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New Fire Station opened in Aberystwyth

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(L-R): Arwel James, Ceredigion Response Manager; Mick Crennell, Deputy Chief Fire Officer; Cllr Janice Dudley, Fire Authority Chair; Cllr Paul James, Ceredigion Fire Authority Member; Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council; Chris Davies MBA, Chief Fire Officer; Robert Quin, Assistant Chief Fire Officer

(L-R): Arwel James, Ceredigion Response Manager; Mick Crennell, Deputy Chief Fire Officer; Cllr Janice Dudley, Fire Authority Chair; Cllr Paul James, Ceredigion Fire Authority Member; Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council; Chris Davies MBA, Chief Fire Officer; Robert Quin, Assistant Chief Fire Officer

ON THURSDAY, October 13, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS) hosted the official opening of its brand new Community Fire Station in Aberystwyth.

The Fire Station was officially opened by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, Carl Sargeant AM and attended by MAWWFRS Chief Fire Officer Chris Davies MBA; Deputy Chief Fire Officer Mick Crennell; Assistant Chief Officer Elizabeth Aitken; Assistant Chief Fire Officer Robert Quin; MAWWFRS Authority Chair Janice Dudley; Elin Jones AM; Mark Williams MP; Brendon Sommers, Mayor of Aberystwyth; Miss Bronwen Morgan, Chief Executive of Aberystwyth County Council and Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council.

The station crew and dignitaries were treated to a performance by a joint choir of pupils from Plascrug Community School and Ysgol Gymraeg Aberystwyth.

Winners of a local art competition for primary school pupils were also present, as the winning works are displayed in the new Community Fire Station. These pupils represented Ysgol Llwyn yr Eos, St Padarn’s Catholic Primary School, Ysgol Gymraeg Aberystwyth and Plascrug Community School.

The state of the art development, undertaken by Carmarthenshire developers WRW Group, is located on the former station’s ground at Penparcau Road, Trefechan. The new two-story building incorporates three fire appliance bays, office accommodation for Ceredigion County Command, as well as community facilities, including a cafe, which will be open to the public.

Building work on the new £1.6 million Community Fire Station in Aberystwyth commenced in July 2015 and the station temporarily relocated to the TA Centre on Park Avenue for the duration of the building works.

The brand new facility boasts many pioneering qualities, which includes being built to a Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM).

Carl Sargeant, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, said: “I am pleased that the Authority has involved the community in designing, constructing and operating the station. This approach has involved pupils from local schools and students from Aberystwyth University and Coleg Ceredigion as well as providing valuable work to local contractors.

“Our firefighters undertake difficult and sometimes dangerous work and deserve the best possible facilities and support. This state-of-the-art facility certainly meets those standards. It will also mean firefighters can keep in close touch with the communities they serve and protect. This will help keep local people safe from fires and other hazards.”

Chris Davies, MAWWFRS Chief Fire Officer, said: “Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service is delighted to deliver this brand new facility to the community of Aberystwyth.

“This innovative Fire Station reflects the evolving role that the Fire and Rescue Service plays in emergency response and community safety work.

“Incorporating three fire appliance bays, Ceredigion County Command offices, a Blood Bike base and a community cafe, this Fire Station truly is a community resource fit for the 21st century and able to adapt to the challenges of the future.

“It was a pleasure to hear the children’s choir sing at the opening and a privilege to welcome students from Ysgol Llwyn yr Eos, Ysgol Gymraeg Aberystwyth, Plascrug Community School and St Padarn’s Primary School, who have their art work displayed at the new station, here today.

“We are grateful to the TA Centre for accommodating the temporary station whilst the building of the new station took place.”

Jon Williams, Business Development Director for WRW, said: “We have enjoyed bringing our own expertise to the fore to help realise the potential of the scheme. Now operational, we hope the facility goes on to become a cornerstone of the community and that it allows MAWWFRS to continue its excellent service provision for the locality.”

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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

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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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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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