Cwm Glas-Site of the hydro-electric development
I am indebted to north Wales climber, Mark Reeves, for bringing to light a development within north Wales’ iconic Llanberis Pass; to wit, a hydo- electric scheme which will be constructed in the remote high cwm of Cwm Glas on the flanks of Yr Wyddfa. The application from local entrepreneur- Mr. Wyn Jones of Bryniog-Isa, Melin y Coed, Llanrwst, Conwy, LL26 0TR ; Agent listed as Greenearth Hydro Limited Company Contact Name: Mr. Liam Brown Address: Bronafon, Bridge Street, Llanfyllin, Powys, SY22 5AU- will see considerable environmental upheaval within the Pass during the period of development.
The scheme which has been waved through the planning process- will see the construction of an intake weir and a turbine house down in the Pass beneath the water outlet, and the laying of underground pipes and cables. A similar development has taken place on the other side of the mountain where The National Trust have built an even bigger hydro power plant above Nant Gwynant and right next to the popular Watkin Path.
There is concern within the north Wales climbing community that important boulders will be removed in the pipe and cable laying process? Although most people in the climbing community support small scale renewable energy projects, there are concerns that the planning committees are impotent in regard to the planning process and unable to refuse planning permission, as the developer simply appeals in the full knowledge that an unelected civil servant in Cardiff will wave it through. As is the case with wind farm developments.
Outdoor writer and British Mountaineering Council representative, Tom Hutton voiced his own concerns about the rash of proposed developments within and surrounding the National park recently in his article Hydro power: coming to a mountain near you
There is no right of appeal and the Cwm Glas project will go ahead. Just how many more hydro projects are in the planning pipeline-no pun intended-it would be interesting to know?