By Geraint Thomas Reading time: 3 mins
Natural Resources Wales’ Well-being Objectives can be found on their website (https://naturalresources.wales/about-us/what-we-do/how-we-work/our-well-being-statement/?lang=en)
But when compared to their plans for the dam in Dinas Powys woods, we’re not too sure if they truly stack up!
WBO1: Champion the Welsh environment and the sustainable management of Wales’ natural resources
The dam option in will trash the environment by destroying 2000 square metres of woodland, turning 60 metres of beautiful river into a concrete channel with steel grating on top. Slow destruction of a large area of ancient woodland by flooding and the killing of root hairs.
WBO2: Ensure land and water in Wales is managed sustainably and in an integrated Way
The proposed dam is not a sustainable option. The drowning of 1000’s of bugs with each flood caused by the dam will lead to compaction of the soil as there will be fewer animals digging into it and drawing in organic matter. As the soil compacts over the years it will be able to soak up less water, leading to more frequent flooding, more bugs drowning and yet more flooding.
BO3: Improve the resilience and quality of our ecosystems
The dam option does not create a wetland habitat with wetland plants and water tolerant animals, there will be a dry land habitat that floods. The drowning of bugs and reduction in prey species will be bad for the current ecosystem, but does not replace it with a wetland one.
WBO4: Reduce the risk to people and communities from environmental hazards such as flooding and pollution
The dam option will create floods several times every year. There is rarely any flooding in Dinas Powys, so the dam will create floods in the woods when they are not needed. NRW have not made it clear if they will close the potential flood site before any flood event, or even check if the site is clear. Will they close the public rights of way that will be flooded, or will they let walkers take a chance? Also the large body of water created would be a magnet for children who often play in the woods unsupervised. The proposed dam creates a much larger danger to life from flooding up to 3.5 metres deep than the current situation.
WBO5: Help people live healthier and more fulfilled lives
With over 50,000 visits every year, the Woodland Trust Site at Dinas Powys is important in helping people live healthier and more fulfilled lives. Closing much of the site for the year (+), and the noise pollution from machinery over the rest of the Woodland Trust Site, which will be split into two, will lead to less people visiting the beautiful woodland and receiving the benefits from walking. Once the dam is complete, there will still be fewer visits, as the river will be running in a concrete channel with steel grating on top. The site will no longer be the beauty spot that it is today, drawing people in for walks and quiet recreation.
O6: Promote successful and responsible business, using natural resources without damaging them
Currently the Woodland Trust receives income from organised mindfulness walks, dedicated benches and trees, etc. none of which adversely affect natural resources. The dam itself is the biggest threat to natural resources, including irreplaceable ancient woodland, and Natural Resources Wales should be opposed to it.
WBO7: Develop NRW into an excellent organisation, delivering first-class customer service
The dormouse survey had just 4 nesting tubes in Newland Wood out of the 100 tubes used.
The Tree Survey and Arboricultural Impact Assessment which only surveyed half the width of the proposed dam, and led to project managers misleading elected officials over the number of trees to be destroyed.
Only one public consultation event in over two years. Not really a consultation, but just informing the public what they were going to do.
No natural flood alleviation options considered in the Cadoxton Flood Alleviation Scheme Final Report 2017.
Likelihood of recommendation of dam option, which is not deliverable due to provisions on biodiversity in Environment Wales Act, Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and local opposition.
WB07 is still a work in progress.