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Carmarthenshire farmer fined for causing thousands of fish to die

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A Carmarthenshire farmer, whose negligent management of slurry killed thousands of fish in the Afon Dulas, has been fined by Swansea Magistrates’ Courts.

Iwan Humphreys, aged 42, of Crachdy Uchaf, Llanfynydd, pleaded guilty to an offence under the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2016.

On 8 July 2019 he caused a discharge of slurry in the Afon Dulas that severely affected almost five kilometres of the river, causing the worst level of harm classed as category 1 by the District Judge.

Mr Humphreys was ordered pay the highest level fine for the offence, totalling £11,366 (fine £1,760, prosecution costs £9,430 and victim surcharge £176) at Swansea Magistrates’ Courts on Friday, 11 December.

Ioan Williams, Environment Team Leader for Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said: “This act of negligence had a devastating impact on the Afon Dulas. It will take a significant amount of time for the river to recover.

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“This was a serious incident that could have been prevented had the farmer made adequate checks. We were left with no other option but to take enforcement action.”

NRW investigation officers were quickly on site on 8 July 2019, and over several days found evidence that the source of the discharge was from Crachdy Uchaf Farm.

They fully investigated the impacts on the river. NRW environment officers and specialists carried out a coordinated investigation to establish the extent and seriousness of the pollution incident. This included taking water samples, gathering evidence, carrying out carcass counts and capturing photographic evidence.

They counted at least 2,478 dead fish, including 746 brown trout. They also found much of the macroinvertebrate population essential to the river’s ecosystem had been lost.

District Judge James commended Natural Resources Wales for its investigation and the evidence gathered.

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Ioan Williams added: “I urge farmers and contractors to be particularly vigilant during the winter months to help prevent polluting our waterways. Carry out regular checks on slurry levels and storage infrastructure. If you are close to over-topping contact NRW for advice. We can help you minimise the risk of causing pollution. Only spread slurry when conditions are right, which means don’t spread at times when rain is forecast over the next 24 hours, when the ground is saturated and when the ground is frozen hard.

“We recognise that sometimes things do go wrong, but we urge farmers that if they know they have caused pollution, to report it to us at NRW immediately by calling 0300 065 3000. The sooner we know about it, the sooner we can work with them to try and reduce the impact on the environment.”

To report a pollution incident call NRW’s 24-hour incident hotline on 0300 065 3000.

(Lead Image: Natural Resources Wales)


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Carmarthenshire

Pembrey Country Park retains prestigious Green Flag award

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Pembrey Country Park has once again received the prestigious Green Flag Award.

The international award has been given to the popular tourist attraction for its amazing green space for the last three years.

The award is recognised for having the highest possible standards, being beautifully maintained and boasting excellent visitor facilities.

Around £4 million is being invested into the park as part of a masterplan to continue its development as a major tourism destination within Carmarthenshire and Wales.

This is the second award for Pembrey Country Park after it celebrated winning the Blue Flag status for Cefn Sidan earlier this year.

Since the Blue Flag awards were first introduced in 1988, Pembrey Country Park has won more Blue Flags than anywhere else in Wales. Cefn Sidan was also the first Welsh beach to win the accolade.

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Much of the investment has been completed with upgrading and extending camping and caravanning including the installation of a new amenity block and the opening of Yr Orsaf restaurant.

Work has already been completed on a national closed road circuit, a BMX pump track, an adventure golf course, a changing places facility at the ski and activity centre and new accessible toilets.

Improvements will soon be underway to upgrade the outside area surrounding Yr Orsaf restaurant and hub to give visitors a better experience.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Sports and Tourism, Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths said a lot of effort has been put into making the park what it is today. He said: “We are thrilled to be receiving this award once again which is only given to those green spaces that have demonstrated high standards. The coronavirus pandemic has shown us how important our green spaces are and they clearly provide health benefits for everyone.”

The Green Flag Award programme is delivered in Wales by environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy, with support from Welsh Government.

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Lucy Prisk, Green Flag Coordinator at Keep Wales Tidy said: The pandemic showed us just how important high-quality parks and green spaces are to our communities. With more visitors than ever enjoying our green spaces, I’d like to congratulate the hard work of staff and volunteers who have maintained excellent standards at these sites.”

Wales still holds more than a third of the UK’s Green Flag community sites.

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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‘Strong evidence’ Nantycaws recycling centre fire caused by battery incorrectly discarded in blue recycling bag

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Carmarthenshire Council are urging householders in Carmarthenshire not to dispose of batteries in black or blue bin bags.

It comes after strong evidence suggests that a fire in Carmarthen’s Nantycaws Recycling Centre last April which caused millions of pounds of damage may have been started by a battery that was disposed of in a blue recycling bag.

The fire destroyed the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) and the recycling centre was forced to close to the public for five days.

Batteries should be removed from any items that contain them such as rechargeable items, mobile phones, electric toothbrushes, toys, television remotes etc and then disposed of separately at a recycling centre or local battery recycling point.

Batteries that are difficult to remove from items can be recycled at the electrical bay at the recycling centre.

In the last five years, fires suspected or proved of being caused by Lithium Ion Batteries have more than doubled with 48% in 2021 compared to 21% in 2016/2017.

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The most common inappropriate items within bin bags presented for kerbside collection by residents include electrical waste such as toasters children’s toys, hair styling equipment, separate old batteries ranging from standard cell batteries to rechargeable lithium ion batteries and mobile devices.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Hazel Evans said: “Thankfully no one was injured in the fire in Carmarthen’s Nantycaws Recycling Centre last year. Please do not put loose dead batteries or items that hold batteries in your bin bags with other rubbish, it is extremely dangerous and the consequences can be very serious. All our recycling centres have facilities to dispose of your batteries safely as well as many shops and supermarkets that have battery collection points.”

The batteries are initially compromised when unknowingly crew throw the bags containing electrical items into the vehicles which get compacted, they are then transported to the MRF where they can come into contact with further materials that can result in serious consequences.

Richard Vaughan-Williams, Arson Reduction Manager at Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service added: “Lithium-ion batteries can be found in an increasing number of consumer items and disposing of such items has become a growing concern, especially for our partners who operate waste management facilities. Even small lithium-ion batteries can present a very real danger of an intense fire which can then spread quickly. We advise those looking to dispose of batteries to carefully consult waste instructions from their local authority.”

Last year The Environmental Services Association launched a campaign to raise awareness of incorrectly recycling batteries. Millions of pounds worth of damage caused by discarded batteries happens at recycling centres every year and endangers the lives of people who work in them.

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(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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Parents pay tribute to 6 month old girl killed in Llanelli horror drunk driver crash

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The parents of a six-month-old baby killed in a collision in Llanelli on Friday (8 October) have paid tribute to their “perfect baby girl” who they say was “a gift from God”.

Eva Maria Nichifor died following a collision involving a blue 3 series BMW and a blue Vauxhall Vectra at the Heol Goffa crossroads in Llanelli at around 9pm.

Eva Maria’s parents Florin and Carmen, who originate from Romania, but now live in Llanelli, issued a tribute in English and Romanian.

“We are distraught by our loss. Eva Maria, only six months old, will be missed by us all.

“She was our miracle, our perfect baby girl, a gift from God. She will always be in our hearts.

“We would like to thank everyone for their support at this horrific time. It has meant so much to the whole family.

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“We would now like time to grieve and would ask to be given privacy in which to do so.”

Suntem foarte supărați pentru pierderea noastră. Eva Maria, avea doar 6 luni si cu toții ii vom simți lipsa.

Ea a fost minunea noastră, un copil perfect și un dar dat de Dumnezeu. Va fi in inimile noastre pentru totdeauna.

“Va mulțumim tuturor pentru susținerea voastră in aceste vremuri dificile, înseamnă foarte mult pentru noi.

“Am vrea acum puțin timp sa ne adunam in liniște alături de familia noastră.

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A woman has been charged with causing Eva Maria’s death by dangerous driving.

Lucy Dyer, aged 23, of Heulwen Terrace, Llanelli, was remanded in custody following the court hearing at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Monday (11 October). 

She is due appear before Swansea Crown Court on Friday, 12 November.  She was also charged with drink-driving.

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