Update: Snowdonia Hydro Developments

Posted by Elfyn Jones on 14/02/2017
Excavators working on an NT Hydro scheme on Snowdon

Following on from the article in Summit, written by Ray Wood, highlighting the issues surrounding the number of Hydro-Electric schemes being built in Snowdonia, there have been a number of significant developments surrounding these proposals.

READ: Hydropower in Snowdonia

Firstly, the highly controversial plans to construct a hydro-electric scheme at Conwy Falls, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a highly valued natural landscape feature of the National Park, located near Betws y Coed has been withdrawn by the developers. This was in light of a review of the environmental data that suggested that the special features of the site could be damaged by the development and would, therefore, in all likelihood not get planning permission. In addition, Natural Resources Wales were unwilling to issue an abstraction licence as the impact on the water catchment of a major river in the National Park could be detrimentally affected.

Surprisingly, despite this, the landowners (The National Trust) continued to support the proposal, being the only major conservation body to do so as, in their own words, “the development would be less intrusive with their support than if they were not involved”; a comment that caused raised eyebrows with other conservation bodies.

Elsewhere, the National Trust (NT) has suggested that they have been looking at a number of rivers and streams in Snowdonia with a view to constructing hydro-schemes on them, including a number in the Ogwen Valley that could have significant impact on the upland landscape there.

Among the rivers and streams being looked at are those that flow from the valley directly below Tryfan (Nant Cwm Tryfan) and the adjacent valley of Nant yr Ogof, as well as the stream that flows from below Y Garn (Afon Cywion) and which is highly visible from the A5 and adjacent hills. However, they also state that they do not intend to pursue a similar scheme on the river that flows from Ffynon Lloer (directly opposite the north ridge of Tryfan) on the Carneddau mountains. The NT have, however, stated that they will consult fully with all groups before submitting their proposals here, probably in early April.

In the meantime, they have stated that they intend to start construction work on Afon Llagi on the slopes north of Cnicht, the so-called “Welsh Matterhorn” mountain in early April this year, which has attracted a considerable amount of local opposition as the information day for this was only held in early February. 


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Anonymous User
14/02/2017
You know you simply cant object to all and sundry. Once are in then given a year you wouldn't know they were there!!!

This is also not the BMC's bag!!!
Anonymous User
14/02/2017
All hill walkers, ramblers, climbers and all users of the hills should look very carefully at the large number of small valley hydro schemes that are going in all over Britain, not just Snowdonia but especially in Scotland. They are leaving permanent scars by the way of access roads in large numbers of remote and beautiful valleys. Whilst supporting green energy, the environmental damage of small hydro schemes is just not worth it. We have such a relatively small amount of 'wilderness' left in Britain - we must safeguard it. Draw a line in the heather now - no more hydro. Tony Walentowicz
Anonymous User
08/03/2017
Yes, that's good, let's poo poo the innovative renewable energy schemes in Great Britain...
Anonymous User
13/03/2017
The BMC should be working to protect the natural environment, mitigation climate change and global warming should be a top priority. Small hydro projects play an important role in reducing our dependence on damaging fossil fuels with minimal impact on the environment. In 12 months time the effects will hardly be visible.

The BMC should not be getting involved with this! My family will cancelling membership.
Anonymous User
11/09/2018
Simply not true to say you wouldn't know they were there after a year. Quite apart from the awful mess of construction, the pipes are huge and mostly can't be buried or disguised in any way, and the turbine buildings are large, intrusive, and in many cases, are the only buildings in a landscape. The noise and vibration from the machinery is nauseating. Huge environmental destruction going on currently, sanctioned by the NT of all people, in the name of Green Energy. What is truly Green about the irrevocable destruction of pristine natural crag and ravine, and the removal (in some cases) of fine waterfalls? Don't tell me not to object! I object vehemently to industrial installations in green sites, particularly those flagged up as of special scientific, touristic, or other natural interest.
Anonymous User
01/02/2019
Absolutely this is the BMC's "bag".
To protect the mountain environment from the depredations of whatever industrial interest be it energy, agriculture, or even tourism and the outdoor industry must rank high in its priorities.
It would seem by the hydro-scarred glens and windfarmed-ravaged Highland moors that other national bodies have mounted ineffective resistance elsewhere.
It seems a spurious argument to present a defence of these schemes as environmentally beneficial.
David Turner, Castleford.

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