River Afan set to benefit from Green Park Weir Improvement Project

June 23, 2016

Left: The Green Park Weir area of the River Afan in spate earlier this year

ABP South Wales have announced that work will begin next week on a major renovation project that will strengthen and improve Green Park Weir on the River Afan in Port Talbot.

The Green Park Weir Improvement Project is the result of several years of collaboration and investment between members of the River Afan Water Management Group who have been working in partnership to deliver Sustainable Natural Resource Management at the site.

The group brings together key stakeholders and is composed of Associated British Ports (ABP), Natural Resources Wales (NRW), Tata Steel (UK) Ltd, Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, and the Afan Valley Angling Club.

ABP have awarded the contract for the renovation work to local construction company Andrew Scott and the complex project is expected to take about eight months to complete depending on river flows.

These necessary improvement works to the weir will provide huge benefits to the River Afan in terms of water management, increased water security for local businesses, and safeguarding the well-being of future generations in the Port Talbot area.

Once completed, the works will also have a positive impact on the migratory fish stocks of the river as it will allow for easier passage while improving existing conditions and developing more sustainable fish populations in the river.

Bob Slorach, ABP Projects Engineer, said: “This job is complicated because of the need to rebuild the whole weir while working within the river itself and maintaining river flows and flows to the docks for navigation and the steel works. This means available working areas are very restricted. However, the project is vital in order to ensure the future of the river management and the local economy.”

John Phillips, Afan Valley Angling Club, said: “Another chapter in the history of the River Afan has begun with the restructuring of the Green Park Weir. Amidst the current UK decline in migratory fish stocks it is indeed exciting to see such a project coming to fruition. This project is likely to have a positive effect on the migratory fish stocks of the River.”

Dave Charlesworth, NRW Conservation and Fisheries Team Leader, said: “Striking the balance between the environment and industrial requirements has been key to the success of this important local initiative. A positive partnership approach has enabled the development to progress and NRW are very supportive of the project that has the potential to deliver long-term environmental gain and socioeconomic benefit locally”.

Green Park Weir has been in its present form since the 1890’s which is why it is now in need of repair and strengthening. The weir exists to impound water in the Afan which flows down a feeder channel to Port Talbot dock, providing water for dock operations and to Tata Steel (UK) for cooling and other essential purposes in the Port Talbot Steelworks.

Due to the complexity of the project, and in the interest of public safety, the Riverside Walkway will be closed on the eastern side of the river from Monday 27th June for the duration of the works – from Halfpenny Bridge down to the Harbour Way Roundabout. ABP apologises for any inconvenience caused.

Diversions along the walkway and clear signage will be put in place with the help of Sustrans and Neath Port Talbot Council. In the interest of public safety parents are asked to keep their children away from the site during the works.

Further information about the project and the diversion route can be viewed on the following websites:
• www.npt.gov.uk/cycleroutes
• www.sustrans.org.uk
• www.southwalesports.co.uk