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Milford Haven: Port Authority denies Lower Priory flood liability

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A REPORT by civil engineering consultants Atkins concluded that obstruction of trash screens leading from Lower Priory did not materially contribute to the extreme flooding which took place both there and at Haven Head last November.
Over three days of torrential rainfall, fourteen properties were flooded at Lower Priory and there was significant flooding at Haven Head.
The Port Authority continues to deny any liability for damage caused by the flooding.
However, Hakin Councillor Mike Stoddart pointed out that Atkins’ assessment was based on evidence produced by Milford Haven Port Authority.
Councillor Stoddart alleged that Atkins’ finding could not necessarily be relied upon. He noted that the Port Authority had an obvious interest in saying the trash screens were not obstructed in order to support its claim it was not liable for the damage caused by the flood.
Defending the Port Authority’s position, both Andy Jones and Tim Bownes, said the report found that the major factor in the flooding was the large increase in levels of silt in the lakes at Haven Head and Lower Priory combined with high tides and unprecedentedly levels of rainfall.

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

Under further questioning from Mike Stoddart, Mr Bownes conceded that the electronic flood warning system had been a casualty of the flooding and had stopped recording the water volumes at Lower Priory well before the peak of the inundation.
When one resident produced photographs of a truck tyre in front of a trash screen taken in February which remained in place six months later, he was tersely told that the presence of the tyre did not count as an obstruction of the trash screen.
The resident shook his head in disbelief, while several councillors wondered what did constitute an ‘obstruction’.
Notwithstanding councillors accepting that silt build up contributed to the flooding, a number of members of the Services Overview Committee nevertheless probed the Port Authority’s actions in relation to the lakes.
Cllr Stephen Joseph observed that a large amount of infill had taken place at the lakes. He suggested that this, combined with the development of Haven Head over a former tidal plain contributed to the flooding.
This was a point made by a local resident addressing the Committee earlier in the day. She observed that were it not for the development at Haven Head, no flooding would have taken place.
Cllr Joseph further pressed on the culverting of water towards Haven Head. When he asked what inspections were carried out of the culvert when it was extended to take account of the increased infill of the lakes, he was told by Tim Bownes from the Port Authority that his point could not be addressed. Mr Bownes said, however, he supposed the relevant checks had been done at the time through the normal planning process.
When probed about the level of water drainage into the system, which included run off from the Johnston bypass, Mr Bownes said he believed that Atkins had taken into account the new housing developments and bypass drainage when preparing the report on last November’s flooding.
Cllr Viv Stoddart cited a legal precedent which she said indicated that, whether or not the extent of flooding risk was foreseen or not, a landowner diverting a watercourse or otherwise changing its characteristics was responsible for damage caused by subsequent flooding. She was asked to provide a copy of the precedent to the Port Authority so it could be considered by its lawyers.

Stephen Crabb MP visits flooded resident (Pic: Herald)

When Cllr Tony Wilcox asked about records of the amount of infill that had taken place and whether there was any record of volumes infilled at the lakes since 1991, he was told that the four-year statutory limit for planning for operational reasons had expired and no enforcement action could be taken by the local authority.
One issue arising from the report was the recommendation that the culverts should be increased in size to cope with increased volumes of water run-off. Several councillors asked why, if the current culverts were adequate and fit for purpose, was a recommendation made that the culverts should be increased to handle three times the volume of water they dealt with currently.
The Committee members were told that it was because the design assessment said that the system needed to handle a one in a one-hundred-years storm event.
Cllr Brian Hall noted the recommendations of the report, specifically the one relating the Council seeking its own advice on the issues raised by last November’s catastrophic flooding. He formally moved the recommendations should be adopted by the Committee so that rapid progress could be made to address residents’ concerns.
The Committee agreed that a working group should be established to streamline the reporting process and that the matter should return to the Committee for further scrutiny.

 

 

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Milford Haven: Man arrested by armed police in Larch Road

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POLICE have arrested a man following a large-scale police operation in Milford Haven.

Several police units were seen searching for a suspect at around 5pm this afternoon (Jun 26).

A police van and several police cars were seen speeding towards the marina and Havens Head Business Park, sirens blaring – but the vehicles turned around when the suspect was not found.

At around 7.30pm police descended on Larch Road, in the Mount Estate and police entered a top floor flat.

Following a period of negotiations, a man was led into a waiting police vehicle.

While the drama was unfolding, dozens of residents of the street were watching from their window, from the street and others were watching from parked cars.

Police kept people back as the detainee was led to the riot van.

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Larch Road: Specialist Officers await man to be brought down from top floor flat (Pic: T Sinclair / Herald)

Mount arrest: A man is led into a police van by armed police (Pic: T Sinclair / Herald)

Large police presence: Armed police units deployed at scene (Pic: T Sinclair / Herald)

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Praise for innovative Pembrokeshire eco scheme

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AN AMBITIOUS project which aims to help communities in Pembrokeshire to become more sustainable has been recognised with an Innovation award.

The Pembrokeshire Eco Champions project was presented with the accolade in Pure West Radio’s ‘Greatest Show Awards’.

Mark Bond, project co-ordinator, said the initiatives delivered by the scheme so far had engaged a real cross-section of local people in some ‘very important conversations linked to the environment’.

“The very nature of our Welsh Government Leader funding (administered by Arwain Sir Benfro) is to encourage innovative and creative ways to engage communities in eco activity, with a major emphasis on waste and recycling,” he said.

“The project has a number of outcomes to deliver but what I inherited was essentially a blank canvas and a great deal of freedom to achieve those outcomes.

“I’ve been allowed to try new and often unusual approaches to reach out to people, so to be recognised for our ‘innovative’ approach is extremely heartening. I’m very proud of my project and very excited about what’s to come.”

The Eco Champions Project is a partnership between Pembrokeshire County Council and PLANED, funded by the Local Action Group (LAG) for Pembrokeshire, Arwain Sir Benfro.

As part of the project, a recruitment drive has been launched for aspiring or active Eco Champions willing to help their local community become more environmentally aware.

Cllr Cris Tomos, Cabinet Member for the Environment, said it was an exciting initiative.

“The aim is to build and support a network of enthusiastic people who are eager to encourage others to become involved in local waste and recycling initiatives, as well as providing environmental information, organising events and celebrating good practice,” he said.

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Sniffer dog’s presented award by local MP

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IMAGINE a sniffer dog, so good at its job, that a £25K bounty is put on its head! Scamp, a diligent springer spaniel who recovered over £6 million worth of illegal tobacco products in the last 5 years, has been named the Institutes Hero in the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) Hero Awards 2019.

Described as a ‘modern-day Eliot Ness’, the seven-year-old owned by specialist detection dog company B.W.Y Canine ltd, has been involved in countless trading standards raids throughout the years. Most recently, his work with trading standards caused such disruption to one organised criminal gang that he had a £25K bounty placed on his head, with his handler Stuart Phillips receiving death threats.

During a recent project between several local authorities, Scamp and B.W.Y Canine helped trading standards seize nearly 430,000 cigarettes and 189kg of hand-rolling tobacco, with a total street value of approximately £137,000. The CTSI Hero Awards celebrate those who make outstanding contributions towards consumer protection in our communities. Scamp and B.W.Y Canine received the award at the CTSI Hero Awards 2019 ceremony at One Great George Street, London, on Tuesday.

After presenting the award to Scamp and Stuart Phillips, Stephen Crabb MP commented: “I was thrilled to present this award to Scamp for the important and diligent detection work he has carried out. Stuart and the whole team at B.W.Y. Canine should be immensely proud of Scamp and what he has done. This goes to show the outstanding work being done by B.W.Y Canine and I look forward to catching up with them in Clunderwen soon.”

Chief Executive at CTSI, Leon Livermore, said: “CTSI received a landslide of nominations for the outstanding work Scamp and B.W.Y Canine have done with trading standards services up and down the country. To keep providing such a service in the face of great personal risk is admirable, and Stuart from B.W.Y Canine, and of course Scamp, deserve our thanks.”

Stuart Phillips from B.W.Y Canine, said: “To be nominated for this award by so many trading standards teams is a great honour, but for Scamp to actually win and be awarded the Institute Hero Award is fantastic news for our small Pembrokeshire based company. The work that Scamp does is of huge importance to tackle the illegal tobacco trade and we both thoroughly enjoy working with trading standards around the UK. Scamp is special dog, with an amazing nose and great work ethic – for him to have his work recognised is superb, he is a true hero.” Scamp and B.W.Y Canine were presented with the award by local MP, Stephen Crabb, and Robert Wright, CTSI College of Fellows, Sponsors of the CTSI Hero Awards.

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