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Outrage over Lake Vyrnwy ‘event tax’

Created on 22/04/2022 @ 08:00

Plans to slap a surcharge on events or activities involving over 30 participants or 20 cars at Lake Vyrnwy have been called the “wrong policy in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

The stunning location is popular with event organisers who often use the road surrounding the lake and crossing the dam.

But a councillor and an event organiser local to the beauty spot said that they were shocked to discover this week that water company Hafren Dyrfdwy, who own the site, have slapped a 15% surcharge.

The company said that it was to “ensure we can maintain the upkeep of our facilities” but it hasn’t gone down well locally.

Bryn Davies, Plaid Cymru Powys County Councillor for Llanwddyn, said: “This is the wrong policy in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“Hafren Dyfrydwy (HD) have simply copied and pasted the Events Policy used by their parent company, Severn Trent Water. None of their sites in England has a living community at its heart, as we have here in Llanwddyn, so we need a policy which is tailor-made to our local conditions.

“HD say that Lake Vyrnwy is a “very unique” site so we would expect a unique approach to events in the area. Lake Vyrnwy was the Tryweryn of the 1880s, the first community forcibly evicted in order to drown a valley for Liverpool’s growing need of water, so I am calling on HD to waive this charge for all activities organised by or for the residents of Llanwddyn and to postpone its introduction to 2023 at least for all other events.”

Elwyn Vaughan, Plaid Cymru Leader on Powys County Council, added: “When we’re struggling to bring people back to larger events in Powys this is definitely not the right time to slap a 15% premium on participants who are already suffering from the cost-of-living crisis.

“HD should be bending over backwards to encourage people back to Lake Vyrnwy not slapping on a disproportionate top-up fee. Pre-pandemic, thousands of people every year came to the area to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities – incidentally generating much-needed income in the shops, cafés and accommodation venues over a wide area - and this will do nothing to resurrect those events.”

David Thomas, Chair of the Lake Vyrnwy Races 2003-2019, added: “This is going to hit event organisers and participants hard. It’ll add about £3 to a walk or cycle ride, £4 to a running race and at least £6 for every car in an organised rally. Because the dam is private [STW] property HD have every right to charge for its use and maybe people will be happy to cough up but it’s a high price to pay for the privilege of crossing the dam – once.”

But last night A Hafren Dyrfdwy spokesperson defended the surcharge by saying: “At Hafren Dyrfdwy, we’re absolutely committed to the customers we serve, investing in the region and protecting the environment so that nature can thrive.

“Our new events policy ensures that we can work alongside event organisers to make things run as smoothly and as safely as possible on the day of the event and allow our teams on the ground to adapt to running the site in a different way.

“This policy will ensure we can maintain the upkeep of our facilities at visitor sites such as Lake Vyrnwy and Llyn Clywedog, whilst also supporting what’s needed to make these wonderful events happen, with minimum disruption caused.

“If anyone is interested in running events on site we encourage them to get in touch with us well in advance and we can work with them on a case by case basis.”


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