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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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Antisocial behaviour falls as police operation continues

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POLICE said that they saw a reduction in antisocial behaviour involving young people in Carmarthenshire over the weekend, following weeks of increased activity.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers proactively patrolled areas which have recently become hot spots for teenagers to gather and drink alcohol as part of an ongoing operation.

A police presence was also maintained on trains between Llanelli and Carmarthen to identify how many youngsters were travelling in the area and where they were getting off.

Sergeant Gemma Davies said: “Over the weekend we continued our work to target, deter and deal with antisocial behaviour and underage drinking in hot spots identified primarily in Llanelli and Burry Port.

“Section 34 dispersal orders had been put in place ahead of the weekend, meaning we could move on anyone likely to cause antisocial behaviour, but thankfully they were not required. This is an improvement on previous weekends when we have had to exercise these powers.

“A significant number of young people were spoken to, with the vast majority being pleasant, not under the influence of alcohol, and not causing any trouble.

“Members of the public acknowledged the high police presence, as did the young people, and this might have deterred underage drinking.

“We are very pleased to have seen the change in attitudes and behaviour this weekend.”

The force received just one call reporting youngsters gathering at Burry Port harbour, with no offences or antisocial behaviour identified by attending officers.

Of the young people spoken two over the weekend, two were found with alcohol which was seized. Follow-up antisocial behaviour letters will be issued, and home visits will take place shortly.

Groups were also reminded of the dangers of swimming near the harbour and were encouraged to take their rubbish home.

Officers on the rail network removed one drunk adult from a train.

Sgt Davies said: “I would like to thank all officers involved in the operation over the weekend, as well as the young people who made sure they stayed within the law while enjoying the weather.

“We will be out and about again next weekend and throughout the summer, making sure the area is enjoyable for all who visit.”

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Lord Lieutenant visits Mass Vaccination Centre

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Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sarah Edwards, has paid tribute to all those involved in the COVID-19 vaccination programme during a visit to the Y Ffwrness Mass Vaccination Centre in Llanelli.

During the visit on Wednesday 9th June she was joined by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Lt Col David Mathias, and the High Sheriff of Dyfed, Mr.Jonathan Gravell. They met and spoke to the centre’s vaccinators, NHS staff, security staff and volunteers.

To date, the collective efforts of mass vaccination centres, GP practices and community pharmacies in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, have resulted in the Hywel Dda University Health Board delivering over 431,850 vaccinations. This means 266,785 of the eligible population have now received a first vaccine, and 165,056 have received both doses.

The Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed said: “It was wonderful to see first-hand the incredible work being undertaken by the vaccinators, NHS staff and volunteers. They have played a crucial role in the success of the vaccine rollout programme. I would also pay tribute to the public for their overwhelmingly positive response to getting vaccinated.”

Maria Battle, Chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board, added: “On behalf of the health board, I was delighted to welcome Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sara Edwards, the Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Lt Col David Mathias, and the High Sheriff of Dyfed, Mr Jonathan Gravell. I am deeply proud of everyone involved in the vaccination programme and I’m glad they got to see for themselves the incredibly work being undertaken to help get us through this pandemic.”

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Alcohol seized and teenager arrested as police deal with antisocial behaviour

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POLICE seized large amounts of alcohol and arrested a teenager as they continued to deal with antisocial behaviour over the weekend.

Dyfed-Powys Police had proactive plans in place to deal with ongoing issues of groups of youngsters gathering in Carmarthenshire following rising reports of alcohol-related antisocial behaviour over the past two months.

Dispersal orders were in place across Llanelli and Burry Port, giving police the powers to move anyone believed to be causing a nuisance, harassment or distress out of the area.

Officers patrolling the rail network in Carmarthenshire on Saturday noticed a large amount of young people getting off the train at Ferryside, where an additional dispersal order was put in place and alcohol was seized.

Officers were also required to deal with children trespassing on the railway tracks.

Sergeant Gemma Davies said: “We had received reports of children with alcohol running across the tracks, which posed a huge danger to themselves and others, and had to be stopped as a priority.

“One boy who was detained became abusive towards officers and could not be reasoned with. Officers had no choice but to arrest him for his own safety and to prevent further offences from being committed.

“This incident goes to show that the kind of behaviour we are dealing with goes beyond groups of young people meeting to have a good time, and is putting people in highly dangerous situations.”

A 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of trespassing on the railway and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

He has been released under investigation pending further enquiries by British Transport Police.

Early intervention was taken in the Trostre area of Llanelli, where officers noticed groups of children meeting on Saturday.

Sgt Davies said: “More than 60 young people were moved on from both locations and a large amount of alcohol was seized.

“Out of these groups, four notices were issued to those causing the most trouble in the Trostre area which prevented them from returning, and each of these youngsters were taken home.

“This swift action was a deterrent to other young people who were planning on joining the groups and were still travelling to the area.”

“We will continue to put plans in place each weekend and over the summer holidays to deal with antisocial behaviour, using all powers available to us to put a stop to it.”

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