2017 Chairman’s Report & Accounts

AGM 2017 Notice
My report is on behalf of the Management team, which includes the four directors and Jon Sear, who has a focus on environmental fishery matters, as well as being my deputy for hydro operation.
We are pleased to report that the year has ended with a reasonably healthy financial position despite difficulties caused by the December 2015 flooding. The building and equipment was resilient, as was demonstrated by it being back in operation by 4th February 2016. With a higher upstream wall and flood barriers now in the main access doorway, installed under Lancaster City Council funding; a similar river level would have far less effect. General tidying after re-commissioning did however take most of the summer and all in close liaison with insurers who paid 93% of the £149,215 cost, to include a negotiated sum to conclude some repairs to currently under water areas mid 2017.
Other activities though the 2016 year, included a second year requirement by the EA for Fyke Net checks, which has required 2 x 5 rather frustrating summer weeks running at low power, with three of the turbine outlets blanked off and a net over the fourth to prove that we are not damaging fish. This confirmed that the 10mm spaced fish inlet screens, set at 20 degrees, or less, to the fish passage route have performed very well and we anticipate that further fyke net demonstrations will not be required.
This low power running did however lose some revenue and we have concluded that the 10mm screens carry significant responsibility for restricting water flow, resulting in a normal hydro output of 130kW, compared to the 160kW predicted and having an impact on revenue. We are however collecting a significant amount of data regarding optimum performance adjustments in 2017 and with further compensation, given the turbines and associated equipment have been very reliable, hence available for more revenue earning hours per year than originally predicted.
2016 was also a year when we collected sufficient data to “validate” the fish counter with underwater cameras and the full report is currently near completion. It is especially interesting to see how well the fish pass has been used by Salmon and Sea Trout; and we shall continue the May to October fish trapping, which is an EA Licence requirement to trap 5% and undertake health checks. Local volunteers have been deeply involved, along with general hydro operation and maintenance and I would like to record appreciation on behalf of the Board for this invaluable input – and invite interest from other shareholders who may wish to be involved.
It is worth mention here that the Board is introducing new members with a good age distribution, to operate & maintain and support the fishery team, with a view to good continuity going forward. All have the opportunity to be the volunteer ” Duty Officer” for the day, whereby there is a learning curve and always somebody checking the site and making routine records, alongside the one-minute auto
recording of data and constant CCTV coverage.
Returning to the financial side, I am pleased to report that we have paid off all construction overspend loans and set aside £70,000 to start the process of paying back investors, although the majority will no doubt wait until the three year period is up to ensure no tax re-payment loss under the three year SEIS or EIS schemes.
Given all of the foregoing and in compliance with the objectives of the Society, £5,000 will go to the local community for worthy causes, via Halton Lune Trust and 4% interest will be paid during the next few weeks for the 2016 financial year. These amounts are to align with sums shown available in the examined accounts by RFM, who have been very helpful given the enormous amount of insurance related purchases going through the books.
These accounts are available here and on the night.

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