Hydro Electric Plant To Be Built in Llanberis Pass

by Jack Geldard - UKC Chief Editor Feb/2014
This news story has been read 8,346 times

Planning permission has been granted for a Hydro Electric scheme to be built in the heart of the Llanberis Pass, North Wales.

The scheme consists of a concrete weir connected via underground pipes to a power house, and is to be built in the Cwm Glas Bach climbing area, very close to the picturesque Climbers' Club hut of Cwm Glas Mawr.

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+The view from the belay of Superdirect on Dinas Mot, 242 kb
The view from the belay of Superdirect on Dinas Mot
UKC News, Feb 2014
© Jack Geldard

The scheme is small for a Hydro Electric station, and the construction of the power house looks sympathetically designed, however the scheme includes a concrete weir being built across a beautiful mountain stream, underground pipes being dug through the hillside and boulders being moved and then 'replaced' to allow the digging of the pipes. The power house is to be on the site of a ruined stone building on the track that leads to the Climbers' Club hut.


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Local climber Mark Reeves was out in the Llanberis Pass when he spotted some marker posts:

"When I headed up into Cwm Glas this week and saw a line of wooden posts hammered into the pristine mountain hillside, I had to ask myself what the hell are these marking out?"

+Marker posts in the Llanberis Pass, 120 kb
Marker posts in the Llanberis Pass
UKC News, Feb 2014
© Mark Reeves

After the tweeting of a photo to the BMC and Snowdonia National Park went unanswered, Mark was still in the dark about what development was underway until a friend sent him a link to the planning application.

Mark commented:

...I don’t know what to do. The decision seems to have been made, unless someone who understands planning in the national park wants to come up with a way to fight against this development of a hydro power station in the middle of Llanberis Pass? It will be running on what is essentially a small mountain stream and its effect on climate change is going to be a drop in the ocean."

Whilst this could be seen as a good opportunity for micro scale electricity generation, it could also be seen as a blot on the unique mountainscape of the Llanberis Pass.

With the planning application having already been given the green light, there is little option for appeal against this development. What seems most unusual about this situation is that the climbing and hillwalking community have not been better informed prior to the planning application being accepted.

Forums ( Read More... | 141 comments, 24 Feb 2014 )
Hi Ian Take your point however I think 'plant' covers the generator side of things which in this case will be a small building pretty much hidden from view behind the New dungeon ghyll hotel The dam/weir will be just...
MFB - 24 Feb 2014

Agree with someone else, the word 'plant' is a tad-misleading. Same as 'built' is implies much more of a built structure. Once the ground has recovered you'll barely notice this thing. TBH I can't see how these are...
IainRUK - 24 Feb 2014

The National Trust have planning permission to install a small hydro plant in Stickle Ghyll, should happen this year. techy stuff here http://www.ellergreen.com/hydro/portfolio-item/stickle-gill-langdale the planning...
MFB - 24 Feb 2014

I think you are missing the point. They aren't their to meet huge demand, just local demand, reducing the need for pylons. Its one drop but they just provide power locally. I know a few in Snowdonia, you don't they are...
IainRUK - 22 Feb 2014

The turbines etc. are very efficient. head loss in the penstock is around 5%. The biggest loss from potential energy available is not due to the technology but the environmental flow restrictions. These drop the...
David Barratt - 22 Feb 2014

Well short of going through the software data at work, check out this for facts rather than assertion. http://www.british-hydro.org/hydro_facts.html Key points to note, hydropower efficiency is around 90%, represents...
David Barratt - 22 Feb 2014

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