Shropshire Star

Council says water supplies will be protected as part of conditions for Shrewsbury relief road

Shropshire Council has published an outline of how it plans to protect water supplies in Shrewsbury as it tries to push through its controversial North West Relief Road project.

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The planned viaduct, part of the North West Relief road, will be the longest bridge in Shropshire

Council planning officers have drawn up a document containing 62 recommended conditions which need to be satisfied in order for work to begin on the relief road development, ahead of a committee meeting next week.

The conditions are the final step in the planning process for the project, which was given the green light by Shropshire Council in October. If approved, it will allow the road to go ahead subject to a full business case being submitted to the Department for Transport.

The 7km-long road, designed to connect the north and west parts of Shrewsbury, has met with strong local opposition from campaigners. There have also been objections from the Environment Agency (EA), which wrote to the council following the approval of the planning application to reiterate its concerns on a possible risk to the town’s drinking water supply.

The supply draws its source from a borehole in the Shelton area of the town, which the EA and Severn Trent Water say could be impacted by the proposed route, which runs over a ‘source protection zone’ designed to safeguard water quality.

Shropshire Council brushed aside those concerns when approving the planning permission, arguing they could be controlled by planning conditions, a point which was partially accepted by borehole operator Severn Trent Water, but disputed by the EA.

Severn Trent Water said it did not object to the principle of the application, but had “specific concerns” over a potential for the scheme to pollute water supplies at Shelton. It demanded to see how construction works would be managed, along with a plan for how the run-off from drainage and spillages from the road would be dealt with.

“The piling work involved poses notable risks to our groundwater abstractions, and we must have absolute clarity now on how the applicant will manage these risks during construction,” it said.

“If there was a need for us to shut down Shelton WTW due to a water quality issue caused by the construction or operation of the new road and roundabout, that could not be mitigated by the existing water treatment processes, recovery of the supply so that we can continue to provide wholesome water to our customers could be very difficult.”

As part of the proposed conditions, Shropshire Council will be required to provide a drainage management plan showing how it will monitor and maintain the road to prevent contamination to the water supply.

An emergency response plan detailing how spillages from accidents would be managed has also been proposed, detailing how the site would be cleaned up and monitored to prevent pollution.

The council will also be required to show how it plans to manage water quality during piling works for a proposed viaduct over the river severn by producing a “turbidity protocol”, a system of monitoring the water quality at the site.

A condition to protect “retained trees” on the site has also been recommended, stating that no uprooting or felling work could take place without written approval from the planning authority.

The committee will meet to discuss the recommendations on February 15.