Glyn Rhonwy Pumped Storage

The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.

Glyn Rhonwy Pumped Storage

Received 15 January 2016
From Natural Resources Wales

Representation

Dear Sirs,

Glyn Rhonwy Pumped Storage Scheme
Relevant Representation from Natural Resources Wales (NRW)

Introduction

The purpose of the Natural Resources Body for Wales (NRW) is to ensure that the environment and natural resources of Wales are sustainably maintained, sustainably enhanced and sustainably used. Our functions are set out in the Natural Resources Body for Wales (Functions) Order 2012. Our advice and comments to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) are therefore provided in the context of this remit.

Our comments are made without prejudice to any further comments we may wish to make in relation to this application and examination whether in relation to the Environmental Statement (ES), provisions of the draft Development Consent Order (‘DCO’) and its Requirements, Statements of Common Ground (SoCG) or other evidence and documents provided by Snowdonia Pumped Hydro (‘the Applicant’), the Examining Body or other interested parties. The following paragraphs comprise our relevant representation as a Statutory Party under the Planning Act 2008 and Infrastructure Planning (Interested Parties) Regulations 2010 (as amended) and as an ‘interested party’ under s102(1) of the Planning Act 2008.

We have provided pre-application advice to the Applicant and their consultants periodically since 2011 as part of the previous planning application/permission process, and subsequently before submission of the DCO application. More recently the Planning Inspectorate sought our scoping advice before adopting its scoping opinion. Our scoping advice was sent to the Planning Inspectorate in our letter of the 4th of February 2015. Subsequently we have responded to a draft Environmental Statement consultation under Section 42 of the 2008 Act, our letter dated 12th March 2015.

We shall continue to provide advice to the Applicant with the aim of reaching positions of agreement and common ground, wherever possible, prior to and during the examination.

Our relevant representation is based solely on the information provided within the application documents. Any changes in our position will be reflected in our written representation and Statement of Common Ground (SoCG). These relevant representations contain a summary of what NRW consider to be issues for which our continued involvement is required in relation to the DCO application, and indicate the principal submissions that we currently wish to make. NRW will develop these points further as is appropriate during the examination process; however, we may have further or additional points to make, particularly if further information about the project is submitted or becomes available.

Environmental Permits

The requirement for an Environmental Permit is governed by distinct and separate legislation, namely the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010. Such applications are determined by NRW’s permitting function, which is distinct and separate to NRW’s advisory role by virtue of its interest in the Development Consent Order application. Notwithstanding this internal separation of function within NRW, we will endeavour to provide the Examination with an update as to progress of any permit applications, however it should be noted that we will not be in a position to comment in detail on the substance or merits of any particular application.

We understand that as of yet, NRW has not received any Environmental Permit applications for the required 6 discharges from the scheme. We strongly encourage the applicant to submit their Environmental Permit applications as soon as possible so that the permitting process can run concurrently with the DCO examination process. National Policy Statement (EN1) advises “Wherever possible, applicants are encouraged to submit applications for Environmental Permits and other necessary consents at the same time as applying to the IPC for development consent.” This will allow Natural Resources Wales to proceed with its assessments, and it will then be much more likely to be in a position to indicate whether it is likely to grant a permit before the DCO examination closes.”

Annexe C of the No Significant Effects Report includes an Operational Discharges Technical Note point 5, dated September 2015 argues that only 4 Environmental Permits would be required for the proposed development. We were consulted by the applicant on this note, and we dismissed the applicants’ justification for only 4 Environmental Permits, and confirmed to the applicants that 6 Environmental Permits would be required.

NRW had some concerns over the sampling regime and data contained within the Water Framework Directive Compliance Assessment report, Appendix 9.1 of the Environmental Statement. However, following further discussions with the applicant, these concerns have been alleviated.

An Environmental Permit for the initial filling of the development by abstraction from Llyn Padarn has already been granted, although the applicant have indicated to us that they may wish to vary that Permit (abstraction licence) to increase the rate of abstraction.

Contaminated Land

Within the application, and specifically the Environmental Statement, previous contaminative land uses have been considered, and a Land Discovery Strategy will be submitted as part of a DCO Requirement, which is consistent with our standard approach to deal with land contamination. Requirement 13 (c) requires the applicants to deal with and remediate any contamination that is identified.

Ecology

We are satisfied that the Environmental Statement has adequately assessed the ecological matters of the development.

We have considered the No Significant Effects report, document 5.03, within the application under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (as amended) and we agree with the conclusion that the proposal is not likely to have a significant effect on the Natura 2000 sites within pages 1 and 2 of the report. As long as the mitigation measures, specified within the Schedule of Mitigation the Environmental Statement Volume 2B, Chapter 18, and within the Code of Construction Practice (CoCP), and its associated Plans, are adhered to, we believe that the proposed development will not have a significant impact upon these sites. This is also the case for Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Llyn Padarn SSSI, being the most relevant site as this is where the main discharge from the scheme will flow in to.

The relevant European Protected Species licence for bats which covers the whole scheme has already been granted, dated 27th March 2015.

Flood Risk

Flood risk from the development has been demonstrated that it can be managed from the Flood Consequences Assessment submitted with the DCO application. The Flood Risk from the operation of the proposed development will be managed by the Excess Water Management Strategy, which will be developed as a DCO Requirement.

The discharge rate for pumping during the initial dewatering exercise will need to be specified within the final Code of Construction Practice that is consistent with the maximum discharge rate within any Environmental Permit.

Landscape

We agree with the updated assessment within Chapter 6.0 Landscape Effects 6.1.11 “due to more accurate mapping and modelling, the slate mounds are slightly bigger than those assessed in the 2012 assessment and as a result Figures 6.4a, 6.4b and 6.4l have been updated. The change, however, is not discernible and it is considered that the findings of the previous assessment remain unchanged”.

Development Consent Order

DCO Requirements will play an important role in securing appropriate environmental risk management measures and ensuring that the impacts of the development are minimised. Relevant provisions will need to be developed further and approved by NRW during the course of the examination.

Article 17 of the draft Development Consent Order entitled “Discharge of Water”, also needs to refer to requirement 20 “Excess Water Management Strategy”.

Due to a number of plans that are requirements within the DCO, these should be developed concurrently so that they are consistent in their timescales and approach.

Resolution of Matters Raised

Please contact Gareth Thomas ([email protected]) should you require further advice or information regarding this representation.

Yours’ sincerely,


Richard Ninnes
Head of Ecosystems, Planning and Partnerships, North and Mid Wales