Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

Diesel train spill ‘most challenging recovery operation since Sea Empress’

Published

on

THE ONGOING clean-up of the Llangennech freight derailment and diesel spill site is the most challenging recovery operation since the Sea Empress disaster 25 years ago, according to the Incident Recovery Manager.

Environmental contractors Adler and Allan have been working around the clock to complete the complex remediation work at the site where a freight train pulling 25 wagons each containing up to 100,000 litres of diesel derailed near Llangennech in Carmarthenshire on 26 August 2020. The derailment and the subsequent damage to the wagons resulted in a significant spillage of diesel and a major fire.

Contaminated soil from 150 metres of railway at a depth of two metres and width of 20 metres has been excavated during the 27/7 operation.. The soil has been replaced with new, clean material from quarries in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire that match the chemical and physical properties of that already on site. Contaminated materials have been removed by lorry and taken to a licenced waste management facility near Merthyr Tydfil.

Monitoring of the site and the wider environment is ongoing to ensure the safety and quality of shellfish harvested from the area. Latest laboratory results from the analysis of cockles and mussels for environmental contaminants, including oil, indicate levels continue to be well within regulatory limits.

Incident recovery manager Stuart Thomas, of Natural Resources Wales, has been at the heart of the recovery effort.

Work is continuing at the Llangennech site this week (Pic NRW)

Stuart Thomas said: “This is the most challenging recovery operation we’ve seen since Pembrokeshire’s Sea Empress disaster 25 years ago.

“A phenomenal amount of work has been carried out at the site to safely remove the contaminated soil and reinstate the ground. Contractors have worked around the clock, and have had to overcome many challenges, including flooding of the site during recent severe weather.

“The physical works are now nearing completion with just the Coal Authority land to treat, replanting to take place and of course the reopening of the railway line.

“Monitoring of the site and surrounding area, which includes four Sites of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation, will continue for years to come.

“I’m very pleased to see the latest shellfish monitoring results continue to be well within regulatory limits. Local shellfish producers have been informed.”

The final part of the remediation is now taking place on Coal Authority land. This work includes the removal of the top layer of ground where contaminated fire water was pumped during the incident in an area of woodland to the north east of the incident site, as well as deeper excavation work at the incident site itself.

Jacobs, acting on behalf of Network Rail have provided design support for the new railway line with work beginning to lay a new track, signalling, power and telecommunication work commencing as planned on 4 January.

Work is progressing to plan despite some recent weather related challenges.

Bill Kelly, Wales route director at Network Rail, said: “This is one of the largest scale environmental recovery operations Network Rail has ever been involved with and it’s thanks to the quick thinking of our frontline railway colleagues, and our partners at Natural Resources Wales, that an environmental disaster was averted.

“Over the last two months, around 30,000 tonnes of contaminated soil has been removed from site – a massive operation designed to protect the local environment for future generations.

“We are working closely with Transport for Wales and our freight operating partners to get services back up and running. The final stage of our work is now underway, and we’re making great progress installing brand new track and repairing damage to the signalling system.”

Adler and Allan anticipate completing the remediation works by the end of February 2021, with ongoing monitoring and ecological restoration over the next two to five years.

The ongoing investigation into the cause of the freight train derailment is being led by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch.

A police helicopter circles above the train fire (Pic R Milsom/Herald)

Business

Green hydrogen electrolyser and car refueler arrive at Milford Waterfront

Published

on

PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL says it is leading the way in renewable energy with a collaborative £4.5 million project exploring the vital role hydrogen could play in a decarbonised energy future.

Milford Haven : Energy Kingdom (MH:EK) is a two-year ‘detailed design’ project, completing in 2022, exploring what a renewable energy based Smart Local Energy System could look like for the Milford Haven Waterway – including the concept of a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (HFCEV).

The aim is to gather detailed insight into the whole energy system around the Waterway, looking at how to make, using and distributing hydrogen financially viable within the different energy sectors of buildings, industry, power and transport.

The MH:EK team will investigate the potential of local renewable energy, including solar, onshore wind, future offshore wind and biomass for decarbonised gas transition.

One element of the project involves a consumer trial of two Riversimple ‘Rasa’ HFCEV’s. The MH:EK team is building a green hydrogen electrolyser and refueler on Milford Waterfront – and this will be used to produce green hydrogen on site to fuel the two trial HFCEV’s.

The project will demonstrate the practical application of hydrogen technology. The aim is to test the feasibility of two hydrogen powered Rasa cars. They will be built by Welsh company Riversimple, and operate as fleet cars in and around the Haven.

Pembrokeshire County Councillor Cris Tomos, Cabinet Member for the Environment and Welsh Language, said: ‘We welcome the progress made by the partnership, particularly in view of recent news that new petrol and diesel cars will not be sold in the UK after 2030. This innovative approach will help us to switch to a low carbon future and promoting sustainable transport as we respond to the climate change emergency.’

Work is underway and should be operational for the trial in July. A hydrogen-ready smart hybrid heating system is also being designed and will be installed and tested in an operational Port building.

Continue Reading

News

Council’s building maintenance teams to resume non-emergency responsive repairs

Published

on

THE HOUSING Building Maintenance teams within Pembrokeshire County Council are now able to re-commence non-emergency responsive repairs to customers’ homes around the County.

Lockdown has prevented tradesmen and women from entering homes to carry out anything other than emergency repairs for many months but the PCC Contact Centre is now able to take calls from customers to request a non-emergency service in their homes once more.

The Contact Centre receives around 38,000 building maintenance related service requests each year and even throughout lockdown Building Maintenance have proudly maintained a 99.2% success rate in responding to emergency repairs within 24hours since restrictions came into force.

Covid has caused a large disruption to the service and while the authority is now in a position to re-open phone lines to routine responsive repairs, a delay in providing that service is inevitable as the backlog is worked through but the authority is working hard to meet the demand.

Backlog is likely to take several months and is dependent on a number of factors including the numbers of repair requests received, availability of materials and contractors.

PCC currently employs 64 tradesmen and women directly and has a considerable number of contractors on its framework to undertake a wide range of maintenance works and Building Maintenance are in the process of tendering a New Minor Works Framework.

All maintenance employees and contractors will continue to work under strict guidelines in people’s homes to ensure that all safety and social distancing measures are adhered to.

The Housing Building Maintenance service is also in the final stages of implementing ‘Repair Finder’ which will enable Contact Centre staff to diagnose the faults in customer’s homes far quicker and more accurately than before, which will in turn ensure that Building Maintenance are better informed and resourced ahead of arriving at the property to carry out the repair.

This is expected to reduce the length of calls to the Contact Centre and subsequently reduce call-waiting times.

The ‘Repair Finder’ tool is expected to be available later in the year and will soon offer residents direct access to an online version which will enable them to report responsive repairs themselves.

Once trialled and released, service requests can be logged by the tenant via the Council’s ‘Housing Online’ portal.

When residents report a problem within their home via the Call Centre or ‘Repair Finder’, they will receive text message alerts informing them of the timescales within which they can expect the repair to be made.

Cabinet member for Housing, Cllr Michelle Bateman said: “We’re under no illusion that lockdown measures have caused a major disruption to the building maintenance service.

“We’re receiving new requests now on top of those that have been on standby during the Covid restrictions. Pembrokeshire residents have shown tremendous patience and understanding of services that have been stretched throughout the crisis so we’re counting on their ongoing support and we hope they appreciate that it will take a period of time to get back to where we were.

“People can be assured that we are working very hard to bring back the outstanding levels of service we provided before Covid and it’s things like ‘Repair Finder’ that will help make this possible going forward.

“With one in every six employed people in Pembrokeshire working for the local authority, it’s important to remember that we are very much in this together”.

If you wish to report a repair to your home you can call the Contact Centre on 01437 764551.

Continue Reading

News

Leader’s update: Keep doing your bit to prevent Covid-19 spreading

Published

on

THE LATEST from the Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, Cllr David Simpson.

Hello everyone, I hope you have had a good weekend and enjoyed some of the lovely weather we have had.

Pembrokeshire is beautiful in all weathers but there’s nowhere quite like it when the sky is totally blue and the sun shining. Fingers crossed for more lovely weather this summer.

Let me firstly apologise for the late message this week but our focus has been working hard on the situation with a cluster of Covid-19 cases in Tenby.

It is not a surprise that we are starting to see a rise in cases following the easing of restrictions but the cluster of 22 confirmed cases as of yesterday (Monday) shows just how important it is for us all to keep following the rules to prevent further spread.

Council Leader, Cllr David Simpson (Pic PCC)

Our Test, Trace and Protect teams have worked tirelessly to contact close contacts and break the chain of infection in a complex situation.

Working closely with Public Health Wales and Hywel Dda University Health Board we have now got a mobile testing unit in place at the Salterns Car Park in Tenby.

The full address is Salterns Car Park, Marsh Road, Tenby, SA70 8DU.

If you have symptoms of Covid-19 – even if you have had the vaccine – please arrange to get a test.

Previously, only those with either a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss/change of taste and smell, were advised to seek a test.

But across Pembrokeshire, people with any of the following wider symptoms that are persistent and/or unusual for should also get a PCR test:

  • Mild summer cold type 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, please stay home and book a test by calling 119 or through the UK portal https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

There are also a series of walk-in clinics for both first and second doses of the vaccines continuing this week.

See Hywel Dda Health Board on Facebook for more information.

As you will know, the First Minister on Friday set out further information on the ongoing Covid-19 situation.

Mr Drakeford paused further plans to relax restrictions as cases rise across Wales.

This should underline just how important it is for us all to maintain social distancing, keep washing hands regularly, meet people outside whenever possible and wear face coverings where required.

All these things work to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

We’ve all worked so hard to get to this point, let’s not let it slip now.

Stay safe everyone.

Continue Reading
Business2 hours ago

Green hydrogen electrolyser and car refueler arrive at Milford Waterfront

PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL says it is leading the way in renewable energy with a collaborative £4.5 million project exploring the vital...

News3 hours ago

Council’s building maintenance teams to resume non-emergency responsive repairs

THE HOUSING Building Maintenance teams within Pembrokeshire County Council are now able to re-commence non-emergency responsive repairs to customers’ homes...

News9 hours ago

NHS Wales announce first and second dose vaccination walk-in clinics

HYWEL DDA UHB is running walk-in vaccination clinics this week. There is no need to contact the health board to...

News1 day ago

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

PUBLIC HEALTH WALES, Pembrokeshire County Council and Hywel Dda University Health Board are urging members of the public to be...

News1 day ago

Paul Davies submits views to Health Board Consultation

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

News2 days ago

Reminder from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park to pre-book for attractions

MEMBERS of the public are being reminded to pre-book their entry tickets before visiting two popular National Park Authority-run attractions....

News2 days ago

Haverfordwest and Cardigan high streets listed as among the ten worst in Britain

TWO west Wales high streets have been listed in a UK wide report detailing Britain’s worst high streets. In the...

News4 days ago

Lifeboats and chopper in major air sea rescue off the coast of Tenby

TWO RNLI lifeboats from both Tenby and Angle stations have been launched to assist a coastguard helicopter which has been...

News5 days ago

Organisers urged to read guidance on holding Covid-aware events

ORGANISERS planning to hold events in Pembrokeshire are being urged to read guidance published by the Welsh Government. The Welsh...

News5 days ago

Four men arrested as armed police swoop on Hubberston address

ARMED police and specialist dog handlers swooped on an address in Hubberston, Milford Haven on Wednesday night (Jun 16). The...

Popular This Week