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Only a few days left to comment on Tarmac’s water abstraction application

January 29th, 2024

Residents of Burlingjobb and Walton (and their supporters in neighbouring communities) have only a few days until Friday February 2 to register their comments on Tarmac’s application to abstract millions of litres of water every year from its Gore quarry. Those who are already aware of Tarmac’s plans have three ways to make their voices heard:

  1. You can email Brecon and Radnorshire MP Fay Jones here.
  2. You can send your comments on Application PAN - 023639 to Natural Resources Wales here.
  3. You can comment on the application by post to:
    Natural Resources Wales
    Cambria House
    29 Newport Road
    CF24 0TP

If you don’t know anything about this issue, the text below from a letter of complaint from Walton resident Cath Thorogood explains all:

Tarmac have applied for a licence to extract water from beneath the quarry. Some of the water will be used for washing the wheels of trucks and managing the dust. But the great majority of the water is going to be used up for something else, and we don't know what that is.

Tarmac have not communicated their plans with any of the local community. They have deliberately failed to mention their plans at a regular monthly meeting with the Community Council, and at the regular quarry liaison meeting. They have not notified their neighbours by any means whatsoever. The Community Council wrote to the quarry to ask why the topic failed to be presented to be discussed, but no reply has been received.

Tarmac carried out testing last August - September. No one knew! When looking at their application — In the additional info, condition 5 — it says that they must declare if any complaints are received from nearby landowners or water users during the test pumping. How would anyone know to complain if they didn't know about the testing? How could landowners monitor for any changes if they weren't aware of the testing? They might blame the weather or something else. The people that own the farmland right next to the quarry told me that they were NOT notified of the tests. One of their springs on their land at Burlingjobb dried up several years ago, and they don't know why.

It says at the back of the schedule of conditions, that pumped water must be disposed of in such a way as to prevent circulation back to the aquifer. How can they prevent this from happening? How are they going to dispose of it? It doesn't say, but they very clearly don't want the dirty contaminated water on their own property. The water may be contaminated with petrol or oil or some other unpleasantries. Local neighbours regularly see pollutants in a small water course called the Riddings. I saw frothy water in there just before Christmas, and I have seen petrol sheen on the surface of the water many times in the past. A local farmer’s sheep drink from this water.

When they tested removing water in August / September, they held the water in vast tanks. One of which held 100,000 litres. This was from a small test! Can you imagine how much water will be withdrawn if their plans are approved?

On January 2nd of this year, local properties were surrounded by water from the Riddings. It took two fire engines five hours to pump the water away. It was right next to my house so I was out there helping. Properties came so very close to being flooded. We can't take any more water from the quarry!

Many of the properties in the vicinity are not on mains water. They rely on their own bore holes. Any change in the underlying water table may well affect their bore holes. They may dry up, like the one at Burlingjobb.

The frightening thing about all of this, is the deliberate lack of communication. Tarmac have failed to communicate their plans, they have failed to consult with the local community. They clearly do not care about the effect their proposals will have on their neighbours.

Can you find out what this water will be used for? Where will it be drained to? Will it affect other people's properties? Their homes? Their farmlands? Their businesses? On my lane alone, there are sheep farmers, and cattle, chicken and arable farmers. We all could be severely affected by Tarmac’s proposals. We just don’t know.

Click here to view a Powys County Times story on the issue

Click here to view Tarmac’s Gore Quarry Abstraction Licence Application

Click here to view Tarmac’s Pumping Test Report