Thursday, 9 November 2017

"10 years of dereliction - The Grillo Site in Burry Port - Offshore Company allows pollution to continue.

The site of a chemical factory with gross land contamination is not the best construction site for homes and retail. Was the sale and planning permission just a ruse to let  Carmarthenshire County Council and NRW off the hook as toxic chemicals are likely leaching  into the Burry Inlet , the supposedly protected NATURA site and  shellfish fishery. The new owners , Castletown Estates are apparently listed offshore and have accepted responsibility for the clean up, But the company, registered in the Isle of Mann, shows no sign of actually getting on with the decontamination . A derelict site known to have chemical contamination is not what the residents of Burry Port want. Despite being informed by Llanelli Flood Forum members that indicative tests of the water leaching out of the site into the Habour shows several heavy metals, CCC have declined to test the water formally.                         

Robin Burn describes the sad saga of neglect.


Grillo Site
Burry Port Harbour

It is now 10 years since the former Grillo Zinc oxide production factory adjacent to Burry Port harbour was sold and demolished in 2007 and the site has lain dormant since then and debris remains on the site.

The site adjacent to Burry port Harbour has in its time been various metalworking establishments finally up until its demolition a site for Zinc Oxide manufacturing. 

The site is contaminated with a cocktail of toxic metal, organic and inorganic compounds all with risk to public health.
Carmarthenshire County Council were aware, that, by allowing planning for housing development on that site, would probably trigger a call in by the Welsh Government/Environment Agency.
 
In a Planning Committee on January 18 th 2011, the planning committee were advised by senior officers of Carmarthenshire County Council “ that, as the Committee was minded to approve planning application S/18723, subject to the conditions detailed within the Report/Addendum of the Head of Planning and/or reported at the meeting, the Head of Planning be granted plenary powers to deal with any outstanding matters once the Article 14 Notice is withdrawn, or the application is called-in for determination, inclusive of the Appropriate Assessment being signed off by CCW within a reasonable time period from forwarding the same, in accordance with the provisions of Regulation 43(1) of the Conservation of Habitats & Species Regulations 2010 and inclusive also of a Section 106 Agreement”

In other words Carmarthenshire County Council accepted the fact that this development was on a Classified C2 floodplain., which should not , due to the risk of flooding, have any development except vital utilities eg sewage pumps.

In correspondence from the Environment Agency Wales, responsibility for monitoring the site and its associated ground water, is the developer.  Camarthenshire County Council has been made aware of actions to be taken including post remedial monitoring of groundwater.  The Environment Agency understands that ground water beneath the site is in continuity with open water within Burry Port Harbour.
The Environment Agency Wales will continue to act as an advisor to the Local Authority for matters that could impact on ground or surface waters when requested.

In respect of the future development of the site, the site is proposed for residential purposes and some community asset, given the present economic restrictions and uncertain waste disposal system quality, should a change of use of the site be considered to one of emphasis on social and cultural asset?

The Llanelli Star has published articles based on the views of a number of elected Councillors of Pembrey and Burry Port Town Council.
These views, in favour of developing the Harbour Area to the proposed planning applications and that failure to do so would be detrimental to the future prosperity of Burry Port. The views vociferously expounded  appear to be based on the principle that the proposed development area has never flooded and that the flood maps have now been changed to show, that the development areas are not on a flood plain.

Unfortunately this view, only supports a part of the facts surrounding the flood risks for these sites, and does not support the real facts as expounded by both Natural Resources Wales and Watermans .
Both organizations have submitted their assessments of flood risk to Carmarthenshire County Council and can be accessed from the County’s Planning Applications sites.

Firstly Natural Resources Wales, in their document, whilst they advise, that their Flood Map Information, updated shows the site to be flood free, they acknowledge, that Site 6 lies partially within the current C2 Zone as defined by the Development Advice Maps (DAM) referred to under Technical Advice Note (TAN)15 Development and Flood Risk (July 2004).
They qualify this statement by advising that their information does not take into consideration climate change allowances or blockages at structures through which flood water passes.

They go on to say” In accordance with TAN 15 the proposed development of up to 134 residential properties would be considered as highly vulnerable and should not be permitted within zone C2.  However, if your authority are minded to consider the application it should be shown through the submission of an appropriate flood consequences assessment (FCA) that the consequences of flooding can be acceptably be managed over the lifetime of the development.

The NRW document makes reference to a Flood Consequences Assessment “Redevelopment of Burry Port-Sites 5&6 Flood Consequences Assessment Final. July 2014 Referenced 16025/FCA02A prepared by Waterman Transport and Development Ltd”
 and submitted to the Authority forming part of the Planning Application documentation.

The document discusses Tidal Flood Risk and comments that the principle risk of flooding at the site is potential tidal flooding in the future. The principle cause is the effect of Climate Change in terms of tidal flood risk.

TAN 15 states that provision must be made for future changes in flood risk, specifically as a result of Climate Change. In this case flood risk must be considered over the anticipated lifetime  of each development.
 It is proposed to develop sites 5&6 for residential use; therefore a lifetime of development of 100 years has been assumed giving an assessment year of 2114, and as the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)  has produced guidance regarding sea level rises for 2114, sea level rise is 14.5 mm/year. 

The FCA concludes that the site remains dry in the majority of the scenarios modelled, however the site is at risk of flooding during a 0.1% plus climate change annual probability tidal event and an extreme 0.5% annual probability tidal event plus climate change and with tidal levels at the upper extent of the confidence interval. The FCA therefore proposes mitigation in the form of raising ground elevations to 7.1 meters AOD to address flood risk. We accept that the proposed mitigation works effectively to create a plateau that remains flood free for all scenarios considered within the FCA.
The proposed mitigation increases flood risk on the B4311 to the west of the site and significant flood risk on the adjacent former Grillo site requiring mitigation by a similar raising of  ground elevations to 7.1m AOD 


To counteract the lack of suitable waste management facilities by Welsh Water, it should be made incumbent on the developer to incorporate all the current waste disposable systems that are environmentally sustainable and friendly into the plans for the build.

Site remediation continues to be priority, as no attempt has been made since demolition to clean up the site. This is now becoming a critical issue.
Remediation costs will be extensive, perhaps under current economic conditions beyond the means of any developer. The solution in this case is European funding backed by Welsh Government.


This solution would clear the ground for Community assets for cultural community and recreation to meet conditions of a Local Development Plan as well as creating employment opportunities for the local community. The site stands on a designated flood plain, the development called in by the Environment Agency on behalf of the Welsh  Government to restrict the building of houses. 
A buy back from the developer and clean up funded by Public Finance is a logical solution to a problem considered to be an ongoing one.

Robin Burn I Eng FIMMM


 Also see :https://westwalesnewsreview.wordpress.com/tag/grillo-site  (for further details )          

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