You may have noticed Save the Conwy has been a bit quiet for the last week or so. Some of it’s members have been away enjoying the amazing free flowing rivers and whitewater that Norway has to offer.
Whilst there we stumbled upon a new run of river hydro scheme being built in the beautiful Jordalselva valley. This scheme abstracts water above a short gorge section of river 2km long and will run it through a pipe around 6 feet in diameter. The parallels with the Fairy Glen scheme are clear; it uses roughly the same size pipe, is around the same length and passes through similar landscape.
Save the Conwy is casting no opinion on the environmental credentials of this scheme. We know little of the power to be produced or the habitat being affected. What is does show us though is the impact laying a pipeline of this size has on it’s immediate surroundings.
When the Snowdonia National Park planning officer describes to the planning committee fine tuning the course of the pipeline to avoid certain trees or easing it through gaps in historically significant walls he is either being stupendously naive or deliberately misleading. The SNPA planning officers need to visit real world examples of a similar sized projects to understand the damage they may unleash in the heart of the national park. They cannot simply rely on the developers reassurances or their past experience with, by comparison, the tiny schemes being built in the park currently.