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Dean village project hopes to bring hydro electric plant to Water of Leith

Dean village project hopes to bring hydro electric plant to Water of Leith

A new project hopes to build a hydro-electric power plant in one of the most historic parts of the city.

The Dean Valley, with its public pathway that runs alongside the Water of Leith between Stockbridge and Dean Village, is popular with locals and tourists alike.

Now, a new local group has been set-up to take a series of ideas forwards that could breathe new life into the heritage of the area.

Volunteers behind the Dean Valley Regeneration project say they hope to follow in the footsteps of Harlaw Hydro, a community-led renewable energy project further upstream on the Water of Leith, which started generating power from the river this September.

via STV via STV

Feasibility studies say a similar micro-hydro electricity plant built around one of the historic weirs in the Dean Village could generate renewable energy and "tens of thousands of pounds per year", which could be then reinvested in further local environmental improvements.

The long list of other projects the group hopes to undertake in the valley includes a proposal to open up more of the private gardens that run up the valley sides to the public, improvements to the existing public pathway so that it can accommodate the growing numbers of cyclists and pedestrians who use it, the development of a mobile phone app for the area and even a small visitors centre.

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Robert Barnham, a Stockbridge resident, and one of the founding Directors of Dean Valley Regeneration, said: "It's a community-based group that is currently applying for charitable status.

"The aims of the organisation are to look at the renovation of the Dean Valley between Stockbridge and Dean Village, and it's to build on the historic nature of the landscape, but also to reflect aspects of how the Water of Leith was once used to generate power

"The principle behind the project is that we're looking to introduce small-scale hydro electricity generation into the Water of Leith which would generate income for the council to allow it to renovate and enhance the community experience of the landscape in that area."

A public meeting is to be held where locals can find out more about the proposals. It will take place at 11am–12.30pm on October 31 at Edinburgh Academy on Henderson Row.

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Header pic: Malc McDonald | CC | [http://bit.ly/1jY13OS](Malc McDonald | CC | http://bit.ly/1jY13OS)

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