Cookies on our website

The Natural Resources Wales website uses cookies. By continuing to browse or by clicking “Continue,” you agree to the storing of first- and third-party cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. Cookie policy.

How to apply for your hydropower scheme

Find information about how to apply for a hydropower scheme

Important guidance update – please read

In response to declining salmon populations in Welsh rivers we are amending our guidance to increase the level of flow protection for salmon spawning grounds where they may be affected by a hydropower scheme proposal.

We already recognise our most important salmon spawning grounds which are located within existing designated sites and supporting habitat and fall within our Zone 1 for hydropower abstraction.  This places restrictions on abstraction for hydropower generation to protect sites of high nature conservation value.

We have extended the Zone 1 category to include salmon spawning grounds located outside existing designated sites and supporting habitat. This may affect some future hydropower scheme proposals that would previously have fallen into the Zone 2 (lowland rivers and streams) and Zone 3 (upland rivers and streams) categories.

Note that this change to our guidance will not affect existing abstraction licences. Please refer to our Hydropower Guidance Note 2 for Zone abstraction rates.

General information

If you are considering developing a hydropower scheme, and have preliminary details of your proposal we strongly recommend that you submit a pre-application enquiry prior to applying formally. Pre-application is free of charge and will help us to understand what you are proposing and support you in preparing your formal application.

You must complete pre-application forms WRA and WRB using the guidance note WRX and submit it to us.

Please note that you will need to submit a Stage 1 Geomorphology Photosurvey with your pre-application form. This is a non-technical document that will allow us to provide advice on the geomorphological siting and design requirements of your scheme early on in the application process. It also helps us to provide better advice, more quickly on other environmental aspects of your scheme.

Guidance on how to carry out a Stage 1 Photosurvey is given in Supporting Guidance Note 2: Geomorphology photosurveys for hydropower developments, located with the rest of our hydropower guidance in the ‘Before you apply’ section of our Hydropower web pages.

Formal application

To apply for a water resources licence for a hydropower scheme, please complete the forms detailed in guidance note WRX or as recommended following your pre-application enquiry.

At pre-application you may have been advised of the need for additional permits or licences for your hydropower scheme. Please follow the links below and complete the required form and where possible submit to us along with your other forms.

If you are applying for an upward variation to an existing licence you will need to submit the geomorphology photosurvey or assessment that was provided with your original application. If you do not have an existing geomorphology photosurvey or assessment you will need to complete a new photosurvey to accompany your application for variation. Please read our guidance note HGN 10 Geomorphology for details on how to do this.

Related document downloads

Form WRA Applicant details and proposal outline WORD [164.7 KB]
Form WRB Hydropower pre-application enquiry WORD [163.8 KB]
Form WRD Application for a new abstraction licence or a technical variation to an abstraction licence WORD [160.1 KB]
Form WRE Application for a new impoundment licence, technical variation to an impoundment licence or the removal of an existing impoundment WORD [146.3 KB]
Guidance note WRX Water Resources application forms PDF [327.6 KB]
Form FP 002 Application for fish pass approval WORD [311.0 KB]
Guidance note FP 003 Application for fish pass approval – guidance notes PDF [203.5 KB]

Is there anything wrong with this page? Give us your feedback.