Sunday 27 January 2019

The Lake Water Vanishes

The Llanelli Wellness and Life Sciences Village-the dubious plan to build a "state of the art" business and research  area at Llanelli's Delta Lakes together with a replacement for a closed care home and a new Leisure Centre to replace the old one in town, are truly unravelling.

A rushed attempt to pass the planning application has been temporarily blocked while the grown  ups,  in this case the Welsh Government Ministers, advised by their own planning and environmental experts , look at the case.

Once passed a planning application cannot be challenged. If you are denied planning you can appeal yo the Welsh Government. Knowing this, on the 10th of January  Carmarthenshire County Council tried to pass the outline planning permission for the Llanelli Wellness and Neurosciences Project. They were well aware that Natural  Resources Wales had major concerns about the site and these could not be resolved. So, they went with the usual plan "plan  B" , go ahead and hope no-one notices.Once planning permission has been granted it cannot be taken away, and surely the scheme would have to go ahead?

The Dafen River Lake
 - according to CCC +reports claim it will be mysteriously be empty  for the purposes of calculating  flood risk.
Now the members of Carmarthenshire Planning Committee are seemingly selected for their gentle natures and eagerness to support the planning officers. Usually they are totally compliant. They were on this issue, every single member representing every political group who were present voting in favour of the scheme.

Carmarthenshire County Council employed a firm called Eden Vale Young to prove that the site was safe to build on. EVY seem to have cooked the results to prove that it is safe.

AS you can see the lake is rather large and is in fact a branch of the Dafen River deliberately diverted to fill the old dock site. NRW have pointed out that the figures are dubious as at the start of the modelling for river (fluvial) flooding, the lake is assumed to be empty. This allows 50 hours before the flood back flows into the upstream culverts and and empties over the sluice gate into the sea.

Unfortunately the sluice gate no longer is in position, and the tide flows in freely. This means that even if magically the lake was empty, all the proper factors were not considered. In times of heavy rainfall there is often stormy weather and tidal surges. EVY have decided not to add the effect of tidal surge to the model. They perhaps still assume the sluice gate works and would block the tide?

NRW state that a tidal surge could introduce more water than the capacity of the Lake i.e. cause tidal flooding.

EVY also are noted by NRW  to have underestimated the tidal variations. Due to the estuary "V" shape and shallow nature there is a "prism" effect which increases the height of both  normal tides and  tidal surges.

EVY have also underestimated the likely effect of sea level rise by quoting the figures in millimetres rather than centimetres, conveniently reducing the sea level flooding risk by 90%.

It is probably time to not build close to the sea. Every year the estimate of sea level rise increases and the measures to correct global warming are not yet slowing the global rise in temperature. Severe extreme weather events are increasing. Flood prevention will be expensive,

Carmarthenshire County council have not yet published the business case for Delta Lakes. The author of the business case has been suspended by the University of Swansea. The have used the permission to borrow from the "City Deal" to borrow £200 million and we council tax payers are already paying the interest on that loan.
We have no idea what and where the 2000 promised local jobs are to be generated or the cost of the extra flood prevention obviously needed.

This depends on the results of the findings of the Welsh Ministers on the planning issues, the Welsh Government on whether it will still give their own City Deal grant and if the UK City Deal organisation will reconsider the project after its investigation. The private firm involved has been wound up, Swansea University is investigating their staff involved in the project. New information may become available..We can only wait as the truth is revealed.

 Siân Caiach,

further news on the Swansea Accademics published by Wales on Line

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