Canoe Wales have advised British Canoeing of a temporary ban in place at Glasbury Bont on the River Wye, a location popular with recreational paddlers and commercial users.
The suspension of launching from the Bont has been imposed by Powys Council, who are in the process of renewing their permit with Natural Resources Wales (NRW). Since the River Wye is a SSSI, the permitting process requires a ‘Habitat Regulation’s Assessment’, which unfortunately could take months to resolve.
In a statement from the Council's Professional Lead for Countryside Access and Recreation, Sian Barnes said:
“It is important to understand that the advice [from NRW] has been provided under statute law, so carries very significant legal weight and we are obliged to give it due consideration. That said, it has been made clear by Natural Resources Wales that the advice document is a starting point for a more detailed conversation with them.
"We have been advised that before we can recommence any launching activity on the common, the Council must carry out a Habitat Regulations Assessment. This is not a step that we have been required to take previously to permit launching and it does place additional requirements on us. If you are not familiar with the Habitat Regulations Assessment process, this is a detailed ecological assessment to assess the potential impacts of canoe launching on the River Wye, as a Special Area of Conservation.
"Carrying out the assessment requires specialist ecological expertise, review of the scientific evidence base and consultation; as a result, this will unfortunately not be completed within a matter of weeks. The assessment will need to set out the actions that will be taken to prevent any potential damage to the protected features of the Special Area of Conservation.”
Canoe Wales and British Canoeing understand that this will be frustrating news to many paddlers and commercial providers who regularly use this location. Canoe Wales will continue to work closely with Powys Council and other stakeholders to resume launching as soon as is possible.
All paddling related enquiries relating to launching at Glasbury should be directed to Canoe Wales.