Phosphates Summit looks for collaborative future “Without having the contribution from all sectors, that can’t happen”
The First Minister is chairing another phosphates summit today with developers, regulators, water companies, communities and farmers and is “looking forward to hearing about the role that they can all play”.
The comments came yesterday as Mabon ap Gwynfor MS was asking the First Minister for an update on the impact of phosphate regulations on his constituency, Dwyfor Meirionnydd.
The First Minister said he was due to chair another ‘phosphates summit’ today, “I thank the Member for the question. There are three rivers that are special areas of conservation within the Dwyfor Meirionnydd constituency. The Glaslyn and Gwyrfai are meeting the phosphate standard, whilst the River Dee is failing. I will chair a second phosphate summit tomorrow, in order to accelerate the actions necessary to improve the water quality in our rivers that are special areas of conservation.”
Mabon ap Gwynfor MS replied, “The impact of the phosphate regulations is having a significant impact on people across Wales. You will be aware of the impact of the regulations on housing developers, particularly social housing, with some 700 social homes being held up because of these regulations.
“But I want to look specifically at the development of the Llyn Tegid railway in Bala, which is being held up because of the Dee. Now they have succeeded in collecting hundreds of thousands of pounds internationally to bring the rail line into town, which will be a significant economic boost for the area. They’ve been given planning consent and have done the preparatory work for the new station.
“Indeed, Natural Resources Wales themselves have done a great deal of the preparatory work to allow the railway to come into the town. But the phosphate regulations mean that this development cannot proceed, despite the fact that they aren’t going to build additional toilets in addition to what’s publicly available already. There is a very real risk that this plan could fail. What advice would you, therefore, give to the Llyn Tegid railway in light of this?”
The First Minister said, “The Minister responsible for these matters is aware of the points raised by the Member, because she had an opportunity to visit the railway back in the summer. The substantive point is this: we can’t press ahead and agree to developments where phosphate hasn’t been taken into account in the plan in a way that doesn’t increase the problems that we already have.
“The impact of phosphate on rivers in Wales is a situation where we can’t agree to undertake things that don’t contribute to a future where that problem is mitigated. That’s why we have this summit again tomorrow, to get everybody around the table—the developers, the regulators, the water companies, the communities and the farmers as well.
“And I’m looking forward tomorrow to hearing about the role that they can all play. I’m looking forward to hearing about how all sectors intend to undertake their responsibilities, and, when we can collaborate in that fashion, we can find a way for the development that has been outlined by the Member to be undertaken. Without having the contribution from all sectors, that can’t happen. ”
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