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Community

Llanteg and Amroth community alarmed by river pollution levels

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IN A STUDY conducted by the Llanteg and Amroth Renaturing Community (LARC), alarming levels of pollution have been detected in the rivers of South Pembrokeshire, raising serious environmental concerns.

The “Keep the Streams Clean Project” (KTSC), a comprehensive report initiated by LARC in 2022, aims to bring to light the deteriorating water quality in the region, particularly focusing on the New Inn stream that flows into Amroth Bay.

The initiative, supported by the Fishmongers Company through their Fisheries Charitable Trust’s Small Grants Scheme, conducted over 268 water quality tests. These tests uncovered widespread pollution across the stream network, with five pollution incidents reported to Natural Resources Wales.

The findings are particularly worrying for Amroth Bay, a cherished tourist spot, now threatened by high levels of nitrates and phosphates exceeding safe thresholds, indicating severe nutrient pollution. Despite generally low ammonia levels, instances were recorded where the toxic thresholds for aquatic life were breached.

Andrew Wallace, Fisheries Director of the Fishmongers’ Company’s Fisheries Charitable Trust, commended the community’s efforts: “This report exemplifies the impact of citizen-led initiatives on enhancing local waterways’ quality.”

LARC’s findings suggest that the pollution sources are varied, including private sewage plants, slurry runoff from dairy farming, and residential and commercial properties. The report stresses the community’s collective responsibility in tackling the issue, urging a collaborative approach between regulatory bodies, local communities, and businesses to find sustainable solutions.

Reflecting on the study, LARC commented, “The poor quality of the river at the New Inn is a community problem, requiring collective action rather than blame. We must seek solutions that prioritize environmental sensitivity.”

In response to these findings, LARC is continuing its environmental stewardship efforts, with projects focusing on biodiversity assessments and habitat restoration, including a new initiative monitoring streams through the Colby estate in collaboration with the National Trust.

A public meeting, organized by the Amroth Community Council, is scheduled for February 20th, 2024. It will address water quality concerns in Carmarthen Bay and feature presentations from Welsh Water, Pembrokeshire County Council Environmental Health, and Natural Resources Wales.

The report concludes with a call to action for the community to engage in discussions on water quality, hoping to inspire similar initiatives and foster a collective sense of responsibility towards local environmental challenges.

LARC continues to be a beacon of environmental stewardship in South Pembrokeshire, championing various initiatives to promote the region’s natural heritage. For further information or to participate in their efforts, LARC welcomes contact through their Facebook page or directly via Dr. Tom Bailey and Dr. Kevin Caley’s provided contacts.

The community awaits the outcomes of the upcoming public meeting, hopeful for a path forward in restoring the health of the waterways.

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Community

Pop up museum opens in Haverfordwest whilst Castle works continue

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WITH Haverfordwest Castle closed for the next couple years due to building works for the Heart of Pembrokeshire project the Haverfordwest Town Museum has had to relocate to the town centre.

Last September, plans to move temporarily Haverfordwest’s museum to the town’s Riverside Quay while levelling-up works in the town are ongoing were given the thumbs-up.

An application for a change of use of the former GAME electronic games store at 24-25 Riverside Quay to the temporary home for the ‘pop-up’ museum was submitted to county planners by historian and council presiding member Dr Simon Hancock.

The museum itself is moving from its current site at the Governor’s Office next to Haverfordwest Castle due to ongoing works connected with the £24m Heart of Pembrokeshire levelling-up redevelopment of that part of the county town, which is expected to last until Spring 2026.

Work is ongoing to set up displays and create a museum shop and the new Riverside home is hoped to open to the public on March 25.

Museum Curator Dr Hancock said: “We want to make the pop-up museum an informative and entertaining space. We will have models of the castle and Tudor Merchant’s house, displays on the Llewellin churnworks, the Port of Haverfordwest, items made in the town during the Victorian period, David Lindley paintings and the People of Haverfordwest panels.

“We will be open all year round in our new premises and so we will ensure there will be regular changes of content. We would like to hear from anyone who would be interested in volunteering for us.

“The pop-up museum would only be possible thanks to the stalwart support of the county council with funding from the Shared Prosperity Fund for which we are extremely grateful.”

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Community

Local group demands action on Cardigan sewage crisis

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THE GRASSROOTS organisation Save the Teifi has called upon authorities to urgently address the severe sewage pollution afflicting the lower Teifi and its estuary. The situation, which has deteriorated over the last decade, has been highlighted as the most alarming instance of sewage pollution in Wales, according to a comprehensive report by Peter Hammond in 2023.

The organisation is pressing for prompt completion of necessary upgrades to the Cardigan sewage treatment facilities. Save the Teifi advocates for a nature-based solution in the redesigning of these works and challenges authorities to provide substantial reasoning should these eco-friendly options be considered impractical.

Contradicting claims by Dŵr Cymru that the pollution has no environmental impact, Save the Teifi demands intensified surveillance of the river and estuary pollution levels, alongside the quality of bathing waters at Poppit Sands. The visible decline in biodiversity and the health of the river underscore the community’s concerns.

The organisation is urging the initiation of a citizen science programme by summer 2024, aimed at involving the community in assessing river health and bathing water quality. This move seeks to foster a collaborative effort between residents and regulatory bodies.

Regulatory Inadequacies Highlighted

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) faces criticism for its inadequate enforcement against unauthorized sewage discharges. Save the Teifi argues for a bolstering of NRW’s resources, enabling it to effectively safeguard natural resources.

The leadership of Dŵr Cymru/Welsh Water and NRW are called upon to accept responsibility for the delays in acknowledging the need for an overhaul of the Cardigan Sewage Treatment Works. The group suggests linking executive compensation to environmental performance as a means to ensure accountability.

Save the Teifi is calling for an official apology and a clear, time-sensitive plan for mitigating the sewage crisis. The community’s patience wears thin, and the urgency for remedial action has never been more critical. Save the Teifi remains steadfast in its mission to protect the river and its environs for the benefit of current and future generations.

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Community

Pembrokeshire Lane Blighted by Illegal Dumping Incident

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OVER a dozen large plastic vegetable oil drums along with assorted rubbish were discovered discarded along a rural lane in Pembrokeshire, sparking outrage amongst local residents. The unsightly scene, strewn with 15l and 20l drums and accompanying cardboard packaging, was first noticed by Councillor Di Clements near her farm residence, spanning across the road between Martletwy and Minwear.

Upon the unsightly discovery, Councillor Clements undertook an immediate investigation into the debris, sifting through the detritus in hopes of uncovering any clues that might lead to the identification of those responsible. The presence of numerous black bin liners containing smaller containers suggested the waste originated from a food service establishment. It is believed that the rubbish was illicitly deposited sometime between 4 pm on Sunday, 25th February, and the early hours of 6:30 am on Monday.

Prompt action was taken by Councillor Clements, who reported the incident to Pembrokeshire Council. The council’s swift response was commended by Clements, as a waste advisor was quickly dispatched to the scene to further investigate the matter. By Monday afternoon, the council had successfully cleared the debris.

Councillor Clements is currently appealing to the public for any information regarding suspicious activities that could lead to the identification of the perpetrator, who she suspects may be a repeat offender in the area. Expressing her dismay, Clements remarked, “I am extremely disappointed to see this and I can’t believe someone would do this.”

The council and Councillor Clements extend their gratitude to those involved in the prompt cleanup and urges anyone with information to come forward.

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