Welsh Secretary says another Tryweryn ‘would not be possible’ in Wales
The Welsh Secretary says another Tryweryn “would not be possible” in Wales.
David TC Davies’ comments come nearly sixty years on from the drowning of the village of Capel Celyn in Gwynedd to provide water for Liverpool.
Speaking on S4C’s Y Byd yn ei Le programme, Mr Davies said that talk of another Tryweryn was just “spooking people.”
But Plaid Cymru has called on the Welsh Secretary to ensure all decisions on water resources are devolved to the Senedd.
Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts says that, under the current arrangement, Wales’ “natural resources are being diverted elsewhere without recompense and without consultation with local people either.”
Raising the matter in Westminster, Ms Saville Roberts referred to the example of Thames Water’s plans of “moving vast volumes of water from Wales,” while arguing this need could be mitigated if the loss of “630 million litres of water every day through leaky pipes” was addressed.
David TC Davies accused the Plaid Cymru member of “spooking people about the possibility of another Tryweryn in Wales. That would not be possible because the planning system is devolved so it wouldn’t be possible to see another Tyweryn like we saw 60 years ago.”
Mr Davies went on to say that “anyone who wants to build a new reservoir has to make a planning application through the local authority and then through the Senedd in Wales, so to all intents and purposes powers for this have been devolved already.”
But Professor Richard Wyn Jones of Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre says that if the UK Government “thought another Tryweryn was necessary, there’s nothing at all the the Welsh Government nor the Senedd could do to stop it.”
Richard Wyn Jones said it was “ironic” that the Welsh Secretary referred to the devolution settlement.
“We’ve seen the Government and the Parliament in London’s readiness to undermine devolved powers over the last few years,” he said.
“The truth is we have a government in London that emphasises Parliamentary Sovereignty, and it can do whatever it likes, so the truth is if the Government in London thought another Tryweryn was necessary, there’s nothing at all the the Welsh Government nor the Senedd could do to stop this.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson said “any development that involves sourcing water from Wales must demonstrate economic, environmental and wider benefits for the people of Wales as well as ensuring there is enough water for those that need it.
Water companies wholly or mainly in Wales must follow Welsh Government’s guiding principles for Water Resource Management Plans and Welsh Ministers have a statutory role in the sign off process for any plans.”
Y Byd yn ei Le is broadcast on S4C at 9pm on Thursday and can be watched on BBC iPlayer and S4C Clic.
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