The National Trust has a clear and simple purpose:
“We look after special places throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland for ever, for everyone.”
Can we trust them to hold to this purpose in the face of the profits that can be gained by the exploitation of the lands they control.
The role of the National Trust in the Conwy Falls scheme is clear: They are a major land owner where the scheme is to be sited. The Trust own the river left back at the dam site and the land at Dinas Mawr on the northern side of the A5, land that the Trust will rent to RWE to tunnel through with the pipeline. It is clear that the hydro scheme could not go ahead without the involvement of the National Trust, it is also clear that the Trust stand to earn land rents from this arrangement.
What is not clear is how renting out land in a National Park to a foreign owned power company (a company with a far from glowing environmental record) to allow an extremely controversial hydro scheme to go ahead in a SSSI fits with looking after special places.
The Conwy Falls hydro scheme is one of the most controversial developments ever proposed in Snowdonia. It received 900 letters of objection including those from environmental groups such a Snowdonia Society, Woodland Trust and the North Wales Wildlife Trust and a petition with over 6000 signatures was handed to the Park in objection. SNPA has refused the application once and despite the abstraction licence being applied for over 1 year ago NRW have still to decide if the damage to the environment it would cause is too great. Surely it is time for the National Trust to withdraw it’s involvement.
The National Trust is also pursuing it’s own extensive hydro power building program in Snowdonia. In many cases small hydro schemes can cause little impact to our environment and the post industrial landscapes around the Blaenau and Ogwen quarries are a perfect places for such development. However there is evidence that the National Trust is now planning more schemes in some of the most beautiful and unspoilt mountain landscapes in the park. The Afon Lloer at the eastern end of Llyn Ogwen is one of these, a recent walk into the Carneddau found surveying post markers for an intake and pipeline.
A line of posts marking the proposed pipeline.
This post reads “Intake”
The landscape through which the pipeline would pass and the access road would be built.
A sign at the bottom of the Afon Lloer, one sentence reads “…the area is internationally important in terms of nature conservation..” and another “The National Trust Snowdonia Appeal raises funds to repair and protect this precious landscape”.
As a life member of the National Trust I am shocked to discover news of these schemes through my own investigations. The Trust’s policy on this has not been discussed with or even brought to the attention of it’s members. No word of the Trust’s involvement in the Conwy scheme can be found in any of it’s publications or websites.
Save the Conwy along with our friends at the Snowdonia Society are asking the National Trust for 2 things:
Please withdraw your support for RWE’s Conwy Falls hydro scheme.
Please consult with your members and other users of the Snowdonia National Park before continuing with your hydro building policy.
If you wish to join us please write to both:
Dame Helen Ghosh, Director-General, National Trust
Justin Albert, Director of National Trust Wales
Use the template letters below and please feel free to edit or add to them as you see fit, email addresses are on the letter heads but we feel it may be more effective to post them.
Dame Helen Ghosh template letter.
Justin Albert template letter.