Mobilisation And Transport Of Metals Between Ecosystem Compartments In The Lower Swansea Valley - A Post-Industrial Urban Regeneration Zone 

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  • to quantify the metal burdens in the terrestrial and aquatic compartments of the Lower Swansea Valley (LSV) ecosystem
  • to determine the fluxes and pathways of metals from the terrestrial to the aquatic compartments
  • to establish the role and significance of (a) large storm events and (b) biomobilisation in the mobilisation and transport of metals
  • to assess the long-term success of the metal containment and stabilisation protocols implemented since the 1960s and, hence, to provide practical guidance for future rehabilitation programmes both in the LSV and elsewhere.


South Wales


This project will examine the current state of the semi-natural landscapes within the regenerating urban system of the LSV. It will quantify the fluxes of metals between the various compartments and explore the success of the rehabilitation scheme which started in the 1960s. The research methods will be as follows:

  • quantifying metal burdens and biomobilisation in terrestrial ecosystem compartments
  • mobilisation and transportation of metals between ecosystem compartments
  • storm event strategy
  • baseflow strategy
  • metal analysis
  • supplementary analysis of continuous and archival data
  • spatial extrapolation using hyperspectral remote sensing.

Start Date/Duration

April 1999 Three years

Lead Organisations

University of Wales


The data sets described above will be integrated within a geographical information system. This will form both a coherent spatial database on metal contamination and biodiversity within the LSV, and a modelling framework that will allow the impacts of various scenarios to be examined as an aid to practical management of the LSV by the end-users. The temporal data from the major storm events will be analysed to assess the relative significance of the various hypothesised sources of metals within the present day LSV system and, in conjunction with archival data, to assess the overall impact of individual components of the remediation/redevelopment scheme.


City and County of Swansea

Environment Agency

Welsh Development Agency

Forest Research

Further Details

Further information is available from the following contacts:

Lead Researcher: Prof M J Barnsley

Tel: 01792 295647, Fax: 01792 295955, e-mail:

URGENT Programme Manager: Graham Leeks

Tel: 01491 692203, Fax: 01491 692313, e-mail: