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Pembroke Dock: Residents say no to waste facility

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RESIDENTS and Pembroke Dock Town Councillors have said they do not want a waste transfer facility in the town.

At a meeting of the Town Council on Thursday (May 30), members discussed the plans having previously met with the Port Authority while Natural Resources Wales have also held a consultation evening in the Town.

It is planned to store waste which will be used to produce energy. Usually this is processed baled waste and loose processed wood waste. It would contain non-hazardous waste from homes and businesses, which can be used as fuel to produce electricity in offsite energy-from-waste facilities.

All waste sites must have a permit before they can operate. To be granted a permit the operators must show that they have the right infrastructure, management techniques and equipment to deal with the waste in the proposed area.

In a statement released in May, Andrea Winterton, Operations Manager from NRW said: “The Milford Haven Waterway, as well as being a key hub for the energy industry, is a rich habitat for wildlife, and part of the Pembrokeshire Marine Special Area of Conservation.
“Our experts will now begin their assessment, but local knowledge is incredibly valuable to us. All comments we receive as part of our consultation will be considered when it comes to making our decision.”

Many at the meeting said there were a number of unanswered questions and Cllr Josh Beynon said he didn’t think anybody in the building would be able to answer them. He suggested a meeting be set up with members of the Council and the Port Authority for them to outline their plans to members of the public.
Some people said the smells coming from the site when it was previously operated had put tourists off and that there had been problems with flies.

Cllr Beynon read out an email from the Council’s Strategic Project Manager who said that since August 2018 the site had been used as a waste transfer station for orange bags and that there was no processing of materials on the site.
It also said that since PCC had taken over the facility, NRW had been happy with the current practice.

Cllr Paul Dowson said he had visited the Port Authority but said that they didn’t seem to know an awful lot about what was being planned.
He added that there didn’t seem to be any details and that unless they didn’t invite the Port to a meeting it would just be a ‘rubbish tip that smells’.

Cllr Dowson went on to say: “The Port Authority have a long lasting legacy of not being very good with the truth. They have denied the operation, the staff have been told not to mention it. What are they up to? There are so many grey areas and we are a long way off before saying we do support it.
“Pembroke Dock isn’t the waste bin of Wales. I will be opposing this and we have to represent the views of the people of the town of Pembroke Dock.”

One resident, Peter Cox, spoke of the proximity of the rubbish to South Pembrokeshire Hospital and said they had to put fly traps up outside it because they didn’t have the resources to do so.

Another said that looking for information was like an ‘iron curtain’ adding: “This was thrown out from Swansea, if Swansea don’t want it, why the hell are we going to have it?”

Cllr Murton added that when RDF operated the site previously it was a ‘scandalous disgrace’ and that she was ‘delighted’ when it was closed down.
Cllr George Manning said: “We need to meet with PCC and the Port to explain their plans in more detail. We don’t want it in Pembroke Dock. This is not the place to have it, just 300 yards from the town centre. We have to use the Dock as it should be used.”

Chris Page said he had difficulty downloading documents from the NRW website during the consultation and that the Port needed to explain their plans before a permit was given.
Another resident said that when they moved to the area from Suffolk there were no flies but when RDF operated the site they were getting more and more flies.

Cllr O’Connor said: “It has been made very clear, we have to be united as a council and say no to waste dumping in Pembroke Dock.
“If they want to store waste somewhere, find somewhere suitable because Pembroke Dock says no.”
Others commented that they didn’t want to be ‘prisoners’ in their own home and that Pembroke Dock would become the ‘capital of waste’.
One person from the Shipwright Inn said that tourism was really good but added they had seen some families walk out because of the smell saying it was not only ‘embarrassing’ for them but for the town as well.

Some at the meeting spoke of doing a protest if it went ahead and making a petition against putting waste on the site.
Mayor, Cllr Gordon Goff concluded by saying: “Nothing will be passed by the Town Council until all the questions are answered. This is Pembroke Dock not Pembroke Dump.”
A spokesperson for Natural Resources Wales said: “We are currently assessing an application for an environmental permit for a waste facility, reference PAN-003929, from Milford Haven Port Authority. The application is for:

The temporary storage of baled fuel derived from waste, namely Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) and Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF), pending onward transfer.
The temporary storage of wood waste pending onward transfer
The maximum amount of RDF, SRF or wood proposed to be stored is to be less than 9000 tonnes at any one time
The annual throughput of waste proposed is 80,000 tonnes per annum.

“Our public consultation window, which has now closed, has generated responses from both technical consultees and members of the public. We are in the process of assessing the responses and all relevant comments will be taken into consideration.

“We will endeavour to reach a draft decision as quickly as possible, however we do need to make sure that all required information is gathered and assessed appropriately

“We will only grant an environmental permit if we believe that the application achieves the standards of the environmental legislation and the operator has the ability to meet the conditions of the permit. Any permit we may grant will include appropriate conditions to protect human health and the environment.”

Speaking after the meeting, Andy Jones, Interim CEO, said: “We met with Pembroke Dock Town Council a few weeks ago to discuss our application to NRW for a temporary waste storage permit. The feedback we received at the time was largely positive. The meeting prompted further questions from individual councillors which we have responded to and since there has been no response to the answers provided we assumed we had addressed any concerns. We are surprised, therefore, to read that Town Councillors have said, in their most recent meeting on 30th May, that they are not supportive of our plans.

“The comments made by Town Councillors are generally referring back to memories of an unpleasant and unacceptable experience during the previous operation which was not run by ourselves, but by a third party. This time we are confident things will be different. If we didn’t have this confidence we would not be making this application.

“The following mitigation measures will be put in place. It is important to note that these were not in place during the previous operation:

Minimum 8 layers of bale wrap

Fine mesh net covering bales

Contact insecticide distributed on board around stack

5m screen surrounding stack with netting = secondary fly net and site screen

Pesticide control regime primarily focusing on larvicides

Stock tracking e.g. oldest bales shipped first

Stringent acceptance and monitoring procedures

Odour neutralising technology

Bale reception procedure to identify non-compliant waste

“As a Trust Port, we exist to create opportunities for the people and businesses of Pembrokeshire. We are a catalyst for economic growth and our mission is to build prosperity across the Haven. As we have mentioned before, our staff are local people, many of them living near the Port and very much part of the community. We, as much as the Town Council and local residents, do not want Pembroke Dock to be the waste bin of Wales. This is not, and will never be, what we are proposing. We are very proud of Pembroke Port’s historical significance as a Dockyard, and we are simply trying to expand trade to increase our abilities as a Port and provide more jobs for the local community. But, we are in competition with other Ports who transport the same waste bales generated across the UK. We must be able to compete with these Ports or jobs will be lost to those areas that are able to deliver the services needed in today’s society.

“We are ultimately trying to raise Pembroke Port’s profile in the industry so that it is recognised, in its own right, as a port that has the capacity and capability to handle a variety of trades. When speaking with colleagues in the industry about Pembroke Port, it is clear that its profile has been overshadowed by Milford Haven’s reputation as a well-regarded oil and gas port. The more trades we can attract to Pembroke Port, bearing in mind there are limitations due to our location and hinterland, the more opportunities we will have to promote what the Port can offer.”

CLARIFICATION FROM COUNTY COUNCIL

A spokesman for Pembrokeshire County Council said: “Pembrokeshire County Council (PCC) would like to clarify the following facts surrounding this proposal and permit application by the Port Authority.

“Pembrokeshire County Council has had no involvement with the application, the proposed activities will not involve waste collected by Pembrokeshire County Council, and it should be noted that our residual waste is contracted to an Energy from Waste facility, in Cardiff, up until 2027.

“It is felt that the confusion may have arisen due to the fact that Pembrokeshire County Council has a Waste and Recycling Transfer Station at Gate 4, Pembroke Port. The operations and permit surrounding this facility were transferred to Pembrokeshire County Council in August 2018 following the termination of the RDF processing contract.

“Since August 2018 PCC have used the facility as a Waste Transfer Station for Dry Mixed Recycling (Orange Bags), Food Waste, Glass and Residual Waste collected in Pembrokeshire. Materials are delivered to site in recycling and refuse collection vehicles, bulked in internal designated bays before being loaded onto artic vehicles prior to onward transportation to reprocessors. No processing of materials is undertaken on site and there is no external storage of waste at this location. Since Pembrokeshire County Council took on the facility at Gate 4, and the operations within, NRW have confirmed they are happy with the current operating practices.

“We are in the process of reviewing the operations of the site and are about to submit a permit variation surrounding our operations at Gate 4 Pembroke Port. This variation is actually requesting to remove the permit activities surrounding RDF production and storage as this is not an operation which PCC are planning on undertaking in the future. All current and future plans are focused on short term bulking of material prior to onwards transportation to other facilities in Wales or the wider UK.”

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Campers from Cardiff sent packing

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PEMBROKESHIRE Road Policing Unit (Pembrokeshire RPU) have this morning, June 5, reported nine individuals for breaching coronavirus regulations.

The occupants of the three vehicles, all from the Cardiff area, had moved barriers that had been in place to close off the carpark to the public and set up camp for the night.

A Pembrokeshire RPU spokesperson said ‘Three vehicles from the Cardiff area located at Abereiddy this morning.

“The occupants of the vehicles, who’d travelled down overnight, had moved the barriers that had been used to close the car park. Having done so they then set up camp nearby.

“All nine persons present were reported for breaching coronavirus regulations. One was further dealt with by means of an out of court disposal for possession of cannabis.

“Rubbish cleaned up, car park closure reinstated, vehicles escorted out of Pembs.”

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Police urge visitors to ‘check the rules’

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POLICE in Powys are reminding people to check the rules before they travel, as tourists from the Midlands, London and Bristol continue to visit despite lockdown restrictions.

Last weekend more than 1,000 cars were turned around by police in the Brecon Beacons after visitors attempted to access the area around Ystradfellte known as ‘waterfall country’.

Many of those stopped claimed they thought the rules around travel were the same as in England, while others had deliberately flouted them.

Seventy-two per cent of people reported for breaches of Covid-19 restrictions in Powys since March 27 have been from outside the police force area.

“I would like to thank the communities of Powys for their cooperation in recent months in complying with requirements of the Covid 19 legislation and also reassure them we are still working hard with our partners to police the restrictions that remain in place across Wales,” said Superintendent Steve Davies.

“Our officers have worked hard to engage with the public at every opportunity throughout these unprecedented times by explaining what we are doing and why, and encouraging people to make the best choices to protect public health in Wales.

“But where people have clearly flouted the rules we have dealt with them appropriately and issued fines.”

He said officers will continue to conduct stop checks throughout Powys and across the force area this weekend.

In England, people can now travel an unlimited distance for exercise and to access so-called ‘beauty spots’.

But the Welsh Government has said people must remain local – ideally not travelling further than five miles from their home – for exercise or limited leisure pursuits, and this also applies to anyone travelling across the border.

Wales’ three national parks – which include popular sites such as Snowdon, the Elan valley and the Pembrokeshire coast – currently remain closed to the public, as do all National Trust car parks and properties.

The latest Welsh Government advice is available at gov.wales/coronavirus.

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Coastal car parks at beauty spots remain closed

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THE RECENT changes in regulations reinforce that movement is restricted to your local area.

This has been identified by the Welsh Government as an approximation of a five mile radius from your home.

Members of two separate households from the same local area (not travelling more than five miles) can now meet outdoors, as long as they maintain social distancing.

You should aim to meet another local household as close to your home as possible. Always take care to maintain social distancing and hand hygiene.

Pembrokeshire County Council car parks at attractions and beauty spots (including public toilets) currently remain closed so you should check before travelling.

They remain closed as a clear message that travel remains restricted, and associated tourism amenities remain closed.

A critical point for all to note is that lifeguards are not currently patrolling beaches and toilets and other facilities are not open.

Full details of the car parking facilities which remain open for the local community can be found on the Council’s website:
https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/emergency-planning/service-changes

Councillor Phil Baker, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure said: “The emphasis is on careful, structured unlocking, and not to put in danger any of the recovery measures that relate to public health and not to undo the safeguarding that lockdown has delivered.

“We will continue to review and monitor this carefully and take cautious, measured steps only to provide the benefits of the eased regulations without putting our residents at risk.”

Motorists are reminded not to contravene parking restrictions – such as yellow lines – where they exist as parking enforcement is still being undertaken.

As with other service areas, car parks will be reviewed in line with current advice.

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