Western Power Distribution, and their contractors Atkins, today began the process of emptying Llanishen reservoir. Water is being released from the scour valve near the base of the reservoir and is flowing down a drainage channel into the Nant Fawr stream. The whole area of operations has been screened off from the public. It is estimated that the complete drain-down of the reservoir will take several months and is likely to continue until October.
Although Western Power are draining the reservoir on the pretext of inspecting a pipe (which is actually buried beneath the bed of the reservoir), this does not mean they have 'won' or have got planning permission for their housing development. Far from it. The banks of the reservoir are still a Site of Special Scientific Interest for their grassland fungi, and the reservoir itself is a structure of historic importance designated by CADW. Both factors make it difficult to see how planning permission would ever be granted. Furthermore, RAG has recently been advised, by an eminent planning lawyer, that the Council has no obligation to sell the Nant Fawr meadows to enable Western Power to put in an access road, even if the latter did get planning permission. The Council have stated that they have no intention of selling the meadows, and are even in the process of having them designated as a local Nature Reserve. The reservoir is therefore effectively landlocked. It is difficult to see the current policy of draining the reservoir as anything other than an act of vandalism directed at spoiling a much-loved beauty spot, to spite the local community, which has opposed Western Power's plans from the outset.