North West Wales

Snowdonia hydro power project hits permit delay

Glyn Rhonwy quarry

Developers hoping to build a £100m hydro power plant in a disused Gwynedd quarry have withdrawn an application for a key permit.

Snowdonia Pumped Hydro (SPH) need a licence to discharge water into a lake at Llanberis as part of the plans.

But Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said it had not been provided with enough information about the scheme.

SPH said plans for the power project are continuing, and it was "not concerned" by the permit development.

"As a developer we expect there to be bumps in the road on the way," said the head of SPH, Dave Holmes.

Plans for the 99.9MWe hydro plant at the former Glyn Rhonwy quarries in Llanberis are currently being considered by the UK Planning Inspectorate.

Under the proposals, water would be released from reservoirs above the quarries to generate electricity at peak times, and later pumped back up from quarry ponds.

As part of the plans, there are contingencies for water to be discharged into Llyn Padarn if necessary.

The project sparked controversy earlier this year when opponents voiced disputed claims that the site may have been contaminated by chemicals used in World War Two bombs stored nearby.

"Llyn Padarn is a vitally important natural asset for the area," said Dylan Williams, operations manager for NRW.

"We only issue an environmental permit if we are wholly satisfied that a company's plans prove it will operate safely, without harming the environment or local communities.

"However, the applicant has not provided us with enough information to be able to make that decision and has withdrawn its applications."

But developer SPH said it understood the key concern had been the fact a main contractor to construct the power plant had not yet been agreed.

"But we are not concerned by this development," said Mr Holmes.

"We will resubmit the permit application when we have appointed the principal constructor."

The company said it remained in discussions with NRW, and had already been issued with other environmental permits, including for water abstraction and for dealing with bats in the area.

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