This webpage contains information about the significant ongoing remediation process following the Tylorstown landslip, due to unprecedented weather during Storm Dennis.
It also shares details about the future vision for the site, to be developed as part of a wider Community Active Travel Route – providing a dedicated pedestrian and cycle route between Maerdy and Pontygwaith.
On February 16, 2020, the landslip occurred on the Llanwonno hillside at Tylorstown, as Rhondda Cynon Taf was hit by three storms in quick succession. The landslip was triggered by Storm Dennis – a one in 200-year storm event that saw Maerdy at the top of the Rhondda Fach record the highest volume of rainfall in Wales. The site is a Category D tip and was being inspected every three months against a set of monitoring criteria prior to the storm, and inspections have subsequently increased in frequency since.
The landslip blocked the river valley, broke a foul sewer, covered a strategic water main with several metres of debris, and covered a footpath and cycle path. The area has remained closed to members of the public to ensure safety.
The Council has since identified a four-phase remediation plan. Phase One was completed as an emergency measure in the weeks following the landslip. The wider programme of work is briefly outlined below:
- Phase One – Emergency drainage and vegetation clearance (completed).
- Phase Two – Embankment scour repairs (commenced in late June 2020, to be completed in late autumn 2020/winter 2021).
- Phase Three – Moving of material to receptor sites and temporary reinstatement of paths (commenced in late June 2020, to be completed in late autumn 2020).
- Phase Four – Remediation of the remaining tip on the hillside and undertake community enhancements such as the community route and riverside park enhancements (for completion during 2021).
- Cycle routes and receptor sites – Improvement works to several structures along the proposed Community Route during 2021/22. The route will be resurfaced and works to the receptor sites completed.
Phases Two and Three
On June 10, 2020, the Council made an announcement outlining its intention to commence the second and third phases of work – starting by the end of June and ending later this year in accordance with Natural Resources Wales’ restrictions about working in the river from the end of October onwards. The announcement also confirmed that the Council is working closely with the Welsh and UK Governments over the funding options to cover the costs of Phases Two and Three, which are estimated to be around £2.5m.
The Council made an Urgent Delegated decision on June 11, 2020, to progress the work, and to appoint a contractor. The decision noted that while these works will be initiated ‘at risk’ to the Local Authority in the absence of funding confirmation, there is a firm expectation that government support will be provided to the Council to carry out this essential scheme. Planning permission for this work will be applied for as soon as possible.
Works to deliver Phases Two and Three got underway on Monday, June 29, 2020 - after the Council appointed Walters as the contractor responsible for carrying out the scheme. Walters, which also undertook Phase One, is an experienced local contractor which has been involved in tips schemes such as this one in the past. Initial work in Phases Two and Three will consist of site setup, investigations and general clearance work – towards the significant process of moving 60,000 tonnes of spoil material following the landslip.
There is anticipated to be very minimal disruption to the local community through Phases Two and Three helped by the location of the work site and receptor sites. The work is located away from the highway so will have a very minimal impact on road users. The current footpath closures have been extended to prevent public access where the contractor’s heavy plant is operating and local residents must keep out of fenced off areas for safety reasons. The mountainside is still unsafe for access.
In terms of the ecological impact, a number of surveys have been carried out by consultant ecologists in liaison with the Council’s ecologist and Natural Resources Wales (in relation to the clearance of undergrowth and trees from the receptor sites – together with the impact on flora and fauna).
All parties continue to work together to ensure the impact on the environment is minimised where possible. Ecologists will be on site helping to supervise the site clearance works. Consideration is being given to the final receptor sites and how this will benefit the ecology of the river valley.
The two receptor sites are owned by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, and are located to the north of the landslip site, alongside the former railway line. Receptor Site B (nearest the landslip site) formed part of the old railway sidings, and receptor Site A was a former colliery site footprint.
Placing the spoil material on these sites significantly reduces the amount of material which must be moved along the public highway. The receptor sites will also ensure that the wider works are self-contained – and therefore the carbon footprint of the works will be greatly reduced. For instance, there will be virtually no vehicles on the public highway which would otherwise cause noise, vibrations, air pollution, dust and damage to the carriageway. It is estimated that the process of moving 60,000 tonnes of material would require 6,000 lorry movements – which is avoided by utilising the receptor sites.
Consultation on future vision
The Council will keep the local community informed about the proposed end use of the scheme, to be delivered in the future. There will also be a significant opportunity for residents to have their say in the final end use through a future consultation process. At present, the Council is considering the location to be converted into a riverside walkway, similar to the existing sites at Barry Sidings Country Park and Mountain Ash Riverside Park.
The Council’s future vision for the wider area includes a £10m investment to remediate the remaining tip on the hillside. Upon completion of the remediation works, the commitment for an Active Travel Community Route for pedestrians and cyclists between Maerdy and Pontygwaith can then be delivered. This route would ‘pass through’ the riverside park scheme at Tylorstown. The Council envisages the remediation works to the remaining tip will begin in spring or summer 2021. The Active Travel Community Route will be delivered after completion the remediation work, starting in Spring 2022.
Full planning permission will be sought for this wider development. As with the riverside park plans, the community will be kept fully up-to-date and given the chance to take part in a consultation to inform the final project.
This future activity will tie into the overall completed works undertaken in Phases Two, Three and Four – and carry out significant schemes to repair or replace (and ultimately future-proof) a number of bridge structures along the new Active Travel Community Route.
The document below highlights the initial plans for the Community Route. The Community Route is highlighted in pink, with proposed links to the route in blue and the structures being considered for improvement also labelled.
Tylorstown Landslide Presentation - PDF (2.27mb)
Further information about the individual schemes to future-proof bridges along this route will be communicated by the Council in due course.
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