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Shell fisheries closed after train crash can reopen

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COCKLE and shell fisheries that were closed as a precaution following the Milford Haven oil train derailment in Carmarthenshire on 26 August can reopen.

The Burry Inlet Cockle Fishery and other shell fisheries in the area were closed as a precaution following advice from the Food Standards Agency.

Extensive sampling and monitoring has been taking place and initial rounds of analysis of cockles and mussels in the area for residual oil contamination indicated they were within statutory limits, which are set to protect the health of consumers and the quality of the product.

As a precaution, a further round of samples was analysed. Those results have also come back within statutory limits.

A programme of surveillance and monitoring of shellfish will continue over the winter period to ensure the ongoing safety and quality of shellfish harvested from the area.

Local shellfish producers have been informed that the beds have been reopened with immediate effect and that harvesting can resume.

A spokesperson from the Food Standards Agency said: “Laboratory Analysis by Centre for ecology fisheries and aquaculture science (Cefas) of the first two rounds of shellfish samples reported no evidence of diesel contamination of shellfish.

“The beds remained closed on a precautionary basis while we awaited the results of a third round of sampling and analysis.

“The additional results provide further evidence that testing results remain within the statutory limits, and as a result the beds have reopened.

“A programme of surveillance and monitoring over the winter period will continue, to ensure the ongoing safety and quality of the shellfish. The monitoring results will be kept under regular review.”

The clean-up operation of the incident site is now in recovery phase and is being led by Natural Resources Wales (NRW).

Multi-agency strategic and tactical groups have been established to coordinate the effort. They include representatives from NRW, Carmarthenshire County Council, City and County of Swansea,

Network Rail, British Transport Police, Food Standards Agency, Welsh Government and Public Health Wales.

They’re working together to reduce any potential for impact of the incident on the local community, the environment and the economy.

Specialist contractors Adler and Allan and Jacobs remain at the incident site and are continuing with work to mitigate potential impact of the diesel spill.

Extensive monitoring, surveillance and modelling over the intervening period has shown that over 70 per cent of the diesel spilled has either evaporated or biodegraded, and the remainder has dispersed naturally in the wider environment.

Martyn Evans, Head of South West Operations for NRW and Chair of the Recovery Coordination Group, said: “The reopening of the shell fisheries is a significant step forward in the road to recovery, and an indication that the multi-agency and specialist work to mitigate the impact is working.

“The measures have been significantly tested by heavy rains and Storm Alex, with no further seeping of diesel. But we will not be complacent in the management of this site.

“We are finalising long term plans for the treatment and monitoring of the site.”

A Stakeholder Recovery Group has been set up to keep people up to date with information and offer support to those affected overcome the impact of this incident. The group will also ensure people have the opportunity to voice any concerns.

It includes representatives from local businesses, commerce, tourism, fisheries and agriculture.

Sue Watts, Environmental Protection Manager, Carmarthenshire County Council and Chair of the Tactical Recovery Group, said: “Recovery from this is a complex task that requires expert advice, specialist support and continued monitoring.

“Unfortunately, there are people suffering the aftermath of this diesel pollution incident, and could be for months to come, particularly our local cockle gatherers and shellfish
processors.”

The investigation into the cause of the freight train derailment is on-going.

Leader of Carmarthenshire Labour, Councillor Rob James, welcomed the Minister for Environment’s comments stating “I am pleased to hear that recent samples of shellfish were found to be safe for human consumption and that a stakeholder group has been established to assess the impact on our local cockle picking industry.

“We are also reassured by the Minister’s commitment that extensive monitoring and surveillance will continue to protect our cockle industry and consumers moving forward.

“The local cockle industry is extremely important to our local area and it is clear that the Welsh Labour Government is doing everything possible to protect it.”

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Rider of a motorbike taken to hospital following collision with a car

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A COLLISION which involved a car and a motorbike on Friday afternoon (Jun 18) saw one person being transferred to hospital.

Dyfed-Powys Police have confirmed that the collision, which happened at approximately 1.17pm at Dwrbach, Scleddau, involved a white Seat Ibiza and a black Suzuki motorbike.

The Herald understands that the accident happened at a junction near The Gate Inn public house.

The incident caused the road to be closed while emergency services dealt with the situation.

The rider of the motorbike was transferred to Glangwili Hospital for treatment.

A Police spokesperson said: “Dyfed-Powys Police attended a two vehicle road traffic collision which occurred in Scleddau, Fishguard early Friday afternoon, June18th 2021.

“The collision involved a white Seat Ibiza and a black Suzuki motorbike. The rider of the motorbike was taken to hospital.

“The road was closed for emergency services to deal with the collision.”

A rapid response vehicle and an ambulance were dispatched to the scene.

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were called to attend a road traffic collision involving a motorcycle at Dwrbach, Fishguard at 1.17pm on Friday 18 June. We sent one rapid response vehicle and one emergency ambulance. One patient was taken to Glangwili Hospital for further treatment.”

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Residents urged to be alert to Covid-19 symptoms following cluster of cases

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PUBLIC HEALTH WALES, Pembrokeshire County Council and Hywel Dda University Health Board are urging members of the public to be alert to COVID-19 symptoms following the identification of a cluster of cases in the Tenby area.

The 22 confirmed cases are linked to social and sporting events and local schools and have generated a large number of contactssince the first cases were confirmed on Saturday, 12 June. 

A number of individuals, including pupils, are currently isolating and close contacts of the positive cases continue to be traced.

From Monday 21 June to Sunday 4 July, a mobile testing unit will be available for local residents in and around Tenby to access if they have symptoms.

This is based at Salterns Car Park, Marsh Road, Tenby, SA70 8DU.  To book a test visit the UK portal https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or ring 119.

Residents can protect themselves and others from Coronavirus by remaining at least two metres away from everyone else, washing their hands regularly, and by wearing a face covering where required. 

The virus disperses in a well ventilated environment, so opening windows and allowing fresh air to circulate is another way to keep ourselves safe.

Residents should take up the vaccine when offered, and self-isolate and get a test if they or anyone in their household develop symptoms.

As well as the three most common symptoms of Coronavirus – a fever, a new continuous cough, or a loss/change of taste and smell – people with any of the following, wider symptoms that are persistent and/or unusual for them are also strongly encouraged to get a PCR test:

  • Mild summer cold symptoms – including sore throat, runny nose, headache
  • Flu-like symptoms, including myalgia (muscle ache or pain); excessive tiredness; persistent headache; runny nose or blocked nose; persistent sneezing; sore throat and/or hoarseness, shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Generally feeling unwell and a history of being in contact with a known COVID-19 case
  • Any new or change in symptoms following a previous negative test

If you have any of the above symptoms, even if you have been vaccinated, please stay home and book a PCR test through the UK portal https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or ringing 119.

When booking your PCR test, you will also be asked about your symptoms: if you have wider summer cold or flu-like symptoms as described above, rather than the classic three symptoms, choose ‘None of these symptoms’ and then choose one of the following options to enable you to complete the booking:

• My local council or health protection team has asked me to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms or

• A GP or other healthcare professional has asked me to get a test.

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Paul Davies submits views to Health Board Consultation

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Senedd Member Paul Davies has fed his views into Hywel Dda University Health Board’s consultation, “Building a Healthier Future after Covid-19.”

In response to the Health Board’s proposals, Mr Davies has made it clear that he opposes any movements to centralise or downgrade services at Withybush hospital.

Mr Davies said, “I cannot emphasise how important this consultation is and so I’d urge everyone across Pembrokeshire to read through the Health Board’s proposals and make their views known. In my submission, I’ve made it crystal clear that the people of Pembrokeshire should not have to travel further for vital health services.

“I want to see Hywel Dda start prioritising Pembrokeshire by investing in services at Withybush hospital so that it can support people living and working across the county.

“There’s still time to feed into the consultation and have your say on the Health Board’s plans. The deadline is Monday, June 21 and you can find more information here – https://www.haveyoursay.hduhb.wales.nhs.uk/building-a-healthier-future-after-covid-19.” 

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