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Carew scrap yard was ‘dangerously near water source’

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Scrap yard: Did not have correct permits

A BUSINESS trio adopted an attitude of brinkmanship and ran the risk of poisoning thousands of people in Pembrokeshire, a judge heard today.

George Jones, his partner Jennifer Frearson and his son Nening Jones, operated a scrap metal business at Carew Airfield in breach of regulations and close to a water source used as a reserve for supplies of drinking water.

Judge Paul Thomas said at today’s sentencing hearing they ignored letters and advice in the pursuit of “staggering” amounts of money that may have exceeded £1.2m.

Although no actual harm was caused, he added, all three had followed a cavalier attitude of brinkmanship and “pushed matters to the limit.”

George Jones, 57, and Frearson, aged 46, both of Strawberry Fields, Clayford Road, Kilgetty, and Nening Jones, 34, of Sageston near Tenby, admitted or were found guilty after a trial of operating a scrap metal facility without a permit, duty of care offences and failing to keep adequate records.

JONES NEARLY JAILED

George Jones, who had a previous conviction for contravening environmental health regulations, was told by Judge Thomas he had come close to being sent to prison.

He was instead made the subject of a two year community order and told to carry out 260 hours of unpaid work for the community. Frearson and Nening Jones received 12 month orders and told to carry out 160 and 50 hours of work respectively.

Enviroventure Ltd was fined a nominal £1 for each of four offences.

Swansea crown court heard that “further consequences” could follow once a Proceeds of Crime investigation had been completed. That will reveal how much the trio made from the venture and what could be confiscated by way of money and assets.

Danger to water-source: Waste could have polluted drinking water

Danger to heath: Waste could have polluted drinking water

Judge Thomas told the defendants, “The regulations for such matters are there not because someone wants to be picky but for the protection of the environment and, by extension, the welfare of people living in the area.

“There was no actual harm here but there was a risk of harm.”

George Jones, he added, had come across during his trial as a dishonest man.

He had recruited Frearson, added Judge Thomas, as “a face, a patsy” to cover his involvement. And he had used his son Nening Jones as his “apprentice.”

The court heard that Frearson “had absolutely no knowledge” of how to run a waste management operation.

‘BEING A DIRECTOR HAS RESPONSIBILITIES’ – JUDGE THOMAS

But Judge Thomas said that becoming a company director “was not just something that looks good on a passport” but brought with it responsibilities.

Mary Youell, South West Operations Manager for Natural Resources Wales, said after the hearing that the scrap metal operation was still functioning, but in compliance with the regulations.

She said NRW was only too keen to work with companies in the recycling of materials and in the proper disposal of waste. But the regulations had to be abided by.

“We hope the outcome of this case will send out a positive message to the waste industry, that Natural Resources Wales supports legitimate business and will not tolerate those who seek to profit by breaking the law, risking harm to local communities or damaging the environment.

“The motivation behind the crime was financial. The site did not have the necessary permissions and consequently the infrastructure to protect the environment and it undercut legitimate, permitted sites,” she added.

The POC investigation is expected to be completed by March, when a further court hearing will take place.

£660K IN CASH PAYMENTS

The Environment Agency told The Herald: “Officers carried out site visits between May and October 2011 and found numerous breaches of the ELV permit held for the Scrapyard area. This involved the depollution of vehicles on site which did not have the required infrastructure to do so; inappropriate storage of batteries; drainage issues; areas of the site where bunding and concrete was not being maintained.

A spokesman added: “Waste materials such as tyres, waste vehicles and oil drums were also observed being stored outside of the permitted area. Numerous oil spillages were also observed on site. Waste tyres, scrap metal and general skip waste were also stored at the Workshop and Northern Yard areas without an environmental permit and outside the terms and conditions of any registered exemptions. Approximately £660K was paid in cash to Enviroventure Ltd for sale of scrap metal originating from the Scrapyard for the period when they did not hold an environmental permit or exemption to operate a general scrapyard from the site and for the sale of scrap vehicles when they were not compliant with their ELV permit.”

“A total of 20 charges were brought against Enviroventure Ltd and Nenning Jones combined for offences relating to operating outside the terms of an environmental permit and also operating and knowingly causing / permitting the operation of a regulated facility without the benefit of an environmental permit between 1 June 2011 and 31 December 2011.”

 

 

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Hayley Wood

    October 27, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    How do we know this has not caused any danger to the public? It can take years before any symptoms appear!

  2. ELISA Geo Pugh

    October 29, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    time this company should be shut down for good & any money paid to the courts & other authorities that have been involved in bringing this to trial so the public purse isn’t out of pocket. These people are just a bunch of crooks looking after their own interests

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Business

Welsh Government releases additional £100M business support

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The latest phase of the Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience Fund has benefited from the release of a further £100million from ministers within 72 hours of launch, due to a massive demand.

More than 6,000 grant applications from small and medium sized businesses and social enterprises were received within 24 hours of the launch on Friday – an unprecedented response, revealing the scale of the challenges facing Welsh businesses.

The Fund aims to complement and fill the gaps left by UK Government schemes such as the Job Retention Scheme, with grants of up to £10,000 for micro-enterprises and up to £100,000 for SMEs and a light touch appraisal system designed to get money to businesses with the minimum of delay – as well as a new loan fund administered by the Development Bank of Wales.

Less than three weeks since the First Minister announced the intention to create the Fund, the Welsh Government has released a further £100 million, taking the grant fund to £300 million. This will supplement this latest phase of support, providing non-repayable grants to microbusinesses, SMEs and those large businesses of critical, social or economic importance to Wales.

The Fund has been warmly received by trade union and business organisations, with the Institute of Directors calling it ‘very welcome news for business owners and managers who are desperate for all the help they can get at this difficult time’. The South and Mid Wales Chambers of Commerce has called ‘the rapid response to date’ of the Welsh Government in supporting the economy of Wales ‘impressive’. The Wales TUC welcomed ‘additional funding to address the gaps’.

Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales Ken Skates said:  “We knew that even with the help offered by initiative such as the Job Retention Scheme, there was a massive need for quick access to grant funding if Welsh businesses were to survive this unprecedented economic shock. Whilst in order to make the scheme quick and simple we needed to take tough decisions over eligibility – like requiring businesses to be registered for VAT as a way of having to check on their trading history – it is clear from the level of response received that the Economic Resilience Fund is plugging a gap in UK Government support and providing much needed financial reassurance to many businesses at this challenging time. We will continue to review support and consider how we can develop it over the coming days.

“The rate of applications has been massive and unprecedented. This is the second time in a matter of weeks that access to Welsh Government funds aimed at easing cash flow pressures for Welsh business have quickly reached capacity, and we have responded with pace to release a further £100m into this phase of the fund.

“In these difficult and demanding economic times we have worked hard to free up resources to create such a large Fund despite the huge demands on our budget, and to strike a balance between supporting as many enterprises as possible and making a meaningful contribution to each one’s survival, as well as asking each recipient to sign up to the principles of the economic contract.

“Though we applaud much of what the UK Government has done, there is an urgent need to see more of the promised lending guaranteed by the UK Government getting to the front line. The UK Government must continue to support and press the high street banks to be much more responsive to the needs of our businesses at this difficult time.”

Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said: “The Economic Resilience Fund is part of more than £2bn of support that we have made available to help businesses and charities during these incredibly difficult times.

“We know that support for business is crucially important but whilst we are doing everything we can in Wales to plug any gaps and provide the best possible financial support to businesses, it is clear there are further steps that the UK Government needs to urgently take.”

The Economic Resilience offers financial support to help businesses, charities and social enterprises deal with the coronavirus crisis and will be vital in helping organisations manage cash flow pressures. It is a unique additional funding stream for Wales and was designed to address gaps not currently met by schemes already announced by the UK Government, Welsh Government and Development Bank of Wales.

The first stage of the Fund saw the £100 million Development Bank of Wales’ loan scheme fully subscribed in little more than a week. Applications are currently being processed and some businesses have already received funding. It is anticipated that the Development Bank will have processed all applications received within the month.

To ensure that money reaches businesses as quickly as possible more than 120 additional Welsh Government and Business Wales staff have been diverted onto processing applications and supporting businesses and organisations in this latest stage of the Fund.

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Business

Smarter working for a smarter workforce

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THE WAY an organisation responds to challenges is testament to its values, its planning and its employees.

Covid-19 has gathered pace which has been unprecedented – and is a situation that the majority of us could never have anticipated.

Facing this pandemic and being prepared has been a challenge for all tiers of Government – but Pembrokeshire County Council’s capability to reposition its workforce is thanks to embracing the Smarter Working approach.

Our investment in technology has enabled the organisation to have more than 750 staff working flexibly to keep vital services running.

Introduced in the summer of 2018, the Smarter Working project is about harnessing the potential of flexible working in a strategic way, to deliver benefits both for employees and the business.

It is well-recognised that the principles of Smarter Working acknowledge that technology and flexible working patterns are changing the way we work for the better.

Councillor Neil Prior, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Transformation and IT said: “The Council’s employees understand that we are in a fast-changing communication and technology world.

“Culture and behaviour change has enabled us as an organisation to benefit from the advances in IT and an improved flexible use of our estate.

“I’d like to thank the IT team who have been working incredibly hard to support our Business Continuity planning. The investment we have made in technology over the last couple of years has meant that we’ve been able to see a greater number of staff work from home, which is exactly in line with the Government’s advice to ‘work from home where possible’.

“I would also like to thank staff who have adjusted their working patterns and are going over and above in their efforts to prepare our County to respond in the best possible way to the current situation.”

The world of work is changing, and people no longer need be tied to a desk. Pembrokeshire County Council can now work smarter, in a way that saves money, time and improves productivity.

As part of the Council’s approach to smarter working and refining the estate – two key changes were implemented.

The conversion of Haverfordia House – which previously accommodated staff – into a reablement centre also enabled the Council to list the Cherry Grove building in Haverfordwest as surplus to requirements, ensuring cost avoidance over the next 10 years stretching into millions of pounds.

Regarding the response specifically to Covid-19 – the stats are impressive. They include:

  • 95 per-cent of IT department working remotely
  • Skype – average unique users logged in: 1,200
  • almost 14,000 one-to-one skype sessions – this equates to more than 1,200 conferences and in excess of 60,000 audio and video minutes used
  • figures showcase the Council’s ability to enable its staff to work flexibly and keep vital services running
  • Community Hub has received more than 700 calls
  • the Council’s Cabinet is continuing to meet via videoconferencing.

Councillor Prior added: “We take pride in the relationships that we are building with our communities – and I am extremely proud of the work that has gone into the planning and the commitment shown by the Council’s staff.

“Pembrokeshire County Council has a history of positive relationships with our colleagues within health, third sector agencies and emergency services – and we are all working together to support each other through this challenging time.”

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Business

Covid 19 grants for small businesses

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COUNCILLOR PAUL MILLER, the Authority’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Tourism, Leisure and Culture, has announced that applications for business support grants can be made from today (March 27, 2020).

Access to the online application form can be found on the Council’s Business webpage via the following link:
https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/business-advice-and-support

You can email other business enquiries about the impacts of Covid 19 via the following email address: covid19businesssupport@pembrokeshire.gov.uk
Councillor Miller said: “The team have been working flat out to get this scheme up and running as we know just how important this support is to business right now.
“Government has promised the cash will be with us by the 1st April and the second it is, we’ll be distributing that support to our businesses.”

The following grants are available to small businesses to support the costs associated with the impact of Covid 19 on their businesses as follows:
• small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
• grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
Councillor Miller added: “I know our local businesses are doing all they can to sustain jobs and livelihoods. Our job is to get assistance to them as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“While our application form wasn’t the first to go live – we were hoping not to need an application at all – we have developed an automated system which will allow us to begin making payments, into businesses bank accounts, the minute funds arrive from Government.”

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