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Deputy Mayor slams agencies for inaction over asbestos

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EXCLUSIVE by Joanna Halbert

DIFFERENT types of asbestos, a well known carcinogenic, have been found on Burry Port’s East beach, by the site of the old Carmarthen Bay Power Station, part of the Millennium Coastal Path.

Concerned members of the Burry Port community said that over the course of several months they found suspicious, asbestos-like material on the East beach, particularly in areas subject to the highest levels of coastal erosion.

Skateboard park on the old power station site, close to where asbestos has been found. 

The members, who have now formed the ‘Burry Port Anti-Asbestos Action Group’, report having contacted a number of different agencies to raise the matter. However, they say they only received a limited number of responses with the common response being to contact another agency.

A member of the Group told Herald.Wales: “We have not received responses from some agencies although we sent a lot of emails to them and the replies we have got back from some are not helpful at all. None of them want to take responsibility.”

Decaying pipes from the old power station which are now visible due to coastal erosion. 

“Natural Resources Wales told us they weren’t responsible for the Millenium Coastal Park and it was Carmarthenshire County Council who we had to deal with.

“Carmarthenshire County Council told us it was Natural Resources Wales not them”.

The Group, frustrated with the lack of action being taken by various agencies, paid independently for professional sample testing to be conducted on materials on the East beach coast wall.

The different laboratory results of their samples were processed quickly and confirmed their fears. The samples have identified two different types of asbestos. The reports show the presence of both ‘Chrysotile asbestos’, commonly referred to as white asbestos and ‘Crocidolite asbestos’, also known as blue asbestos.

Pipes from the old power station

Members of the Group and other local people believe that the asbestos is coming from the remnants of the Carmarthen Bay Power Station which was demolished in 1991. The Station was owned by the Central Electricity Generating Board. It was built in 1947 on the grounds of the old Copper Works with power generation running between 1953 to 1984. It was a large employer in the area during its peak operating period.

A source with a high level of local knowledge including of the old Station commented that there are tonnes of asbestos including the most dangerous blue and brown types buried in bags under the path by the East beach, close to a skateboard park used by children.

The Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Burry Port were made aware of the findings and have provided support and assistance to the Group.

Path beside beach which a member of the action group claims is contaminted

Speaking to Deputy Mayor, Councillor Michael Theodoulou on the findings of the report he said: “I am furious. To think that this is here, on our local beach, in this day and age.

“How did we ever reach this position?

“I am not just upset over this, I am angry!

“The school is just over there and we have had 70 mile per hour winds recently which could easily carry it.

“I don’t want any more rubbish excuses, something has to get done now”.

Both types of asbestos found on the East beach pose a risk to health but the blue form of asbestos is considered to pose a significant hazard to health.

Carmarthenshire County Council issued a statement Monday. Councillor Philip Hughes, the council’s Executive Board Member for Public Protection, said in the statement:

“We have acted on reports of sightings of material that could potentially contain asbestos on a small stretch of the beach between Burry Port and Pwll.

“This is in an area where some remains of the power station that was demolished in the 1990s is being uncovered by coastal erosion.

“Whilst we can be reassured that the material – even if it is found to contain asbestos – poses very little risk due to the wet conditions of the area, we advise people to leave the material alone.”

Councillor Peter Hughes Griffiths, Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, statement added:

“Whilst we await the imminent advice of the specialists we will continue to monitor the beach as part of our routine inspections and will take any necessary action as and when we are advised, including localised notices.”

Asbestos was commonly used during the construction process to insulate buildings, pipes, boilers, and as a cement for roofing sheets and pipes.
It was used until the late 1990s in the UK. People were and still can be unwittingly exposed to asbestos in their homes, employment and communities.

If products containing asbestos are disturbed, fibres from it can then break off and be released into the environment. When asbestos fibres are breathed in, they can enter the lungs which over time, can cause inflammation, which can affect breathing and further lead to various, serious terminal health problems such as pleural plaques, mesothelioma and asbestosis.

A report from the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat commissioned in 2001 included alarming findings that between 1997 and 2001 research showed there was 108 asbestos related deaths in Carmarthenshire.
If you or a family member have been diagnosed with an industrial related disease and worked at the old power plant please contact us confidentially.

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Llanelli fundraiser boycotts her bed for Action for Children

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A LLANELLI woman is boycotting her bed for 24 hours this month in order to raise funds for Action for Children, the charity that runs the Carmarthenshire REFLECT project, based in the town.  REFLECT offers support to women whose children are in foster care or have been adopted. 

Helen Antoniazzi felt that this year it was particularly important to raise money to help Action for Children mitigate the impact of the pandemic.  Over the course of 24 days, Helen has committed to giving up an hour of sleep and to swap it for some physical activity.  She is asking her supporters to support her in this by donating money.  Helen’s efforts will culminate on the 9th July which is the official #BoycottYourBed night, Action for Children’s flagship annual fundraising event. 

Speaking about why she decided to take on this fundraising challenge, Helen said:

“I’ve long supported the crucial work that Action for Children do to support children, young people and families, but this year it felt even more important than ever to do what I could to raise money.  That’s why I decided to give up an hour’s sleep a night for 24 days as part of Action for Children’s Boycott your Bed campaign.  For each of these hours I’ll be swapping my sleep for physical activity.

“Life was difficult for vulnerable children and their families before the pandemic. Now things are even harder. Action for Children’s frontline, key workers have kept 99% of services open throughout the pandemic, continuing to support vulnerable children, young people and families who were already in desperate need.

“The number of families relying on Universal Credit has doubled. Households with children are twice as likely to have suffered financial hardship – like falling behind on bills or borrowing to pay for basics – because of coronavirus. At the start of the pandemic, Action for Children launched a Coronavirus Emergency appeal which has provided essentials, like food and warm clothes, to around 20,000 children and young people. But more needs to be done. 4.3 million children in the UK are living in poverty. That’s 9 children in every school class of 30.”

Action for Children supported more than 27,000 children, young people, parents and carers in Wales last year with Nina Rice, the charity’s fundraising Regional Manager for Bristol, Bath and South Wales, adding: “Helen is showing tremendous commitment by swapping her bed for an hour’s exercise every day for 24 days.  It is great to see such passion for an event that will improve the lives of the children, young people and families we proudly support in our communities and that have been stretched to the limit during the pandemic.

“We love Helen’s unique take on Boycott your Bed, which is all about sleeping somewhere extraordinary on 9 July (Action for Children’s birthday) whilst raising awareness and funds for our charity.  I hope she inspires others to do something equally challenging as we approach the big night as this is a remote event, where anyone can take part, wherever they are based. Helen will join everyone and come together virtually on the night, to enjoy an evening of virtual entertainment.”

Anyone wishing to support Helen in her bid to raise money can donate at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/helen-antoniazzi

 If you want to spend the night in the most unusual place you can think of while enjoying a star-studded evening of virtual entertainment you can register here: https://boycottyourbed.actionforchildren.org.uk/community-registration/

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NHS Wales announce first and second dose vaccination walk-in clinics

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Hywel Dda UHB is running walk-in vaccination clinics this week. There is no need to contact the health board to book an appointment and if you have already registered using the health board’s online form, you are still welcome to attend the walk-in clinic.

If you have a scheduled appointment, please keep your appointment time. 

With the rise in cases across the UK it is important that as many people come forward for their first and second vaccines.

First vaccine walk-in clinics for anyone aged 18 and over who hasn’t had their first COVID-19 vaccine yet:

  • Aberystwyth (Thomas Parry Library, SY23 3FL): Thursday 24 and Friday 25 June, 10am to 8pm.
  • Cardigan (Teifi Leisure Centre SA43 1HG): Friday 25 June, 9.30am to 5pm.
  • Carmarthen (Halliwell Conference Centre, UWTSD, SA31 3EP): Monday 21, Tuesday 22, Wednesday 23, Thursday 24 and Friday 25 June, 10am to 8pm. 
  • Llanelli (Ffwrnes Theatre SA15 3YE): Thursday 24 and Friday 25 June, 10am to 8pm. 
  • Tenby (Tenby Leisure Centre, SA70 8EJ): Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 June, 10am to 8pm

Second vaccine walk-in clinics (please only attend if the centre is giving the same vaccine that you had for your first dose. This information can be found on your vaccine card.)

  • Aberystwyth (Thomas Parry Library, SY23 3FL): Monday 21, Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 June, 10am to 8pm. Second dose Moderna vaccine only if you had your first dose on or before 11 April.
  • Llanelli (Ffwrnes Theatre SA15 3YE): Monday 21, Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 June, 10am to 8pm. Second dose Moderna vaccine only if you had your first dose on or before 11 April.
  • Tenby (Tenby Leisure Centre, SA70 8EJ): Friday 25 June, 10am to 8pm. Second dose Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine only if you had your first dose on or before 25 April.

If you are unable to attend a walk-in clinic, you can still request your first vaccine by completing this form

To request your second dose please use this request form.

If you or someone you know is unable to use an online form, please contact our booking team on 0300 303 8322.

Important: By travelling to a centre, you accept there is a risk that all vaccines will be allocated before you arrive. If you arrive after all the vaccines are allocated, we will take your contact details and add you to our reserve list.

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Chairman Announces her chosen charities for her year in office

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CHAIRMAN, Cllr Tegwen Devichand has chosen the following four charities to support during her term of office.

Alzheimer’s Society is a care and research charity within the UK for people with dementia and their carers. They provide information and support, fund research and create lasting change for people affected by dementia.

Links Llanelli is a unique Llanelli Mental Health Charity, providing support and learning opportunities to those within our community who have or are experiencing mental ill-health. 

Links aims to support people experiencing mental health issues to build confidence, self-esteem and skills.

Links also provides support for veterans and blue light teams living in Carmarthenshire. Veterans are able to access all the activities available at Links. Additionally, for those who live in rural areas or are socially isolated, can be provided with befriending buddy telephone calls and outreach NAAFI mornings which are held in various locations throughout Carmarthenshire on a monthly basis.

Ty Bryngwyn Llanelli Hospice is a Designated Centre of Excellence providing specialist palliative care for the community of Carmarthenshire. It is the only Hospice in the area with inpatient facilities.

Llanelli Hospice provides specialist palliative care both in the community and in its seven inpatient beds.

Wales Air Ambulance is an all Wales charity providing emergency air cover 365 days a year for those who face life-threatening illness or injury. The Dafen airbase, which covers South Wales, is one of four airbases in Wales and this coverage means that an air ambulance is  only 20 minutes away. 

Chairman, Cllr Tegwen Devichand said, “As a Council we like to financially assist worthwhile causes and I am delighted to be supporting such worthy charities. I believe that these charities touch us all in one way or another. I will be as supportive as I possibly can be under the current difficult times when charities need that ‘little bit extra’ financial support. The people in the area are always very generous in their support of such worthy causes. I was chairman in 2012 and I have been a councillor both on County and Community level for over 17 years and know how important lending our support can be.”

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