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Council responds to litter enforcement critics

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Smoking-related litter: Enforcement effective at reducing incidence

COMPLAINTS made on social media that the Council is enforcing litter without regard to regulations and profiting from Fixed Penalty Notices have been rejected by the local authority.

A series of posts on the Pembrokeshire Council Watch Forum Facebook page highlighted DEFRA guidelines which the post’s author said the Council was ignoring. Subsequent posts said the Council was trousering alleged profits from Civil Enforcement Officers issuing Fixed Penalty Notices. How the Council delivers the service through a contractor was blamed for enforcement being inconsistent and for residents being fined even when they littered by accident and picked up their rubbish.

While we were unable to deal with the anecdotal material relating to enforcement, we asked the Council to answer three specific questions regarding the use of Fixed Penalty Notices for littering.

In response to our questions, a Council spokesperson told us: “ Net income so far for the current financial year is in the region of £20,000. All income from fixed penalties is used in the service area from which it is collected, eg fixed penalty income from littering offences is spent on activity related to litter and street cleansing. No specific budget has been set aside for public education on littering but such activities will be funded as and when appropriate from this source and we are currently in the process of procuring additional signs relating to environmental and dog issues for installation around the county.”

On the issue of which guidelines the Council followed, as the guidelines for DEFRA don’t apply in Wales and litter enforcement is devolved to Cardiff Bay, we were told: “The Council follows the Guidance on the use of fixed penalty notices for environmental offences published by the Welsh Government.”

Cllr Cris Tomos, Cabinet Member for the Environment, Public Protection and Welsh Language, said: “It is so important that we monitor the cleanliness of our streets and the environment’.

“With the ever-increasing focus of controlling plastic and other waste pollution in our drains, rivers and seas it is important that everyone takes responsibility for disposing of their litter and recycling materials in the most environmentally correct way as possible.
“We do understand that the enforcement of litter offences has not been welcomed by some people but we can confirm that all the income received is being retained in dealing with litter and street cleanliness and that those responsible for dropping it are now directly contributing to the costs of dealing with this antisocial and unacceptable behaviour.

“The annual survey of local environmental quality independently undertaken by Keep Wales Tidy has shown a marked improvement in the past 12 months of the most widespread litter problem in the County – smoking-related litter. For the first time in the 13 years of the survey, smoking-related litter can now be found on fewer than half the county’s streets.

“Dog fouling has also decreased in the past 12 months and whilst more still needs to be done, especially around confectionery and fast food litter, we are making progress and Pembrokeshire regularly has one of the highest standards of street cleanliness in Wales which we proudly strive to maintain.”

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First coronavirus (COVID-19) case confirmed in Wales

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THE FIRST coronavirus case confirmed in Wales, in a patient who had returned from Italy – taking total UK cases to 17.

The Chief Medical Officer, Dr Frank Atherton, has confirmed that a patient in Wales has tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Dr Atherton said: “I can confirm that one patient in Wales has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

“All appropriate measures to provide care for the individual and to reduce the risk of transmission to others are being taken.

“I can also confirm that the patient had travelled back to Wales from Northern Italy, where the virus was contracted.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to assure the public that Wales and the whole of the UK is well prepared for these types of incidents. Working with our partners in Wales and the UK, we have implemented our planned response, with robust infection control measures in place to protect the health of the public.”

No further information is being released at this time to protect patient confidentiality.

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Monkton: Large fine for trader found illegally carrying scrap metal

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A PEMBROKESHIRE man pleaded guilty to illegally carrying scrap metal.

Edmund Thomas Paul Boswell, of Castle Quarry Road, Monkton, has been fined a total of £2,250 by Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Courts.

Boswell’s lorry was stopped in the Llawhaden area during a joint operation between Dyfed-Powys Police and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) on 21 June 2019.

The lorry was full of scrap metal loaded in a dangerous manner.

NRW officers carried out checks and found that Boswell was not a registered waste carrier.

He was given advice on how to register officially as a waste carrier with NRW and as a scrap metal dealer with Pembrokeshire County Council, but failed to do so and was summonsed to court.

He was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay NRW and legal costs bringing the total to £2,250.

Gavin Bown, South West Operations Manager, of NRW, said: “Mr Boswell refused to cooperate and become a registered waste carrier.

“We’re taking a tough stance against waste crime and illegal operators. Waste crime puts people and the environment at risk and undermines legitimate businesses and the investment and economic growth that go with it.
“Waste regulation is necessary to make sure every effort is made to eliminate or reduce waste, prevent pollution and protect people, nature and the environment from hazards.”

Anyone who transports waste as part of their business needs to be registered as a waste carrier.

Those who arrange for waste from other businesses or organisations to be transported, disposed of, or recovered, need to be registered as a waste broker.

Anyone who buys or sells waste, or uses an agent to do so, needs to be registered as a waste dealer.

Gavin Bown added: “I would encourage people to report any concerns they may have about illegal waste carriers operating in their area to NRW on 0300 065 3000. All reports are confidential and the incident line is open 24 hours a day.”

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Haverfordwest High School ski trip updated statement

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Haverfordwest High VC School is closed for a pre-arranged Inset day today (Wednesday, 26th February) for staff training.

The school is intending to re-open tomorrow (Thursday) in line with guidance from Public Health Wales.

The family of two pupils who went on a family trip to Northern Italy over half-term have also sought advice from Public Health Wales. Although the family visited the region of Veneto, they did not visit the quarantined town of Vo. The advice for them is the same as for other people who have visited Northern Italy – that they do not need to self-isolate unless they have symptoms of coughing, shortness of breath or fever. Neither of the pupils have presented any symptoms.

To view the statement released by the school yesterday (Tuesday), please visit https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/newsroom/haverfordwest-high-school-ski-trip-statement

* For the latest advice on coronavirus, please visit the Public Health Wales website at https://phw.nhs.wales/news/public-health-wales-statement-on-novel-coronavirus-outbreak-in-china/

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