Sunday, 19 February 2012
Rape of the Vale
Of course the cheque is in the post. Of course the impacts will be minimal. Of course the landscape will be restored to its previous condition.
It all seemed to start so well in the dry weather of last spring, but then came the rains and pretty soon it looked like a battlefield. The 38km gas pipeline from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Pwllheli passes through the Vale of Ffestiniog and it shows; looking down, from the mountains and cliffs above, the incision looks more like a canal than a pipeline.
There is a summary of the pipeline replacement programme on the Wales and West Utilities website which says: ‘one of the objectives of reinstatement of the pipeline route is to return the visual and physical integrity of the landscape, as closely as possible, to its previous condition’......’To reduce potential damage to soil structure, whenever possible, topsoil movements will only be carried out when conditions are considered suitable’.
Looking at the state of the land in February 2012 it seems this was not possible! When will these and other aspects of reinstatement or restoration be complete?
On 13th February the Department of Energy and Climate Change approved the construction of a 22km gas pipeline from Llanwrin to Dolgellau. Energy Minister Charles Hendry said ‘In approving this pipeline I have made sure the plans meet stringent and comprehensive environmental standards.’
Good luck to you in southern Snowdonia!
We might think we’ve had a rough ride in the Ffestiniog area as contractors sought to bury small pipes of 150mm diameter. In 2007 gas pipes of 1200mm diameter, eight times bigger, were laid through 36km of the Brecon Beacons National Park. If you’d like to know how that went, there’s an excellent article in the spring edition of NaturCymru to be published on 15th March.