Two Plaid Cymru MSs have taken a tour of sites within Caerphilly County Borough to highlight how little priority is given over to environmental matters.
Peredur Owen Griffiths MS and Delyth Jewell MS visited three sites to see for themselves environmental degradation and the potential risks posed to local residents.
Whilst there, they also spoke to local councillors and residents about the impact of living close to an environmental hazard.
During the tour, Peredur and Delyth visited the derelict Thomas Ness tar plant site in Caerffili where a housing development is planned despite the land being heavily contaminated, the highly toxic Ty Llwyd Quarry in Ynysddu which remains a health hazard decades after it was operational and Hendredenny where residents have been affected by flooding.
Peredur said the visit was organised to highlight the fragile state of the environment in Caerffili County Borough and the lack of priority given to rectifying urgent matters.
“These visits were arranged to highlight the fragile environmental condition of three sites within the county borough,” said Peredur.
“We could quite have easily visited a lot more areas as the concerns of the public are not confined to these three sites.
“The council appear to be riding roughshod over the legitimate concerns around toxic sites whether they are being developed or not.
“It is astonishing to many people that they are even considering building on the former Thomas Ness tar plant in Caerffili given what was put in the ground during its operational lifetime.
“The area needs to be made safe, just like the Ty Llwyd quarry should be decontaminated after it became a dumping ground for toxic materials. Decades on and the people of Ynysddu and beyond have to live with the site’s toxic legacy.”
Delyth Jewell MS said: “It was concerning to see how close some of the polluted sites were to residential areas, and to hear about how children are sometimes seen playing in water that’s apparently contaminated.
“We need to raise awareness among the local populations about these sites, and we certainly shouldn’t be building houses in places where there’s a problem with pollution.
“Ultimately, we need to strengthen the planning process so that local people’s voices carry greater weight when decisions are made.”
Councillor Steve Skivens, who accompanied Delyth and Peredur on the visit, said: “The three sites visited demonstrate a much greater concern across South East Wales and in Caerffili County Borough Council in particular.
“Many of these sites are a legacy from our past industrial age. Yet they continue to damage our environment and impact on our communities today.
“We as elected representatives have a key role in seeking to protect our environment and natural habitats. Such are under huge pressure and sadly in-decline in our area.
“This should be an issue at the top of the tree for every elected representative or we are not protecting our communities now or placemaking for future generations.”
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