Application number: PAN-000275
NRW Area: South East
Date of Application: 5th January 2016
Applicant details: Rosie Humphries
Summary of the proposal:
The applicant has applied to install and operate a new hydropower scheme using existing infrastructure at Llwyn-Du, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire. A very small proportion of the water will also be used for domestic supply.
A 175mm steel pipe collects water from thirteen springs outside of the property and runs parallel to a capped borehole on the property. This then discharges into a balancing chamber. From the balancing chamber, there are two outlet pipes, one flows to Llwyn-du reservoir and the other to the Afon Cibi watercourse. There is no impoundment associated with the abstraction. The abstracted water will be piped to the property to the balancing chamber without the need for an impoundment.
Source of Supply:
Inland water (springs), Llwyn-Du, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire.
Point of abstraction and quantities:
Point of abstraction – National Grid Reference SO 28448 17921
Quantities for hydropower – 2,592 cubic metres per day
570,240 cubic metres per year
At a rate of 30 litres per second
Quantities for domestic use – 100 cubic metres per year
Purpose of abstraction:
Power production and domestic supply.
The applicant had submitted a previous application for a scheme at this location in 2015. It was withdrawn due to lack of evidence of a right of access at the abstraction point. Upon withdrawal, NRW stated that should a re-application be made in the future, the rights of access must be in place.
NRW received the re-application for an abstraction licence on the 5th January 2016. The rights of access documents were not submitted with the application so initially it was not validated. Following discussions between the applicant and NRW it was agreed that NRW would validate the the application providing the applicant could supply the rights of access documentation two weeks before the determination date.
The signed rights of access had not been received by the 23rd June 2016 or by the determination date of the 7th July 2016 therefore an extension was requested to allow time for a decision to be made by NRW. The applicant was advised that a final decision would be made on the 5th August 2016 and that NRW would not be extending beyond this date.
Whilst NRW accepted that discussions between the landowner, owner of the pipe work and the applicant were on-going, the licence application was refused due to lack of evidence that a right of access is in place.
Justification of quantities:
The volumes applied for are as follows:
For the HEP scheme:
For the domestic supply:
It is not known if the turbine design flow is consistent with Qmean, or what a suitable Hands off Flow would be, at this location as the abstraction proposed is from a pipeline. This would have to be considered as part of any future application that may be made and will be dependent on what NRW consider to be the abstraction point. ie the pipeline or the point water enters the pipeline.
The Afon Cibi itself does not have an Assessment Point (AP); the nearest downstream AP is AP7 Usk at Trostrey Weir Gauging Station. The River Usk catchment Resource Availability Status (RAS) is driven by the lowest main river AP at the bottom of the catchment. The RAS is ‘Restricted Water Available for Abstraction’.
Impact assessment of proposal:
The impact of the abstraction was not assessed. The impact assessment was not carried out at as the applicant needed to provide evidence to NRW that the rights of access was in place before NRW would consider the technical determination of the application. This would have to be considered as part of any future application that may be made.
Consultation with Brecon Beacons National Park was not necessary as no concerns were raised during the first application.
No protected rights or lawful users have been identified as being at risk of derogation as a result of this proposal. An abstraction licence has been identified approximately 200m from the proposed site. This abstraction licence is likely to be revoked and all rights handed over to the applicant in the future, there will be no impact.
Sugar Loaf Woodlands SAC and SSSI and the River Usk SSSI were identified. A habitats assessment was not carried out as the applicant needed to provide evidence to NRW that the rights of access was in place before NRW would consider the technical determination of the application. This would have to be considered as part of any future application that may be made.
The cost/benefit of the licence application was not assessed as the applicant needed to provide evidence to NRW that the rights of access was in place before NRW would consider the technical determination of the application. This would have to be considered as part of any future application that may be made.
Biodiversity and sustainable development:
No licence will be issued as a result of this application. However, there were no concerns regarding impacts on Biodiversity and sustainable development. This would have to be considered as part of any future application that may be made.
Conclusion and recommendation:
After carefully considering the application NRW have decided to refuse it. The application was considered in accordance with our guidance and Section 35 (2) of the Water Resources Act 1991 which states:
‘In relation to abstractions from any inland waters, a person shall be entitled to make the application if, at the place (or, if more than one, at each of the places) at which the proposed abstractions are to be effected, either –
(a) he is the occupier of land contiguous to the inland waters; or
(b) he satisfies the Authority that he has, or at the time when the proposed licence is to take effect will have, a right of access to such land.
Whilst correspondence provided during the application process has shown that negotiations are taking place. NRW are not satisfied that the applicant has a right of access to the abstraction point at this time and are therefore unable to issue an abstraction licence.
Should another application be made to NRW, evidence of a full right of access to the abstraction point will have to be submitted.