SCA 16 – Mid Swansea Bay

Summary description 

The SCA is open sea south of Swansea Bay with medium depth waters, 15-20m depth, with a seabed of slightly gravelly sand to the south changing to muddy sand to the north. The area is used by commercial vessels and leisure craft approaching the ports and harbours of Swansea, Port Talbot and Neath. A dumping ground/spoil ground is licensed in the middle of the area.

Key characteristics

  • Open sea extending south from Swansea Bay with medium depth waters, 15-20m depth, reducing slightly towards White Oyster Ledge in the western part of the area, all with a seabed of slightly gravelly sand to the south changing to muddy sand to the north.
  • Medium wave energy but strong tidal currents keep sediment in suspension.
  • Wrecks associated with trade with Swansea but also along the Bristol Channel, such as the pilot cutter, David.
  • Forms part of the approaches to Swansea Bay and its various ports and harbours and so has a mix of commercial and leisure craft.
  • Sea with simple, open characteristics at a vast scale dominated by swell, waves and winds with a sense of remoteness increasing to the south and west.
  • Contributes to open sea views from Swansea Bay and southern Gower.
  • The key visible coastal features are Cefn Bryn and cliffs to the north west, Swansea and its settled hill backcloth to the north and the coalfield plateau to the north east with Port Talbot steelworks.
  • Tranquillity is strong but reduced by visible development on the coast.

Forces for change

These can be divided into:

  • Natural processes
  • Recreational pressure
  • Commercial and leisure fishing
  • Offshore energy or minerals
  • MOD use

 

Initial thoughts are:

Further wind energy developments on the South Wales coalfield plateau to the north east would impact on views and tranquillity.

Any changes to the Port Talbot steelworks could have a visual effect on the SCA.

Any changes to the licensed area for disposal of dredged spoil.