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‘ACIDIFYING’ FORESTRY PROPOSALS SCRAPPED

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Article written by 29 November 2012

Salmon & Trout Association and Carmarthenshire Rivers Trust express relief as threat of acidification of Tywi headwaters recedes

The Salmon & Trout Association (S&TA) and the Carmarthenshire Rivers Trust (CRT) are delighted with the withdrawal of the Bryn Brawd forestry proposals. These threatened the headwaters of the Tywi with further acidification because of the proposed coniferous plantation scheme put forward to the Forestry Commission Wales.

Gethyn Thomas, chairman of the CRT, said: “This means that the work wehave been doing to put right the historic acidification of the Tywi headwaters will not now be wasted. We sincerely hope that the new single environmentalbody for Wales – Natural Resources Wales – will ensure that this sort of damaging forestry project never makes it past first base in the future”.

The CRT has for years worked with the Environment Agency Wales in this highly acid sensitive location and has received European, Welsh Government and Carmarthenshire County Council funding to carry out liming, buffer strip fencing and other work to restore headwater streams and to benefit the designated species of the Special Area for Conservation downstream.

Environmental solicitor Guy Linley-Adams was engaged to act for the S&TA and the CRT in the relation to the proposals. Serious questions were raised by the S&TA and CRT about the proper conduct of environmental impact assessment work, the likely impact on the headwaters of the Tywi and the species of fish and invertebrates living there. Also the forestry project could have caused a breach of the European Water Framework Directive and damaged the Special Area of Conservation on the River Tywi in breach of the Habitats Directive.

Paul Knight, CEO of the S&TA, said, “We are delighted that the Bryn Brawd application has been withdrawn and that it appears that the threat offurther acidification of the headwaters of the River Tywi has been averted.

“We will be closely watching how Natural Resources Wales handles othersimilarly damaging forestry proposals that will undoubtedly come forward infuture which will be seen a test of the new single environmental body for Wales. It is extremely important going forward that the threat of acidification and, indeed, any other potential environmental stressor, is taken more seriouslyfrom the outset of any development application.  That will be the true test of the new organisation’s commitment to protecting Welsh rivers, lakes and water-dependent species. “

 

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