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Ceredigion’s Universities scoop green awards

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Aber’s Pro Vice-Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer, Rebecca Davies : Presenting Sport and Exercise Science Technician, Alan Cole, with the Gold Standard Green Impact Award for IBERS (Carwyn James)

Aber’s Pro Vice-Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer, Rebecca Davies : Presenting Sport and Exercise Science Technician, Alan Cole, with the Gold Standard Green Impact Award for IBERS (Carwyn James)

ABERYSTWYTH University and UWTSD are celebrating after having more success at the Green Impact Awards, an environmental accreditation and awards scheme run by the National Union of Students, who support teams and departments to make simple and powerful changes in behaviour and policy in order to work towards a more sustainable institution. 

Thirteen teams from different departments across Aberystwyth University took part in the scheme in 2015-16, and were audited by student volunteers in April.

All teams were recognised for their achievements; five were awarded the Gold Standard, six achieved Silver, and two were awarded Bronze.

Achieving the Gold Standard were teams from Human Resources, Estates Sustainability, IBERS (Carwyn James), Information Services and the Institute of Education, Graduate and Professional Development (Cledwyn).

Awarded the Silver Standard were the Earth Observation and Ecosystem Dynamics Research Group, the Institute of Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science, and teams from the Careers Service, Planning and Governance, Psychology, and Research, Business & Innovation.

Estates Grounds and the Aberystwyth Arts Centre were awarded the Bronze standard.

Health, Safety, and Environment Advisor, Dr Heather Crump, stated: “Green Impact, part of the Live Greener behaviour change campaign (e.g. Blackout and Student Switch Off), has grown in popularity over the past three years, with more and more people getting involved and engaged with the scheme.

“With news of it continuing for another year, we hope it continues to gain momentum and even more sustainability initiatives take place. Green Impact is integrated into the university’s drive to achieve the internationally recognised ISO 14001 standard for environmental management.”

At UWTSD, the Green Impact project was able to engage with over 106 staff members from across all three campuses this year, putting 502 actions into place, 329 as a direct result of Green Impact. The dedication of those involved provided a potential savings of almost 9492kg of CO2 and almost £1,397 in savings through waste reduction, energy conservation, and reductions in travel. Furthermore, it provided six students with training and development opportunities during their roles as auditors.

Fiona Wheatley, Sustainability Development Officer, said: “It’s important to promote good environmental behaviour at UWTSD and Green Impact offers a way to incorporate small reminders into the workspace. It’s also a great way to encourage members of staff to work together towards a greater good. I was extremely pleased with the efforts of all the teams this year. The project was very successful and forms a solid foundation for sustainability to continue to grow throughout the university in the future. The project will be beginning again this September and we hope to further its success. We plan on engaging even more staff members.”

UWTSD has been a participant in the NUS Green Impact Project since 2013/14. Initially, the first year saw six teams successfully achieve a Bronze award. During 2014/15, this grew to 16 teams, who achieved a range of awards from Bronze to Gold. This year (2015/16), 15 teams submitted for a range of award from Bronze to Gold, and one team for an excellence award. Arrangement to facilitate Green Impact events and awards are undertaken by the Sustainability Delivery Team at UWTSD.

UWTSD’s strategy also includes key performance indicators on sustainability. Green Impact binds a community of sustainability champions across the university, helping to ensure that it consistently delivers on its sustainability objectives.

At UWTSD, the results were as follows:

Student Experience: Silver Award; Environment Office: Gold Award; SWWCTE Townhill Campus: Silver Award; Team Owen: Bronze Award: HR; Silver Award: Green Business; Bronze Award: SOAC Green Team; Bronze Award: Y Gofrestrfa – The Registry; Bronze Award: SWWCTE Carmarthen (CAADOC-Caerfyrddin); Bronze Award: Corporate Services; Gold Award: Corporate Communications & PR; Bronze Award: INSPIRE; Gold Award: GWLAD; Bronze Award: SSJ&I: Bronze Award; Faculty Office – Lampeter: Bronze Award; Fine Art/ Celf a Dylunio Team Excellence Award: Project – Ground sourced Clay to Ceramics

Sustainability is high on the list of priorities for staff and students. In a 2016 survey completed by the NUS, over 87% of first year students agree that sustainable development is something universities should actively incorporate and promote.

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River benefits after polluter pays

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A MAJOR river pollution incident in Mid Wales has cost a company £40,000.

Pencefn Feeds Ltd, near Tregaron has paid the sum after a detailed investigation by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) into the incident in December 2016.

Around 18,000 fish are thought to have been killed on a five-mile stretch of the Teifi when approximately 44,000 gallons of pollutant leaked from an anaerobic digestion plant.

The West Wales Rivers Trust will receive £15,000 to restore fish habitat in the area.

And a further £5,000 will go to the Countryside Alliance Foundation to fund education activities about fish and the local environment for children in the Tregaron area.

The payments are consistent with a potential fine and have been made as an “enforcement undertaking”. This means that the money directly benefits the local environment.

The final £20,000 is being paid to recover all investigation and legal costs relating to the case.
Ann Weedy, Mid Wales operations manager for Natural Resources Wales, said: “This has been a very complex and time-consuming investigation and we are pleased to see the financial penalty being
used directly to repair some of the damage caused by this incident.

“This will make the Teifi a better place for fish and other wildlife by fencing river banks and developing riverside vegetation.

“We hope these payments serve as a reminder to businesses that we will take enforcement action if they pollute Wales’ environment and don’t operate responsibly.”

As well as investigating the incident and overseeing the clean-up operation, NRW also investigated the roles of all companies involved in the incident.

However, the sub-contractor mainly responsible for the incident, Hallmark Power Ltd, went into liquidation so no prosecution could be taken against them. And the main contractor, ComBigaS UK, also no longer exists, so no action could be taken against them either.

ComBigaS Denmark had links to the project but has no legal basis in the UK and is therefore not covered by UK law.

Site owner, Pencefn Feeds Ltd, had raised concerns with the companies about the quality of work, but this had not been acted upon. This would have provided significant mitigation if the matter had gone to court, so NRW concluded that accepting an enforcement undertaking was the best option in this case.

Dr Stephen Marsh-Smith OBE, Director of Afonydd Cymru, the umbrella body that represents Wales’ six Rivers Trusts commented: “This was a tragic case that was bad for the river Teifi and its
fisheries.

“Nonetheless, we commend the use of an Enforcement Undertaking to resolve the regulatory aspect of the case as some funding will now be put towards restoration within the catchment itself.

“The resolution of longer term damage remains a separate issue.”

Rachel Evans, Countryside Alliance Director for Wales, said: “Fishing for Schools is always grateful to receive funding to help us reach out to more young people who benefit from our unique approach to education through angling.

“Funding coming from a pollution incident and resultant settlement whilst sad, will highlight the ever-present need to align conservation and the environment with our school work.

“Tregaron has always been a bedrock of angling within the Welsh community and heritage. We fully intend to enhance and extend that rich legacy by putting this award to good use.”
NRW has been monitoring the Teifi since the incident and confirms there has been minimal effect on invertebrates.

Salmon fry have been found in the affected area, so it is likely that at least some eggs did survive.

However, juvenile and adult salmon were killed. Large numbers of brown trout were also killed, and this species will take some time to recover.

Ann Weedy continued: “The Teifi is one of the most iconic and important recreational and net fisheries in Wales and an internationally important Special Area of Conservation for endangered fish such as lampreys, salmon and bullhead.

“We all need to work together to do all we can to restore the river and reduce the number of pollution incidents damaging our precious environment in Wales.”
NRW has carried out more than 100 pollution prevention visits to farms in Ceredigion and the Teifi catchment in the past year and these have helped reduce the risk of pollution from farm slurry.

It has also inspected the other three anaerobic digestion plants in Ceredigion to ensure that their pollution prevention measures are suitable.
Pencefn Feeds Ltd has now applied for an environmental permit so they can continue to operate (see additional information for more details).

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River benefits after polluter pays

Published

on

A MAJOR river pollution incident in Mid Wales has cost a company £40,000.

Pencefn Feeds Ltd, near Tregaron has paid the sum after a detailed investigation by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) into the incident in December 2016.

Around 18,000 fish are thought to have been killed on a five-mile stretch of the Teifi when approximately 44,000 gallons of pollutant leaked from an anaerobic digestion plant.

The West Wales Rivers Trust will receive £15,000 to restore fish habitat in the area.

And a further £5,000 will go to the Countryside Alliance Foundation to fund education activities about fish and the local environment for children in the Tregaron area.

The payments are consistent with a potential fine and have been made as an “enforcement undertaking”. This means that the money directly benefits the local environment.
The final £20,000 is being paid to recover all investigation and legal costs relating to the case.

Ann Weedy, Mid Wales operations manager for Natural Resources Wales, said: “This has been a very complex and time-consuming investigation and we are pleased to see the financial penalty being used directly to repair some of the damage caused by this incident.

“This will make the Teifi a better place for fish and other wildlife by fencing river banks and developing riverside vegetation.

“We hope these payments serve as a reminder to businesses that we will take enforcement action if they pollute Wales’ environment and don’t operate responsibly.”

As well as investigating the incident and overseeing the clean-up operation, NRW also investigated the roles of all companies involved in the incident.

However, the sub-contractor mainly responsible for the incident, Hallmark Power Ltd, went into liquidation so no prosecution could be taken against them. And the main contractor, ComBigaS UK, also no longer exists, so no action could be taken against them either.

ComBigaS Denmark had links to the project but has no legal basis in the UK and is therefore not covered by UK law.

Site owner, Pencefn Feeds Ltd, had raised concerns with the companies about the quality of work, but this had not been acted upon. This would have provided significant mitigation if the matter had gone to court, so NRW concluded that accepting an enforcement undertaking was the best option in this case.

Dr Stephen Marsh-Smith OBE, Director of Afonydd Cymru, the umbrella body that represents Wales’ six Rivers Trusts commented: “This was a tragic case that was bad for the river Teifi and its fisheries.

“Nonetheless, we commend the use of an Enforcement Undertaking to resolve the regulatory aspect of the case as some funding will now be put towards restoration within the catchment itself.
“The resolution of longer term damage remains a separate issue.”

Rachel Evans, Countryside Alliance Director for Wales, said: “Fishing for Schools is always grateful to receive funding to help us reach out to more young people who benefit from our unique approach to education through angling.

“Funding coming from a pollution incident and resultant settlement whilst sad, will highlight the ever-present need to align conservation and the environment with our school work.

“Tregaron has always been a bedrock of angling within the Welsh community and heritage. We fully intend to enhance and extend that rich legacy by putting this award to good use.”

NRW has been monitoring the Teifi since the incident and confirms there has been minimal effect on invertebrates.

Salmon fry have been found in the affected area, so it is likely that at least some eggs did survive.

However, juvenile and adult salmon were killed. Large numbers of brown trout were also killed, and this species will take some time to recover.

Ann Weedy continued: “The Teifi is one of the most iconic and important recreational and net fisheries in Wales and an internationally important Special Area of Conservation for endangered fish such as lampreys, salmon and bullhead.

“We all need to work together to do all we can to restore the river and reduce the number of pollution incidents damaging our precious environment in Wales.”
NRW has carried out more than 100 pollution prevention visits to farms in Ceredigion and the Teifi catchment in the past year and these have helped reduce the risk of pollution from farm slurry.

It has also inspected the other three anaerobic digestion plants in Ceredigion to ensure that their pollution prevention measures are suitable.

Pencefn Feeds Ltd has now applied for an environmental permit so they can continue to operate (see additional information for more details).

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Ceredigion County Council’s Apprenticeship recruitment campaign is now live

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THE council’s 2019 Apprenticeship programme is now open for applications until Sunday 22 September.

A council apprenticeship gives learners the opportunity to build skills and confidence while earning a salary and gaining a nationally recognised qualification. With roles available in Business Administration, ICT Technical Support and Social Care teams, there is an opportunity for everyone.

The first year of the programme is nearing an end and has been a great success. Alanah Lloyd recently completed a Business Administration Apprenticeship. She said: “I would recommend doing an apprenticeship at Ceredigion County Council to all my friends. I enjoyed the balance of real responsibilities and having the space to keep on learning.”

Maria Lloyd, Alanah’s mother said: “When Alanah was successful with her application I was delighted. It gave her the opportunity to show her work ethic and continue with her education in an organisation where there is career progression. Alanah has now gained a permanent position at the council. I would highly recommend apprenticeships to other parents.”

Lynne Connolly, Apprenticeship and Work Experience Coordinator, Ceredigion County Council said: “This year we are continuing to demonstrate our commitment to ‘grow our own’, offering opportunities for school and college leavers to continue education in a working environment and for members of the community looking to return to work or change career. All our apprentices are paid well above the minimum apprentice wage which reflects how much we value their contribution.”

To apply and find out more visit career.ceredigion.gov.uk or contact us at apprentice@ceredigion.gov.uk.

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