Minister to monitor toxic quarry pollution
Nicholas Thomas, local democracy reporter
A Welsh Government minister will monitor efforts to prevent harmful chemicals leaking from an old quarry in Caerphilly County Borough.
That comes amid claims of “growing apprehension” among those who live near the site that winter rain could cause more pollutants to leach into the surrounding environment.
Government officials will meet with Caerphilly Council and environmental officers “ahead of the winter” to find out how leachate is being managed at the former Ty Llwyd Quarry, above Cwmfelinfach and Ynysddu.
Earlier this month, two local councillors sounded the alarm that prevention work to stop further material leaking into a nearby woodland had hit the buffers.
Jan Jones and Janine Reed fear the rainy winter months could lead to more leaks of chemicals disposed of at Ty Llwyd decades ago, including carcinogenic PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls).
They wrote to first minister Mark Drakeford in early October after being told by the council steps to monitor and address the issues at Ty Llwyd would “take time”.
In response, Welsh climate change minister Julie James told the Ynysddu representatives that Caerphilly Council and environment agency Natural Resources Wales (NRW) were “continuing to evaluate information obtained from site assessments, which were commissioned by the council”.
This work would “provide current information on site conditions and future remediation options,” the minister added.
“My officials will shortly be meeting with the council and NRW to obtain an update on the preliminary outputs of the draft remediation options appraisal, ahead of the winter season,” Ms James said in her letter. “I have asked to be kept up to date on this matter.”
But councillors Jones and Reed said their concerns remained, given they had sent the government a lengthy document outlining the situation at Ty Llwyd and their winter fears.
“This issue is of utmost importance to our community and its wellbeing, and we believe it requires urgent attention,” Cllr Reed told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).
“Cllr Jones and I have personally witnessed the growing apprehension among residents who are worried about the consequences of inaction.
“We have written back to the minister for climate change… to review our letter promptly and engage in a dialogue with our community to address the issue effectively.”
Cllr Reed said she and Cllr Jones “need their support and collaboration to ensure the protection of our residents and our environment”.
“The concerns of our constituents must not go unanswered, and together, we can work towards a sustainable and healthier future for our community,” she added.
A Caerphilly Council spokesman told the LDRS: “We welcome the minister’s interest in this matter and we look forward to continuing our work with her officials and NRW to help manage the legacy of this former quarry site.
“We will, of course, support this process and offer our full cooperation.”
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