Say no to hydro power on the Afon Conwy in the Snowdonia National Park

Archive for ‘December, 2015’

Rheadr Mawddach is a magnificent waterfall on the Afon Mawdach near Dolgellau in North Wales. A short run of river hydro scheme is being built at the moment. This site makes use of a site that has seen industrial use since 1869, redeveloping existing workings that were used to process the gold from the mines nearby. It’s hard to say what impact will be had on the waterfall, but hopefully it will retain it’s impressive appearance and that all important spray.

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It was interesting to see the levels of care and of the beautiful woodlands that were (or weren’t) being shown. This scheme will generate upto 100kW and is a lot smaller in scale as well, taking place over only about 50m of river. The proposed Conwy scheme would take place over a number of sites spread through over a number of kilometers, with huge potential to damage a large swathe of the national park.

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The new weir that has been put in appears to have given up, apparently a few weeks ago, and it’s not generated anything…

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“Every effort will be made to build this scheme safely ensuring minimum impact on the archaeology and ecology of the area as well as to the public.

All the permissions have been approved by Snowdonia National Park, DECC and National Resources Wales. NRW have stated that they “would not object to the proposed application as they are unlikely to impact upon nearby protected sites.”” – Clogau Renewable Energy – A Clean Hydro Electric Scheme

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Save the Conwy spent a great afternoon at the Fairy Glen with Patagonia’s Environment and Social Initiatives Europe Manager Mihela Hladin.

Inline with their work protecting rivers around the world Patagonia have been able to provide us with great advice and support. It was fantastic to be able to share our favourite place with someone as passionate as us about protecting it.

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Along for the ride was UK Manager Alex Beasley and, rather excitingly for a former surfer from Cornwall, surfing legends Tony Butt and Gabe Davies.

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You may remember that Dan Butler wrote to the Snowdonia National Park Planners highlighting the sources of a large number of the letters of support that they had received included RWE, the company proposing the scheme, and Dulas, the company putting together the proposals for them.

Dan’s Original Letter to the Planners

Since Dan’s letter to planners, we have learnt that a number of the letters to the planners came from individuals that did not make an effort to make their role in the companies clear. We have also established that a significant proportion of the support came from outside Wales, and that most of the submissions from RWE employees used what appeared to be a standard letter as their basis. We have also learnt that the number of letters of objection now totals over 800, with objections coming from both locally and farther afield.

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Letter by e-mail to Mr. D. Butler (10.12.15) – SNP Response

The SNP response is worrying, not just for the Conwy, but for the future safety of the National Park.They don’t appear to have the resources to effectively look at any volume of correspondence, and so are apparently happy to just leave the issue as it is, rather than stir up something with a developer. Is this the first time this has happened? What other schemes have been put though across the National Park based on letters from the very people putting them forward? If the proposed scheme is so good, shouldn’t the application speak for itself?

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The Entrance to the Fairy Glen during the recent flooding.

 


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Aberconwy AM Janet Finch-Saunders has been busy tabling questions for her constituents to Carl Sargeant AM. Mr Sargeant is the Minister for Natural Resources. The correspondence is given below, and there are copies of each question for download given at the end, along with part of Natural Resources Wales’ Remit and the responsibilities, as stated by them.

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Carl Sargeant states that NRW do not consider tourism or recreation, but in their own statement, taken from here they are considering the effect to lawful water users, which we must assume includes recreational users both local and “tourist” in nature.

Clarity is needed on this issue, especially as the Conwy has been declared to be an issue of “High Public Importance”.

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The window for objections to the abstraction licence closes soon. All objections need to be in by the 4th Dec. If you have already objected to NRW (this is separate to the planning objection) then great. If not here is what to do.

Want to write your own submissions:

The guidelines for objecting are shown here

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see our NRW submission below for ideas , also guidance from the Snowdonia Society here:

Snowdonia Society Guidance

start with the text: 

RWE Innogy UK Limited for a full licence to abstract water from the Afon Conwy near Betws-y-Coed,  Conwy at National Grid Reference SH 81139 53409                                                           

Ref N# WPCC3508 and WPCC3510

I am writing to object to the proposed applications.

and email to:

permittingconsultations@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk

 

Want a bit more help. Use our completed template below, add your own comments and name / address then email to the above address.

template nrw submission

Remember however you do it , it needs to be sent by the 4th Dec . 2 days !

 

Kayaking on the Afon Conwy, Fairy Glen

Kayaking on the Afon Conwy, Fairy Glen, by Tom Laws

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