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Diesel clean-up operation underway following train derailment

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NATURAL RESOURCES WALES have been dealing with the diesel spilled as a result of the train derailment and fire in Carmarthenshire. The work comes as British Transport Police said they did not suspect that criminality is a reason for the incident.

STATEMENT FROM NRW

Work is continuing to recover the diesel from the derailed wagons and the spilled diesel. Trenches have been dug to intercept the diesel and vacuuming and skimming operations are taking place.

Monitoring of local watercourses continues, with booms and absorbent pads being used and regularly replaced to contain as much of the diesel as possible. These techniques are proved to be working well and are removing a considerable quantity of diesel from the water courses.

Network Rail is arranging for a crane to be delivered to the site on Monday evening (31 August) to start removing the wagons from Tuesday (1 September).

Monitoring teams continue to carry out daily surveys around the Loughor Estuary, including around the local fisheries and bathing water sites.

Please report sightings of oil pollution around the estuary to us by calling 03000 65 3000. If you come across any contaminated birds or animals, call RSPCA Cymru on 0300 1234 999.

Diesel is no longer confined to the upper reaches of the estuary (around the Loughor Bridge and upstream) and has been observed at many locations as far as Crofty.

The map shows the observed presence of diesel in the Loughor Estuary on 29 August 2020. The estuary is a very dynamic system influenced constantly by tide and wind, and will influence the movement of the diesel.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has also undertaken aerial surveys to aid the monitoring of the pollution.

The Environment Group set up in response to the incident will support and advise the response units on the identification and priorities for clean-up in the wider estuary.

CRIMINALITY NOT SUSPECTED

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Langley from British Transport Police said: “Thanks to the efforts of our officers and our colleagues from across the emergency services in making the scene safe at Llangennech, we have been able to conduct an initial investigation into this incident.

“Our initial findings are that the derailment is not believed to have been caused by criminal activity. 

 “We are therefore handing primacy of the scene to the Office of Rail and Road so that it can carry out its own specialist investigation. 

“I would like to once again thank our officers for their efforts during this challenging incident, and I am grateful to all of our partners for their help and support in ensuring the safety of the local community.”

FROM OUR PHOTOGRAPHER, DARREN HARRIES

Yesterday, we visited parts of the Loughor estuary to find the strong smell of fuel in the air and oil slicks in the rock pools and rivers, from the train incident further up the estuary in Llangennech.
The area around the bridges and car park by Loughor Boating Club and Loughor Inshore Rescue, and surrounding area smells so bad,
‘We had to leave from feeling ill and getting a headache from the diesel fumes.
This may have been down to the wind direction, but it was unpleasant and something to be aware of if visiting the area.
We also noticed that Swansea Council has acted quickly and placed information signs around the area of ‘Notice Of Temporary Closure Of Production Area, signs had be dated on the 27th August.
But a fishermen did attempt to fish, the fuel filled river, but he found it impossible as his line and tackle, including his rod were covered from diesel.
We did not see any information signs on Llanelli side, so it may have been the case of the angler not being aware of the hazard in the estuary, despite the overwhelming smell.
From visiting Llangennech the day after the train wreck and seeing the area of the derailment, I could smell the diesel in the marsh and the river, as it entered the estuary.
Today’s visit to Llangennech, we seen Network Rail were back at work and an Oil Spill Response Company, turn up including a Specialist Security company.
Things are starting to happen.
We did see a post over Facebook, someone had taken a photo of a dead bird in the area, thought to be down to the spill.
Residents in Machynys and other parts of Llanelli can also smell the fumes.
The local cockle beds are closed, putting the cocklers and shellfish gathering on hold, along with fishermen.
The environmental impact on the estuary is not yet known, It’s doubtful that this diesel spill will have no good outcome for our wildlife and fish including the winter visiting birds that use the Loughor estuary and the Llanelli Wetlands.

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Pubs closed and fined for breaching Covid-19 rules

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TWO licensed premises in Carmarthenshire have been handed £1,000 fines for staying open beyond the current 10.20pm closing time.

The operators of the Coopers Arms in Betws and Betws RFC were issued with the fixed penalty notices for breaching the current Covid-19 regulations.

Around 200 licensed venues have been visited by Carmarthenshire County Council officers in the last fortnight to check for compliance with regulations and to offer necessary advice.

As well as issuing two FPNs, the council has had to take action to close three premises where there were significant shortfalls in  measures to ensure the safety of their customers.

They were the Biddulph Arms in New Street, Llanelli; the Greenfield Inn, Llanelli, and the Wheaten Sheaf in Abergwili.

They will now have to demonstrate a range of improvements before being allowed to re-open.

Several other premises have been served improvement notices, and will be re-visited, but the vast majority of businesses are operating well and have been commended for their efforts.

Council officers will continue making proactive visits to licensed and business premises, particularly offering support in light of new restrictions on the hospitality industry coming into force in Wales at 6pm on Friday, December 4.

The new regulations will mean pubs, restaurants and cafes cannot serve alcohol and will have to close to customers by 6pm, only being permitted to stay open later for takeaways of food or non-alcoholic drinks.

Cinemas, bowling alleys, bingo halls, museums and galleries must also close from Friday.

Cllr Philip Hughes, Executive Board Member for public protection and enforcement, said: “This is an exceptionally difficult time for our hospitality industry, in particular in light of the new regulations that come into force on Friday.

“Our officers have been working incredibly hard to support the industry and I want to thank the majority of businesses for making every effort to look after their customers and staff.

“That said, it has been disappointing to see a small number either recklessly or purposely ignoring the rules and by doing so, putting their customers at risk.

“We have made it very clear from the start that where we see premises falling significantly short of the standards, and where there are premises that are not operating within the rules, we will not hesitate to take action – make no mistake about it.

“As well as ensuring customers can meet and socialise safely, we must also ensure a level playing field for all businesses – most of which are trying hard to meet the regulations.”

There are serious concerns about the spread of Covid-19 in Carmarthenshire, with local hospitals and care homes now heavily impacted.

Welsh Government regulations make it clear that social gatherings should be minimised.

Hospitality venues, including licensed premises such as pubs, clubs and restaurants, must ensure that customers can safely social distance at all times and strict cleansing routines must be in place.

People can meet in maximum groups of four, but if they are from different households every effort should be made to support social distancing.

Table service must be provided, with no customers allowed to congregate around the bar. Customers must remain seated, and wear a face covering at all times other than when they are seated.

Contact details of all customers must be checked and recorded as part of Test, Trace, Protect procedures.

Any business owner or landlord unsure of the rules is urged to check they know and understand the regulations – they are available online at www.gov.wales.

Further information, advice about steps to take and free downloadable resources are available on www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales where businesses can also sign up to receive regular business news updates.

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Jail for man who live streamed himself speeding and dangerous driving

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A MAN who live streamed himself on Facebook while speeding and driving dangerously has been jailed.

Justin Dean Jones, of Panteg in Llanelli, filmed himself driving at grossly excessive speeds and racing other cars on a number of occasions over the summer.

He then posted the videos to Facebook, which were sent to the Go Safe Road Harm and Casualty Reduction Enquiry Team by a concerned member of the public.

Dyfed-Powys Police PC Roger Jones investigated three videos filmed between July 2 and July 14, which clearly showing Jones using his mobile phone to film himself at the wheel.

The footage showed him speeding in a Vauxhall Astra and a BMW X5 in a 30mph zone on Glyncoed Road, Llandafen Road and Gelli Road in Llanelli, and reaching speeds of up to 120mph on the A484 Loughor link road, while overtaking other drivers.

In one video, the 30-year-old was seen overtaking other vehicles on pedestrian crossings in broad daylight, putting road users at a significant risk of harm.

Jones, who was holding the phone in one hand while driving, can be heard on the videos boasting about the performance of the vehicle.

As members of Road Safety Support (RSS), Go Safe sought the help of Steve Callaghan, the not-for-profit company’s forensic video analyst, to examine the footage.

Mr Callaghan conducted a thorough review of the evidence and was able to calculate the exact speeds that were driven in the incidents.

Jones was charged with three counts of dangerous driving, and was sentenced to 25 months in prison. He was also disqualified from driving for 62 months.

An anti-social behaviour destruction order has also been granted for the Astra and the BMW and is pending.

Sergeant Ian Price, of Go Safe, said: “The sentence of just over two years in prison and a five year ban from driving shows the high risk he poses to other road users.

“It is a clear message that this type of behaviour is unacceptable and ensures the removal of a dangerous driver from society and we hope that it gives him enough time to reflect on his actions in prison.

“We would like to thank Road Safety Support for helping us in this matter and ensuring this individual is no longer a danger to society over the next two years.”

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Police appeal following incident outside Bryn Primary School

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE are appealing for information on an incident outside Bryn Primary School.

It is believed a motorcyclist threw an egg through the back window of a police Go Safe van, which narrowly missed the officer within the vehicle.

The incident happened on Thursday November 26 at approximately 9.10am.

A police spokesperson said: “Dyfed-Powys Police is investigating an incident which occurred at 9.10am on Thursday 26th November 2020 in Llanelli.

“A casualty reduction officer in a Go Safe van was parked outside the Bryn Primary School observing the speed of vehicles travelling through the 20mph zone at a time when children were being dropped off.

“A motorcyclist has ridden from the nearby housing estate towards the rear of the van and thrown an egg through the open rear window, narrowly missing the officer inside. The motorcyclist has carried on towards the Bryn, travelling on the wrong side of the road causing oncoming traffic to take evasive action.

“Police are appealing for anyone who was in the area at the time and saw the incident to come forward. They would especially like to hear from anyone who was driving in the area and has a dashcam in their vehicle which may have footage of the incident or the motorcycle on it.  

“Anyone who has information which could help the investigation can contact Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. 

“If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.”

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