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Opposition to hydro-power scheme grows

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Llyn Brianne: The iconic slipway

Llyn Brianne: The iconic slipway

A PROPOSED hydro-electric power plant (Infinis Hydro River Tywi) along the banks of the River Tywi at Ystradffin has drawn strong opposition from Carmarthenshire Anglers.

Mike Davies the secretary of Carmarthenshire Fishermen’s Federation told The Herald: “Planning has not been approved but the developers (Ellergreen Hyrdro Limited) have already held a consultation up in Rhandirmwyn about the scheme.”

The developers’ scheme involved building a weir about 3km below the dam to extract water. That water will be piped around the Dinas RSPB bird reserve and will enter the river again further down. Mike Davies explained: “They are bypassing a very important part of the river Tywi. It is a very important part of the Tywi called Craigiau Tywi where the river pours over rocks and boulders and oxygenates the water. That oxygenated water is important for other aquatic life and other wildlife.”

Mike explained the dangers the scheme represents: “The water that comes from the dam comes from its bottom and is not oxygenated. Any water from that plant would be harmful to the environment. If water is released from the top of the dam, oxygenation would not be a problem.

“The proposed pipe bypasses a junction pool. The fish rely on the Pysgotor and the Doethie and the must have the right pressure to progress up the river. Llyn Brianne Dam has blocked natural and historic spawning grounds upstream and the fish now rely heavily on the spawning grounds in the area where it is proposed to locate the plant. The environmental damage it causes will be far greater than any environmental benefits.”

Mike continued: “The dam itself already produces 4.5mw of electricity and any increase in electricity created by a further hydro-electric facility would produce relatively small increases in supply. The Tywi is one of the major trout and salmon rivers in Europe. It will be a disaster for Carmarthenshire if they interfere with the river for just a modest scheme.”

Concentrating on the threat to Carmarthenshire’s wish to re-invent itself as a tourism destination to rival those elsewhere in Wales, Mike told The Herald: “Lots of people come to Carmarthenshire to fish the river and stay in the hotels; they create work for people. It would be very short sighted if Carmarthenshire County Council allows this to go ahead.

“A scheme like this was submitted a few years ago and it was turned down. It seems like this is just the same thing, reheated to have another crack at the planners. The public won’t benefit from this. It will go into the pockets of the shareholders. If this happens here, there is nothing to stop it happening all along the Tywi. The river is struggling now. It is a gem the people of Carmarthenshire should be protecting. And that includes county councillors.”

Expressing frustration at Natural Resources Wales and their supine approach to the development, Mike Davies told us: “NRW are there to protect the environment and they should not allow this to go through. They have a fisheries department and they should be objecting to this.”

Towy Valley Farm, across which the river flows, is on the market for £2.65m. The vendor’s agents, Edward H Perkins, have included details of the hydro electro plant in their brochure.

Under a heading ‘Renewables – Hydroelectricity Scheme’, the brochure claims: ‘The vendors have made significant investigations and commitment to a 2 MW Hydro scheme. Water extracted from the River Towy at the head of the river just below the Brianne Dam.

‘Investigations in relation to water abstraction and ecology have been ongoing and discussed with Natural Resource Wales (NRW) since 2011. The proposed weir at the abstraction point sits on Towy Valley Farm land, the bed of the river and the western bank. Therefore there are 3 legal interests to secure to implement the scheme. The pipe and turbine house are proposed to be located on Towy Valley Farm only.

‘Application for the abstraction licence has been made (in the name of G L Jones – Vendor) and approved. (The confirmation on the final amount of water to be abstracted has not been confirmed due to NRW regime changes in relation to Hydro projects in Wales).

‘Estimated output is 2MW based on the amount of water requested in the abstraction licence. Grid Connection secured and paid for by HED developers. Planning application is understood to be prepared by HED developers and can be submitted following confirmation of legal documentation.

‘Lease Term – 40 years Current rental arrangement proposed Years 1 to 10 – the greater of £50,000 per year or 4% of gross revenue. Years 11 to 18 – the greater of £50,000 per year or 6% of gross revenue. Years 19 to 40 – the greater of £50,000 per year or 7% of gross revenue. Further information is available from the vendor’s agent.’

The terms of the lease suggest that the vendor is seeking to realise a MINIMUM of £2m over the term of a forty year lease as a minimum from any purchaser. The share of the gross revenue for the project for any purchaser appears to indicate that, despite the farm’s considerable livestock holding and acreage, the main product of the establishment is intended to be electricity supply to the National Grid.

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Public Services Board seeks views to improve local well-being

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CARMARTHENSHIRE’S Public Services Board (PSB) is seeking residents’ views to find out what matters to them and their local communities.

The PSB has developed its Well-being Objectives and draft actions to deliver them, based on feedback received on its Well-being Assessment. The results of a survey at that time gathered views and helped shape the PSB’s understanding of the economic, social, environmental, and cultural factors that impact the well-being of individuals and communities within Carmarthenshire.

Once again, residents are being asked to contribute to help public service partners develop Carmarthenshire’s Local Well-being Plan for 2023-28.

To help shape the future of well-being please visit: Current Consultations (gov.wales)

The survey closes on 25 January 2023.

Cllr Darren Price, Chair of the Carmarthenshire PSB and Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “To deliver what is important to our communities, we need to their feedback and input. This survey is an opportunity for our residents to tell us if we, as public services, are on the right track to help create a better future for our children’s generation, and the generations to follow, as we strive to reach this goal.” 

Andrew Cornish, Vice-Chair of the PSB andChief Executive Officer / Principal of Coleg Sir Gar and Coleg Ceredigion said: “Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our work so far. Our Well-being Assessment gives us a strong foundation on which to build our Well-being Plan and I would like to encourage everyone to take part in our involvement work for the preparation of the Plan.”

Carmarthenshire’s Public Services Board is a partnership of public and third sector organisations working together to improve well-being across the county and includes Carmarthenshire County Council, Hywel Dda University Health Board, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Natural Resources Wales and other organisations.

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Llanelli prepares for Sunday’s Remembrance Day parade

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LATER TODAY (Sunday, November 13) the town will honour those who have fallen in service over the decades.

A number of roads will be closed on the day, including Murray Street, Church Street and Vauxhall Road from its junction with the mini roundabout.

These will be shut for the parade between 8.30am and noon, however, pedestrian access for those wishing to reach individual properties in those streets will be maintained where possible throughout the duration of the closure.

Traffic will be diverted to Robinson Street, Arthur Street, Columbia Row, Anne Street, Bigyn Road, Stepney Place, Water Street, Thomas Street and Gelli Onn.

At 10am, police, organisations and others not marching in the parade will take up their respective positions in front of the cenotaph in the town hall grounds, while the civic party will assemble inside Llanelli Town Hall.

At 10.15am the parade leaves Drill Hall for the town hall with the mayor Cllr Philip Warlow proceeding to the Boer War Memorial where he will lay a wreath.

When the parade arrives at the town hall, the civic party will proceed to the cenotaph where the Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed Sara Edwards, will lay a wreath.

This will be followed by the chair of Carmarthenshire Council Cllr Rob Evans, laying a wreath on the Royal Welch War Memorial and then on the town’s cenotaph.

More wreaths will be laid by dignitaries and politicians and ex-servicemen and women A two-minute silence will then be observed at 11am.

Any service groups or individuals who wish to lay a wreath on Remembrance Sunday can contact Paul Wickers via email at llanlva2009@aol.com.

While community organisations are to contact Llanelli Town Council at enquiries@llanellitowncouncil.gov.uk.

Contact should be made by Monday, October 31 at the very latest to confirm arrangements as no additional wreaths will be able to be accommodated on the day.

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Llanelli choir launches fundraising naked calendar

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MEMBERS of a Llanelli female choir have bared all to raise money for the town’s Ty Bryngwyn Hospice.  

Côr Curiad has created a cheeky fundraising calendar for 2023 – the second one they have done.

With around 50 members, photos were taken across Llanelli with strategically placed items to spare their blushes – all in the name of a good cause.

Llanelli photographer Graham Harries was behind the lens for the project.

The choir’s musical director Alex Esney, who is Miss December in the calendar said: “Local businesses sponsored the calendar and so many of the photos were taken at their premises.

“So for example we went to LTC Mobility Ltd and had scooters carefully positioned in front of us, it was a lot of fun.

“I also want to thank Ffwrnes Theatre for opening up especially for me to go and have my photo taken with the piano there.”

Alex said the aim is to raise as much as possible for the hospice, adding: “We did a calendar a few years ago but we now have more members so we thought it was time to do it all again.

“The ladies decided to ‘bare all’ to raise money for the hospice which provides such great care and support for families in their time of need, including two of our own.

“I think we pulled out all the stops this year, getting their clothes off at local businesses in and around Llanelli.”

One of the calendar photos (Images: Graham Harries Photography)
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