Dwr Cymru Cyfyngedig - Dwr Cymru Welsh Water Linea, Fortran Road, St. Mellons, Cardiff, Wales CF3 0LT

Author: Sarah Senior. Permitting Officer (Water Resources)
Application number: PAN-022237
Licence number: 22/62/01/0087
NRW Region: Mid

Date of Application: 02/06/2023

Applicant details: Dwr Cymru Cyfyngedig, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water Linea, Fortran Road, St. Mellons, Cardiff, Wales CF3 0LT

Summary of the proposal: The applicant holds a full abstraction licence number 22/62/01/0087, which allows abstraction for the purpose of public water supply at SN 79 66. The abstraction uses a fixed intake point via a gravity feed. The applicant has applied to vary this licence to add a second means of abstraction – a temporary pump. The reason for adding the second means is to allow abstraction to continue during severe drought conditions when the water level may fall below the existing intake.

Case history: The applicant applied to vary licence 22/62/01/0087 in March 2022; to add a second means of abstraction and upwardly vary the licenced quantity. This application was withdrawn in October 2022 as Natural Resources Wales (NRW) were unable to complete a Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) due to lack of a supporting ecological assessment.

The applicant reapplied to vary the licence in June 2023, this variation was to add a second means of abstraction.

Water Framework Directive status and water availability: NRW could not conclude that the variation would not cause the waterbody status of the source of the abstraction to deteriorate nor that it would not prevent the waterbody from meeting its objectives.

Impact assessment of proposal: Supporting information provided by the applicant indicated that using a pump to abstract would cause water levels in the source of supply to drop further than they can when using the fixed intake alone.

Installation of the temporary pump and associated pipework and use of the pump has the potential to disturb and/or entrap Section 7 species under the Environment (Wales) Act 2016 (otters and brown trout), but with appropriate conditions these risks could be mitigated.

However, the abstraction is sited in a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). During the determination the applicant was asked to provide supporting information to allow NRW to undertake a HRA considering the potential impact on the SAC and assessment of the potential impact on the SSSI. The applicant provided part of the information requested but was unable to provide the requested ecological survey within the agreed determination period. The HRA and SSSI assessment were therefore undertaken using the information available to NRW at the time of the determination. As a result, NRW concluded that an adverse impact on a SAC feature and damage to a SSSI feature could not be ruled out.

Statutory Consultation: No statutory consultation was required. Statutory notification to the Statutory Water Undertaker was not required as they are the applicant.

External Representations: In accordance with Water Resources Act 1991 (as amended by the Water Act 2003), the application was advertised in The Cambrian News on 16 August 2023 and on the NRW website. No representations were received regarding the application.

Protected Rights: No protected rights were identified as being at risk of derogation as a result of the variation. No lawful users were identified as being at risk of being impacted as a result of the variation.

Costs/ Benefits:

Options considered

Option 1: issue the licences as applied for.

Option 2: issue the licence with conditions.

Option 3: refuse application.

Preferred option

Option 3

Reason for choosing preferred option

We are unable to rule out adverse effects to a SAC/SSSI feature and/or deterioration of a WFD status/prevention of meeting the WFD objectives. Unacceptable risk to the environment as a result of the proposed variation to Licence 22/62/01/0087 makes refusal a reasonable and appropriate course of action.

As NRW cannot rule out that the variation would have no appreciable adverse effect on the ecology at the site of abstraction, refusal to licence the variation is considered a benefit to the environment.

Biodiversity and sustainable development: As the application is being refused there will not be any negative impacts to biodiversity or sustainable development.

Social and Economic welfare of rural communities: The local community will continue to have access to a public water supply and will also benefit from prevention of potential impact from the proposed second means of abstraction on a SAC/SSSI.

Sustainable Management of Natural Resources: We are satisfied that this decision is compatible with our general purpose of pursuing the sustainable management of natural resources in relation to Wales and applying the principles of sustainable management of natural resources.

Conclusion and recommendation: NRW’s recommendation is that the application to vary licence 22/62/01/0087 must be refused as we cannot rule out:

  • deterioration of the status of a WFD waterbody and/or prevention of the waterbody meeting its objectives;
  • an adverse effect on a SAC integrity; or
  • damage to a feature of a SSSI.

Contact the Permitting team responsible for this decision:

Email: permittingconsultations@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk

Or write to:

Water Resources Team Leader
Permitting Service
Natural Resources Wales
Welsh Government Offices
King Edward VII Avenue
CF10 3NQ

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