NPTC has no details of who damaged a River Weir

NPTC has no knowledge of who damaged the Weir supplying water to the Tennant Canal from the River Neath.

In 2018, large water pumps were installed which fed into the canal to improve water flow then in early July 2021
In 2018, large water pumps were installed which fed into the Tennant Canal to improve low water flows.

Summary: Since 1824, the Tennant canal’s main source of water supply came from the River Neath at Aberdulais by way of the spectacular Aqueduct until its closure. The Canal was then supplied via a River Weir which mysteriously collapsed in February 2015? After three years with no main water supply and the Weir still not repaired the canal’s condition began to seriously deteriorate until in June 2018, after a hot, dry spell, with canal levels down to only a few inches in places the owners licensed by NRW (Natural Resources Wales) decided to install large pumps at Aberdulais to help restore some water supply to the canal from the Neath river. In July 2021 the pumps were removed.

STTC question:
07 September 2021
RE-Tennant Canal.

Dear Mr. Kinnock.

Could you please ask NPTC “who or what was responsible for the damage to the Weir in the River Neath at Aberdulais in 2015, ending the Tennant Canals main water supply?”

STTC Answers,
15 September 2021

NPTC – Neath and Port Talbot Council to Mr. Stephen Kinnock MP, Member of Parliament for Aberavon.

Thank you for your email in relation to the Tennant Canal.

I have received a response from the Environment Director at Neath Port Talbot Council in which they confirm that the Tennant Canal is privately owned by the Coombe Tennant Estate as opposed to being within public ownership. They are aware that following the cessation of pumping water from the River Neath into the canal, residents have expressed concern over the reducing water levels and associated structural stability of the canal walls together with the impacts upon biodiversity.

From discussions with a representative of NRW the Director is aware that the weir no longer functions and NRW have confirmed notwithstanding the fact that they are not the landowner, they have no intention of repairing or reinstating the weir as this would be a matter for the canal owner. There are no details of when the damage to the weir occurred nor by whom. In terms of structural stability, the council’s engineers have undertaken a visual inspection of the canal walls within the built-up area. This was on the basis of potential concerns to property should the canal walls collapse. That visual inspection indicated that there were no concerns at present. Turning finally to the impact upon the Crymlyn Bog and its ecosystem/ecological value, the Council are aware that the bog has a number of water sources one of which is the canal. NRW have confirmed that they have no concerns at present with regard to the impact of reduced water levels within the canal on the biodiversity in and around the bog, as the bog is in actual fact too wet.

We have been through a relatively dry season and as we approach the autumn and winter, rainfall will increase which will, in turn, result in an increase in the level of water within the canal, which as you know brings a whole raft of other problems associated with flooding.

The Director appreciates that this is not the response you may have been looking for but as you are aware, the council has very restricted resources to maintain its own assets and as such, they are not in a position to step in and maintain/improve privately owned assets.

I understand you will be disappointed with the response, however, I have also written to NRW and will update you further when I receive their reply.

Yours sincerely

Stephen Kinnock
Member of Parliament for Aberavon