Letter: Soggy truth of living with Cardiff barrage

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your article 'The price of turning mud into gold' (12 May) was very welcome. Work on the Cardiff Bay Barrage has not yet started and it is not too late for common sense to prevail, although at this stage it is unlikely.

One important omission in Nicholas Schoon's article was any mention of the groundwater issue. A large area of inner Cardiff will be

affected by rising groundwater when the water is impounded by the barrage.

The subject is usually ignored because of its technical nature, but a great many people in the low-lying areas have had to incorporate such terms as bore-holes, piezometers and de-watering wells into their everyday vocabulary.

There are, I believe, about 6,000 homes in the so-called 'protected property area'. The protection consists mainly of remedial work if it can be proved that damage is caused by the impoundment.

The Cardiff Bay Development Corporation will fill in some cellars before impoundment but there is, of course, no protection against rising groundwater. Also, there is no compensation for loss in property value.

It would be pleasant to be able to sit back and indulge the Development Corporation in the construction of its pounds 150m folly, but sadly this Covent-Garden-by-the-Sea will have as its foundations, not only the destruction of a large sector of wildlife, but the misery and despair of many existing Cardiff residents.

Yours faithfully,



14 May