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Milford Haven: Aerial photography shows extent of oil pollution incident

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AERIAL photos have been released by the Port Authority of what Valero Oil Refinery is saying is a 2,200 gallon leak of heavy fuel oil into Milford Haven.

The Port said: “Aerial photographs used to inform the ongoing oil pollution response, showing a light sheen that is dispersing through natural processes as confirmed by this morning’s MCA aircraft surveillance
Members of the public have been commenting on the social media about the incident.

Danielle Hall commented: “Why has this leak happened? Are the pipes not maintained properly.
What will the effects be on the environment, wildlife, the beaches keeping blue flag status? The tourist industry? The fines Valero have paid in the past are so small compared to their profits. How can this be justified? The impact on local communities is not considered either.”

MCA spotter plane: Used to survey pollution from air (Pic: File)

Andy Drumm asked on The Port of Milford Haven’s Facebook page: “The saltmarshes are not the only sensitive environment. What about aquatic ecosystems? Who will assess the damage? Who will pay to compensate the negative impact and the cost of the clean up? And who will be held accountable for this disaster?”
The Port responded: “As indicated by Natural Resource Wales in the above, a full investigation is underway and the findings of this will be shared once concluded.

A Port press release states: “A multi-agency response is continuing at the Port of Milford Haven following an oil pollution incident at the Valero Pembroke Refinery.
Valero have today estimated that up to 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.

“As soon as the incident was reported, just after midnight, we instigated our well-rehearsed oil pollution plan in which we (Milford Haven Port Authority) 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.

Milford Haven: Oil clearly visible in the water (Pic: MHPA)

“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 or see any birds they believe may be showing signs of oil.

Sandy Haven: Work men arrived to deploy boom across creek on Thursday

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Milford Haven School to lose sixth form due to falling pupil numbers

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COUNCILLORS have today backed a recommendation to publish a Statutory Notice to remove the sixth form of Milford Haven School.

The move followed the governing body of Milford Haven School requesting the Council to consult on the removal of the sixth form due to declining pupil numbers, reduced curriculum options and provision not meeting the needs of learners.

The governing body described the move as ‘one of the most difficult decisions we have ever undertaken.’

In October last year Pembrokeshire County Council agreed for the Director for Children and Schools to undertake statutory consultation on the proposal to remove the sixth form.

County Councillors today considered the report following the period of consultation which showed an overwhelming show of support for maintaining the sixth form.

In total, 168 responses were received.

The report stated that the sixth form has played a significant role as part of the local community.

However, on the basis of the significant decline in sixth form population at the school over the last 10 years, it is clear that the support received as part of the consultation is not reflected in the actual numbers choosing to stay in the sixth form.

Analysis of learner numbers in the sixth form over the last 10 years shows a steady decline in numbers, equivalent to a 77% reduction, with just 46 learners as of January 2020.

Education watchdog Estyn said: “The proposal to close the sixth form at Milford Haven School and for pupils to attend other provision instead appears to be a reasonable way forward. It is Estyn’s view that this proposal is likely to at least maintain the current standards of education and provision in the area.”

By 30 votes to 22, Councillors backed the recommendation that the Director for Children and Schools be authorised to publish a Statutory Notice to effect a regulated alteration to Milford Haven School in order to remove its sixth form.

This will be followed a 28 day objection period. If objections are received an Objection report will be prepared.

As the proposal is one to remove sixth form provision it requires approval by Welsh Ministers.

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Death on Freemens Way

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A 56-YEAR-OLD man has died following an incident on Freemens Way, Haverfordwest, on Wednesday night (Jul 15).

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “A 56-year-old man has died following an incident at Freemens Way, Haverfordwest, last night.

“He was taken to hospital with severe injuries, but sadly passed away.

“His family has been informed and is being supported by local officers.

“An investigation is ongoing but the circumstances are not believed to be suspicious.

“HM coroner has been informed.”

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Two arrested for shouting racist comments at BLM protest

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TWO teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of shouting racist comments at Black Lives Matter protestors, at the latest event in Haverfordwest on Wednesday night (Jul 15).
Commenting on the incident, Superintendent of Pembrokeshire division, Ross Evans said: “On Wednesday evening (July 15) a peaceful protest took place on Picton Fields, Haverfordwest, as part of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“The demonstration, which was attended by around 70 people, was overseen by local officers as part of appropriate plans in place to allow for peaceful protest.

“Sadly, officers present observed a man and a boy shouting a number of racist comments towards those attending the demonstration, and promptly arrested both, one aged 19 and the other 14, on suspicion of racially aggravated public order offences.

“The comments understandably caused a great deal of upset and distress to those from the demonstration who heard them.

“The two men arrested have been taken to Haverfordwest custody, where they remain currently. Anyone who witnessed the incident and has any information is asked to contact police by emailing us at: contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or call 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311908.”

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