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‘Abandoned communities’ need answers from Port, says MP

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STEPHEN CRABB MP has called for answers to ‘very serious’ questions after a flood devastated homes in the communities of Havens Head and Lower Priory two weeks ago.

At a meeting on Friday (Nov 23) outside the flood-damaged Priory Inn public house, displaced residents – some of whom are not insured – explained to their Member of Parliament that they firmly believed that the Milford Haven Port Authority was to blame for the flooding of their homes.

Mr Crabb said that questions raised about the adequacy of the pipes and culverts leading to the docks and their maintenance ‘deserve full answers’ and said that he felt that those affected felt ‘abandoned’.

The Port, however, denies that it is responsible for the incident. Tim Bownes, Engineering Director at the Port, released a statement last week saying that the flooding was not caused by any failure to act. He said it was caused by ‘two days of heavy rainfall, combined with extremely high tides combined with a tidal surge of up to half a metre.’

Mr Bownes also said that water was ‘flowing as expected’ down the Port’s culvert system on November 8

Some of the residents were clearly emotional showing their MP around their wrecked homes. The landlady of the local pub, where water levels reached the ceiling, said she could not handle going inside to see the devastation.

“Nobody from the Port gives a shit about us,” landlady Glenda German told Mr Crabb.

She added: “I’ve lost everything in this flood, and we need to get to the bottom of who is to blame.

“Someone has got to pay for this; my whole life is on stop.”

Ian Banister said that he felt that lack of maintenance was the cause of the problem, and he wanted to see records and logs to prove that the Port was telling the truth. He showed Mr Crabb several classic cars which were submerged; including a rare 1930’s Singer Le Mans sports car, and a recently rebuilt Austin A35.

Another resident pointed out that the Port was not bound by the Freedom of Information Act and information could be difficult to obtain.

Flood was deep: Stephen Crabb MP with Cllr Viv Stoddart and property owner James Kershaw (Pic Herald)

James Kershaw who lives at Pill Priory, just behind the pub, said that the culverts were either blocked, or if they were not, then they were clearly inadequate.

“Either way the Port are to blame,” he said. 1.5m of sewerage contaminated flood water has destroyed his ground floor furniture and kitchen. A lorry used for his gardening business has also been written off.

Following a tour of damaged properties Mr Crabb told The Herald: “What this group of families has been through is heart-breaking.”

He went on: “People have literally lost everything as a result of the flooding and now face many months of living in temporary accommodation waiting for their homes to dry out and repairs to be done.”

Mr Crabb addressed the accusation from many residents that Milford Haven Port Authority had contributed to the flooding by not properly maintaining the culvert which runs under Haven’s Head Business Park and into Milford Dock.

Emotional moment: Ian Bannister from Lower Priory clearly upset by the damage caused (Pic: Herald)

He told this newspaper: “The questions being raised by the residents of Lower Priory and Havens Head about the adequacy of the pipes and culverts leading to the Docks are very serious and deserve full answers.

“The speed and severity of the flooding has raised questions about whether the infrastructure has been maintained properly by the Port Authority to allow water to run out in the Dock and not build up in the way it did.”

Mr Crabb added: “These communities currently feel abandoned. It is a bewildering and stressful experience to suddenly lose your home and possessions.

“It is entirely fair for these residents to demand a full explanation as to how this happened and what can be done to prevent it in future. I’m committed to bringing together the relevant authorities to ensure that some answers can be found.”

Stephen Crabb MP visits flooded resident (Pic: Herald)

High tide mark: The level of water in James Kershaw’s home (Pic: Herald)

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Home office is ‘misleading the public’ over police funding, says Police and Crime Commissioner

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THE POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER has told The Herald that he believes that the Home Office is ‘misleading the public’ that his force will have an increase in funding in 2019/2020.

On the face of it, it appears that Dyfed-Powys Police will have an increase in funding of £8.1 million in 2019/20. However this figure is based upon the presumption that PCC Dafydd Llywelyn will increase the current Band D property precept level by £24 annually.
After what he describes as a frustrating delay, the Government’s provisional grant funding settlement has been announced, which sets out the position for Dyfed-Powys Police for the 2019/20 financial year. On the face of it, it appears that Dyfed-Powys Police will have an increase in funding of £8.1 million in 2019/20. However this figure is based upon the presumption that PCC Dafydd Llywelyn will increase the current Band D property precept level by £24 annually.
PCC Dafydd Llywelyn said: “The way in which the Home Office and Central Government are misleading the public is disgraceful and I am very disappointed in the way this settlement once again shifts the burden onto local tax payers. I continue to try and do the right thing to protect our communities but I feel we are being let down by the Government in London as their actions are likely to impact on our local services.”
“I am currently consulting with the residents of Dyfed-Powys; asking if they would be willing to pay additional police precept to continue to safeguard our communities. Within the survey I have outlined the impact of for Dyfed-Powys Police and its communities. My decision will be made by listening to local communities and the professional advice of the Chief Constable.”
“I am working closely with the Chief Constable to critically review all aspects of the budget requirement. Given the scale of financial challenges that are faced, a precept increase will be unavoidable, but how much this is increased by should not be dictated by Government.”

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Police issue warning over sheep attacks in Pembrokeshire

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE has issued advice to pet owners following a spate of livestock worrying incidents in the Saundersfoot, Narberth and Crescelly areas.

There have been six reports of dog attacks on sheep in the past three weeks, one of which caused a dog to be shot after it was caught attacking sheep in Solva.

PC Gerwyn Davies of the Pembrokeshire Rural Crime Team, told The Herald: “It is important dogs are always kept on leads near livestock, but especially so at this time of year. Sheep are heavily in lamb and their numbers have increased because they come from high grounds in mid Wales for the winter.

“Sheep worrying can have a long term effect on ewes as they can lose pregnancies as a result of stress. This obviously has a negative impact on farmers who not only lose out financially, but it is also very upsetting.

“Sadly, three ewes have been killed and several more injured in the past few weeks. One family dog was shot in Solva after it attacked sheep, which is a sad situation for the dog’s owner and upsetting for the farmer.”

Farmers can legally shoot any dog if they believe it is the only reasonable way of stopping it worrying livestock. If your dog chases or attacks livestock you should make arrangements to contact the landowner/livestock owner.

Anyone who has information about, or wants to make a report of livestock worrying, can contact the Pembrokeshire Rural Crime Team by calling 101.

Dog owners are reminded of this advice when walking in the countryside:

  • Do not allow your dog to enter a field on its own and keep it under your control at all times.
  • Keep your dog on a lead when crossing through fields that contain livestock.
  • Stick to public right of ways.

When at home:

  • Make sure you know where your dog is at all times.
  • Ensure that your property is secure and that your dog cannot escape day or night.
  • If you know your dog has previously chased or attacked sheep then take responsible measures to prevent it happening again.
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New First Minister announces his cabinet

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THE FIRST MINISTER FOR WALES, Mark Drakeford, has today announced his new look cabinet to lead Wales. The First Minister said: “It is an enormous privilege for me to be appointed First Minister of Wales. Every leader needs a strong team around them, and I am delighted to introduce my new cabinet which is a strong mix of experience, talent and passion.

“Brexit is our greatest challenge.  In the extraordinary and regrettable circumstances created by the UK Government, it is vital that we prepare for all outcomes. I have retained Ministers in posts where their experience of Brexit preparation is key, while creating a new post to reflect the priority I attach to international relationships and trade.

“As a government we will continue to speak up for Wales, to fight our country’s corner and make sure the government in London is never in any doubt at all of what matters to the people of Wales.”

Cabinet and Deputy Ministers

Vaughan Gething
Minister for Health and Social Services  – Y Gweinidog Iechyd a Gwasanaethau Cymdeithasol

Julie Morgan
Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services – Y Dirprwy Weinidog Iechyd a Gwasanaethau Cymdeithasol

Eluned Morgan
Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language – Gweinidog y Gymraeg a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol

Dafydd Elis-Thomas
Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism – Y Dirprwy Weinidog Diwylliant, Chwaraeon a Thwristiaeth

Ken Skates
Minister for Economy and Transport – Gweinidog yr Economi a Thrafnidiaeth

Lee Waters
Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport – Dirprwy Weinidog yr Economi a Thrafnidiaeth

Julie James
Minister for Housing and Local Government – Y Gweinidog Tai a Llywodraeth Leol

Hannah Blythyn
Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government – Y Dirprwy Weinidog Tai a Llywodraeth Leol

Rebecca Evans
Minister for Finance and Trefnydd – Y Gweinidog Cyllid a’r Trefnydd

Kirsty Williams
Minister for Education – Y Gweinidog Addysg

Lesley Griffiths
Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs – Gweinidog yr Amgylchedd, Ynni a Materion Gwledig

Jeremy Miles
Counsel General Designate and Brexit Minister – Y Darpar Gwnsler Cyffredinol a’r Gweinidog Brexit

Jane Hutt
Deputy Minister and Chief Whip – Y Dirprwy Weinidog a’r Prif Chwip

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