The Linton Falls Hydroelectric Power Station, recently restored by engineering and construction company JN Bentley – 100 years after it first came into use – has been named Contract of the Year 2011 by the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) in Yorkshire and Humber.
The project fought off strong competition from a number of other schemes – including Mott MacDonald Bentley (MMB) projects at Brickyard Cottages in North Ferriby and Adwick Le Street Reservoir near Doncaster – to pick up the prestigious award, which was presented at a ceremony at the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate.
The Linton Falls Hydroelectric Power Station lies on the River Wharfe in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and is the realisation of a number of years of hard work after JN Bentley had the idea of restoring the abandoned and derelict old plant to its former glory.
JN Bentley’s work at Linton Falls has seen the construction of a modern hydroelectric power installation on the site of the original powerhouse and involved:
- Sympathetic reconstruction of the derelict turbine house – as closely as possible to its original design;
- Installation of two Archimedean screw generators, a downstream outlet screen, and intake penstocks; and
- The laying of an underground export cable to facilitate connection to the local distribution network.
The site, an exceptionally rare example of early industrialisation in the Yorkshire Dales, meant that extensive liaison was required with a number of stakeholders including English Heritage, the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Environment Agency.
The CECA judges were looking for a project that reflected quality, good craftsmanship, excellent health and safety management, high levels of innovation, and notability.
The building’s Scheduled Monument status called for an innovative approach to restoration of the powerhouse – using as much of the existing structure as possible. Minimal disruption to the local environment was also imperative – careful management of fine lined pea mussels, white clawed crayfish and foraging bats helped to minimise our impact.
The CECA judges were impressed with the way in which JN Bentley overcame these challenges to bring the power plant back into service.
The award of Contract of the Year builds on JN Bentley’s previous success with CECA in 2011, which saw the company awarded the CECA (Yorkshire and Humber) Linda Grant Health and Safety Award, CECA (Midlands) Site Manager of the Year, and CECA (North East) Health and Safety Company of the Year.
More details on the Linton Falls Hydroelectric Power Company, a subsidiary of JN Bentley now established specifically to develop, own and operate further hydroelectric power stations across the UK, can be found on the company’s website.