A LONG campaign to secure rate relief for small hydro projects has reached a successful conclusion.

A new permanent small business rate relief scheme for Wales will be introduced in Wales from April 1. The scheme will help alleviate fears faced by many community hydro schemes, including Corwen energy scheme - Corwen Electricity Co-operative, who faced increases of up to 900 per cent in their rates.

Llyr Gruffydd, North Wales AM, said: "If we are building a green nation then community hydro projects such as Corwen will be a fundamental part of that.

"Community hydro schemes such as Corwen are precious community assets, and they deserve the government’s 100 per cent support.

"I visited the site as it was about to start producing energy and am delighted to learn this week that it’s on track to produce 130,000 KwH of energy in its first full year."

Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford announced last month that a permanent small business rate relief scheme will be introduced.

The scheme will limit the number of properties eligible for small business rate relief to two per business in each local authority, preventing larger businesses and national chains from benefitting from the scheme.

It will also provide targeted support for small hydropower projects, in line with the Budget agreement with Plaid Cymru.

Mr Gruffydd added: "The planned increase in business rates would have been devastating for schemes in my constituency and would kill off any future projects that the Corwen Energy Co-op has planned.

"Plaid Cymru believes that renewable energy projects should be community owned and should benefit local communities and I’m very glad that we’ve managed to persuade the Welsh Government to support these projects from the planned increase in their business rates so that we can protect this principle."