COUNCILLORS will be looking at plans to use the water flow of the River Claerwen near Rhayader, to generate electricity.

Powys County Council (PCC) has received plans by Ewan Campbell-Lendrum to build a hydro electric scheme using the water from from the Claerwen Reservoir as it passes from the Claerwen Dam to the Dolmynach Reservoir.

Mr Campbell-Lendrum wants to build a concrete weir across two sections of river.

From there an intake pipe will be buried underground running along the river to  a powerhouse.

Consultees, Llanwrthwl Community Council and Rhayader Town Council, both back the scheme.

They expect the area will receive a financial benefit and that farms or homesteads nearby will be able to access the electricity supply.

But, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has said that it has “significant concerns” about the project.

NRW wants more details of an area that allows fish to pass the intake weir.

NRW said: “The intake weir will be an additional man-made barrier to fish migration and so will need to be designed to be easily passable to fish moving both upstream and downstream.

“The fish section of the Environmental Section refers to a rocky ramp easement, but no details of this structure are shown on either the technical drawings or the photo montage.

“These drawings will need to be an accurate representation of the final design.”

NRW also wants to see a “fish rescue” take place before work starts and no works to take place in the river from October 15 to May 15, which is the main salmon spawning period.

At the planning meeting councillors will also be reminded of Welsh Government targets for renewable energy.

By 2030 it is expected that Wales will be in a position to generate 70 per cent of its electricity consumption from renewable energy sources.

Planning Policy Wales (PPW) stresses that the planning system has an “active role” in helping hit these targets.

This means that planning authorities are encouraged to make building renewable and low carbon energy development easier.

They are advised to “give significant weight to the Welsh Government’s targets to increase renewable and low carbon energy generation as part of the overall approach to tackling climate change and increasing energy security.”

Planning case officer, Holly Hobbs, said: “Having carefully considered the proposed development officers are satisfied that the proposal will positively contribute to the achievement of renewable energy targets whilst safeguarding the character and appearance of the landscape, historic and ecological designations.”

She recommends approval of the plans subject to eight conditions.