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Carew scrap yard was ‘dangerously near water source’

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Scrap yard: Did not have correct permits

A BUSINESS trio adopted an attitude of brinkmanship and ran the risk of poisoning thousands of people in Pembrokeshire, a judge heard today.

George Jones, his partner Jennifer Frearson and his son Nening Jones, operated a scrap metal business at Carew Airfield in breach of regulations and close to a water source used as a reserve for supplies of drinking water.

Judge Paul Thomas said at today’s sentencing hearing they ignored letters and advice in the pursuit of “staggering” amounts of money that may have exceeded £1.2m.

Although no actual harm was caused, he added, all three had followed a cavalier attitude of brinkmanship and “pushed matters to the limit.”

George Jones, 57, and Frearson, aged 46, both of Strawberry Fields, Clayford Road, Kilgetty, and Nening Jones, 34, of Sageston near Tenby, admitted or were found guilty after a trial of operating a scrap metal facility without a permit, duty of care offences and failing to keep adequate records.

JONES NEARLY JAILED

George Jones, who had a previous conviction for contravening environmental health regulations, was told by Judge Thomas he had come close to being sent to prison.

He was instead made the subject of a two year community order and told to carry out 260 hours of unpaid work for the community. Frearson and Nening Jones received 12 month orders and told to carry out 160 and 50 hours of work respectively.

Enviroventure Ltd was fined a nominal £1 for each of four offences.

Swansea crown court heard that “further consequences” could follow once a Proceeds of Crime investigation had been completed. That will reveal how much the trio made from the venture and what could be confiscated by way of money and assets.

Danger to water-source: Waste could have polluted drinking water

Danger to heath: Waste could have polluted drinking water

Judge Thomas told the defendants, “The regulations for such matters are there not because someone wants to be picky but for the protection of the environment and, by extension, the welfare of people living in the area.

“There was no actual harm here but there was a risk of harm.”

George Jones, he added, had come across during his trial as a dishonest man.

He had recruited Frearson, added Judge Thomas, as “a face, a patsy” to cover his involvement. And he had used his son Nening Jones as his “apprentice.”

The court heard that Frearson “had absolutely no knowledge” of how to run a waste management operation.

‘BEING A DIRECTOR HAS RESPONSIBILITIES’ – JUDGE THOMAS

But Judge Thomas said that becoming a company director “was not just something that looks good on a passport” but brought with it responsibilities.

Mary Youell, South West Operations Manager for Natural Resources Wales, said after the hearing that the scrap metal operation was still functioning, but in compliance with the regulations.

She said NRW was only too keen to work with companies in the recycling of materials and in the proper disposal of waste. But the regulations had to be abided by.

“We hope the outcome of this case will send out a positive message to the waste industry, that Natural Resources Wales supports legitimate business and will not tolerate those who seek to profit by breaking the law, risking harm to local communities or damaging the environment.

“The motivation behind the crime was financial. The site did not have the necessary permissions and consequently the infrastructure to protect the environment and it undercut legitimate, permitted sites,” she added.

The POC investigation is expected to be completed by March, when a further court hearing will take place.

£660K IN CASH PAYMENTS

The Environment Agency told The Herald: “Officers carried out site visits between May and October 2011 and found numerous breaches of the ELV permit held for the Scrapyard area. This involved the depollution of vehicles on site which did not have the required infrastructure to do so; inappropriate storage of batteries; drainage issues; areas of the site where bunding and concrete was not being maintained.

A spokesman added: “Waste materials such as tyres, waste vehicles and oil drums were also observed being stored outside of the permitted area. Numerous oil spillages were also observed on site. Waste tyres, scrap metal and general skip waste were also stored at the Workshop and Northern Yard areas without an environmental permit and outside the terms and conditions of any registered exemptions. Approximately £660K was paid in cash to Enviroventure Ltd for sale of scrap metal originating from the Scrapyard for the period when they did not hold an environmental permit or exemption to operate a general scrapyard from the site and for the sale of scrap vehicles when they were not compliant with their ELV permit.”

“A total of 20 charges were brought against Enviroventure Ltd and Nenning Jones combined for offences relating to operating outside the terms of an environmental permit and also operating and knowingly causing / permitting the operation of a regulated facility without the benefit of an environmental permit between 1 June 2011 and 31 December 2011.”

 

 

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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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Boost for town: Local celebrity Matt Baker to take on the Castle Hotel

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A WELL known local musician and radio DJ is to take on a landmark business in Haverfordwest. The nine bedroom Castle Hotel is probably one of Pembrokeshire’s best known venues – but Matt Baker says it is now under new management.

Matt Baker is not doing things slowly, with a planned opening of the premises on May 28 promising live music, good food and a relaxing atmosphere for all ages. For what is sure to be a positive piece of news for Haverfordwest’s ailing town centre, he is currently advertising for staff, thus creating jobs.

Matt, who previously ran The Tiddly, made his announcement on his Facebook page this morning (May 16), with hundreds of people liking the post and many more wishing him well with his new venture.

Matt Baker is a DJ for Pure West Radio based in Haverfordwest (Pic: M Baker/Facebook)

He wrote: “Well folks I got some exciting news.

“As most of you know cruise ships have been a big part of my life, 16 years on and off.

“In between that I did open my own pub here in Pembrokeshire call The Tiddly and worked me bottom off to provide a great place for people to come and switch off with live music every night.

“That unfortunately had to come to an end and I have missed it very much.
Well, seeing as I can’t go back to ships at the moment I’ve decided to take on an adventure I
“I’ve always dreamed one day I would own and that is a Hotel.

“It’s not just any Hotel, but one full of amazing history right here in the heart of Pembrokeshire and right in the Center of Haverfordwest.

“Everyone said when I was at The Tiddly “we love it here but we wish you were in town” as The Tiddly was 3 miles outside of Haverfordwest.

The Castle Hotel is steeped in history, and is a Grade II listed building. The Boxing Day Hunt, with riders, horses and hounds late 19th century. (Pic DA Images)

“I’m super excited to start a new chapter in my life and with the support of the people of Pembrokeshire and beyond and I’m hoping it will be life long.

“The Hotel has nine beautiful rooms on suite and a lovely restaurant area and a lounge/bar which I’m planning to have all up and running very soon, all been refurbished by the way.
We still are In uncertain times but I’m hoping we are at the back end and can enjoy each other’s company like before and socialise.

“I’m bringing back live music, good food and drink, and a place to come and switch off for all age groups with a comfortable and enjoyable environment.

“I’m planning for the 28th of May to be open, that’s in just under 2 weeks, but if you know me, you know I like a challenge.

“Please come support and follow all guidelines for now as we move forward in these new times.

“I will look forward to welcoming you to The Castle Hotel with open arms and let’s make more great memories together.

“See you soon Pembrokeshire and beyond!”

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Business

An experimental nuclear fusion reactor could be built in Pembrokeshire

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PEMBROKESHIRE could be the location of an experimental nuclear fusion reactor, which could produce abundent clean energy, if the council backs plans for a site on land owned jointly between Valero oil refinery and Pembroke Power station.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet will be asked next week (May 17) to support the project, which it is hoped could create limitless energy.

The officers of the council are recommending to Cabinet that members approve the nominated site being included on the list of UKAEA candidate sites.

Elsewhere in Wales, the Vale of Glamorgan Council is bidding for it to be built at the Aberthaw power station site.

Communities had until the end of March to nominate locations.

If approved the nuclear fusion station, the council’s officers say, could position Pembrokeshire at the international forefront of the clean energy revolution, bringing visibility to the community on a global stage. It was also recommended that the project will bring long-term and enduring environmental, employment, skills and economic benefits to the host community.

However, Greenpeace believes that nuclear fusion is an expensive distraction from the real agenda of providing environmentally benign, reliable energy supply. The campaign group gas also written to Parliament saying that the deuterium-tritium (D-T) fuel mixture used in nuclear fusion produces four times as many high energy neutrons per kilowatt-hour of energy produced than sandard nuclear fission.

Council officers recommend approval for a nuclear fission reactor near Valero refinery (pictured)

Nevertheless the government has a concept programme called STEP, which is an ambitious programme for the conceptual design of a fusion power station. It is a UKAEA administered programme, currently with £220 million funding to produce a phase 1 concept design by 2024.

Beyond 2024, it is claimed, phase 2 intends to move into the engineering design and build phases to deliver the prototype of a commercially viable fusion plant. The prototype will hopefully demonstrate the commercial viability of fusion. The learning from this will enable the future development of a UK fleet of commercial fusion plants, the government said. The target date for the first fully operational plant will be 2040.

In November 2020, the UK Government released an open call to communities across the UK to identify sites that could accommodate a STEP power station, with the site near Valero being chosen.

A report to councillors sitting on the Cabinet states that unlike with conventional nuclear power, there is a benefit of limited risk of nuclear materials proliferation. This is because nuclear fusion doesn’t employ fissile materials like uranium and plutonium. There are no enriched materials in a fusion reactor that could be exploited to make nuclear weapons.

The STEP programme said that it seeks to maximise the recycling and re-use of materials and only use disposal routes where there is no other option.

It said to this end research is being carried out on suitable materials to minimise decay times as much as possible. Any radioactivity of the components in the tokamak structure is classed as low level and relatively short lived.
Fusion is regarded by Government as being carbon free, safe, low land use, low, manageable waste, reliable energy baseload with unlimited fuel.

Paul Miller, Cabinet Member for Economy, Tourism, Leisure and Culture on Pembrokeshire County Council said: “The Haven Waterway has provided livelihoods, underpinned by fossil fuels, for thousands of Pembrokeshire families, mine included, for more than 50 years.

“Its my job to help ensure the waterway continues to provide high skilled, engineering, science and technology jobs for the next generation of this county and so linked to our focus on climate change (and in addition to our existing multi-million pound commitments to supporting wind, wave and tidal clean power generation) my team have been exploring whether we can also support the development of clean, green fusion technology.

“It very early days in the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s site selection process but we’ll provide regular updates as things progress.”

What is nuclear fusion?

Fusion is the process that takes place in the heart of stars and provides the power that drives the universe. When light nuclei fuse to form a heavier nucleus, they release bursts of energy. This is the opposite of nuclear fission – the reaction that is used in nuclear power stations today – in which energy is released when a nucleus splits apart to form smaller nuclei.

To produce energy from fusion here on Earth, a combination of hydrogen gases – deuterium and tritium – are heated to very high temperatures (over 100 million degrees Celsius). The gas becomes a plasma and the nuclei combine to form a helium nucleus and a neutron, with a tiny fraction of the mass converted into ‘fusion’ energy. A plasma with millions of these reactions every second can provide a huge amount of energy from very small amounts of fuel.

One way to control the intensely hot plasma is to use powerful magnets. The most advanced device for this is the ‘tokamak’, a Russian word for a ring-shaped magnetic chamber. CCFE’s goal is to develop fusion reactors using the tokamak concept.

Advantages of fusion power

With increasing concerns over climate change and finite supplies of fossil fuels, we need new, better ways to meet our growing demand for energy. The benefits of fusion power make it an extremely attractive option:

  • No carbon emissions. The only by-products of fusion reactions are small amounts of helium, an inert gas which can be safely released without harming the environment.
  • Abundant fuels. Deuterium can be extracted from water and tritium will be produced inside the power station from lithium, an element abundant in the earth’s crust and seawater. Even with widespread adoption of fusion power stations, these fuel supplies would last for many thousands of years.
  • Energy efficiency. One kilogram of fusion fuel could provide the same amount of energy as 10 million kilograms of fossil fuel. A 1 Gigawatt fusion power station will need less than one tonne of fuel during a year’s operation.
  • Less radioactive waste than fission. There is no radioactive waste by-product from the fusion reaction. Only reactor components become radioactive; the level of activity depends on the structural materials used. Research is being carried out on suitable materials to minimise decay times as much as possible.
  • Safety. A large-scale nuclear accident is not possible in a fusion reactor. The amounts of fuel used in fusion devices are very small (about the weight of a postage stamp at any one time). Furthermore, as the fusion process is difficult to start and keep going, there is no risk of a runaway reaction which could lead to a meltdown.
  • Reliable power. Fusion power plants will be designed to produce a continuous supply of large amounts of electricity. Once established in the market, costs are predicted to be broadly similar to other energy sources.
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