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Hinkley Point sediment plans approved despite concerns

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NATURAL RESOURCES WALES (NRW) have approved the monitoring plan for the dredging of sediment from a nuclear power plant site and its disposal in Cardiff Bay.

The Hinkley Point C building site in Somerset needs roughly 300,000 tonnes of sediment dredged, with plans to dispose of this a mile out of Cardiff Bay.

However, there have been protests as many believe the sediment could be contaminated with the nuclear waste from the old Hinkley nuclear stations. Many have also criticised what is deemed inadequate testing and samples, as well as fearing the effect of sea currents, moving the waste once it has been disposed of.

EDF, the developers of the site, were granted a marine licence in 2014 to dump the sediment, yet in response a campaign was launched, resulting in a 7,000-strong petition being handed to the Welsh Government.

The petition called for the licence to be suspended to allow for a full Environmental Impact Assessment, complete radiological analysis and core sampling to be carried out.

In response, the developers have suggested that even if a person were to spend four hours each day on the shores of Cardiff Bay, inhaling sediment and eating locally sourced fish, 90% of the radiation received would be naturally occurring.

A report by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science claims that the impact of radioactivity on people would equivalent to eating 20 bananas each year (which are rich in potassium-40), or 50 times less than the average dose received by a resident of Pembrokeshire, due to the county’s relatively high Radon levels.

Neil McEvoy, Independent AM for South Wales Central, fears the sediment could contain radioactive waste, saying: “I have major concerns about safety. This mud will be washed all around the Welsh coast, so we should thoroughly test the mud.”

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Carmarthenshire counting the cost of Storm Callum recovery

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CARMARTHENSHIRE is beginning to count the cost of the clean-up that is needed to get the county back on track after Storm Callum.

Hundreds of homes and businesses were affected by the worst flooding seen in the area for over 30 years, and whilst a clear picture is yet to emerge about the true cost of the recovery, Carmarthenshire County Council said it will take millions to put right.

It is now calling on the Welsh Government to assist.

An initial assessment estimates that £3million will be needed to repair highway infrastructure alone, although all bridges and roads – other than the A484 at Cwmduad which was closed due to a landslide – have been re-opened.

The council set up an immediate flood recovery relief fund of £100,000 to support residents whose homes were damaged, offering a £200 advance to anyone in need, and offering practical help to people by collecting damaged furniture and household items, support to complete insurance claims, electrical safety testing, and in some cases temporary accommodation.

It is also working with Xcel Furniture in Carmarthen to appeal for donations of household items to help those affected get back on their feet.

Officers visited over 100 businesses in affected areas on Monday and is continuing to support them, including around 40 businesses who will be applying for grant support from an additional £200,000 fund established to assist businesses.

Leader, Cllr Emlyn Dole, said: “Over the last few days our teams have visited hundreds of people and businesses to let them know that help is at hand. We will do everything possible to help those affected get back on track.

“However the true cost of the recovery is set to run into millions. Our initial impact assessment of highway infrastructure alone estimates that there is around £3million of repairs needed.

“Whilst we have already made two hardship relief funds immediately available to homes and businesses, we are now seeking assistance from Welsh Government to ensure that appropriate resources are available.

“I will be pleased to meet the First Minister later today to put our request to him in person.”

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Help for businesses affected by flooding in Carmarthenshire

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CARMARTHENSHIRE Council is pulling out all the stops to help businesses affected by flooding over the weekend.

Eight teams from the council’s regeneration department have been out and about, visiting businesses across the county to offer advice and support, if needed.

Over 120 businesses were visited on Monday (October 15) in areas including Carmarthen town centre, Pensarn, Abergwili, Nantgaredig, Llanybydder, Lampeter, Pontweli and Newcastle Emlyn.

Other areas visited included Llanelli, Capel Dewi, Johnstown, Llandeilo, Llandovery, Garnant and Dryslwyn.

Council officers are now making contact with those businesses once again, following-up on their concerns and liaising with other council departments to address issues as soon as possible.

Over 40 Carmarthenshire businesses are already being helped.

A council funding pot to help businesses in the county affected by flooding is also being made available. Details and information on how businesses can apply will be confirmed in coming days.

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Carmarthenshire Council Leader, said: “Council officers in many departments have been working around the clock alongside outside agencies and our partners in the emergency services to help residents and businesses affected by flooding over the weekend.

“Face-to-face contact with businesses means we’ve been able to quickly identify what we can do to best address all issues raised. This has already included signposting businesses to our environment team for contamination issues, tackling concerns related to the collection of waste, and arranging for skips and cages to be despatched to areas that have been badly affected by the flooding for the collection of ruined carpets, furniture and other waste.

“But despite the ongoing clean-up operation, Carmarthenshire is very much open for business, with county residents and businesses showing a huge amount of resilience in the face of adversity.

“I’d urge people to continue to support their local businesses while we help those worst affected get back on their feet as quickly as possible.”

Other council work has included highways, cleansing and refuse staff removing debris left by the flood waters. Inspections of all affected road surfaces, verges and bridges are also taking place.

Council housing officers are visiting homes across the county to help people with insurance claims, a hardship fund has been established for residents most in need of financial support, and rate relief for affected businesses is being sought from the Welsh Government.

A flood support form for residents and businesses is also now available on the homepage of Carmarthenshire Council’s website.

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Breaking bread proves costly

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A PEMBROKE man who thought it would be funny to destroy a pallet of bread has been given a conditional discharge.

Jack Boyle, aged 18, of Main Street, appeared before Haverfordwest Magistrates Court on Tuesday (Oct 16) to plead guilty to a charge of criminal damage.

Prosecuting, Mr Abul Hussain told the Court: “On August 4, the defendant was on a night out and thought it would be funny to damage a pallet of bread. This happened in the early hours of the morning and he came across the pallet outside the SPAR store in St Clears and thought it was a good idea to pick up the pallet and remove the bread and smash it.

“In his interview he said he thought it was funny to do that.”

Defending, Rebecca Carter said: “Yes he has said that but he is remorseful for his actions and the only reason he did this was because he was intoxicated. It is highly unlikely he will find himself in this position again.”

Before sentencing, Magistrates asked him ‘why did you take it out on a pallet of bread?’ to which he replied saying it was a ‘silly action’.

Boyle was given a conditional discharge for the offence and warned he would be punished for this offence if he was to commit another one in the next 12 months.

As well as that he will have to pay £50.78 in compensation, a £20 victim surcharge and £85 in court costs.

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