August 20, 2008

Spin Machine so Predictable

Carmarthenshire Council has become predictable in the way its "spin machine" deals with the public: many press releases could be written before meetings take place.

Why was the public excluded from the meetings with the Environment Agency and Welsh Water, while the press attended? Was it to ensure press releases only contained favourable spin?

By inviting the press, the council had a moral obligation to include the public to ensure healthy debate and openness; in this way, press reports would have contained the full picture and been balanced.

Peter Perry, operations director of Welsh Water, stated: "the aim was to remove as much surface water from the system as possible to increase its capacity", and "the removal of 4.5 litres a second of surface water from the system can free capacity to cope with sewage from 400 homes".

I find it strange to quote figures that are so close to what the council needs (450-home Stradey Park development) to ensure it recoups the pounds5.6 million section 106 money it donated to the Pemberton Stadium development.

How can chief executive Mark James state where any savings made should be used? Is this his responsibility?

He said: "Taking water from the Llanelli Leisure Centre area means the Pumphouse restaurant and office development can go ahead because of the six litres per second of capacity saved."

The sums don't add up, six litres per second equals a restaurant and office development against 4.5 litres per second equals 400 homes. The homes would take up a larger surface area.

The council's head of public protection, Phillip Davies, says how clean our rivers and seas are and how they meet excellent standards. It would depend where the samples were taken.

This sounds similar to the healthy readings from pollution receptors during the public inquiry. The receptor that gave the "healthy" readings was positioned on a very windy corner, with the wind blowing much of the pollution away from it.

That is why it is vital all developments have a full, independent Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to ensure total safety for the public.

What has Carmarthenshire Council to fear from implementing this EU law and Assembly Government directive?

Ray Jones

Sandy Road, Llanelli

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