Save the Conwy campaign - action needed!

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Poke
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Save the Conwy campaign - action needed!

Post by Poke » Mon Jun 30, 2014 12:34 pm

RWE had an open day last week which was attended by members of the save the Conwy campaign.
There is a document containing some of Save the Conwy's responses to RWE's publicity.

During the open day they were distributing feedback forms to gather public opinion on the proposed project.

Please can you take the time to fill in one of the feedback forms expressing your views on the project.
http://savetheconwy.com/2014/06/22/time ... -involved/

Responses are required by 2nd July, so be quick!
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Re: Save the Conwy campaign - action needed!

Post by chriscw » Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:29 pm

This looks like a really good well thought out scheme, We should give it positive feedback obviously, but are there any minor changes needed to make it work better for us?
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Re: Save the Conwy campaign - action needed!

Post by Woods » Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:54 pm

Hello Chris,

I'm interested to hear what makes the RWE power plant look '"like a really good well thought out scheme"?

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Re: Save the Conwy campaign - action needed!

Post by chriscw » Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:03 pm

They are using an existing fall to provide the head (one which if memory serves is not run, forgive me if I have confused it with another). They are building a small weir only to divert the flow into a buried pipeline, blending in the actual turbine building quite well and returning the water to the river not too far downstream. they plan to use a maximum of 35% of the flow. As part of the weir design there will be an egress point for portaging (or inspecting) the fall.

The only issue I can see is if after portaging the falls 65% of the flow would not be enough to paddle the next half mile.

May I turn the question round and ask what the problem is and why the link posted points to a feedback site and none was posted to a site saying why we might wish to object?

Hydro schemes are not all bad.
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Re: Save the Conwy campaign - action needed!

Post by Poke » Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:52 pm

chriscw wrote:They are using an existing fall to provide the head (one which if memory serves is not run, forgive me if I have confused it with another). They are building a small weir only to divert the flow into a buried pipeline, blending in the actual turbine building quite well and returning the water to the river not too far downstream. they plan to use a maximum of 35% of the flow. As part of the weir design there will be an egress point for portaging (or inspecting) the fall.

The only issue I can see is if after portaging the falls 65% of the flow would not be enough to paddle the next half mile.
Although the Conwy scheme is planning to remove water using a weir above Penmachno bridge (not runnable), it is planning to divert it not just around this rapid, but also Conwy falls (infrequently run) and (worse) the entirety of the popular Fairy Glen section of the river. Going by some of the calculations, this will almost halve the number of days at which the Glen is running. Since it is often the only river of its grade in the country that is running, that means the number of days paddling whitewater in the area will be reduced by almost the same margin. There are also issues surrounding the impact digging in 2km of tunnels will have on the SSSI in which it is being built, aswell as the reduction in flow.
chriscw wrote:May I turn the question round and ask what the problem is and why the link posted points to a feedback site and none was posted to a site saying why we might wish to object?
Does this link help? It answers a few of your points.. i.e why the 35% figure is not entirely accurate. Also why the provision of a footpath isn't a positive for the scheme (it was likely to happen anyway).
Poke wrote:There is a document containing some of Save the Conwy's responses to RWE's publicity.
chriscw wrote:Hydro schemes are not all bad.
I completely agree that hydro schemes are not all bad. At the same time this came to the attention of paddlers, one was also proposed on the Mawdach. The Mawdach proposal is to use a historic leet to divert water around Rhaeadr Mawddach (a very infrequently run monster), putting it back in almost immediately below. No impact on kayaking (arguably a positive impact), very little environmental damage. Everyone’s a winner.

Now, there is already a substantial fish pass around Conwy falls which has been there ~20 years (http://www.conwyfalls.com/salmon-ladders/). If they were to install a smaller scheme using the same infrastructure, it would cost far less, not damage tourism (kayaking, fishing, photography of the Glen etc) and would cause far less damage to the environment than the current proposition.
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Re: Save the Conwy campaign - action needed!

Post by chriscw » Tue Jul 01, 2014 4:20 pm

Thanks that does indeed help.

So a feedback point would be the need to return the water much higher upstream, which might in turn scupper the whole thing.
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Re: Save the Conwy campaign - action needed!

Post by banzer » Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:51 pm

chriscw wrote: So a feedback point would be the need to return the water much higher upstream, which might in turn scupper the whole thing.
Not really... efficient hydro needs maximal vertical drop over minimal distance. The longer the distance, the more expensive and complex it is to build. Most of the vertical drop comes over a very short distance, i.e. Conwy Falls. Makes sense to me, to just use the falls section rather than the Glen, which has less gradient.
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Re: Save the Conwy campaign - action needed!

Post by neilfarmer » Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:44 am

banzer wrote:
chriscw wrote: So a feedback point would be the need to return the water much higher upstream, which might in turn scupper the whole thing.
Not really... efficient hydro needs maximal vertical drop over minimal distance. The longer the distance, the more expensive and complex it is to build. Most of the vertical drop comes over a very short distance, i.e. Conwy Falls. Makes sense to me, to just use the falls section rather than the Glen, which has less gradient.
Not what I was told by a hydro engineer (although I am not an expert, not even a novice in this field....- he said they were not worried by gradient, length, flow or anything else other than landowner consent). I would assume that it is all to do with kinetic/potential energy, ie what can drive the turbines best..... alongside the most convenient point to put the water back in. The Braan (same company I think) is a good example, the original plan was rejected (long tunnel going from the rumbling bridge falls to just above the hermitage (sure that was a political decision, below would have been better), replaced by a vertical shaft putting back in just below Rumbling bridge falls now), now accepted.

At the end of the day, all small scale hydro is about money, renewable credits and suchlike. It has very little to do with actual "green efforts", the two have become politically mixed..... Sad but reality.
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Re: Save the Conwy campaign - action needed!

Post by Dave Manby » Wed Jul 02, 2014 10:44 pm

The SSSI has been compromised by paddlers scraping the mosses and lichens off the rocks on their portages and inspections? I remember the portage around the big fall in the middle being ankle deep in moss on our near 1st descent!

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Re: Save the Conwy campaign - action needed!

Post by Dan Yates. » Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:08 am

Most kayakers only affect the gorge on the walk in path which is also used by fishermen. 95%+ of all runs down involve no portaging or inspection. If a group is new to the run any inspection would generally be done from rocks at river level and if fairy falls is portaged (which has to be pretty rare) the path on the left is also used by fishermen and sightseers walking down from the road. I honestly believe kayakers now have no / negligible impact on the sssi.

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Re: Save the Conwy campaign - action needed!

Post by banzer » Thu Jul 03, 2014 7:47 pm

Dan Yates. wrote: 95%+ of all runs down involve no portaging or inspection.
Off topic... I agree with this... it must be quite rare for an acknowledged grd 4+/5 run. Often there is no protection either. Fairy Falls must be the most-run grade 5 in the country. Does anyone ever get a right shoeing in it? (Apart from getting scraped against the rock far left?). Does anyone ever take the middle line?
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Re: Save the Conwy campaign - action needed!

Post by Dave Manby » Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:16 pm

Dan Yates. wrote:Most kayakers only affect the gorge on the walk in path which is also used by fishermen. 95%+ of all runs down involve no portaging or inspection. If a group is new to the run any inspection would generally be done from rocks at river level and if fairy falls is portaged (which has to be pretty rare) the path on the left is also used by fishermen and sightseers walking down from the road. I honestly believe kayakers now have no / negligible impact on the sssi.
The path to either carry to inspect "Fairy Falls" used to be 6" thick with moss and other stuff. I was part of the erosion of this as I was one f the first people to attempt this run. That was over 30 years ago. The Sierra Club idea that "we take only pictures and leave only footprints" was bettered by paddlers who didn't even leave footprints is not true.

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Re: Save the Conwy campaign - action needed!

Post by Joe L » Fri Jul 04, 2014 12:41 pm



Sometimes, but you have to try pretty hard.

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Re: Save the Conwy campaign - action needed!

Post by banzer » Fri Jul 04, 2014 4:39 pm

banzer wrote: Does anyone ever get a right shoeing in it? (Apart from getting scraped against the rock far left?). Does anyone ever take the middle line?
Oops I meant far right of course. Like the Toaster rapid on NZ's Wairoa which I had a bit of a scrape down once.
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