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

Archive for ‘March, 2016’

Hopefully you have seen that we are having a film-night hosted by Plas-y-Brenin, presented by Patagonia and Sweetgrass Productions on the 23rd of April. For more information on that, or to get a ticket please click here when the page is live (ASAP) or visit Facebook.

With the RWE application rejected, you might be wondering why we are hosting a fundraising night, and what the funds are needed for.

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The application was rejected, not on the grounds of enormous objection from a broad range of groups, nor because of the evidence provided on the damage that would be done to recreation and the river environment, not because of the withdrawn promises of tourist infrastructure by RWE, but simply because the planners didn’t  feel that they had all the information in the application. There is little doubt that RWE will re-apply, and this time we wish to enlist some professional help in fighting this by employing a planning consultant to assist in and better guide our objection and in the commissioning of further environmental surveys on this precious habitat.

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We have been enormously lucky to receive some specific funding from Patagonia for postcards and some local press advertising, and a small amount of money was generated through T Shirt sales, but we need to raise substantial funds to carry on the campaign and secure the future of this free flowing river.

So we are asking for your help and support. We are not asking for donations. Whether it is an evening of great films, entry in a raffle to win amazing prizes from the companies that support us, a T-shirt or just a sticker we will always give you something in return for your cash. That and the promise we will work tirelessly to Save the Conwy.

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You may have seen the news by now, that after a dedicated effort from local campaigners, supported by the 6,311 of you who signed the petition, the Snowdonia National Park Authority made the right decision and refused permission for multinational energy giant RWE to build a hydro scheme on the River Conwy.

After last weeks meeting the refusal notice has now been formally issued and the River Conwy is safe from the developers – THANK YOU!

This is a huge relief to all who care about the special places that we know and love. It is a huge success story for National Parks and the role they play in protecting special places from those who see our natural resources as something to be exploited in damaging and disruptive ways.

The whole process stands as a warning to all of us who care – National Parks and other special places are under attack. We all need to be vigilant and continue to scrutinise those who are elected to govern these institutions and make sure that they understand how important these special places are and how easily they can be damaged.

One organisation that has been instrumental in the success of this campaign is the Snowdonia Society. They have been protecting and celebrating the Snowdonia National Park since 1967 and without them I don’t think we would have succeeded.

Please have a look at they work they do and consider becoming a member to help them keep fighting the good fight for another 50 years.

http://snowdonia-society.org.uk/mission/

So our warmest thanks to you and congratulations for your part in saving the River Conwy!

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Save the Conwy, with help from our friends are continuing to fight for the river by working towards the refusal of any abstraction licences and gathering evidence in preparation for any future planning applications.

We still need your support so follow us here

Or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/savetheconwy/

Or if twitter is your thing https://twitter.com/savetheconwy

Or if you like pictures https://www.instagram.com/savetheconwy/

Thanks again,

All the team at Save The Conwy

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Following on from the planning committee’s decision on Wednesday to refuse planning permission to RWE, did you know that this isn’t the first time this has happened? In 1993 an application was made along similar lines, again involving the Foelas Estate.

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Taken from the London Gazette – January 1993.

The extract below is taken from Esme; Guardian of Snowdonia. A fascinating book profiling Emse Kirby, founder of what is now the Snowdonia Society.

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“The application for the scheme was eventually withdrawn as it proved impossible to resolve the issues raised”. At this stage the scheme can still be appealed, or RWE can choose to reapply.

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“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana, 1906.

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RWE has claimed repeatedly on its website, in the press and even in its planning application that the proposed hydro scheme will bring “recreational enhancements” to the area. However on closer examination these appear to be limited to 2 things.

1. Footpath extension connecting the existing bridle way to Conwy Falls to prevent walkers having to walk along the A5.

An independent landscape consultant commissioned by the National Park has found that RWE have not included this in the final scheme design as they do not own or control the land in question and have no means to carry this out.

· The design guidance includes reference to a number of proposals which do not appear to have been carried through to the design as primary or ‘embedded mitigation’. These include:

Keep fencing to a minimum (metal railings proposed at the intake and tail outfall structure);

Restore marshland (no proposals identified);

Create a new viewing platform at Fairy Glen;

Extend footpath link from Fairy Glen to Conwy Falls avoiding the A5 (not possible due to land ownership).

http://www.eryri-npa.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/723190/Planning-and-AccessCommittee_02.03.16.pdf

RWE have been told by the Planning Officer that this footpath enhancement must be removed from the application. It is interesting to note that it still features on the RWE website

2. Provide a safe exit point for kayakers using the Middle Conwy.

This has been shown to be completely untrue. Two reports from separate water safety experts point to the increased risk the low head dam will cause to recreational river users, especially at the high flows that kayakers use the river. Canoe Wales has highlighted this to RWE and officially objected to the application on safety grounds to both the National Park and NRW. Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue have also objected on the grounds of increased risk to river users and the danger that will be presented to their members when attending rescues at this location. Despite this RWE continue to claim this as a scheme benefit.

RWEs recreational enhancements have been shown to be nothing but empty promises. How many more of their claims will turn out to be the same?

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