RWE has claimed repeatedly on its website, in the press and even in its planning application that the proposed hydro scheme will bring “recreational enhancements” to the area. However on closer examination these appear to be limited to 2 things.
1. Footpath extension connecting the existing bridle way to Conwy Falls to prevent walkers having to walk along the A5.
An independent landscape consultant commissioned by the National Park has found that RWE have not included this in the final scheme design as they do not own or control the land in question and have no means to carry this out.
· The design guidance includes reference to a number of proposals which do not appear to have been carried through to the design as primary or ‘embedded mitigation’. These include:
Keep fencing to a minimum (metal railings proposed at the intake and tail outfall structure);
Restore marshland (no proposals identified);
Create a new viewing platform at Fairy Glen;
Extend footpath link from Fairy Glen to Conwy Falls avoiding the A5 (not possible due to land ownership).
RWE have been told by the Planning Officer that this footpath enhancement must be removed from the application. It is interesting to note that it still features on the RWE website
2. Provide a safe exit point for kayakers using the Middle Conwy.
This has been shown to be completely untrue. Two reports from separate water safety experts point to the increased risk the low head dam will cause to recreational river users, especially at the high flows that kayakers use the river. Canoe Wales has highlighted this to RWE and officially objected to the application on safety grounds to both the National Park and NRW. Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue have also objected on the grounds of increased risk to river users and the danger that will be presented to their members when attending rescues at this location. Despite this RWE continue to claim this as a scheme benefit.
RWEs recreational enhancements have been shown to be nothing but empty promises. How many more of their claims will turn out to be the same?