PLANS to use a stretch of the River Ouse in North Yorkshire to create "green" power are causing ripples in a rural community.

Two apparently conflicting plans have been submitted for hydro-electric power plants at Linton Lock on the river.

On opposite sides of the river, one plan is in the domain of Harrogate Borough Council, the other in Hambleton District Council's and, it its claimed, they cannot both go ahead.

"Both power plants will not be able to be built," said Linton-on-Ouse parish council chairman, Councillor Derrick Jauncey.

"The only fair way for it to be decided now is for it to go to a public inquiry and have an inspector for the environment decide."

The parish council supports a plan put forward by British Waterways tenant Ian Fuller to convert a former water power plant for modern use.

Mr Fuller said: "The plan to build across the river is not popular, it would have a real impact on our property prices.

"Rather than put an industrial unit in a green belt site, this plan to use the existing building is much better."

The original plan was submitted to build a new plant on the other side of the river, by local farmers JR and K Throup and Sons. It now faces opposition both locally and nationally.

The British Canoeist Union, Linton-on-Ouse Parish Council, York Canoe Club and 17 other protesters have all registered objections with Harrogate Borough Council over the proposals.

Chris Hawksworth, British Canoe Union national planning and facilities manager, said: "We do not have a problem with 'green' energy or with hydro-power, we just want to make sure this site is not spoilt.

"This is the second best site in the country for our sport, and we want to preserve it, and would oppose plans from either site unless they protect the site."

But Sophie Throup, from the farm, said: "We have been looking at this project for about two years now, looking at the best way to do it for all concerned.

"We have this plan to move with the times and keep our farm going forward, and support the environmental aspect."

The power produced at the site would be sold to the National Grid, as part of government plans to make ten per cent of all energy environmentally friendly by 2010.

Updated: 11:29 Thursday, June 12, 2003