Assembly Member Adam Price has today expressed concern for the delay in residents receiving the results of soil and water quality tests following the oil pipeline spill in Nantycaws, after the Welsh Government Minister for Environment said it was "taking longer than expected" for Natural Resources Wales to receive relevant information.
Around 140,000 litres of aviation fuel leaked into the Nant Pibwr and surrounding areas after the oil pipeline breach back in October 2016.
As a consequence, and to accommodate the urgent repair works, the A48 dual carriageway was closed in both directions, farmers were forced to move cattle, the water supply to some properties was contaminated, and residents endured increased traffic congestion. This was on top of the river and soil contamination from oil leak itself.
Almost six months ago, on 28th June 2017, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr AM, Adam Price asked the Welsh Government whether the water and soil tests conducted by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) following the oil leak were available for publication to residents. He also enquired whether NRW was in a position to state what legal steps, if any, it had decided to take. The Cabinet Secretary promised to update Mr Price once she had met with NRW.
Months later, and after much chasing by the Plaid Cymru AM, the new Minister for Environment has now replied to Mr Price stating delays in Natural Resources Wales receiving responses to its information requests is the factor in why things are taking longer than expected.
Adam Price said the response was "simply not good enough", and expressed concern that over a year later the Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales had not moved further ahead. He said constituents were growing increasingly frustrated by the lack of progress, and called on the Welsh Government to use all tools at its disposal to compel all associated parties to bring a swift conclusion to the testing.
Carmarthen East and Dinefwr Assembly Member Adam Price said:
"It's been almost 6 months since I first asked for an update from the Welsh Government. Despite much chasing, all the Minister is able to tell me is that enquiries continue and there are delays with Natural Resources Wales receiving information from the companies associated with the pipeline and oil leak.
"This simply isn't good enough. More than a year has passed since tens of thousands of litres of oil was saturating the soil and polluting the waters of Nantycaws. It's perfectly understandable that residents are becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of progress. Those residents need and deserve answers.
"It's about time the Welsh Government now got a grip on the situation and used every tool at its disposal to compel all associated parties to provide the information it needs to bring a swift conclusion to the testing, and to determine what legal steps, if any, need to be taken.
"Someone has to be accountable for this very serious oil leak, and I am concerned at the glacial pace of progress. I have made my views on the delays known to the pipeline operator. I want the Welsh Government to step up and get this resolved once and for all."
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