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Tanker crash was ‘potential explosion’

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tanker3A COLLISION between a crane and a tanker carrying diesel caused travel delays and road closures affecting workers, shoppers and tourists on Friday 16th August.

The accident took place near the roundabout used by the majority of traffic to and through Haverfordwest from the south of Pembrokeshire. The impact of the two vehicles ruptured the fuel tanker and caused an estimated 4,000 litres of diesel to spill on to the carriage way.

Disruption also took place to morning rail services between Milford Haven and Haverfordwest.

Travelling to Haverfordwest at the time of the accident was hospital car volunteer Christopher Shields, ‘It was about 6.35 in the morning and I was bringing patients to Withybush. I was behind a black car and a Calor gas pick-up.

‘I was just behind the stationary tanker when the crane came out of the joining road and poked it with his jib. The jib burst the tank open. Fuel gushed out all over Merlin’s Bridge. I did not know whether it was petrol or diesel.

‘The black car in front of me, steered round the collision and shot off through the lights. The Calor gas driver got out and signalled everyone to get clear. I made a pretty quick U-turn and headed down the Old Hakin Road.

Joked Chris, ‘If it had exploded, the burgers in MacDonald’s would have been well done. And so would I.’

Speaking to the Herald, one local resident told us that the road layout of the junction where the accident happened was far from ideal. ‘It looked as though both vehicles were on their own right sides of the road, but there simply wasn’t enough room for both of them.’

Heavy goods vehicles heading for Milford Haven from the east were diverted to the A477 and the Cleddau Bridge crossing.

Specialist equipment was used to remove the damaged vehicles and to mop up the spill. A portion of the road was subject to resurfacing works.

Jamie Powell, one of the sales team at the Herald, was on the scene. ‘The stink of the diesel was unbelievable. By the time I got there, preparations were already underway to shut the road and the fire service was at the scene.’

The closure of the main road in to Pembrokeshire’s commercial and administrative centre resulted in long traffic delays and the diversion of vehicles down side roads.

Jane Potter,  a Johnston resident, told us ‘It took almost half an hour minutes to travel the length of the Bulford Road to Tier’s Cross. The road is very narrow and it was a tight squeeze for buses and lorries to get by. One lorry driver told me it had taken him an hour to get from a nearby quarry. The amount of traffic meant it took me over fifty minutes to get from Johnston into work.’

With the Old Hakin Road closed, travellers heading to Haverfordwest were diverted to take the B4327 through Dreen Hill. Those attempting to take a short cut along the Ratford Bridge road were soon nose to tail and meeting traffic coming the other way.

The B4341 was closed for a period following a separate road traffic accident, adding to the weight of traffic on the usually quiet Dreen Hill road.

The efforts of Council workers in managing the dive

 

rted traffic and resurfacing the road so quickly received praise on the Council’s Facebook page. Local resident Lou Pooley commented, ‘Well done to all involved clearing it up and sorting the road.’ David Swan echoed her words writing, ‘Well done on turning round a difficult job in such a tight time frame whilst protecting the environment.’

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Milford Haven: Concerns over council refuse collection staff using drugs on duty

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL have confirmed that they are conducting an ongoing internal investigation.

The probe is relating to “illegal drug use by on-duty refuge collection crews” operating from the Thornton Refuge Depot in Milford Haven.

The Herald understands that following suspicions being raised, drug testing was carried out on refuse crews on Monday (May 10) – all before they left their depot.

This newspaper has been told that a number staff, which includes bin lorry drivers, tested positive for drug use, and that the council called in the police.

That information was passed to The Herald by someone who we have confirmed to be a member of staff working at Pembrokeshire County Council, who did not want to be named.

After a request for a statement, a spokesperson for the council has stressed that none of their vehicles were involved, suggesting that, on the day in question, positive tests were arrived at before any bin lorries had left the depot.

As part of the multi-agency operation the police were called and attended Thornton Refuse Depot, but did not make any arrests, and said they had little involvement in the operation.

Pembrokeshire County Council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that there is an ongoing internal workplace investigation and can clarify that there was no police involvement on the day in question – no Pembrokeshire County Council vehicles were involved.

“We are not in a position to comment any further at this time.”

Dyfed Powys Police told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “At the request of Pembrokeshire County Council, officers attended Thornton Refuse Depot to provide [them with] support on the morning of Monday, May 10.

“Officers attended; however they were not utilised.”

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Council’s Planning Committee approves ambitious dockyard plans

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL’s Planning Committee this morning (Tuesday, May 18) approved an application for the construction of a new marine engineering project at Pembroke Dock’s Royal Dockyard.
The plans, vociferously opposed by local heritage groups, passed unanimously.

The matter will now go to the Welsh Government, which has reserved its position on the scheme’s approval.
Committee members expressed the view that the balance between heritage and economic development were balanced, with strong views expressed on either side. They decided the balance of the application favoured economic development subject to conditions regarding aspects of the site’s preservation and its ability to be restored in the future.

The Committee members who attended a site visit on Wednesday, May 12, said it was the most informative and best site visit they had this council term. Visiting the site gave them a clearer idea about what was planned and the scale of the project, which would not have been gained from a paper exercise.

While the approval of the scheme was unanimous, one element of the reserved matters caused some members concern: the height and size of the proposed massive new sheds which would be built at a later phase of the project.
Cllr David Pugh, seconded by Cllr Steve Alderman, moved an amendment which would approve the project and delegate reserved matters to officers apart from the sheds’ construction, which would return to the Committee for detailed approval.

Cllr Tony Wilcox and Cllr Mark Carter emphasised the need for certainty regarding the project’s development, a position supported by Cllr David Howlett, Cllrs Pugh, Alderman and Cllr Stephen Joseph said that little delay would be caused to the scheme by bringing the sheds’ development back to the Committee. They noted the significant intrusion of the sheds into the landscape for miles around.

Planning Officer Mike Simmons advised that the project would proceed in five phases and that the applicant, Milford Haven Port Authority, was keen to proceed with the first phase as soon as possible. The first phase would be the infilling of the docks and pool, removing a caisson gate and preserving it, before the building of new slipways.
The Port Authority already accepted the sheds would only be built if there was commercial demand for them.
The amendment proposed by Cllr Pugh passed by six votes to five with two abstentions.

It means before the sheds are built, the Committee will decide the detailed application relating to them.

All other aspects of the development will be decided by officers.

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Business

Further Covid-19 business support packages to become available soon

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PEMBROKESHIRE businesses that remain affected by Covid-19 restrictions can check their eligibility for a new package of support from the Welsh Government.

This latest support package will help those businesses eligible to meet ongoing costs through to the end of June as they prepare for re-opening and more normal trading conditions.

Businesses that stand to benefit include:

  • nightclubs and late entertainment venues
  • events and conference venues not covered by the Welsh Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF)
  • hospitality and leisure businesses, including restaurants, pubs and cafes
  • supply chain business, which have been materially impacted by restrictions

An eligibility checker has opened on the Business Wales website so businesses can find out how much support they are likely to be entitled to and how to apply.

See more information and check your business’ eligibility at: https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice/

Funding will be calculated based on the size of the business and the type of restrictions they are under.

Businesses will be able submit applications to the Welsh Government from 24th May 2021 for grants of up to £25,000 and by the end of the month to Pembrokeshire County Council for smaller fixed Discretionary Grants.

To keep up to date and see the future application process for the Discretionary Grants please see: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/business-advice-and-support

The above link will be be updated with the latest information.  

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