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Word of warning to hydro-electric scheme operators

View of an intake weir

Hydro-electric scheme operators in Wales are being urged to comply with the condition of their licenses.

The call comes from Natural Resources Wales (NRW) following a recent court case, where a hydroelectric power scheme operator from Conwy was prosecuted for not complying with the conditions of his licence. 

The intake weir at Afon Nant Fach at Gydros, Cerrig y Drudion, had been modified so that, in dry conditions, almost all the river was diverted into the hydro-electric scheme, leaving only a trickle to go down the stream.

Mr Endaf Morris pleaded guilty to breaching the conditions of his licence. He received a conditional discharge of 12 months and was ordered to pay costs of £1963.

Licences for hydro-electric schemes are issued to make sure they operate in a sustainable way – with enough water remaining in the river to protect the environment and other water users. 

NRW routinely inspects hydro-electric schemes to check they are being operated legally and to give operators an opportunity to discuss their scheme.

Jenny Rees-Jones, NRW Environment Officer said: “Our job is to protect the environment.

We will always try to work with hydro scheme operators to make sure they comply with the conditions in their licence. But, when all else fails, we have to take legal action to protect the environment and local communities and create a level playing field for responsible operators.

“We hope this recent case sends out a message to everyone in the hydro electric industry, that we will not tolerate those who seek to profit by breaking the law, damaging the environment and affecting other users of the watercourse.”

To discuss your hydropower scheme with NRW, or to report a non-compliance, please call Natural Resources Wales on 0300 065 3000.

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