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Site Specific Notes - Tomen Lechi Taldrwst


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Tomen Lechi Taldrwst, Tanrallt, Talysarn, Gwynedd LL54 6RR
[ - click here for site activity during the COVID-19 lockdown - ]

[ 08:32, 26.05.20 ] Lockdown ended1, - this site has now returned to being fully active again, with O J Jones "Not Tipping!" & Son Limited once again back on site making deliveries of waste material, additional to the ongoing illegal waste extraction and, just recently, the wanton, and illegal, destruction of a large number of trees (many of which were mature trees), both in and around quarry areas outside of the authorised development area.

as above, only actual satellite view with areas of development and site features marked

[ 10:42, 26.05.20 ] Observed palletized wire crates2 of slate from the illegal slate extraction at the Tomen Lechi site being taken to Ty Mawr West Limited by tractor and long-trailer along the B4418 after being routed out along Lôn Ddwr and into Llanllyfni, then back along the B44183. The quarry has been quietly functioning right through the lock-down, but has been openly operational since the daily quarry-truck runs resumed around two weeks ago.


1 [ 26.05.20 ] no, it has not but, then, lockdown never actually happened at this site: until the 26.05.20 activity on the main development was on hold, but other activities, including illegal waste extraction and further destruction of habitat outside of the main development site, involving several other farms and landowners in the area, not to mention the co-operation of Ty Mawr West Limited (as overseers of the site as a whole) has been ongoing right throughout the lockdown and is continuing on a daily basis as a result of Gwynedd County Council's complete failure, to date, to take any enforcement action.

2 this varies: sometimes the loads will comprise of palletized wire cages, other times white woven polypropylene sacks. In both cases they are loaded onto a low-loader and taken to Ty Mawr West Limited in order to be added to legitimate material tallies in an attempt to hide the fact that the material has been obtained illegally, with both the consent and knowledge of Ty Mawr West Limited and those operating the Tomen Lechi Taldrwst site.

Fortunately, such activities appear to be quite acceptable in Gwynedd, lockdown or no (bearing in mind that these activities can have been ongoing since long before then); but this does raise some very serious questions in relation to the local authorities in North Wales (Gwynedd County Council, in particular; not to mention Flintshire County Council, - responsible for overseeing Mineral Planning in Cymru, - local "we simply cannot permit enough destructive and exploitative development under the guise of Wellbeing of Wales but are incapable of taking (paid/pressured to avoid?) enforcement action" local planning, and the Joint Planning Policy Committee)4

Then there is the issue of CL:AiRE DoWCoP, - an entirely useless entity if ever there was one, - which knows of the activities of the site, the complete failure of self-regulation on the site, and the failure of those involved in vouching for the site to withdraw their endorsement, yet who (all too conveniently) are unable to accept that the illegal transfer of waste product is a breach of waste management and that both the Tomen Lechi Taldrwst and the Ty Mawr West Limited site are breaking the law in relation to the processing and handling of illegally extracted slate waste, even when site observations, material analysis of the material, and forensic analysis of MMP and any other paperwork would almost certainly prove the case.

3 previously the slate was being removed to one of several local farms in the area, including Gwynfaes Farm, a farm on Tal Garnedd (a farm on an unlisted highway - LL54 6SB, - also involved in both the crushed-slate runs from the quarry and removing trailer loads of material from the illegal extraction site on Tomen Lechi Taldrwst), and another off Lôn Ddŵr, where the slate was transfered into polythene sacks before being taken out via the same arrangement, with the pallets burned in the evening or at night .



Site Operator: D & E Jones [ Ty Mawr West Limited - Ty Mawr West Recycling Limited ], Glaslyn, Tai Nantlle, Nantlle. LL54 6BE: Tŷ Mawr West Quarry, Nantlle1

The landowner is given in the planning documentation [C19/0184/22/AC] as being Lowri Williams of Tre'r Ceiri, Llwyn Ceirios, Caernarfon, whilst the applicant is Robert Pritchard of Taldrwst Farm, Llanllyfni, LL54 6RR. The site is being worked by various groups or individuals, including other local farms, with both Gwynfaes Farm on Lôn Ddŵr, Llanllyfni, and Pen Yr Allt Gôch on Tal Garnedd, Llanllyfni, acting as transit points for both machinery and site materials.

C17/0973/22/MW. Note: the following associated planning applications should also be taken into consideration: C16/0796/22/TC, C18/1076/22/MW, C19/0184/22/AC.

C13/0217/22/MW* and C13/1052/22/MW** are given here as additional reference resources.

Grid Ref: 248447,352019

Site Situation: permission given to infill an extraction pit and to remove a slate waste tip according to site CEMP as detailed in the planning documentation; however, the current level of overspread, including two staging areas (one well outside of the main development area) definitely exceeds the two hectares allowed by the original GDPO application, in addition to contravening DoW:CoP, CL:AIRE MMP (whichever applicable) and site CEMP, quite aside from further damage and destruction of habitat to and around those areas2.

Waste Carriers License or Permit: none
CL:AiRE DoW:CoP: declared for the infilling of the pit, but not for the tip removal


outline of planned development as submitted
outline of planned development as submitted

as above, only actual satellite view with areas of development and site features marked
as above, only actual satellite view with areas of development and site features marked

current situation, showing site features and deliberate overspread, including destruction to areas outside of the main development area.
Current situation, showing site features and deliberate overspread, including destruction to areas outside of the main development area.

The overspread, and ongoing (illegal) slate waste extraction (marked in orange) to the left of the above image, and above the haul track (line marked in black), now entirely covers the slate tips in that section, including an area easily equivalent to the original <2 hectares application, as originally submitted, thereby taking the final area under development to almost 4 hectares in size with additional land remediation works without any prior planning consent whatsoever.



Further to the above, the site is an acknowledged bio-diversity site and, whilst there was little wrong with the initial, associated, plan (that of infilling an old extraction pit with a view to allowing an original stone house to be restored for use as a retirement home), the removal of the waste tip is both destructive and completely unecessary, irreparably damaging the bio-diversity, character, watershed, and ecology of the area. It should also be noted that this is, yet again, another area where Gwynedd County Council has declined to protect otter habitat and the second time in the same area where this happened within the space of two years.

This site is unmarked (complete and total absence of any signage, save for a couple of signs on the right of way that required the intervention of HSE to be installed) and almost completely non-compliant in all respects, with a gated haul track that can be accessed via Lôn Tyddyn Agnes.

There is also a right of way that runs across the site from Lôn Ddwr to a field above the site, but care should be taken to watch for old workings. The ground underfoot is also quite treacherous and very wet, whilst the Lôn Ddwr end of the path is obstructed (an alternative route can be taken at any point along Lôn Ddwr, though, including the driveway to Tyddyn Agnes Farm, because that is the law where paths have been obstructed - any reasonable alternative can be used).

Access to the top of the path (silver field gate further up Lôn Tyddyn Agnes on the left-hand side) is also chained and padlocked so, again, it is permissable to climb over the gate (or to cut the chain provided that the chain are padlock are not taken away). From there move to the left and into a tringular area; then, following an old sunken track (one of the original quarry tracks), climb over the fence (there are sheep in the field, so please do not reduce it down any further unless it has been obstructed again), and then head to the right and cross diagonally towards a culvert under the site haul track.

Also watch for O J Jones "Not Tipping!" & Son Limited and D&E Haulage HGVs breaching site CEMP whilst transfering material to and from the site and photograph or video them when and where possible (whatever they are carrying, tipping, or being loaded with, too, if possible). D&E Haulage also seem to have switched to using an unliveried HGV on the site: same style, white cab, but no branding.

Site CEMP (Construction and Environmental Management Plan) expressly prohibits HGVs on the Tomen Lechi site, regardless of whether the site has a Waste Carriers License or Permit, or DoW:CoP, or none of those; so ignore any nonsense from O J Jones' drivers about "not tipping anything" because it straight-out does not matter: they are not supposed to take HGVs onto that site and are breaking the law by doing so, whether through violating CEMP or through there being no NRW license or permit in place for the site3.

Outside of issues involving CEMP, both the hauliers, O J Jones & Son Limited and D&E Haulage, have a Waste Carriers License; although D&E Haulage hide their Caeathro, Caernarfon, address by registering themselves using David Griffiths (an individual), not the business name, which is especially curious given that they also obfuscate their business name as D & E, not D&E, Haulage and use the registered address of a family member in Cannock; conveniently many miles away and well over the other side of the Cymru border.

Late afternoon, early-morning / evening, weekend, and poor weather viewing is also a must at this development site4 5 if you want to catch those working the site in further breaches of Health & Safety or violations of CEMP (Construction and Environment Management Plan). Whilst Gwynedd Council Council has made it clear that they have no intention of abiding by the law and prosecuting the site operators6, both Natural Resources Wales and the HSE will happily accept incident reports relating to the site. Remember to supply site location details (see the DEFRA MAGIC details at the foot of this page) and a way in which you can pass your files onto them (any decent file-sharing site with public file-sharing will do, with some offering free or trial accounts).

Additionally watch out for a moonlighting Tudor Griffiths truck in the area, and the likelihood of a flatbed truck (possibly with brick grab). The usual approach to the site is along Lôn Ddwr from the Llanllyfni end, but it is easier to monitor truck activity from the hills to either side of the valley (with powerful optics or lenses), from around the site itself, or simultaneously at both ends of Lôn Ddwr. The trucks will often try to use the cover of darkness or poor weather to hide their movements (nothing that low light optics cannot handle), weekends, and public holidays, with tractors and trailer arrangements sometimes being used for smaller loads or palletized items.

Current Plan:

Back in November, 2019, and according to information given to the NRW, de-watering of the extraction pit was to resume "inside the next week or two" ...whilst, at the time, there was a daily procession of H&E Haulage (dark panelled truck with white cab and distinctive light bar across the top of the cab) bringing soil from Penygroes Quarry (another site without a Waste Carriers License) for dumping into the extraction pit.

Supposedly this was being done to infill the quarry via the CL:AiRE waste protocol (so I guess that dewatering of the pit and checking it for artefacts - further CEMP requirements - has definitely been dropped), with further sorting and reclaim of aggregates from the quarry waste on site via "hand-picking"7 for sale to the landscaping industry.

As it currently stands [18.02.20], the extraction pit has now been filled in (completely disregarding the need to complete dewatering it), through a process of dumping HGV loads of waste soil (little of which looked to be clean, or from the same site) directly into the extraction pit and through then using an excavator to complete the work, displacing the remaining, heavily polluted, water into the surrounding earth and out onto the fenland area directly beneath the pit8, whilst the many tons of crushed slate dumped onto the wetland area, along with the crushed aggregates used to extend the main development site, have become staging areas for many tons of slate rubble (including that of an old wall) removed from a car-parking area in Penygroes at the back end of last year.

The removal of the car-park material involved a local contractor, with the waste taken to the Tŷ Mawr West Quarry, Nantlle, for disposal, only the material was then quietly transferred to the Tomen Lechi Taldrwst site where it is likely that it will be added to the tally for that site and sold on as site output.

As the owners of Tŷ Mawr West Quarry also manage the Tomen Lechi Taldrwst site, in addition to owning Ty Mawr West Recycling Limited, it is certain that there has been an arrangement between D & E Jones and those owning or working Tomen Lechi Taldrwst to illegally use the site as a transit site for materials received under contract for processing at Tŷ Mawr West, most likely with a view to avoiding costs on their side whilst profiting through the resale and distribution of the re-classified waste product via the Taldrwst site9.

Timeline & Media:

Image and video resources are located here, with cross-references and further notes where applicable.




Notes:

* contains a biodiversity report on a similar site in Llanllyfni (maybe a mile distant from the development site), highlighting inconsistencies in the planning procedures in which the advice of the council's Biodiversity Department was accorded some weight and acted upon in the case of the Llanllyfni site, but as good as disregarded in the case of the slate tip removal beyond recommendations that the applicant have various surveys carried-out and take preventative measures to avoid harming any protected wildlife, in the sure knowledge that neither are ever likely to happen after Gwynedd's Local Planning Authority made clear their total disregard of the bio-diversity status of the site during the planning approval process.

** this is an earlier application on the same site (one that was denied following public consultation), but the documentation includes some interesting submissions, including a comprehensive Archæology report covering the tip removal site.

1 D & E Jones (D & E simply being a reference to Dafydd & Ellis) of Glaslyn, Tai Nantlle is the operator of all the sites, excepting only that of Tyn y Weirglodd Quarry (which is operated by Welsh Slate Limited), and is also, in turn, not only director of Ty Mawr West Limited but also Ty Mawr West Recycling Limited. In short, they are the primary controlling party behind every one but one of the sites along the Dorothea Quarry - Llanllyfni ridgeline.

2 Some allowance also needs to be accorded to Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and Health & Safety Executive (HSE) recommendations, but nothing on a level that would match the scale of damage or destruction present in some areas of the site (specifically, south of the main development area and north of the haul track before reaching the main site) or which would involve or necessitate the deliberate dumping of stone, mineral waste, and soil on watershed wetland area or crushed rock onto the main development site to overspread that into additional wetland area, in both cases contrary to DoWCoP or CL:AIRE MMP and to provide staging areas for activities that are neither permitted by site CEMP or at all necessary beyond illegally using the site as a staging area for other activities.

3 the infilling of the Tyddyn Agnes Extraction Pit is covered by a DoW:CoP arrangement; however this does not appear to be the case for the removal of the slate tip, which is a separate planning application.

4 For anyone with powerful optical lenses, excellent views of the site can also be obtained from public rights of way on the hillside above Ffordd Hyfrydle (running parallel to the B4418), with one route running straight up from Ffordd Hyfrydle to Hen Lôn and then up onto Coglyn Mellyn; whilst activity to and from Penygroes Quarry is considerably easier to monitor now that one of the local farmers has deliberately all but destroyed a hedgerow running along the main road to the quarry from the A481 roundabout.

attempts have been made to intimidate and attack people trying to use the public right of way or monitoring activities at the Tomen Lechi site (usually in order to prevent the capture of site activities) by the site applicant, who may be encountered on the lanes around the site driving a dark blue van and sometimes hiding on a layby above the site. Interference with monitoring is also a distinct possibility on the other side of the floodplain, above or around Hen Lôn, and care should be taken to observe both the upper and lower approaches along the public rights of way when using this area.


Discretion should also be used when using mobile handsets in the area - anywhere around the floodplain, including above Lôn Ddŵr and the B4418 - as all mobile GSM and data communications in the area are intercepted and eavesdropped on, if not terminated and blocked. A similar situation exists with landlines in the area, especially involving mobile to landline calls.

Neither of the above are as a result of any authorized activity or local mast faults, and the Police are aware of the situation; so please report any further issues however reluctant the operator is to deal with any new reports on the matter.

https://www.mastdata.com/

5 Tŷ Mawr West Quarry and the two locations of Penygroes Quarry10, Penygroes and Tudor Griffiths Quarries, Cefn Graianog, should not be overlooked, either, as these two sites appear to be involved in the transfer of materials onto the Tomen Lechi site via HGV, the use of outside hauliers possibly being a convenient way of ensuring that any prosecutions do not come back on Tudor Griffiths Quarries10.

6 be aware that the site operators are updated on any contact with the Local Planning Authority and Mineral Planning Authority even whilst they (the LPA, MPA and, yes, Planning Enforcement) are refusing to respond to, or even acknowledge, your letters, emails, or attempts at contacting them. If you have compromising material on any of the sites contact Natural Resources Wales, the Health & Safety Executive, or CL:AiRE via their remediation process (for those sites using the DoW:CoP self-regulation approach to waste management).

7 what the NRW was not told is that hand-picked stone from the site is palletized and the palletized goods are then collected by a HGV with a brick-grab, which is likely also the reason for burying a sizeable section of the watershed area north of the haul track under hardstanding: so it can be used as a turning area and an area where palletized materials can be cached for later collection. Also, whilst this location is partly hidden from the ridgeline above the site, the newly flattened area is now clearly visible from areas all across the other side of the floodplain and several points elsewhere outside of the development area.

8 an access ramp was created (briefly) during observations back in December (probably to satisfy an imminent inspection), but has since been removed. The crater will doubtless remain only until those working the site are satisfied that they nothing further to worry about in relation to site inspections or being totally in breach of site CEMP (which does not appear to be issue of concern anyway where Gwynedd is concerned).

9 always assuming the wall pieces are not to be re-used on site, it is likely that they will be re-palletized and removed via a HGV flatbed truck, probably using a brick-grab attachment or similar, such as has previously been used on the site.

10 it should be noted that Penygroes Quarry is actually Ellesmere Sand & Gravel Co. Limited, with that and Tudor Griffiths Limited being one and the same, but masquerading as two different companies, both being involved primarily in the extraction of sand, gravel, clays, and kaolin in addition to the production of concrete and the treatment and disposal of non-hazardous waste on the Tudor Griffiths side ...with the ES&G side also dealing in mixed farming, recreational vehicle parks, and the operating and letting of leased real estate. It should also be noted that the planning documentation for Penygroes Quarry makes it clear that waste material from the Penygroes Quarry is to be transfered to the Tudor-Griffiths site at Cefn Graianog.




Please Note: this site is undergoing ongoing changes and amendments as further details and evidence is gathered and added to the site, so please feel free to use the contact details given at the foot of this page should you have any questions or should you wish to submit further details or evidence of your own; but please do not send attachments without first contacting me, as the attachments will simply be deleted by the mail server otherwise.

All the media material on this site is available by request, including copies of the original .jpg, .mov, .mp4 files and additional material that is not currently part of the online article; likewise all letters and emails where referenced by this article.

For anyone wanting to make their own reports of similar activities in their area, please contact me via my secure email address, and via a Protonmail account (free accounts available), if possible. Field numbers and postcodes can be determined via MAGIC [ Maps > Interactive Map > Where Am I? top menu-bar button) > click on relevant area on the main map for the field number after zooming-in on, or searching for, that area) ].

If you are a fellow tree-hugger, one of those "old crusties", local twitcher, or just someone wanting to know what is so special about these quarry workings and the Dorothea Quarry-Llanllyfni ridgeline, I am happy to show you in person and free of charge, with no running commentary or any tour-guide nonsense. You will need good (waterproof) footwear, a sense of adventure, and a passion for rough terrain.

Free surveillance from a lay-by opposite the junction of Ffordd Hyfrydle is sometimes provided by people connected to the sites from the cosy safety of a layby off the B4418, along with occasional interesting encounters with some of the locals, on anyone passing through the vicinity of the ridgeline quarries (especially those in the vicinity of Tŷ Mawr quarries or the area above the quarries). All walks are along public rights of way wherever possible and should normally not exceed more than a couple of hours. My email address is as shown below.




- @: Ex5NY27U corequery.uk

- secure email address as detailed above -

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