‘THEY’VE COME CLEAN AT LAST’

Caernarfon Herald - - NEWS -

AN­GLERS have claimed vic­tory af­ter Welsh Water was forced to “clean up” a lake pol­luted by sewage.

The com­pany is in­vest­ing £4.6m on im­prov­ing its waste water treat­ment works in Llan­beris to pre­vent fur­ther pol­lu­tion of Llyn Padarn, a Site of Spe­cial Sci­en­tific In­ter­est and home to the en­dan­gered Arc­tic char fish.

It comes af­ter years of le­gal bat­tles by Fish Le­gal, on be­half of the Seiont, Gwyr­fai and Llyfni An­gling So­ci­ety, who had com­plained of de­clin­ing fish pop­u­la­tions – and the near ex­tinc­tion of the char – with reg­u­lar al­gal blooms and water de­oxy­gena­tion.

Reg­u­la­tor Nat­u­ral Re­sources Wales (NRW), its pre­de­ces­sor En­vi­ron­ment Agency Wales, and Welsh Water had de­nied for many years that sewage was caus­ing prob­lems in the lake, blam­ing the reg­u­lar al­gal blooms on cli­mate change and other un­known sources of pol­lu­tion.

Fish Le­gal spent more than £300,000 fight­ing the cases, which were un­suc­cess­ful in court.

But NRW has now re­viewed the per­mits at the site and set new stan­dards for phos­pho­rus, re­sult­ing in Welsh Water in­vest­ing in storm water tanks, in­flow diver­sions and re­cir­cu­la­tion sys­tems.

Fish Le­gal’s Mark Lloyd said: “We are pleased to see the reg­u­la­tor and water com­pany have fi­nally come clean about the source of the pol­lu­tion, de­spite nearly a decade of de­nial and ex­pen­sive le­gal wran­gles to try and avoid tak­ing ac­tion to pro­tect this beau­ti­ful lake.

“We are only able to fight th­ese cases be­cause of in­come we re­ceive from sub­scrip­tions and do­na­tions from mem­bers, with­out which there would be no fu­ture for fish stocks and an­gling on Llyn Padarn.”

Seiont, Gwyr­fai and Llyfni An­gling So­ci­ety sec­re­tary Huw Hughes said: “At long last, NRW has acted to force Welsh Water to take the nec­es­sary ac­tion to clean up their act. The sad thing is it’s taken so long.

“With­out Fish Le­gal’s per­sis­tence, there is lit­tle doubt NRW and Welsh Water would still be sit­ting on their hands. The lake’s water is now show­ing a marked im­prove­ment.”

A spokesper­son for Welsh Water said: “The Llan­beris waste­water treat­ment works... com­plies with the stan­dards set by our reg­u­la­tor NRW.

“Be­tween 2010 and 2015, we in­vested £3.6m at the works to drive im­prove­ments. This work in­cluded meet­ing tighter treat­ment stan­dards set by NRW, which helped the lake meet the water qual­ity stan­dards nec­es­sary to be awarded bathing water sta­tus in 2014, mak­ing it Wales’ first des­ig­nated fresh­wa­ter bathing lake.

“The more re­cent NRW in­ves­ti­ga­tions con­cluded the per­mit­ted dis­charges from our treat­ment works partly con­trib­uted to a com­plex water qual­ity im­pact on the lake, which took the form of an al­gal bloom in 2009, but that the changes to per­mits already planned by NRW were suf­fi­cient to ad­dress this.

“There is no ev­i­dence that the dis­charge of fi­nal treated ef­flu­ent has caused damage to fish stocks.

“We are cur­rently in­vest­ing a fur­ther £4.6m to make sure the treated waste­water we re­turn to the en­vi­ron­ment con­tin­ues to be of the high­est stan­dard.”

● Un­der threat: Arc­tic char in the lake (top) HOPES of rein­tro­duc­ing red squir­rels to large ar­eas of main­land UK af­ter years of de­clin­ing num­bers have been given a huge boost fol­low­ing new sight­ings in North Wales.

Cam­paign­ers say that the na­tive crea­tures – that have been driven to near ex­tinc­tion by their Amer­i­can n grey cousins – have been spot­ted in parts of Gwynedd for the first time inn nearly 50 years.s.

A red squir­rel el was seen in a pri­vatei t gar­den in Nant Peris; the other in Coed Vic­to­ria, Llan­beris.

Both were re­ported to the Red Squir­rel Trust Wales last week.

Holly Peek, a ranger for Red Squir­rel Trust Wales, said: “The last recorded sight­ing of the reds in this area was in the 1970s.

“We have re­leased red squir­rels in Bethesda but we don’t think they could have made their way there. It is just nat­u­ral dis­per­sal, which is great news.”

The Red Squir­rel Trust Wales has been work­ing in this area to trap the Amer­i­can grey and

● Red Squir­rels, like this one have been spot­ted in Llan­beris and Nant Peris for the first time since the 1970s and, in­set, a ‘red’ at Nant Peris

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