Restoration plans for Glyn Rhonwy quarries in Gwynedd under fire

A scheme for pumped storage facilities aims to absorb surplus and off-peak electricity Photo: ITV Wales News

A national pressure group has joined forces with campaigners to oppose plans for a pump-storage power station in Llanberis. The Open Spaces Society says the proposed works at Glyn Rhonwy quarries will encroach on common land and be an eyesore in the popular Snowdonia area.

The group have put in an objection to Gwynedd council calling on them to ensure the developer, The Quarry Battery Co Ltd, is aware that works constructed on common land without the consent of the environment minister, in addition to any planning permission.

The society says that the development will have an adverse effect on the landscape, and on people's enjoyment of it as it is used extensively by walkers and climbers.

We are dismayed that there is no mention of common land in the principal documents accompanying the application. The applicants appear to have scant regard for the rights of the graziers, or of the public who has the right to walk on all common land.

– Kate Ashbrook, General Secretary for The Open Spaces Society

Gwynedd Council have said:

We can confirm that a planning application to develop land at Glyn Rhonwy, Llanberis has been submitted by the Quarry Battery Company Ltd. This application will be considered in accordance with the Council’s planning policies including consideration of all relevant consultation responses and representations received. Any physical development on common land will require seperate Crown Estate consent and it will be the applicant’s responsibility to seek this consent.

– A Gwynedd Council spokesperson

The Quarry Battery Co Ltd say their scheme for pumped storage facilities will absorb surplus and off-peak electricity created by renewables such as wind power and by conventional power stations. It will then release it back to the electricity grid when it is most needed.

They say the scheme will sensitively restore the site in a way that respects the calm and beauty of the area. Dams will be constructed from recycled slate tips at the site.

The company claim that once the station is operational they expect to employ between 20 and 30 local skilled workers.

Both the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and the Carbon Trust, recognise the potential of pumped storage to help the UK to keep the lights on as it reduces its dependence on fossil fuels and moves towards a low-carbon future that is better for us and better for the planet.

Dams will be constructed from recycled slate tips at the site. The pipe connecting the upper and lower reservoirs will be completely underground, leaving the hillside unblemished. All our discussions about connection to the electricity grid have presupposed underground cables, not pylons. We are currently in discussion with a number of local landowners about a suitable replacement for the small area of currently open access land that will be lost to the scheme.

These and other features of our proposal are driven by our native instinct as a green company, but they are also in sync with the views of local citizens as well as the hundreds of thousands who visit this beautiful area of North Wales each year.

– David Holmes, Quarry Battery Co. Ltd.