HMG), a consortia of waterside land owners, and receives regular input from a number of key local organisations including South West Water and Western Power.

It is also supported by MDDC and the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.

The project has recently been successful in a funding bid to bring in expert consultancy to help develop the business model. This will allow plans to be submitted for Government support in the future.

The project will need to develop a number of successful pilot sites before it can to be replicated and rolled out in other parts of the UK.

After the meeting, Mr Bellis said: “The meeting was useful and positive. The Minister was interested in the mills project and provided a helpful steer to keep it moving in the right direction. I am thankful to MDDC for the ongoing help and support they have given to our group.”

Neil Parish added: “I am very grateful to the Minister for meeting to discuss the project. It’s a very exciting proposal to generate local, green electricity, prevent flooding and boost our local economy.

“The Minister provided some very useful advice on how we can now take the project forward over the next few years.”

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