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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

WG to exceed apprentice target

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Ken Skates: Apprentices make a significant contribution to economy

THE WELSH GOVERNMENT is on course to exceed its target of providing 100,000 all-age, high-quality apprenticeships across Wales during this Assembly term, Economy Minister Ken Skates has said at the beginning of Apprenticeship Week.
Since the target was introduced, more than 74,000 individuals have embarked on an apprenticeship allowing them to learn whilst earning a wage and boost their career prospects.
Apprenticeship Week 2020 is a week-long celebration of the hard work and dedication of apprentices as well as the support and commitment shown by their employers. Events are taking place across Wales to mark the occasion.
The Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship Skills policy is aimed at aligning apprenticeships to meet the needs for a flourishing Welsh economy so Wales can compete globally with a highly skilled workforce.
The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
Speaking as Apprenticeship Week gets underway, Economy Minister Ken Skates said: “In my role, I have met apprentices in all parts of Wales and it’s fantastic to see how they have grasped the opportunity to learn new skills, develop their knowledge and build confidence.
“It’s clear that apprenticeships make a significant contribution to the Welsh economy and drive our vision for a prosperous Wales.
“As a government, we are committed to seeing our workforce grow and our investment in apprenticeships is a great example of that.
“I want to see Wales lead the way and be a prime example to nations around the globe of how investing in apprenticeships can reap major benefits.
“With unemployment in Wales at a record low and our manifesto target of creating 100,000 apprenticeships in this assembly set to be exceeded, the Welsh Government can be rightly proud of the actions we’re taking to supercharge our economy.
“Apprenticeship Week offers us a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the tangible and very real difference apprentices and their employers make.
“Our ‘make a genius decision’ apprenticeship campaign is also playing a key role in encouraging businesses to recruit an apprentice and realise the positive difference they can make to the workplace.”
Mohammad Asghar AM/AC, the Shadow Minister for Further Education said: “Apprenticeships offer a different education and career path for many people, and such opportunities expand and enhance the range of provision available – and across the age range.
“Gone are the days when an apprenticeship was solely for young school leavers. The most recent figures from StatsWales indicate nearly 59,000 apprentices, ranging in age from the under-16s to later-life learners of over 65.”
Mr Asghar added that it is not only the age range that so impresses him, but also the breadth of the courses offered.
He continued: “We see also a very large range – from the agricultural sector to media, and from engineering to business – of industries covered. It is interesting to note, too, is that around 60 percent of all apprentices in Wales are female.
“I, and my Welsh Conservative colleagues, strongly believe that apprenticeships offer in many cases what a degree cannot, and that is the ability to ‘earn as you learn’, and this is one of the reasons why we back apprenticeships, and National Apprenticeship Week 2020.”

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Business

Welsh businesses increase in number

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Philip Winterborne: Chair of Wales' insolvency and restructuring body, R3

THE NUMBER of active businesses in Wales rose by over 4,400 between January 2019 and January 2020, according to new figures from the Welsh branch of insolvency and restructuring trade body R3.
There were over 110,000 active companies registered in Wales in January of this year, compared to just under 106,000 12 months ago – a rise of 4.2%. The growth in active business numbers across 2019 was around two and a half times higher than the increase seen over 2018, with the number of active Welsh-headquartered businesses growing by around 1,800 (equivalent to 1.7%) between January 2018 and January 2019.
Wales’s growth in active company numbers in 2019 was slightly higher than the rate for the UK as a whole (3.8%), and Wales is currently home to around 3% of all active companies registered in the UK. Of all 12 UK regions, London has by far the highest percentage of registered company headquarters, with 25.3% of the total.
Commenting on the research, R3 Wales’s Chair Philip Winterborne, a partner at Temple Bright solicitors, said: “It’s really encouraging that, against a backdrop of subdued economic growth and considerable uncertainty, the net increase in Wales-based businesses has been so strong across 2019.
“The fact that 2019 saw two and a half times as many new businesses created as 2018 is also heartening, while all the newly-created companies should give a boost to the Welsh economy as we prepare for a year of significant change.
“Launching a new venture is always nerve-wracking, and everyone who takes the plunge should be applauded for their initiative. In many cases, entrepreneurs take out loans with personal guarantees attached – this is something we are seeing more and more, and anyone in this position should be alive to the consequent risks to their own financial standing if business isn’t as good as anticipated.
“New businesses are often less robust than more established ones, for obvious reasons, and it takes a lot to make a venture a success. If a company hits a bump in the road, unbiased third-party advice from a qualified and accredited business expert, such as an insolvency practitioner, can be a crucial ingredient in averting more trouble. The sooner directors seek help, the more options they have for turnaround and subsequent success.”
The figures are compiled by R3 using Bureau van Dijk’s ‘Fame’ database of UK companies.

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Migrant salary threshold lowered

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£30,000 salary threshold: Government committee recommends reduction

THE GOVERNMENT’s Migration Advisory Committee recommended lowering the minimum salary threshold for migrant workers to the UK to £25,600 in a report presented to the Home Secretary last week.
However, despite the report’s authors acknowledging the large regional variation in average salaries, it does not recommend any adjustments for lower-paid areas.
That decision potentially has interlocking effects. Firstly, in higher-paid urban areas in the south of England migrant labour will be cheaper than elsewhere. Secondly, skills shortages in sectors in which migrants work are likely to increase in the English regions and devolved countries where wages are on average lower than £25,600. The Committee said temporary workers should be admitted where shortages would adversely affect the economy.
Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said: “The recommendation to lower the proposed minimum salary threshold to £25,600 is a welcome, pro-business proposal, which would widen the scope for employing those beyond highly-paid professions.
“It is vital that the workers and skills needed for the UK’s economy to grow are not locked out by a future immigration system which is unresponsive to business needs.
“One in five small employers in the UK have at least one staff member from the EU.
“FSB research shows that four-in-five small employers that hire staff into jobs classed as mid-skilled do so into roles with salaries less than £30,000. This includes positions in sectors such as engineering and IT.
“The recommendation for a route to the UK without a job offer is also positive, but this must be open to mid-skilled workers and not restricted to highly-paid professionals. It should allow for smaller businesses across all regions, nations and sectors to recruit the people with the skills they need.
“It is pleasing to see that the committee has listened to FSB’s arguments for a salary threshold below £30,000, as well as an unsponsored route, which selects migrants based on their personal characteristics and allows for regional variation.
“The challenge now for the government will be to have a new, employer-responsive immigration system in place in time for the end of the transition period eleven months from now, and allowing sufficient time for small business employers to prepare. FSB looks forward to working with the government on this.”

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