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Up to 10,000 litres of heavy fuel was lost in jetty leak say Valero

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THE MULTI-AGENCY is continuing at the Port of Milford Haven following an oil pollution incident at the Valero Pembroke Refinery, harbour authorities have said.

Valero have today estimated that approximately 7.5-10m³ of heavy fuel oil had leaked overnight on 2/3rd January from a pipe connecting the jetty to the refinery but that by first light the leak had been contained.

That’s between 7,500 and 10,000 litres of fuel.

A  Port spokesperson told The Herald: “As soon as the incident was reported, just after midnight, we instigated our well-rehearsed oil pollution plan in which we have delegated command for the on-water clean-up of oil.  Multiple agencies including Natural Resources Wales, Pembrokeshire County Council, Maritime Coastguard Agency and Valero have been working with us since early hours on 3rd January to survey, clean-up and put in place measures to protect the environment and wildlife.

The spokesperson added: “The MCA are supporting the incident response through the loan of equipment to supplement our own assets.  The MCA are using their contracted surveillance and verification aircraft and the images provided by this equipment have assisted the teams to locate any surface oil, its direction of travel and dispersal.  The Port’s pollution vessel ‘Sea Sweep’ has patrolled and collected some surface oil; however most of the oil has naturally dispersed and the MCA report from this morning’s flight has confirmed this.

Mid and West Wales Fire Service has also assisted with the loan of drone equipment.

Booming is in place at Sandy Haven and teams are deploying booms around the Gann estuary near Dale, today.

Currently there have been sightings of oil on shore at Dale and Musselwick Bay.  A clean-up operation is underway and agencies will continue to monitor the surrounding shoreline over the coming days.”

Andrea Winterton, Operations Manager from Natural Resources Wales said: “Our priority continues to be to reduce the impact of the oil on the local environment.  We have officers positioned in key locations across the Milford Haven Waterway surveying for signs of pollution washing onshore.

The booms installed yesterday and this morning will remain in place until we are confident that the risk to wildlife and the sensitive saltmarshes has passed.

A full investigation is underway into how the oil entered the estuary and the findings of this will be shared once concluded.”

Members of the public are asked to be aware, avoid any beached oil if they discover it (particularly if they have dogs) and contact the Natural Resources Wales incident hotline on 03000 653000 if they become aware of any pollution on shore.

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Cleddau Bridge Hotel fire started deliberately

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A RESPONSE to a Freedom of Information Act request made by Llanion councillor Joshua Beynon reveals that the fire which devastated the Cleddau Bridge Hotel on March 30 this year was arson.

The blaze followed a protracted period during which the hotel had been empty following the refusal of a planning application for change of use to residential accommodation.

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that investigators have now concluded the fire investigation regarding the fire that took place at the Cleddau Bridge Hotel on March 30, 2019.

“The investigation determined that the fire was started deliberately, and all relevant information has duly been passed on to Dyfed Powys Police.”

The Herald has asked Dyfed Powys Police to comment on the progress of its investigation.

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No prosecutions in Pembroke Dock grant fraud allegations

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MORE than five years since allegations of impropriety in publicly-funded building restoration grants were taken up by the police, the local force tells Pembrokeshire County Council chief executive, Ian Westley, in a letter circulated to councillors: “The Crown Prosecution Service has determined that there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction against any of the suspects.”

More details to follow – the matter will also be discussed at this Thursday’s full council meeting.

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Fishguard school last in Wales without broadband

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CHILDREN in a school in Fishguard are excited about next term before the summer holidays have even begun.

Ysgol Llanychllwydog is the last school in Wales without broadband.

The pupils sometimes have to wait half an hour for pages to load. Sometimes videos won’t play. Now the school is looking forward to an ultra-fast future, and for the head teacher the changes cannot come quickly enough.

Currently when the internet goes down Amanda Lawrence has to drive 10 minutes to her other school to send an email to report it.

“It’s frustrating. There are lots of schools that are able to use schemes where you can plan electronically, but it’s difficult for staff here to do that,” she said.

As part of a scheme to target hard-to-reach places, fibre optic cable is being laid along a 15-mile route from Haverfordwest.

Matt Lovegrove, who works for Openreach, admitted it had been ‘a massive challenge’.

He said: “We’ve had to plough 1.5 miles of new trench to put new duct in, we’ve had to put new poles and had to span the cable between 50 poles as well, so a real variety of challenges.

“The product is limitless in terms of speed. It’s gigabit capable, that means they can download music, interactive learning et cetera, and it will be instant for them.”

The wider community will also benefit from the upgrade, he said. “We are looking to work with local government and residents to expand that fibre footprint to as much of the village as possible.”

“They’ll be able to access the high speed broadband and again get all the benefits from that.”

The last school in Wales without broadband

Broadband is a Welsh Government priority. It’s invested £13.8m in school broadband.

But Llanarchllwydog has been a tough nut. It’s taken the efforts of Welsh and UK governments to bring broadband.

“Because of the challenging topography, that we are familiar with, it has taken rather a long time to make sure that every school is equipped with the broadband speeds that they need,” said Welsh education minister Kirsty Williams.

“This means that schools will have the external infrastructure that they need to deliver our exciting new curriculum and I hope to be making an announcement shortly on further investment on kit and equipment inside schools.”

The work is being done through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) £200m Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme.

DCMS minister Margot James MP agrees cooperation between the two governments has helped deliver the project.

“That’s not the end of it for Wales,” Ms James said.

“The other aspects of the rural gigabit connectivity programme is that we are using that £200 million to bring full fibre to local public buildings like hospitals and schools so that they get the gigabit connectivity first.”

The cable has now reached the telegraph post outside the school. The final work will happen over summer.

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