Monday, 20 October 2008

Concerns over Marine Life in Burry Estuary

Serious concerns have been expressed about water quality in the Carmarthen Bay area by a number of Plaid councillors in Carmarthenshire. Cllr Siân Caiach said, “There has been a lot of public mention of the effect on the cockle beds, but what has become clear is that there is a range of other marine life in the estuary which is also suffering adverse effects. Sand eels, lugworms and wading birds such as oystercatchers which feed on sand-dwelling animals are also suffering, in addition to there having been large scale mortality amongst the cockles.

“A range of specific pollutants has been identified which are causing the problems, but it is quite clear now that the fundamental problem is with discharges of raw or even treated sewage. The sewage system in the area is wholly inadequate to deal with our needs and must be upgraded as a matter of urgency.”

Cllr Winston Lemon, who has also been actively progressing the issue, added, “When I attended a recent meeting of the Llanelli Flood Forum, I was astounded to hear that we don’t even know precisely where the sewerage and land drains are running, or where they are convergent. Without this information, it is hard to see how any really meaningful action can be taken to address the problem.”

Both councillors expressed concerns about the way development was continuing without addressing the issue. Cllr Caiach said, “We have a really serious problem here which seems not to be being properly addressed. Yet, while we know we have a problem, and we know it isn’t being corrected, we are continuing to allow new developments, not just in Carmarthenshire, but also in Swansea, all of which are going to make the problem worse.”

The councillors have been working closely with local AM Helen Mary Jones, who has urged the Environment Minister in the One Wales government to arrange for an investigation by an independent body.

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