Thursday, 31 March 2011


After a lengthy debate, the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) today confirmed the Site of Special Scientific Interest for grassland fungi on the Llanishen and Lisvane reservoir embankments. The case for designation was made by Jessica Poole of the CCW South Wales team and Dr. Ray Woods, CCW's fungi expert. Both made their case eloquently and insisted that the reservoir embankments were at least of national importance, and probably of international importance for their grassland fungi, particularly waxcaps. Western Power were represented by Mr. John Steel QC, a barrister from London specialising in planning law, and Dr. Charlie Gibson from the Oxford environmental consultants Bioscan. They argued that the scoring system employed by CCW for assessing grassland fungi was not a good indicator of the value of a site, and that the reservoir embankments should not be designated because there may be other better sites in South Wales, that had yet to be discovered. Members of CCW subjected both sides to a series of penetrating questions, ably led by their Chairman Mr. John Lloyd Jones OBE. After four hours of deliberation, members of the Countryside Council decided, unanimously, to confirm all embankments of the two reservoirs as an SSSI.
Ted Thurgood, our Chairman, was delighted and immediately called on Western Power to withdraw their damaging planning application. It is very difficult to see how either Cardiff Council or a Welsh Assembly Planning Inspector would approve a planning application that damaged a Site of Special Scientific Interest.