Hampton Lucy Micro-Hydro Environmental Section
The graph illustrates the amount of carbon dioxide emissions the Hydro Plant could save if it replaced combustion of any of the three fossil fuels. Once we know the estimated power that the plant could produce it is easy to read from the graph the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emissions saved. (For example: if the plant ran at 30 kWh it would save 38 kg of Carbon Dioxide produced by the combustion of Coal). Once we know the power we can produce we will know the effective Carbon Footprint.
Visit to the Warwickshire Museum Field Services
James and I decided to visit the museum to see what ecological data they might have on the area around the mill after a visit to the Brandon Nature Reserve upstream from the site in Coventry proved fruitless. The museum didn’t have a huge amount of data but we were able to find some relevant information.
Kit Allen at the ecology unit provided us with an ecological data search for a one kilometre radius around our site looking for endangered or protected species. This search revealed only Bats and Badgers in the area. The Bats are listed as being in the Mill itself and the badger sites we are not allowed to show for legal reasons; although they are on the diagram attached to this sheet.
Interestingly the second diagram shows that, although the land surrounding our site on the island and the river is all ecosite, the island itself is not. However being an ecosite does not place any particular restrictions on the land use, the island just seems to have been overlooked in the survey.
He also provided us with Warwickshire Museum Field Services, HBA Phase 1 maps for Polygons, linear features and target notes. The Polygons and Linear features key describes the general habitat in that area. The island is described as Tall ruderal with linear scrub which sounds pretty familiar. Ruderal means roadside and is used to describe areas which are regularly disturbed. In these disturbed areas, ruderal assemblages of native and introduced weedy species become established. I would guess the weedy species are the nettles and I assume the disturbance, before we arrived, was flooding.
The two diagrams were accompanied by target notes which are visible on the linear features map; there is a target note on the island and one in the mill pond. The target notes are vague, but describe an island covered in scrub subject to flooding and a large mill pond surrounded by common vegetation. From this description there do not seem to be many endangered plant species in the area.
There was also a file on the grid reference of our site which had very little useful information in it. However, there was a report by a group at Hertfordshire University from the late 1990’s which caught our eye. The report intended to try and optimise the water getting to the mill to increase its power without flooding the surrounding area. There is much useful data in the report but it is proving hard to get hold of a copy of it to copy for ourselves. I have emailed someone at Hertfordshire University with the same name as the report leader, but she was not the same person. I will have to make another visit to the museum to ask if I can copy their copy of the report. I have already emailed them to ask if this is ok, but have had no reply yet.
In the file there was also a letter from the Museum to the writers of the report who had asked for an ecological overview of the area. An important point from this letter was that the sites are covered by site protection policies in the Planning Authority’s Local Plans. Planning applications for development affecting such areas can therefore be refused on ecological grounds, unless damage to the surrounding area including all the plants and vegetation can be avoided. There was also a list of species that might be found in the area. For the University of Hertfordshire’s Mill project in 1999 the ecological survey listed: Mink, Water Vole, Badgers, Eel, White clawed Crayfish and Daubenton bats as possibly living in this area. Later reports revealed that only the badgers and bats were present in the area and that the site had no protected species present. This obviously may have changed in the last six years although as far as the council records are concerned it hasn’t. (1999 was the latest survey data we found)
Finally there was also a letter to the parish council about planning applications which I thought was relevant. The Ecological response for the proposed development of the existing car park near the church and improvement to the footpath was favourable, but constraints were put upon disturbing trees or hedgerows during the work.We were told that another employee of the museum, who was away during our visit, was an expert when It came to the legal matters surrounding turning land into nature reserve. This is something we had discussed in the group when we talked about packaging the Mill, Hydro Plant and Surrounding area as a “green” tourist attraction/business. We intend to arrange a meeting with this man in order to see if this could benefit the project in any way.