My thanks to Liz Hughes from Porth, who took the trouble to track down my phone number to talk to me about Brofiscin Quarry, next to Groes Faen, near Llantrisant. To be honest, I had never heard of Brofiscin Quarry before, which surprises me as it has been called “The most polluted place in Britain” by the Guardian and The Ecologist.
Liz wanted my opinion on the possible impacts of the test drilling proposed behind the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, and any more widespread fracking in the future on the horrendous site. She has friends/relatives in the area that she is worried about, having only recently stumbled on information about Brofiscin Quarry herself.
For those that don’t know anything about the site, like me until today, this is what Wikipedia has to say:
Brofiscin Quarry is privately owned, and was leased to waste contractors for use as a landfill, as is common with spent quarries. It was used as a waste site from about 1965 to 1972 and accepted waste from BP, Veolia, and Monsanto. A 2005 report by Environmental Agency Wales found that the quarry contained up to 75 toxic substances, including heavy metals, Agent Orange, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).[Prior to its remediation, The Guardian described the site as “one of the most contaminated places in Britain.”
In February 2011 The Ecologist and The Guardian reported that Monsanto had agreed to help with the costs of remediation, but did not accept responsibility for the pollution. A webpage at the Environmental Agency site put up at around that time states: “We have completed our extensive enquiries to identify those we consider should be held responsible under the contaminated land laws and be held liable for the cost of remediating Brofiscin Quarry. We are at an advanced stage in our consultations with BP, Veolia and Monsanto to provide them with the opportunity to help remediate the land on a voluntary basis. We expect to make further progress on this matter in the next few months. If this approach is unsuccessful, we have the power to carry out the work needed ourselves and recover our costs. The three companies have been identified under the legislation as inheriting the liabilities of companies who were associated with depositing wastes at the quarry.”
In 2011 Environment Agency Wales and the Rhondda Cynon Taf council announced that they had decided to place an engineered cap over the waste mass in the quarry and stated that the cost would be 1.5 million pounds; previous estimates discussed in the media had been as high as £100 million, which Environment Agency Wales had dismissed. The site was cleared of vegetation and engineering work began in October 2011, and was completed in 2012.
So our old ‘friends’ at BP, Veolia and Monsanto are involved! That’s enough to make my blood run cold for a start!
And when you see how close this site is to the village, it gets very alarming, even before we start thinking about the possible implications of fracking nearby: (Click on image to enlarge)
The quarry is that horseshoe of trees just to the north of the residents of Heol Brofiscin. This aerial photo was taken in 2014 and close up of the bare ground in the top half of of the quarry shows some interesting installations that I will try to have a closer look at. (Click on image to enlarge)
As for test drilling implications, the nearest currently proposed site is the one behind the Royal Mint and is 5km or 3 miles away from this site, as the crow flies. I cannot imagine the test drilling having any possible impact on this site, but looking at the analysis of what has been dumped in there by those notorious companies, and looking at the geology of the area and the supposed remediation of the site, there would have to be serious concerns about any activity that could increase seismic activity in the area at all.
This is certainly something we need to keep an eye on – so thanks again to Liz Hughes.