Hydro scheme licence granted

A company has been granted a licence to abstract lake water for a proposed new hydropower scheme in North Wales.

The permit allows Snowdonia Pumped Hydro Ltd to abstract water from Llyn Padarn, Llanberis, to a reservoir at nearby Glyn Rhonwy.

It contains conditions to protect the local environment. These include daily limits on the amount of water that can be abstracted, a block on abstracting water if levels in the River Seiont – an important fishing river – become low, and erecting underwater screens to prevent fish getting in to the system.

We carried out an in-depth assessment into the company’s proposals to find out if the water could be taken from Llyn Padarn with minimal impact on the environment – including that for the rare Arctic Charr which lives in the lake.

As part of the assessment NRW asked the local community and key organisations to provide comments and relevant information.

Sian Williams, Head of Operations North for Natural Resources Wales, said: “Llyn Padarn is an important natural asset for the area and we conducted a thorough assessment of the company’s proposals to abstract the water before concluding that they wouldn’t cause environmental damage.

“We only issue an environmental permit if we are satisfied that the detailed plans make it clear that it can operate safely, without harming the environment or local communities.”

The scheme will now need further consents from NRW as well as a Development Consent Order from the Planning Inspectorate before it can go-ahead.

Sian Williams added: “This decision is in relation to the abstraction licence only.

“Many of the matters that were raised by people during the consultation could not be considered as part of that process as they were beyond the remit of what we can take into account.

“However, there will be an opportunity for these matters to be considered if and when the company makes an application to the Planning Inspectorate.”

A full copy of the decision document will shortly be available on our website.

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