Agenda Item No.




Minutes of a meeting held at Cardiff Bay Yacht Club, Cardiff on 12th March, 2014.




Councillor L. Burnett (Chairman)

Vale of Glamorgan Council

Mr. N. Ajax Lewis

Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales

Mr. J. Harrison

Natural Resources Wales

Mr. P. Hart

Cardiff Harbour Authority

Ms. L. Jackson

Cardiff Bay Yacht Club

Mr. R. James

Independent Groundwater Complaints Administrator

Mr. S. Jones

Penarth Quays Marina

Mr. C. Michael

RSPB Cymru

Ms. S. Newbold

British Marine Federation

Mr. A. Parker

Independent Member

Councillor G. Roberts

Penarth Town Council

Mr. A. Vye-Parminter

Cardiff Harbour Authority


Also present:


Mr. S. Howell

Cardiff Harbour Authority

Mr. C. Hope

Vale of Glamorgan Council

Mrs. L. Mills

Vale of Glamorgan Council



(a)       Apologies for Absence – 


These were received from Mrs. C. Dimond (Vice-Chairman) (Cardiff Flood Action Committee) and Councillor A. Govier (Cardiff Council).



(b)       Minutes – 


AGREED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 15th January, 2014 be accepted as a correct record.



(c)        Matters Arising


There were no matters arising from the last minutes of the meeting held on 15th January, 2014.





(d)       Presentation from Mr. Ralph James, Independent Groundwater Complaints Administrator, on the Annual Groundwater Report 1st June 2012 – 31st May 2013


Mr. James presented the Committee with his Annual Report and informed them that his function as Independent Groundwater Complaints Administrator was to consider complaints concerning the exercise by the Cardiff Harbour Authority of any of the functions conferred or imposed on them by Schedule 7 of the Cardiff Bay Barrage Act 1993.  Mr. James advised that he was appointed in 2002 and since that time had dealt with in excess of 400 cases.  The Administrator was empowered in any complaint which was required to be considered by him, to either reject the complaint or recommend to the Cardiff Harbour Authority steps which he considered should be taken with a view to resolving the matter.  The Administrator was independent of the Cardiff Harbour Authority, Cardiff Council and the Welsh Government.  In order to deal with the complaints a complaints procedure had been established, which firstly focused on local resolution.  An advisory officer would deal first hand with the local residents who made the complaint and if it was resolved at this stage there would be no other input other than for statistical purposes.  If the complaint was not dealt with at the first stage, Cardiff Harbour Authority would have to provide evidence that the issue had not been caused by the Barrage, therefore the burden of proof lay with Cardiff Harbour Authority. 


Mr. James also informed the Committee that one of the key elements of the Independent Groundwater Complaints Administrator’s role was to regularly review the control measures and procedures to ensure they were fit for purpose, met all statutory requirements and operated in such a way as to maintain financial prudence.   These reviews had taken place which included eight meetings with senior officials at the Cardiff Harbour Authority and two meetings with officials at the Welsh Government.  Furthermore, Mr. James informed the Committee that the process for reviewing and resolving complaints made by residents living within the “protected property†area were fit for purpose and no changes or amendments were envisaged.


The Committee was also informed that all possible assistance was provided to the complainants, even after the resolution of a complaint, for example, in assisting them to obtain grants / financial assistance.  Mr. James also advised the Committee that the recent rainwater had not caused any problems and that in the period under review, 1st June 2012 to 31st May 2013, 17 representations were made by residents living within the protected property boundaries.  Of these cases, 10 concerned the ingress of dampness into their properties, 3 complaints concerned alleged flooding and 1 case referred to structural damage.  All cases were resolved at a local level and none were found to be associated with the Barrage construction, however the investigations did indicate potential reasons for the damp ingress and residents had been given additional advice in their endeavours to prevent any damage associated with the dampness.  There were 4 further cases that were still being dealt with. 


The Committee was informed that the protection period would end in 2019 and that Mr James in conjunction with Cardiff Harbour Authority, were trying to ensure that people were aware of any assistance available to them, given ample opportunity to take advantage of this assistance and that the resources were managed with caution.


Furthermore, he informed the Committee that they were currently administering their records in readiness for the 2019 deadline which included the scanning of all documentation, scrutinising and archiving of private and confidential reports and letters; and the organisation of archiving arrangements for thousands of paper records concerning individual properties e.g. pre and post impoundment and surveys.


Following Mr. James’ presentation a question and answer session ensued in which the following queries were raised:




How were the complaints tallying up for this year?

Mr. James informed the Committee that there were approximately 15 complaints this year, approximately the same as last year.


How many successful complaints had been made since the Cardiff Barrage was impounded?

Mr. James informed the Committee that there had not been any in his time but since the Barrage had been impounded there had been one which was the Pumphouse which had a flooded basement.


Will the groundwater pumps still remain after 2019?

Mr. Howell (Cardiff Bay Harbour Authority) advised that they would be carrying out investigations and trials on the pumps with outside consultants to see if their continued use would be required.


After the construction of the Barrage it was hoped that claims would diminish, have the number of claims evened out now?

Mr. James advised that there had been a slow decline, however there was continued need to ensure people were able to pursue a complaint if necessary and this would be advertised shortly in order to address the issue in a positive way.



The Chairman thanked Mr. James for his informative presentation and advised that it would be interesting to hear next year’s figures.




(e)       Navigational Safety – Mr. Simon Howell – Cardiff Harbour Authority


Mr. Howell informed the Committee that dredging of the river bed adjacent to the Water Bus stop at the castle and Taff’s Meade had commenced and was near completion.  This operation would allow continued use of those stops by commercial operators as well as increasing the water depth for general navigation and craft in those areas.


The Committee was informed that the abandoned vessel Shark had been successfully removed from Cardiff Bay on 19th January and had since been fully decommissioned in Swansea Dry Dock.



(f)         Progress Report – Mr. Simon Howell – Cardiff Harbour Authority


Mr. Howell informed the Committee that Cardiff Harbour Authority’s Oil Spill Contingency Plan had been approved by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency  following its five yearly review.  As part of the requirement of the plan to have a Tier 2 response capability, Braemar Howells had been appointed Tier 2 responder for Cardiff Harbour Authority.  The Committee was further informed that 100% compliance with dissolved oxygen standards had been achieved throughout Cardiff Bay.


Mr. Howell informed the Committee that there were currently a number of maintenance schemes underway or recently completed on the Barrage and Embankment:


·               The sluice cylinders and supporting structures had been painted

·               A trial section of the path close to the Environmental Building had been marked and widened in an attempt to segregate pedestrians and cyclists

·               Anti-fishing netting had been installed at the Barrage to prevent fishing from the sluice area and anti-climb fencing was also being installed as an additional deterrent

·               The stop beams had been moved from Lock 2 into Lock 1 in February to carry out an emergency repair to the lower bearing retaining pin.  Once the repair works had been completed, the stop beams would be removed from Lock 1 in the week commencing 7th April 2014 and the Barrage site would be closed on two days of that week

·               A lock cylinder was currently offsite for repair and due back towards the end of the month.


The adverse weather conditions had resulted in two bearing failures on sluice 4 lower leaf and sluice 5 lower leaf.  The stop beams were currently in sluice 4 and  the bearing had been removed and sent away for repair.  Once returned to site and fitted, work would commence on moving the stop beams into sluice 5 and carrying out a similar repair.  The first completed sluice roller assembly was due back to site in the week commencing 17th March and would be installed by the Barrage Engineering team.  Furthermore the stop beams had been installed into the Fish Pass which was out for annual maintenance.


Mr. Howell advised the Committee that all staff at the Barrage were currently receiving CCTV statutory training and that the contract for the High Ropes adventure course and climbing tower at Cardiff International White Water had been signed with works due to commence in May 2014.


The Committee was informed that the office merger with Parks was almost complete, with the majority of the Heath Park team now in Queen Alexandra House.  Jon Maidment would be taking over as Operational Manager for Harbour and Parks with Simon Howell leaving the Authority on 31st March and six other members of staff across Cardiff Harbour Authority had also left under Voluntary Severance. 


Following the progress report from Mr. Howell, the Chairman advised the Committee that she had met with Councillor Hinchley of Cardiff Council with regard to improving the signage from Cogan Station to the International Sports Village and also informed the Committee that they were looking at their plans in alignment.  The Chairman also took the opportunity to thank Mr. Howell for his contribution to the Cardiff Harbour Authority and the Cardiff Bay Advisory Committee. 



(g)       Update Report – Mr. John Harrison – Natural Resources Wales


Mr. Harrison informed the Committee that during the recent periods of heavy rainfall they had focused on the Newport area, teams had been sent out and they had recommended the evacuation of several hundred properties in the lower Newport area.  He also informed the Committee that the Barrage had provided Cardiff with protection and that proactive maintenance and management of the Barrage would ensure its continued success.  Mr. Harrison stated that he would be meeting with Mr. Howell’s successor to ensure the excellent working relationship with Cardiff Harbour Authority continued.  He further informed the Committee that there would always be a wide range of risks to the Cardiff Bay area due to development and the variety of uses within the area. 



(h)        Any Other Business


Councillor G. Roberts asked whether the solar panel lamp posts were proving successful and was informed by Mr. Howell that they had been successful, in that they provided lighting for routes but were not a replacement for street lighting purposes based on the feedback they had received. 



(i)         Date of Next Meeting


AGREED – T H A T the next meeting be held on Wednesday, 4th June 2014 at 5.15pm, with the venue to be confirmed.  The Clerk to the Committee would liaise with Mr. Vye-Parminter of Cardiff Harbour Authority to secure a room for the next meeting, with the Cardiff International White Water Centre being suggested.