Dolgarrog Revisited

Alwyn ap Huw raises the issue of Dolgarrog Aluminium in his latest blog entry.

Of course, I have written on this issue numerous times since last September.

However, Alwyn asks about the decontamination of the site which, after all, has been a heavy industrial plant for over 100 years.

I have it on very good authority that when the original management buy-out went ahead in 2002, the only way that funding at the time could proceed if the WDA undertook to take full responsibility for any liability arising from the subsequent clean-up of the site.

Of course, the question that arises is, when the WDA was shut down, whether this responsibility for the land clean-up, as would be expected, was automatically passed onto the Assembly Government.

If that was the case, there arises the question of whether

(a) Assembly officials knew about this issue in October of last year when the company went into administration and

(b) whether they informed the Minister of the full facts at the time so that he could balance any rescue package against the potential cost of decontamination.

Various questions have been posted to the Minister on this issue, most recently by Mark Isherwood last week.

However, it is worth noting the following reply to a question by David Melding on the 19th March 2008.

David Melding (South Wales Central): What is the estimated cost of de-contaminating land at the Dolgarrog works site. (WAQ51522)
David Melding (South Wales Central): What liability does the Welsh Assembly Government have to restore contaminated land at the Dolgarrog works site, and will the Minister make a statement. (WAQ51523)

Ieuan Wyn Jones: The issue of potential liability for remediating the land at the Dolgarrog Aluminium Limited site, following the liquidation of Dolgarrog Aluminium Limited, is subject to discussions by officials and lawyers. Subject to satisfactory resolution of legal and other issues, I will make a statement in due course.


As far as I aware, there has been no statement in the subsequent four months.

More importantly, I cannot see why any company would invest in a decontaminated site with a potential liability of millions of pounds without a guarantee that someone else would pick up the bill for the clean-up.

As an optimist, I believe this was probably a cock-up rather than a conspiracy but given the way this has been dealt with subsequently, I just sincerely hope that it is not turning into a cover-up.

Lots of questions but very few answers....

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