It was gratifying to learn as reported in WalesOnline that the leader of the RhonddaCynonTaf Council, Mr Morgan has an opinion on global warming. This because of the enormous amount of rain that has fallen on the council area over the past few days. He sort of said this was terrible and we should watch out for floods and the like. No, really? It defies common sense that a councillor cannot see the link between development and the weather warming and why that should be. RhonddaCynonTaf has not so long ago issued a LDP (Local Development Plan) for my area. Whilst the area due to haphazard development on steep hillsides already suffers run-off problems, this plan would increase the problem quite significantly. So here we have a council leader who simply does not seem to know what he is talking about. Or if he does know, he is simply ‘slotting in’ with the fears of the general population. Sort of ‘I know of your problems, I commiserate’. The normal gobblydigook. What the good councillor has not even noticed is the link up between his Planning Department’s failures and the flooding problems in the valleys of the county. When you build estates of hundreds of houses with associated roads and practically no gardens the rainwater will just accelerate down the hill gauging out lovely channels and depositing that in smallish rivers like the river Ely. Plus clogging up the manholes. Resulting in floods further downstream (see reports on Peterston-super-Ely).
As I live next door to the river Ely I have noticed a hundredfold increase in the amount of water in winter time. It only has rain to start and anyone can see the water level rising within a few minutes. The volume of water now raining down, the river level can and has, risen by quite some height. Also attacking the banks, eroding these quite significantly, depositing more rubble to go downstream. This is not really new. These things have been happening for an aeon. Although now with a heck of a lot more water. What is news however is the political view on the problem. They are aware but simply continue to erode the fabric of the land by allowing housing developments on what can only be called ‘green fields’. Not just housing either, in RCT there is also a concentration of wind turbines and increasing rapidly. The Rhondda valley seems a magnet because it has steep hillsides and second-rate land quality. Bare hilltops only used by grazing sheep. The Council obviously discounts such land as not worthy to even preserve. The farmers themselves have reported approaches by developers to place wind turbines on their land and being promised ‘handsome’ returns. As a result with farming in the doldrums locally as well as nationally, planning applications are flooding in. Through all of this I have to remember councillors have been elected to look after the interests and well-being of the area they control. My question to Cllr Morgan is this – Are you absolutely sure you do? Please no need to answer, I already know it.