Llyn Tegid: Bala flood alleviation works approved by park planners
Gareth Williams, local democracy reporter
Natural Resources Wales has welcomed a decision by national park planners to approve its bid for major flood alleviation works at Llyn Tegid.
On Wednesday members of the Snowdonia National Park Authority were presented with an application to protect Bala from potential flooding after it was found that trees had weakened embankments on the lake’s northern end.
But after planning committee members – following the advice of officers – approved the plans, it means that the major works can go ahead, which include removal of most of the 290 trees found to have grown through or on top of the current embankments, with their roots resulting in their weakening.
While it was said there were effective flood defences already in place, the deterioration of these embankments had resulted in the lakeside becoming more vulnerable to damage from flooding and strong winds.
While many of the trees to be removed are known to be infected with Ash dieback, NRW says that efforts will be made to retain those of “particularly high landscape and amenity value”.
The proposed work also includes upgrading the existing rock armour on the front (or wet) side of the lake, with mitigation measures to include planting approximately 900 new trees and 350m of hedgerow elsewhere as well as carrying out enhancements to the Snowdonia National Park Authority’s foreshore car park and to the rear of Penllyn Leisure Centre.
It is also outlined to upgrade some of the existing footpaths that will be affected by the works and improvements to seating areas and new interpretation boards.
“The lake’s embankments give vital protection from flooding to the town of Bala and we have a responsibility to make sure the town remains safe,” said Sian Williams, head of North West Wales Operations for Natural Resources Wales (NRW).
“We’ve been discussing with people locally over the last two years to explore ideas for mitigation and wider community opportunities.
“These will be developed alongside the lake safety works, including improving paths and creating new wildlife habitats.”
“The removal of trees is unavoidable so that we can strengthen the embankments. But we are fully committed to retaining as many mature trees as possible and will be planting three times more trees locally than we have to remove.”
Following approval of the planning application Sara Thomas, a planning officer at the Snowdonia National Park Authority, said: “As an authority we’re pleased to support this essential scheme that will ultimately protect the town of Y Bala and further areas along the course of River Dee from flooding.
“It is regrettable that the scheme involves the loss of trees that have established along the embankment, but we are confident that the mitigation measures which includes planting three trees for every one lost will, eventually, enhance the natural environment and create a new habitat for local wildlife.”
It’s expected that work would start this summer and take around two years to complete.