Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Campaign to save the Afon Conwy: German company targets SSSI.





Photo: Save the River Conwy.

German Energy Giants RWE-recently voted the UK’s worst energy supplier by customers in a Which survey-are targeting the beautiful Afon Conwy for their latest profit driven wheeze to extract ‘Green’ subsidies from the state. Not content with constructing ecologically degrading giant wind farms across the UK, with the nearby  vast upland forest of Clocaenog in its plans-See All This Useless Beauty-the company want to build a hydro electric scheme on the Afon Conwy near Betws y Coed, an SSI which would affect river down flow by up to 75%. A project which has incensed both environmentalists and paddlers for whom this stretch of the Conwy is one of the most popular kayaking sections in north Wales.

A campaign ‘Save the River Conwy’ has alerted the general public to a scheme which would involve dam construction and extensive pipe laying  within the confines of the gorge. According to a statement from the German company 

“The £12million development would potentially have an installed capacity of up to 4.5 megawatts (MW), and could be capable of generating up to 13,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity each year – enough to supply the average annual domestic requirements of around 2,700 households”

Given how companies like RWE exaggerate the output of their wind farms by up to 70%, then even if you take their figure at face value, 2,700 households is a pathetic output given the ecological degradation and impact on recreational amenity.

In another example of RWE’s Orwellian doublespeak the company offers..

“We propose a modest-sized run-of-river scheme (no dam would be required),”

In fact, what they propose is the construction of a 70 metre long, 1.5 metre high weir...or low head dam, in addition to the construction of footpaths through the SSI. With industrial schemes like this and the gradual encroachment of wind farms, the Snowdonia National Park appears ever more vulnerable to the rapacious plans of multi national energy companies like RWE who use meaningless terms like 'Green' and 'renewable' to make their profit driven projects appear attractive to our more bovine political representatives,planning officers and the general public. You can object to this scheme by following the links on the STRC website.

Full details can be found on the ‘Save the River Conwy’ website.

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