Speaking in the wake of the most recent sewage spills and cockle mortality, Nia Griffith MP stressed the need for more to be done to reduce sewage spills, saying
“The latest cockle mortality is absolutely devastating for the cocklers, especially as, ten years on, we still do not know the exact cause of the cockle deaths, and we certainly need further investigation by Welsh Government and NRW on this, but what we do know is that Llanelli’s sewerage system is still struggling to cope with all the rain and waste water that is now going through it, so to stop homes flooding, sewage is allowed to spill into the estuary threatening marine life, polluting our beaches and breaking EU law.
I appreciate that NRW has made investment to reduce flooding from rivers such as the River Dulais in Pwll and the River Dafen, and Dwr Cymru Welsh Water is spending millions on the Rainscape scheme to take surface water out of the system, and we are grateful for this investment. But this work has being carried out to sort out existing surface water problems, and reduce sewage spillages: it was never designed to cope with the vast run off from the huge amount of new development in the area.
We have a very special landscape here – right round the coast from Pembrey in the West to Llangennech in the East – steep slopes, a narrow coastal plain and then the sea, with a strong tidal flow which surges up rivers and waterways on that coastal plain. You could visualise it like a top hat – steep sides, a narrow flat brim which is the coastal plain and then the sea. This means that there is extremely little room for manoeuvre.
Of course people are attracted to build on our coastal slopes by the spectacular views of the Gower, but whether it is Mountain Road in Pembrey, Bryn Gwdig in Burry Port, Genwen in Bynea or Talyclun in Llangennech, we need to take into account the increased flood risk to householders living in the communities below and the increase in sewage overflows into the estuary, as the only way to prevent it backing up into people’s homes.
No-one wants to see a halt to all development, but the County Council absolutely must insist and monitor all new developments to ensure that they not only keep all the surface water from their acres of new roofs and roadways out of the sewage system, but that they contribute to taking even more surface water out, and improving our sewage infrastructure. Otherwise all the work Welsh Water is doing will be in vain
I want to see people’s homes protected from flooding, a thriving cockle industry and clean beaches, and limiting and monitoring new development is one way to do this. I am following this up as a matter of urgency with the County Council. ”