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Train fire is now out, but now concerns surround pollution risk to Loughor Estuary

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FIRE FIGHTERS have now extinguished the fire, involving a freight train, near Pontarddulais Road, Llangennech, Carmarthenshire. Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service handed over the scene to British Transport Police and Network Rail at 08:30am on Friday 28th August 2020.

Superintendent Andy Morgan of British Transport Police said: “Overnight, officers from British Transport Police, Dyfed-Powys Police, the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, ambulance service and Carmarthenshire County Council dealt with a major incident on the railway line near Llangennech.

“We have launched an investigation and will be assisting the Office of Rail and Road and the Rail Accident Investigation Branch to establish the exact circumstances behind the incident.

Network rail staff assess the damage (Image Herald/D Harries)

“What we know is a freight train, carrying large amounts of diesel oil, caught fire and a number of its carriages also derailed. Thankfully, despite the clear danger, no injuries have been reported. The two members of railway staff operating the train were able raise the alarm and uncouple the locomotive and move it to a safe space.

“The fire was significant due to the quantity of fuel it was carrying and presented a possible danger to the wider community.

“As a precaution, roads were shut, and Dyfed-Powys Police evacuated a large number of homes within a radius of the fire.

“I believe around 300 people were affected and I’d like to thank everyone for their understanding and quick action in what must have been a frightening time.

“At this time, the cause of the fire is unknown and, while the fire continues, there is still a substantial risk within its immediate vicinity, so our advice remains for people to avoid the area.

The fire was extinguished by 8.30am on Friday morning (Aug 28) (Pic D Harries/Herald)

“Our officers are conducting initial enquiries and are in the process of collecting key witness statements and CCTV. Once the fire is extinguished, and the scene is safe to assess and investigate, they’ll be assisting the ORR and RAIB further at the scene.

“This was and remains a very challenging incident. I’d like to thank all of our partners for their ongoing support and work to ensure the safety of the surrounding community.”

DB Cargo UK, the owner of the train, say it continues to support the ongoing, multi-agency response to the freight train derailment and fire which occurred on Wednesday night at Llangennech in South Wales.

A spokesman said: “We have been informed by Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service that the fire has now been extinguished and control of the scene handed over to the British Transport Police and Network Rail.”

“The environmental clean-up operation is now also underway.”

“The uninjured driver and engineer who were onboard the train at the time of the incident are both doing well and continue to be supported by the company.”

As is normal procedure in these circumstances, the driver and engineer have already been interviewed by the British Transport Police and will continue to cooperate fully with all the various agencies involved in investigating this unfortunate incident.

The accident investigation is being led by the RAIB.

Farmers, landowners and cockle pickers near to the derailment were warned by Natural Resources Wales that “they will not be able to carry on as normal tomorrow”, as the extent of the spillage was assessed.

The Loughor River, near to the site of the derailment, marks the border between Carmarthenshire and Swansea and reports of diesel oil floating on the surface of the river began to come in on Thursday afternoon and throughout the evening.

The Burry Inlet Cockle Fishery encompasses the Loughor Estuary and three other Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Fisherman Neil Esmonde spotted diesel in the Loughor Estuary (Image: Facebook/N Esmonde)

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Beach clean highlights tide of plastic pollution

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Preseli MP Stephen Crabb has praised the work of local volunteers after joining them for a beach clean in St Davids.

The clean at Porthlysgi Bay beach was organised jointly between environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy and EcoDewi as part of the Wales-wide Autumn Clean Cymru campaign, with over 15 volunteers litter picking while socially distancing.

EcoDewi is a new ecology and energy group on St David’s peninsula, working to increase the community’s capacity to produce its own, locally-owned sustainable energy.

Between Saturday’s beach clean and visitors piling litter in gateway, over 30 bags were collected. Rubbish included fishing wire, a steel toe cap shoe and plastic bottles, all of which will now be disposed of responsibly. While some litter is left behind on the beach by inconsiderate users, much of the rubbish now comes from the sea, as the tide washes in what has been thrown overboard by some sailing vessels.

Speaking following the clean, Stephen Crabb said: “Pembrokeshire’s beaches are some of the very best in the world, but litter remains a dangerous and unsightly problem. Beach cleans are a good way to protect and learn more about our natural environment and Saturday’s clean was a good example of many hands making light work.

“There have been positive steps by UK and Welsh Governments to reduce the volume of plastic pollution going into our waters, including a ban on microbeads, plastic straws and drink stirrers. But last weekend’s beach clean was a real eye opener and it is clear that more action is needed.

“My thanks to Keep Wales Tidy and EcoDewi for organising an excellent beach clean at one of Pembrokeshire’s hidden gem beaches. Anyone can volunteer for a beach clean and I look forward to taking part in another in the near future.”

Jeremy Wadia of EcoDewi said: “Community collaboration is key to fighting the current ecological and climate crisis, and it’s always great to see people coming together to clean our local beaches which benefits both our marine & land wildlife and of course residents and visitors. Seeing local and regional leaders out on the ground inspiring others to get involved is really important, so we are very grateful to Stephen for joining us at Porthlysgi.”

Mari Williams, Keep Wales Tidy Pembrokeshire officer said:

“It was a brilliant event and great to have so many people turn up to volunteer. We’re all responsible for the health of our oceans, that’s why clean-ups like this are so important and do make a real and lasting difference to our marine environment. Our campaign Autumn Clean Cymru was a chance for us to take a stand and declare that litter is not acceptable.”

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Man arrested at Penally Training Camp for arson and criminal damage

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A 29-YEAR-OLD man has been arrested on suspicion of arson and criminal damage at the Penally Training Camp.

Police and ambulances services attended the camp last night (Sept 30).

Police said that the man remains in police custody.

The Welsh Ambulance Service said: “We were called last night to reports of a patient needing medical attention at Penally Camp. We responded with one emergency ambulance and one person was transported to Withybush Hospital.”

It is unknown at this time is the man arrested was an asylum seeker or a local person.

He is the third person to be arrested in connection with the camp in recent days.

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Police probe into racist Facebook comments over Penally asylum seekers

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A NEIGHBOURING police force have confirmed that they are investigating grossly offensive comments on a Facebook group that suggest that asylum seekers staying at the MOD Training Camp in Penally should be gassed or shot.

Around 234 asylum seekers—Kurdish Iraqis and Kurdish Iranians—are set to be housed at the camp.

Many of the protesters are locals concerned about their communities after a lack of communication of the arrival of the asylum seekers by the home Office, but South Wales police believe that some of the protests outside the camp have been organised by far-right elements based in Swansea.

Two people have been arrested in connection with protests. One person released without charge, and another, – a well-known right leaning You Tube vlogger from outside the local area has been bailed on the condition he says out of the county.

Some of the shocking posts state: “Run the bastards over”… “Put a bullet in their heads if they can’t respect others” or “Tell your family to keep everything locked up, 250 new thieves, rapist and paedophiles are about to arrive in the area.”

Far-right activist Tommy Robinson has added his voice to the Penally Camp protest campaign. The founder of the English Defence League dubbed the prospect of the camp housing up to 250 asylum seekers as ‘sickening’, which has led to more interest in Penally online.
The Pembrokeshire Herald has engaged Facebook moderators after news articles, which now reach one million people online, were spammed with racist comments. 6,000 comments have already been checked, and hundreds deleted this newspaper can confirm.

A police spokesman said: “South Wales Police is looking into a number of inflammatory posts published on social media concerning the accommodation of asylum seekers at Penally in Pembrokeshire. Users of social media are requested to be mindful of the language used when publishing posts.”

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