11.7.2 Development Management Guidance

opendate_range22 Dec, 2020, 9:00am - 12 Mar, 2021, 5:00pm
​​​​​​11.7.2 Development Management Guidance

In the assessment of proposals for hydroelectric schemes the Council will have regard to the provisions of the Guidelines on the Planning, Design, Construction and Operation of Small Scale Hydro-Electric Schemes and Fisheries[1], or any amending or replacement document.  In addition, it is recommended that anyone considering a hydro-electrical project should consult the following documents (or any updates thereto);

In addition to the effects on fisheries as covered by the Guidelines, possible impacts from hydro energy developments are outlined in the table below. 

Table 11.6: Summary of potential impacts from hydro-power scheme

Issue

Potential impact

Visual

Impact on character of landscape, scenic views (turbine houses, embankments, structures, access routes and power lines)

Ecology

Impact on habitats, fish populations and protected species such as otters and bats

Hydrology

Possibility of pollution, effect on water quality and regime, must show compliance with River Basin Management Plan

Noise

During construction and operation

Archaeology

There may be underwater archaeology present

Architectural heritage

Many weirs and mills are protected structures

Taken from Generating your own Energy, Hydropower, Welsh Assembly Government, 2011 Pages 5-7

An Environmental Impact Assessment may be required for some hydroelectric schemes in accordance with Schedule 5 Part 2(h) of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001.  An EIS may also be required for schemes not meeting this threshold, but where the Council considers that the potential environmental impact is such that an EIA is warranted. 

As can be seen from Figure 9.1, many of the county’s rivers are designated as SACs or SPAs (see Section 9.2 Natural Heritage).  As with all developments, for any location within or adjacent to a Natura 2000 site, an assessment under Article 6 of the Habitats Directive will be required (See section 1.3 Appropriate Assessment).  

As part of any planning application for a hydroelectric scheme, an Environmental Management Plan will be required to address all environmental issues arising during the construction and operation of the scheme. 

The following types of scheme are likely to be detrimental to the fisheries resource and may be rejected by the planning authority:

  • New low head schemes that may cause significant obstacles to fish movement.
  • In catchments / sub-catchments of importance such as a spring salmon fishery.
  • Placing structures / weirs at the outlet of lakes or creating new impoundments.
  • The transfer of water from one catchment to another.
  • River channel sections of high fisheries value where the impacts of the proposed hydro scheme development would be unacceptable from a fisheries perspective, i.e. in an area of important spawning or nursery area
  • Where there are existing competing uses of the water resource, such as water abstractions, dilution of licensed discharges etc
  •  Where there may be an impact on river continuity, fish migration, or fish mortality.

Development Management Requirements

 

[1] Central and Regional Fisheries Boards, & the Department of Communications, Marine & Natural Resources Guidelines on the Planning, Design, Construction and Operation of Small Scale Hydro-Electric Schemes and Fisheries, 2007

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