|PSEEG members prepare to tour the Robeston Wathen bypass site|
Not Costing The Earth
Some years ago major engineering works often resulted in serious damage to the environment. So it was hardly surprising then when PSEEG members and friends recently visited the road improvement scheme currently being undertaken by Costain at Canaston Bridge, some members of the Group feared the worst. How wrong they were.
The visitors were met at the site by Phil Baker, Public Liaison Officer for Costain. In the comfortable lecture room, Phil explained in detail, prior to touring the site, how every conceivable environmental concern had been addressed in the planning and execution of the work. The protection of the environment was now essential in such developments and had become embedded in project management.
Of major interest was the need to control and deal with run-off. Welsh Water has an abstraction works at Canaston Bridge which supplies a large percentage of Pembrokeshire’s drinking water. In order to prevent pollution, a water management plan has been put in place. This consists of silt fences that hold back any mud/silt and run-off water and are supplemented by straw bale dams. Whilst work was carried out on the banks of the river, part of the river was sectioned off and the silt/debris resulting from the construction work was then removed and clean water returned to the river. Once the road is open the run-off will pass through grassy ditches, petrol interceptors and into ponds where settling will take place before the water enters the river.
Wildlife is also a major concern. In addition to specially constructed pathways under the new bridge, over sized pipes pass under the carriageway and carry the diverted streams. These allow bats, badgers and otters to pass under the road. A series of different sized steps give the wild mammals easy entry to these tunnels and pathways. Bats will also be funnelled into these tunnels by suitable tree planting. Badgers and otters are also prevented from crossing the road by wild animal-proof fencing running the length of the road. (Concern for their well-being must surely confuse the badgers as they face the prospect of mass extermination from other quarters.) Under the bridge the otters have their own path with ramps enabling them to gain access to and from the water, when the river is in spate. This path is also suitable for anglers. There are also two large underpasses under the carriageway for cyclists, walkers and equestrians.
A great deal of effort has been made to protect the visual environment. The road near the village of Robeston-Wathen has been set into a 4 metre deep cutting (cutting down noise pollution). There will be special lighting only on the roundabouts (cutting down light pollution). There has been a huge success rate in the translocation of trees and plants with the wild flowers planted around the trees even flowering this year. Pembrokeshire hedgebanks have been placed along the length of the new road. This is achieved by laying netting seeded with wild flowers over banks and planting shrubs and hedges on top of the banks. 10,000 locally sourced trees will be planted within the scheme.
But it is not only current animal, reptile (many small newts and lizards were carefully moved to safe havens) and plant life that has been show such meticulous care. The cultural importance of part of the site has not been ignored. When evidence of Stone Age fire pits and corn grinding was found, additional archaeologists were immediately called in. There was no previous knowledge of such activity and settlement, so this road work has helped to write another chapter in the pre-history of the area.
At the conclusion of the visit all present were greatly impressed by the dedication shown by all involved in this work. Caring for the environment was not regarded by the developers and their team as an onerous duty or chore but rather as a privilege to be party to such a worthwhile exercise. All members of staff spoken to showed great pride in their achievements – and rightly so.
The next meeting of PSEEG will be on Thursday 24th June at 7pm in the Regency Hall Saundersfoot, when the speaker will be Ben Ferguson-Walker of The Energy Saving Trust. Ben was recently appointed as a Technical Development Officer for Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire and is helping to implement the new Welsh Assembly Government's policy of direct support both advisory and financial for community renewable energy projects. All members of the public are cordially invited to attend.
|16th April 2010||Feed in Tariffs: Power to the People|
|12th March 2010||Heat Pumps & Photo Voltaic Panels: Prepare for the Goodlife|
|12th February 2010||Parliamentary Candiates at Green Question Time in Saundersfoot|
|15th January 2010||Weather & Climate: A Question of Energy|
|4th December 2009||Sustainable Community Ventures: Regeneration in Pembrokeshire|
|13th November 2009||Community Initiatives: Sustainable Wales leads by example|
|16th October 2009||Climate Change Challenge for Candidates & Micro-generation with wind turbines|
|2nd October 2009||A Visit to Castle Pill Wind Farm: Quiet blows the wind|
|11th September 2009||Renewable Sustainable Energy: An Energy Survey for South East Pembrokeshire|
|10th July 2009||A talk by Lorraine Dallmeier of Infinergy: Wind Power - Pembrokeshire's Potential|
|12th June 2009||St. Oswald's, Jeffreyston - Pembrokeshire's Beacon of Sustainability|
|24th April 2009||Solar Panels: Three Cheers for Sunny Pembrokeshire|
|13th March 2009||Ashton Hayes Community Energy Reduction & Hot Water From the Sun|
|13th February 2009||Could Pembrokeshire go carbon neutral?|
|14th November 2008||Environment Wales to provide 'Start-Up' Funding for PSEEG|
|17th October 2008||PSEEG to become a Registered Charity|