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Project description

Name of the case study
Gowerton Outfall

Description of context
• Section 121 of the Government of Wales Act made it a legal duty for the National Assembly for Wales to pursue sustainable development in all it does.

• Planning Policy Wales (March 2002) states that "The Assembly will ensure that international responsibilities and obligations for conservation are fully met, and that, consistent with the objectives of the designation [e.g. Sites of Scientific Interest (SSSI), sites designated under the Ramsar Convention, and those designated by EC Directives – Special Protection Areas (SPAs) or Special Areas of Conservation (SACs)], statutorily designated sites are protected from damage and deterioration, with their important features conserved by appropriate management".

• The Welsh Assembly Governments Technical Advice Note 5 considers Nature Conservation and Planning. TAN 5 deals with, among other issues, Development Control for Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), Statutory Framework for Nature Conservation, Sites Statutorily Designated for Nature Conservation and Designated Sites.

• Water related companies are affected by a list of legislations (regulations specific to Wales):
- The Water Act 2003 works towards improving water conservation, protecting public health and the environment;
- The Water Industry Act 1991 covers the appointment and regulation of undertakers, protection of customers, general duties, supply duties and the domestic connection of water, as well as for sewerage- services, provision of service and general issues concerned with sewerage;
- The Water Industry Act 1999 set new water company charges;
- The Water Resources Act 1991 outlined the legislation for the control of the pollution of water resources and the land and works powers;
- The Anti-Pollution Works Regulations 1999, SI 1006 deals with compensation or notices to be served on works that are polluting;
- Water Resources (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 2003, SI 164 includes details on what projects need to have an Environmental Impact Assessment completed.
- The Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 2000, SI 3184 covers Regulatory Impact Assessment, the monitoring of water supplies, water treatment and legislation for enforcement;
- The Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 2001, SI 3911 looks at water supply, water treatment and enforcement.

• The third Asset Management Programme (AMP 3) is part of an investment programme known as the National Environment Programme (NEP) and lasts from 2000 to 2005. AMP3 is the third phase in the programme since UK water privatisation and has been agreed by the Government following discussions with the Environment Agency, water companies and OFWAT (the UK water regulator).

• Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water is the regulated company that provides water supply and sewerage services to over three million people living and working in Wales. The company has an Environment Management Group and a Quality and Environment Committee at board level. This committee reviews the performance of the Company (and its contractors) against key performance measures with particular regard to public health, health and safety and environmental impact. This ensures the environmental practices of the company and those contractors working on behalf of Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water.

Description of project - background
The Gowerton Outfall project involved the emergency replacement of a section of collapsed sewage effluent outfall pipe on a tidal saltmarsh located near Loughor in Swansea, South Wales. This is a Natura 2000 site comprising SSSI, cSAC, SPA and Ramsar. It is therefore highly protected and required special attention.

Location of the Gowerton Outfall and its proximity to the River Loughor
Location of the Gowerton Outfall and its proximity to the River Loughor

The repair of the outfall was undertaken by Morrison Construction as part of the Welsh Water Capital Alliance Partnership. The Welsh Water Capital Alliance is a strategic partnership team formed between Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, a UK water utility company and strategic design/construction partners, cost managers, a partnering facilitator and a supply chain advisor. The partnership will deliver around 60% of Welsh Water's capital investment programme during 2000-05.

Installation of replacement outfall at Gowerton
Installation of replacement outfall at Gowerton

A multi-agency team approach was implemented to work on and restore the ecology the site. The team comprised staff from Morrison Construction (ecologist and an engineer), the National Soil Resources Institute at Cranfield University, Landmark Ecological Site Works, The Countryside Council for Wales and David Lewis Civil Engineering.

Description of project - objectives/aims
The main focus of this project was emergency works to the collapsed outfall pipe. However sustainable issues, guided by the tools used, were taken into consideration as a matter of procedure to minimise the impact of the excavation works these were guided by the tools. Attention to the effects of works on the statutorily protected site was led by the EC Habitats and Species Directive (as implemented in the UK by the Conservation (Natural Habitats & regulations 1994). Morrison Constructions ecologist obtained formal Assent for the works under the terms of the Regulations from the Countryside Council for Wales, the Government’s statutory nature conservation advisors in Wales.

As indicated earlier, it is a Natura 2000 site with part of the Burry Inlet and Loughor Estuary SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and Carmarthen Bay and Estuaries cSAC (candidate Special Area of Conservation). It is also a SPA (Special Area of Protection) and Ramsar site (Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially Waterfowl Habitat 1971 (Ramsar Convention) 1972).

Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd considered the site to be an archaeologically sensitive area requiring a watching brief.

Description of project - time interval and stages
Remedial works took place between June and October 2003.

Description of project - financing
Funding came from Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, the utility company responsible for public water in the area.

Description of project - other sectors involved

What tools were used to assess sustainability?

AMP 3 Process Map

Environmental Impact/Aspect Register and Risk Assessment

More information

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