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Significant amount of oil recovered in Nantycaws pipeline leak

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oil-in-water-2A SIGNIFICANT amount of the Kerosene oil which escaped from the damaged pipeline at the A48 in Nantycaws, Carmarthen, has been recovered.

Valero, the company responsible for the pipeline works has confirmed approximately 120,000 litres of the estimated 140,000 litres of oil lost has been recovered to date.

Works to repair the pipeline and isolate the leak last weekend were successful; with the westbound carriageway of the A48 opening earlier than planned.

Commissioning of the new pipeline will commence at the end of this week and the re-opening of the A48 eastbound carriageway is planned to take place on November 1.

Carmarthenshire County Council has now taken over as lead agency as part of the recovery operation, working closely with Natural Resources Wales, Public Health Wales, Dyfed-Powys Police and other partners.

NRW staff are continuing to monitor the site and investigate the impact of the incident on the local environment.

Tests confirm no public water drinking supplies have been affected; and air quality monitoring has shown very low concentrations of Kerosene, below what would pose a significant risk to public health. Further tests are ongoing and officers from both Public Health Wales and the council’s environmental health and licensing service are continuing to advise and reassure residents.

People are still being advised to keep pets and livestock away from the water where oil is visible.

Police are continuing to monitor traffic along the diversionary route with high visibility police presence during peak traffic times.

The council’s Executive Board Member for Environmental and Public Protection Cllr Jim Jones said: “This incident has had a major effect on the environment and the local community and we are doing all we can to help manage the recovery operation and reassure residents.

“The council’s Director of Environment is now chairing the multi-agency group set up to co-ordinate the recovery from this incident. Although now in the recovery stage, works to monitor the effects of the spill will continue for many months to come.”

Huwel Manley, NRW’s operations manager west, said: “The partner organisations and contractors have worked continuously to try and minimise the impact on people and the environment, but we know that the incident has had a major effect on the local community.

“Our officers will continue to monitor the site, take regular water samples and have carried out an ecological assessment of the river. This will inform our investigation into the impact of the incident and what actions we’ll need to take going forward.”

Huw Brunt, Consultant in Environmental Health Protection for Public Health Wales said: “The results of outdoor and indoor air monitoring provide reassurance that concentrations of kerosene and other petroleum hydrocarbons are very low and below those that would pose a significant risk to health.

Test results show that public drinking water supplies have not been affected; those with private drinking water supplies in the area have been visited and provided with advice. Further ground and surface waters testing is being undertaken to assess wider environmental impacts. Public Health Wales will continue to provide advice and specialist support to partner agencies and the public as required.”

He added: “Public exposure to kerosene is now very unlikely. However, as a precaution‎ the public are advised to avoid contact with any substance that looks or smells like fuel oil. If anyone gets kerosene on their skin or clothes, they should remove affected items of clothing and wash using soap and water. If they feel unwell, they should seek medical attention.”

Chief Inspector Peter Roderick of the Specialist Operations Department of Dyfed-Powys Police, who commanded the traffic management operation over the weekend, said: “Now that we have successfully managed to ensure the uninterrupted flow of traffic throughout the total closure period of the A48 over the past weekend, we will continue to provide resources to ensure that the diversion route for the eastbound closure is closely monitored and that the traffic flow continues to move, albeit accepting that at peak periods this will be slow.

“I want those travelling on the diversion route, as well as the residents of Llangunnor and those visiting the town centre, to feel an engaging police presence over the peak travel times. Police motorcyclists and patrol cars will be deployed to manage the potential congestion likely to occur at these times and assistance will be provided to our emergency service partners.”

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Carmarthenshire’s sensory garden: why locals should embrace this wellness trend

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WITH ‘#sensorygarden’ 499.1k views on TikTok – locals have the advantage of experiencing a sensory garden on their doorstep at the National Botanic Garden of Wales. Wildlife experts explain why you should visit.

Wildlife expert Sean McMenemy shares how sensory gardens can do wonders for our wellness whilst providing a safe haven for wildlife and encourages Carmarthenshire locals to visit their local sensory garden this autumn.

A sensory garden is an outdoor space that stimulates the five senses of sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste, and can be created in your own garden. Sensory gardens at home remain relatively rare, but the trend is growing with the TikTok hashtag ‘#sensorygarden’ amassing 499.1k views*. 

Carmarthenshire, dubbed the Garden of Wales, has a huge array of beautiful green spaces to explore. It’s home to the National Botanic Garden of Wales which spans a huge 568 acres, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The stunning Great Glasshouse features a sensory trail that explores the largest single-span greenhouse in the world! From fluffy flowers from South Africa to a strongly scented Australian plant, it’ll engage all your senses. 

Having recently gifted King Charles with a beautiful oak sapling, the National Botanic Garden of Wales care deeply about the nation’s natural heritage. For those visiting the garden, the paths are wheelchair accessible with manual wheelchairs available on site. Open 10am – 6pm every day of the week.

Wildlife expert and founder of bird food provider Ark Wildlife, Sean McMenemy, explains the benefits of sensory gardening: “Sensory gardens provide a great deal of physical and mental benefits for different people and purposes. From getting vitamin D from sunlight to improving physical fitness by maintaining a garden, there are several physical benefits. Mentally, you can benefit from a mood boost and relaxation by spending time surrounded by calming stimulation.

“Sensory gardens can also have huge benefits for children, older people, those with learning disabilities and those who struggle with their physical and mental health. You can also create a sensory garden for your pets and garden wildlife!”

Top tips for creating your own sensory garden

If you do have the outdoor space, creating your own sensory garden is therapeutic in itself and doesn’t need to be a complicated process. The most important thing is to ensure that the garden engages all five senses. 

Melody Estes, landscape design gardening supervisor, says: “Whether you’re new to gardening or a seasoned pro, you can always improve your garden by adding some sensory elements.” 

Here are some tips from Melody for creating a sensory garden:

Sight – Plant colourful flowers that change with the seasons.

Sound – If you have a fountain or water feature on your property, consider adding some relaxing music to play alongside it. You could also place chimes near your front door to welcome people in.

Smell – Use scent. Consider planting scented flowers or herbs like lavender, rosemary and thyme that will give off a lovely aroma when they bloom.

Touch – Mix textures. The texture of plants can be as important as their colour and shape. Try using plants with soft leaves like ferns or grasses that are texturally different.

Taste – Planting herbs, fruits and vegetables not only provide tasty treats, but is a sustainable source of food.

Sean McMenemy adds: “Sensory gardens are an easy way to engage with wildlife and the outdoor environment. Growing your own plants and vegetables provides countless ways to learn about the natural world.

“You can bring your sensory garden to life by using bird feeders to attract beautiful feathered friends into your garden. They’ll bring the sound element to your sensory garden naturally. Fragrant flowers will attract colourful butterflies and other pollinators to your garden, giving you something to observe whilst helping nature to thrive.”

Some people may not have the time, money or space to create their own sensory garden. However, those with balconies and window ledges can still plant colourful, sweet-smelling flowers and edible plants. This mini sensory garden can still provide the benefits and satisfaction of an outdoor garden.

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Prince and Princess of Wales to visit Wales

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THE PRINCE and Princess of Wales have planned a trip to Wales to visit a variety of communities across the nation and learn about the work of key charitable organisations. 

The Prince and Princess have a deep affection for Wales, having made their first family home in Anglesey, and have thoroughly enjoyed their previous visits and the warmth and kindness shown by the Welsh people. 

Their Royal Highnesses are looking forward to spending more time in Wales over the next few years, they hope to strengthen their relationship with communities in all parts of Wales. 

During their first engagement, Their Royal Highnesses will visit the RNLI Holyhead Lifeboat Station, where they will meet crew, volunteers and some people who have been supported by their local unit.

Holyhead is one of the three oldest lifeboat stations on the Welsh coast and has a remarkable history of bravery, having received 70 awards for gallantry. 

Their Royal Highnesses will then take a short walk to the Holyhead Marine and Cafe Bar, where they will meet local people, including representatives of small businesses and organisations, including the Coastguard and Sea Cadets. 

In their second engagement, the Prince and Princess of Wales are expected to visit Swansea. 

Their Royal Highnesses will visit St Thomas Church, a re-developed church in Swansea which supports people in the local area and across the City and County of Swansea. 

Over the last two years the church has been transformed into a thriving community hub and is home to a vast array of services, including:

  • A foodbank which supports over 200 people per week
  • Swansea Baby Basics which distributes essential items for vulnerable mothers across the city, such as toiletries and clothes
  • Facilities for the homeless including food, showers and toilets
  • A not-for-profit cafe and community training kitchen
  • A surplus food distribution network which collects food from supermarkets at the end of each day and distributes it from the church to prevent food waste and to help end food poverty

As part of their visit, Their Royal Highnesses will meet those volunteering at the church across different initiatives including Baby Basics and the foodbank. Their Royal Highnesses will also spend some time meeting members of the public gathered outside the church. 

The Princess of Wales has previously worked with Baby Banks and the in summer of 2020 brought together 19 British brands and retailers to donate over 10,000 new items to more than 40 baby banks nationwide, operated by Baby Basics, Little Village and AberNecessities. 

Her Royal Highness has visited a number of baby banks across the UK, including in London, Sheffield and West Norfolk where she has spent time speaking with families about their experiences of using their local baby bank services, as well as helping unload donations. 

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Carmarthenshire farmer dies following attack by bull near Llandeilo

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A FARMER has died following an incident with a bull on a farm in Llandeilo.

The 58-year-old, named locally as Maldwyn Harrier, was attacked by the animal during a TB test on Friday morning.

Police have confirmed that they were called to a farm in the Penybanc area of Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, and are investigating alongside the Health and Safety Executive. 

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