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

Archive for ‘February, 2016’

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Below is our letter to the planning committee, English follows below.

 

Annwyl Aelod o’r Pwyllgor,
Os gwelwch yn dda, treuliwch ychydig funudau yn darllen hwn cyn gwneud eich penderfyniad ddydd Mercher.
Y Cynnig:
Cored goncrid newydd ar draws Afon Conwy
Pibell 9 troedfedd o ddiamedr ‘wedi’i chladdu’n rhannol’ >1km o hyd, â bwtresi concrid helaeth
Twneli dan yr A5, ffrwydro/drilio am 900m, ger cartrefi a busnesau
Bydd yn disbyddu darn 2km o’r brif afon, yn cynnwys Rhaeadr y Graig Lwyd a SoDdGA Ffos Anoddun
Bydd yn cymryd hyd at 75% o’r dŵr uwchlaw’r llif cydbwyso isaf.

Cynllun Datblygu Lleol Eryri
Mae maint y prosiect yn groes i bolisi CDLl Eryri (3.19, t.46):
‘Er bod prosiectau cynhyrchu ynni ar raddfa fawr yn debygol o fod yn anghydnaws â statws Parc Cenedlaethol… gallai cwmpas fodoli i gyfrannu at leihau’r galw am drydan o danwydd ffosil trwy gyfrwng arbedion effeithlonrwydd a thrwy ddatblygiadau ynni adnewyddadwy ar raddfa fach er mwyn diwallu anghenion domestig neu gymunedol.’
Mae RWE yn datgan: ‘…byddai’r buddion yn rhai o natur tymor byr ac ni fyddai disgwyl i’r economi leol elwa i unrhyw raddau sylweddol…’ (EIA 13.4.6)

Effeithiau
Byddai’r cynllun yn arwain at golli adnodd dŵr gwyllt o bwys cenedlaethol a rhyngwladol – colled i’r byd chwaraeon yng Nghymru, yr economi leol ac enw da Eryri fel cyrchfan gweithgareddau antur. Ond beth fyddai effeithiau’r cynllun o ran y canlynol:
Dadlwytho cerrig a gwastraff?
Difrod i nodweddion y SoDdGA a’r Goedlan Hynafol?
Silio a mudo pysgod?
Traffig yn ystod y gwaith adeiladu? – Mae RWE yn rhagweld >12,900 o deithiau dwyffordd gan gerbydau nwyddau trwm.
Difrod ac ymwthio gweledol mewn lleoliad enwog?
Niwed i enw da Eryri?

A wyddoch chi?
Mae Tîm Achub Mynydd Dyffryn Ogwen wedi gwrthwynebu ar sail y bygythiad i ddiogelwch a ddeuai yn sgil y gored fewnlif arfaethedig
Mae Fforwm Mynediad Lleol Gogledd Eryri wedi mynegi pryderon ynghylch effeithiau ar hamdden ac ymwelwyr
Mae dros 800 o bobl wedi ysgrifennu at Awdurdod y Parc ac mae dros 6,000 wedi llofnodi deiseb yn gwrthwynebu’r cynllun
Mae’r gwrthwynebwyr yn cynnwys dwsinau o fusnesau lleol, Plas y Brenin, Clwb Pysgotwyr Betws y Coed, yr Ymddiriedolaeth Coedlannau, Ymddiriedolaeth Bywyd Gwyllt Gogledd Cymru, Cymdeithas Eryri, Canŵ Cymru, Eryri Bywiol a Patagonia.
Cafwyd oddeutu 30 llythyr cefnogi a bron iawn bob un wedi’u hysgrifennu gan uwch aelodau staff RWE a Dulas.

A ydych chi’n hyderus y bydd Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru yn:
Egluro pam eu bod yn trin y cynnig hwn fel Parth 2 tynnu dŵr (uwch), er y dylai SoDdGA gael eu trin fel tynnu dŵr Parth 1 (is)
Egluro absenoldeb tystiolaeth eu harbenigwr eu hun o sylwadau swyddogol NRW – “Mae hi bron iawn yn amhosibl meintioli lefel yr hydwythedd, ac felly hefyd yn achos y tebygolrwydd o niwed i fflora bryoffytau’r SoDdGA (ymateb Rhyddid Gwybodaeth gan arbenigwr NRW ar Blanhigion Isel)
Egluro’r gwrth-ddweud rhwng safbwynt NRW a safbwynt bryolegydd ymgynghorol RWE, Dr Des Callaghan – “Ynghylch y cynllun yn Rhaeadr y Graig Lwyd, nid wyf yn credu y gellir dweud ag unrhyw fath o sicrwydd a fydd y cynllun yn arwain at effaith negyddol sylweddol ar fryoffytau.”

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Dear Committee Member
Please take a few moments to read this before making your decision on Wednesday

The Proposal:
New concrete weir across the River Conwy
‘Semi-buried’ 9ft diameter pipe >1km long, with extensive concrete buttressing
Tunnels under A5, blasting/drilling for 900m, near homes and businesses
Depletes 2km of main river, including both Conwy Falls and the Fairy Glen SSSI
Takes up to 75% of the water above a minimum compensation flow.

Eryri Local Development Plan
Physical scale of the project is contrary to Eryri LDP policy (3.19, p.46):
‘Whilst large-scale energy power generation projects are incompatible with National Park status… scope might exist to contribute to reduce demand for electricity derived from fossil fuels through efficiency savings and through small-scale renewable energy developments to meet domestic or community need.’
RWE state that: ‘…benefits would be short-term in nature and would not be expected to benefit the local economy to any significant degree…’ (EIA 13.4.6)

Impacts
The scheme would cause the loss of a whitewater resource of national and international significance – a loss to Welsh sport, the local economy and Eryri’s reputation as an adventure destination. But what impacts would the scheme have on:
Rock and spoil dumping?
Damage to SSSI features and Ancient Woodland?
Fish spawning and migration?
Traffic during construction? – RWE predict >12,900 two-way HGV journeys.
Visible damage and intrusion in a famous location?
Reputational damage to Snowdonia?

Did you know?
Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue has formally objected on the grounds of the safety hazard that would be caused by the proposed intake weir.
Local Access Forum for Northern Snowdonia has registered concerns over impacts on recreation and visitors
Over 800 people have written to the Park Authority and over 6,000 signed a petition objecting to the scheme
The objectors include dozens of local businesses, Plas y Brenin, Betws y Coed Anglers Club, Woodland Trust, North Wales Wildlife Trust, Snowdonia Society, Canoe Wales, Snowdonia Active, and Patagonia.
Nearly all of the 30 or so letters of support were from senior staff members of RWE and Dulas

Are you confident that Natural Resources Wales will:
Explain why they are treating this as Zone 2 (higher) water abstraction, when SSSIs should be dealt with as Zone 1(lower) abstraction
Explain the absence of their own expert’s evidence from official NRW comments – “The level of resilience is almost impossible to quantify as, therefore, is the likelihood of damage to the SSSI bryophyte flora” (FoI response from NRW Lower Plant specialist)
Explain the contradiction between NRWs view and that of RWE’s consultant bryologist Dr Des Callaghan – “With regards to the Conwy Falls scheme, I do not believe that it is possible to say with any certainty whether the scheme will or will not have a significant negative effect on bryophytes.”

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The committee meet on Wednesday 2nd March at 10am at Plas Tan y Bwlch, Maentwrog. It’s a public meeting, and we’d urge you to attend if you can. 

http://www.eryri-npa.gov.uk/study-centre/location

 

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It was great to receive a message of support from big wave surfer Gabe Davies. Gabe is not just famous for surfing some of the biggest coldest waves in the world but also for bringing the amazing surf spots of Ireland’s wild Atlantic coast to international attention and for his work with environmental group Surfers against Sewage.

 

“It’s easy to forget that wild places exist very close to all of us here in the UK. Within a few hours drive you can see some incredibly special places. I spent my pro surfing career searching beaches and rocky corners of the UK, Ireland and around the globe, looking for perfect waves. It showed me that we have to protect the special places that mean so much to us. Having been to the Fairy Glen on the river Conwy, I can appreciate what a really important and special place this is, both to those who live here and the future generations that are yet to discover it’s beauty. I wish the team all the best in preserving this wild water way, and protecting both wildlife and the life’s of those the river enriches from development. Please share your support and try and make time to discover this magical part of the World for yourselves and you will understand the passion behind this campaign.”

Gabe Davies

(photo credit: Christian McCleod)

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Yvon Chouinard founder of the Patagonia brand is a not only a highly successful businessman. He is a fly fisherman, kayaker, climber and environmentalist. Yvon many triumphs include the founding of the 1% for the planet movement, the purchasing of wilderness in South America to be turned into national parks and the campaign to remove damaging hydropower dams from American rivers.

Patagonia has supported Save the Conwy with advice, funding and increased exposure. Yvon Chouinards personal objection letter to the Snowdonia National Park is below.

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The Afon Conwy has now been under threat since 2013! RWE have been pursuing plans to dam, divert and draw power from the river for over 2 years! This scheme has the potential to ruin the river’s delicate eco-system, provide misery on the roads and damage local businesses & communities.

The National Park’s verdict on the proposed scheme will be given on the 2nd March, 10am at Plas Tan y Bwlch. If you oppose the scheme then please attend and show your solidarity. 

We have prepared a quick slideshow on just what’s at stake here.

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On Friday the petition that you have all been signing and sharing was delivered to Janet Finch-Saunders AM (the Assembly Member for Aberconwy) with 6,311 signatures. She will take it to the Senate in Cardiff and hand it to Carl Sargeant Minister for Natural Resources. The handover took place at the beautiful Conwy Falls which would be affected by the proposed scheme.

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Save the Conwy’s Chris Wright handing the petition to Janet Finch-Saunders AM

Also there were representatives of the groups working alongside Save the Conwy to object to the scheme.

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Front row left to right:

 Francis Cattanach  North Wales Wildlife Trust,                                                                                              Rachael Walton representing the concerned local business community,                                                  Nick Corney Betws y Coed Anglers,                                                                                                                    Chris Wright Save the Conwy,                                                                                                                              Janet Finch-Saunders AM for Aberconwy,                                                                                                        Pete Catterall Plas y Brenin,

Back row left to right:

 Duncan Eades Canoe Wales,                                                                                                                                  Rory Francis Woodland Trust Wales,                                                                                                                  John Harold Director of the Snowdonia Society.

A copy of the petition will also be sent to the Snowdonia National Park ahead of the Planning Committee meeting on March 2nd.

The petition has only been a part of the campaign and sits alongside all our work with both the Snowdonia National Park and NRW, the fight is far from over. Thanks to those who have signed and to those who have written letters of objection to both the Park and NRW.

Stay in touch for more ways to get involved.

 

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It was announced in the news today that Snowdonia National Park Wardens are asking the public to stop building cairns on the hills, due to the destruction it causes. Warden Myfyr Tomos has said- ‘Building cairns has been of great concern over a number of years […] creating scars on some of our most significant landscapes. [It] damages fragile habitats such as the moorland in the uplands and the scree, together with the animals and the plants associated with them’.

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Now if we are, as Myfyr Tomos states, ‘creating scars on some of the most significant landscapes,’ why on Earth are we even considering damaging fragile habitats with man made structures? – Perhaps SNP should be looking at at any contradictions – between the Cairn situation and the proposed Conwy Hydro.

Link to BBC News article

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