A HYDRO-ELECTRIC plant on the River Ouse upstream of York is set to produce enough power for 450 homes.

The new hydropower station at Linton Lock, near Linton-on-Ouse, involves a ‘fish-friendly’ turbine with a five-metre wide screw - the widest in the world.

It is expected to produce about 1,870MWh of clean electricity each year, said an Environment Agency spokesman.

“A proportion of the electricity generated will go to Widdington Grange Farm, a family-owned free range chicken farm committed to sustainable farming,”

He said the hydropower plant was part of a project involving the Canal & River Trust, Linton Hydro Ltd, British Canoeing, Sport England, Nun Monkton Estate and the agency which will help the revival of salmon on the Ouse.

He said a fish pass will allow salmon and other migratory fish, including trout and eels, to bypass a weir that blocks the way to their spawning grounds.

It was officially opened yesterday by Fisheries Minister Robert Goodwill, who thanked partners for their work on contributing to the recovery of salmon stocks.

The spokesman said recent years had seen an international decline in salmon and stocks in many rivers at lowest levels on record, and the project was one of many the agency was undertaking nationally to boost numbers.

He said recreational river users would also benefit through the creation of a white water course for canoeists. “A series of drops and pools have been created for paddlers to practise and compete in and it is hoped that in the near future the white-water course will host slalom and freestyle competitions, attracting recreational paddlers from all over the region.

Ben Seal, of British Canoeing, said the course would be a ‘fantastic regional facility of national significance.... allowing canoeists to come and train, and compete.”