Organisation name: Newid yn yr Hinsawdd
Submitted: 02/07/2010 by Ceri.Jones@environment-agency.gov.uk
- Organisation core business: Environment Agency Wales is the leading body for protecting and improving the environment in Wales. It enforces environmental legislation; including the regulation and disposal of wastes, industrial discharges, maintenance of water quality and is a joint regulator of contaminated land. The Agency also manages a programme of flood defence works and provides monitoring and warnings of flood events.
- What will the project do?: Important notice: Although the project is described as covering North (West) Wales Spatial area below, it will also cover the eligible Central Wales Spatial area. The specific Metal Mines are located in the North West and Central Wales Convergence regions. The first River Basin Management Plans in Wales were published in 2009. Imbedded into the actions in the Plans are targets to tackle the impacts of minewaters on our waters across Wales. This will be achieved using the established Metal Mines Strategy for Wales (2002), the findings of which were reinforced by the WAG/EA jointly funded study to develop a methodology to identify and prioritise non-coal minewater pollution in England and Wales. The Strategy has scoped and considered future remediation for the most polluting mines in Wales. The overall objective of the project will be to significantly reduce the impact of the metal mines discharges to local watercourses and return these waters to good ecological quality and chemical status. The project aims to: 1. Remediate polluting discharges of acidic mine water from abandoned metal mines. (primarily removal of lead, copper and zinc). 2. Reduce the impact of polluting minewater discharges by diverting water from entering mines through collapsed shafts, shallow workings and settlement pits especially during heavy rainfall. 3. The remediation of polluting discharges will aid the regeneration of fish stocks and other aquatic wildlife in nearby rivers and streams. The risk of environmental impacts from contaminated land associated with the polluting discharges will be reduced, which will assist in promoting sustainable economic growth and help to stimulate tourism (work sponsored by Amlwch Industrial Heritage Trust indicates that Parys Mountain receives over 21,000 heritage trail leisure visitors annually). 4. Deliver Water Framework Directive (WFD) and River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) objectives. WFD has core environmental objectives to prevent the deterioration of aquatic ecosystems and to restore polluted surface waters and groundwater to ‘good status’ in terms of ecological and chemical parameters. 5. Enhance the biodiversity and climate change (carbon sequestration) benefits of the chosen remediation option(s) through capping of spoil heaps and /or wetland habitat creation, e.g. reed beds. 6. Seek to preserve the existing heritage, mineralogical and ecological features of the sites. 7. Create a better quality environment for both landowners and land users. Land contamination may present a health hazard through exposure to contaminants such as inhalation of metal dust, contact with soil or food grown through the land. 8. Encourage the exploitation of alternative energy sources (e.g. hydro-power and heat recovery from the minewater) if economically viable. 9. Encourage the economic recovery of metals from the treatment process.
- Regional area(s) to be covered by the project: North Wales
- Who will be the end beneficiaries?: Local people (inc landowners & land users), investors and visitors. There is a strong case in terms of economic benefits; the project will assist with attracting investors to the areas; thereby providing local employment opportunities. There is also scope for increasing visitor numbers by creating water-based recreation such as angling. Metal Mines are also a tourist attraction because of their intrinsic historical heritage and, the project could bring in valuable tourist trade.
- Who will be involved in delivering the project?: 1. Environment Agency Wales; 2. Welsh Assembly Government; 3. Coal Authority and site specific stakeholders to be identified as the project develops.
- What might be the outputs (activity measures) of the project?: 1. Environmental risk management initiatives: The project aims to treat polluted mine water reduce the risk of environmental impacts from contaminated land associated with the polluting discharges. 2. Collaborative R&D: to identify innovative treatment methods and economic resource recovery.
- What might be the results of the project?: The successful delivery of this project will result in: 1. Significant reduction in the polluting heavy metals (primarily lead, copper and zinc) and acidity loads into water sources, thereby achieving water quality improvement, regeneration of the local watercourse and ecological environment. 2. New or improved products, processes or services launched: The project will reduce metal discharges to local watercourses, thereby creating a better quality ecological environment for local people, and visitors. 3. Waste reduced, reused or recycled. 4. Potential for renewable energy generated.
- What would the project's impact be?: The impact of these metal mine remediation schemes will be a driver towards treating the most polluting mines in Wales. By significantly reducing the pollution from metal mine discharges into watercourses, the project will have considerable environmental benefits including, creating a better quality environment, both generally and for the ecology, for attracting business and increasing visitor numbers. Opportunities will derive to exploit alternative, sustainable low carbon energy sources (eg hydro-power, heat recovery, bio-crops) and economic recovery of metals from the treated minewater waste. The work envisaged under this priority and measure is about creating an attractive business environment, environmental risk reduction for sustainable growth and removing sources of contamination.
- What is the project estimated cost?: £5,000,000