A £1M hydro-electric generator on the Thames in Abingdon, to provide electricity for 200 homes, has been granted a licence by the Environment Agency.

It’s been two years since community group Abingdon Hydro unveiled its plan to build the power plant at Abbey Meadows between the Mill Stream and the Thames, close to the weir.

Up to three turbines could be built if the scheme gets planning permission.

Money for the plant is being raised from grants and fundraising, as well as a share issue to people wanting to buy a stake in it.

Spokesman Richard Riggs said: “We estimate the generator will cost nearly £1m, to be funded by shares, and we hope that a good proportion of the shareholders will be local.

“The Government knows that we need more renewable energy, so they offer a 20-year contract to pay for developing the generator, which will last much longer than that.”

Mr Riggs said the group would now apply for planning permission, and would then issue shares in the autumn, with the hope of starting building work next year.

There is a similar generator at Osney Mill, Oxford.