North West Wales

Conwy Falls hydro scheme refused over environment concerns

The Conwy river in Betws-y-Coed Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Conwy river in Betws-y-Coed

Controversial plans for a £12m energy scheme at a waterfall beauty spot in Snowdonia National Park have been refused.

RWE Innogy UK had applied for a permit to divert water from the River Conwy to supply a new hydroelectric scheme near Betws-y-Coed.

Campaigners had feared the scheme would reduce the waterfall to a "trickle".

Natural Resources Wales refused permission saying it could harm the local environment.

RWE Innogy UK had said its Conwy Falls hydro power station plans, in Conwy Valley, could provide more than 3,200 households with power.

The plans, which had faced opposition from environmentalists, anglers, canoeists and businesses, would have seen a new hydro power scheme built 400 metres (1,312ft) upstream from the falls.

But on Thursday, NRW turned down the application for a permit to build and operate the plant saying the company wanted to abstract too much water at times from the river.

Image copyright RWE Innogy UK
Image caption Earlier plans for the Conwy Falls hydroelectric scheme were refused

Sian Williams, head of operations north for NRW, said: "The Conwy is an important natural asset for the area and we've conducted a detailed assessment of the proposals before reaching this decision.

"We support sustainable developments in the right places.

"But the evidence we've scrutinised shows that the proposal submitted could harm the local environment. As such, we can't grant it a permit."

In March, Snowdonia National Park Authority's planning committee rejected the scheme.

RWE Innogy UK has been contacted for comment.

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