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Multi-agency operation tackles illegal waste and fly-tipping in Pembrokeshire

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IN RESPONSE to a rise in the level of fly tipping offences, and that refuse then subsequently being set alight in the local area, a multi-agency operation was undertaken on Thursday last week (Aug 12), to tackle illegal waste carriers.

The partnership response was carried out on Scoveston Road, the Broadmoor to Sageston road and the Cresselly to Carew road, Pembrokeshire.  

Waste crime is on the rise across the UK and is estimated to cost the UK economy £600 million a year. Illegal waste crime can take many forms but most often within our communities we recognise it in the form of fly tipping and increasingly by way of illegal waste sites being set up by unscrupulous landowners where waste is illegally deposited without any form of regulation often resulting in significant environmental pollution and damage. As they are unregulated, there are no controls in place as to the type and volume of waste being dumped. Inevitably, this illegal waste is subsequently burnt to reduce its volume and get rid of it, and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service are regularly called out to deal with these fires. 

Figures suggset waste crime is on the rise across the UK and is estimated to cost the UK economy £600 million a year (Pic Herald)

Noxious smoke from these fires can affect residents living in and around these areas, and impact upon their quality of life and health. These illegal waste sites and resultant burning also have an adverse impact on the local environment in these communities.

This operation therefore aimed to target, stop and take enforcement action against illegal waste carriers operating in the area. Members of Pembrokehsire Roads Policing Unit, Neighbourhood Policing Teams, Rural Crime Team, Pembrokeshire County Council Waste Enforcement and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) set up road check sites, where they stopped and checked any vehicle suspected to be carrying waste. This was in order to disrupt and deter illegal waste carriers heading to any sites. The local authority waste enforcement teams provided drivers with advice around waste carrier licences.

Fly tipping has become an increasing problem in west Wales (Pic file)

As a result of this roadside operation, over 60 vehicles were stopped, checked, and examined and eight sites visited. Police issued one prohibition notice for the condition of a vehicle, two traffic offence reports for no insurance and a number of intelligence submissions were made. The DVSA issued one fixed penalty notice, three immediate suspensions and two delayed suspensions for the condition of vehicles.    

Sergeant Terri Harrison, seconded to Arson Reduction Team Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “Waste crime damages our environment, community and economy. It is a real challenge for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and partner agencies. Every year there are reports of hundreds of refuse fires and we are seeing a very clear and obvious link between deliberate refuse fires, fly tipping and the operation of illegal waste sites.  Waste crime has a real adverse impact upon the quality of life for those affected by these illegal activities. This operation also coincided with Crimestoppers national month-long rural crime campaign, that focussed on waste crime specifically last week.

“We all have a duty to dispose of our waste safely, legally and responsibly – and it’s important to ensure that any individual or business disposing of your waste does so too.”

Pembrokeshire County Council has reiterated its commitment to prosecute unlicensed waste operators and fly-tippers. Cllr Cris Tomos says: “The focus of this joint operation was ensuring commercial waste collectors and operators had the appropriate licences and permits in place to ensure these operators complied with legislation and duty of care, to make sure waste is being disposed of appropriately to tackle Envirocrime and Flytipping.

“Operation Tornado sends out a strong message that fly-tipping will not be tolerated and those who carry out this scourge on society will be prosecuted. We need the public’s help on this to be our eyes and ears. Please continue to report incidents of fly-tipping but also pass on any details you can about the perpetrators.”

Pembrokeshire County Council returns included:

·                One warning issued for non-compliance with waste carriers licence;

·                Valuable information gathering on waste collection operators and compliance;

·                A number of vehicles were advised of their requirements regarding the transportation and disposal of waste.

Pembrokeshire County Council has set up a special team to deal with fly-tipping and will always seek to prosecute where possible. You can provide information, in confidence, by emailing [email protected] or by phoning the dedicated fly tipping phone line: 01437 775253. Anyone who provides information on fly-tipping that leads to successful enforcement action is eligible for a £100 reward.

Cllr Cris Tomos (Holding the recycling box) says he wants to see waste handled propertly in Pembrokeshire (Pic PCC)

Businesses and householders are reminded to be aware that they have a duty of care for their waste and that simply handing it onto another person to dispose of does not absolve them of their responsibility. Cllr Cris Tomos said: “The public need to use registered waste carriers and be satisfied that they are disposing of waste legitimately. Failure to do so, may in certain cases lead to their actions being investigated, fines or prosecution.’

See more information on the duty of care here: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/waste-and-recycling/householders-duty-of-care

A booking system continues to be in place for Pembrokeshire’s six Waste and Recycling Centres (WRCs) for all users both Household and Commercial.

Slots can be booked up until 6am on the day when there are time slots available.

To pre-book a slot or for more information about the Waste and Recycling Centre’s, please go online at: www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/waste-bookings

For further information and guidance on disposing of waste safely, legally and responsibly, visit the Fly Tipping Action Wales website: flytippingactionwales.org

Business

Tata workers call first strikes in 40 years to stop steel destruction

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HISTORIC strikes in Port Talbot as Labour vows emergency talks with Tata after general election

Around 1,500 Tata workers based in Port Talbot and Llanwern will begin all-out indefinite strike action over the company’s plans to cut 2,800 jobs and close its blast furnaces.

The strike action, which begins on 8 July, will severely impact Tata’s UK operations. It is the first time in over 40 years that steel workers in the UK have taken strike action.

The escalation in industrial action comes after the workers, who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, began working to rule and an overtime ban on Tuesday (June 17).

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Tata’s workers are not just fighting for their jobs – they are fighting for the future of their communities and the future of steel in Wales.

“Our members will not standby while this immensely wealthy conglomerate tries to throw Port Talbot and Llanwern on the scrapheap so it can boost its operations abroad. They know South Wales is ideally placed to take advantage of the coming boom in green steel – if the right choices are made.

“The strikes will go on until Tata halts its disastrous plans. Unite is backing Tata’s workers to the hilt in their historic battle to save the Welsh steel industry and give it the bright future it deserves.”

Labour has called for Tata to halt its plans and wait until after the general election to engage in talks with the government, saying there is a ‘better deal to do’. Labour has pledged £3 billion for UK steel if elected next month, a commitment secured by Unite. Labour has also made emergency talks with Tata a priority if it wins the election.

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Business

Amendments submitted for holiday chalets scheme at trout fishery

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Amendments to a scheme granted by Pembrokeshire councillors last year after being repeatedly recommended for refusal have been submitted to county planners.

Last summer, Pembrokeshire councillors backed plans for holiday chalets at a trout fishery, despite them being recommended for refusal on multiple occasions.

Plans to provide nine accommodation cabins and ancillary works at a former fishery business at Millbrook, Manorwen, Fishguard, were backed at two meetings of Pembrokeshire County Council planning committee, despite them being recommended for refusal.

The application was backed for a second time at the committee’s May meeting, after a ‘minded to approve’ decision at the previous meeting.

The decision, a departure from the adopted Local Development Plan, meant the application would need to be referred to full council for a final decision.

Officers had repeatedly recommended Messrs L & C Williams’ application  – diversification of an existing agricultural holding and trout fishery business – be refused on the grounds it would have an unacceptable adverse impact on the character and appearance of the countryside.

The application was then considered at the July 2023 meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council, with a recommendation that the council did not endorse the resolution of the planning committee on the grounds it went against Development Plan policies which directed that planning permission should not be granted.

The application was conditionally approved by 48 votes to eight, with one abstention.

The applicants have now submitted amendments to the granted scheme, asking for revisions to the plans to include a lower carbon footprint through air-source heat exchangers for both heating and hot water and the use of solar panels.

It also includes the need for addition excavations needed and hopes to make it more disability-friendly.

The amendments will be considered at a later date.

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Business

The Amber Boutique: Gemma triumphs as Apprentice of the Year

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IN a testament to hard work and dedication, Gemma Phillips, co-owner of The Amber Boutique, has been named Apprentice of the Year at the prestigious B-wbl Consortium Annual Apprenticeship and JGW+ Learner Awards. The event took place on 7th June at the Tower Hotel in Swansea, celebrating the outstanding achievements of apprentices and learners within the B-wbl Consortium Provider Network.

Gemma Phillips began her journey at The Amber Boutique in November 2020, embarking on an apprenticeship that saw her complete both NVQ Level 2 and Level 3 in Nail Services by 2023. Demonstrating remarkable commitment and skill, Phillips not only excelled in her training but also took the bold step of taking over the salon in April 2024, alongside her colleague Rebecca Lloyd. Under their stewardship, The Amber Boutique has thrived, becoming a beacon of success in the local business community.

The awards ceremony highlighted the dedication and high-level skills of learners in the Apprenticeship and Jobs Growth Wales+ programmes. Phillips was nominated by HB Training for the ‘Apprentice of the Year’ category, an honour that recognised her significant accomplishments since the inception of her apprenticeship. Among hundreds of nominees, Phillips stood out, making it to the top three before ultimately being declared the winner.

Her assessor at HB Training praised her indomitable spirit and perseverance. “Gemma was nominated for the Apprentice of the Year award due to her hard work and dedication to learning. She did not let her disability stand in her way and, with support from HB Training and adapted training provision, Gemma successfully achieved her Level 2 and 3 Nail Services qualifications. As a result, she now owns her own salon business. Gemma is a real-life hero and a true inspiration to others, demonstrating that a disability does not need to be a barrier to achieving your goals.”

The B-wbl Consortium awards, held annually, celebrate the success and achievements of their outstanding learners. Providers within the consortium nominate their top candidates for each award category, with a panel of independent judges selecting the finalists from the numerous applications received. Phillips’ victory is a testament to her relentless pursuit of excellence and her ability to overcome challenges.

The Amber Boutique continues to flourish under Phillips and Lloyd’s leadership, embodying the spirit of resilience and entrepreneurial success. Gemma Phillips’ story serves as an inspiration, proving that with determination and support, extraordinary achievements are possible.

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