Any new building projects lying in close proximity to the Teifi, Cleddau and Tywi rivers will have to meet strict mitigations to ensure their phosphate levels are greatly improved.

Planning developments in certain parts of Wales are currenty on hold following the publications of new targets to help reduce river phosphate levels in Special Areas of Conservation (SAC).  

Now, any new proposals for development within the SAC river catchments must prove the project will not contribute to increased phosphate levels.

The Afon Tywi, Teifi, Cleddau and Wye are all special areas of conservation however, Teifi, Cleddau and Wye are currently falling short of the phosphate control targets.

This week, in an effort to address the problem, Carmarthenshire County Council became the first planning authority in Wales to launch a free tool to help developers calculate the impact of their project on local phosphate levels.

Their phosphate calculator will help developers understand the impact of their scheme so that appropriate mitigations can be included as part of their planning application.  A set of mitigation guidelines are also being produced to assist developers.

 “This situation is not unique," said Cllr David Jenkins, Carmarthenshire's cabinet member for planning.  "Over 60 per cent of waterbodies in Wales fail against the new targets, and many construction projects are currently on hold which we know is frustrating for developers."

The calculator is a free resource, designed specifically for Carmarthenshire, and we strongly advise anyone looking to develop within the catchment of our river special areas of conservation to use it to support their application.”

The council has also set up a phosphate stakeholder forum, working with developers, landowners and other key parties, to address the issue.

“We want to work with people to find solutions that improve the condition of our rivers, that are feasible and can be implemented quickly and successfully,” added Cllr Jenkins. “We want to engage with a wide range of people representing homebuilders, employers, the farming community, residents, environmental groups and more to discuss these issues.”

The free calculator can ben found at