Pembrokeshire celebrate 30 years of campaigning

Pembrokeshire is renowned for its wonderful scenery, sandy beaches, varied wildlife and other tourist attractions. Yet, over the last three decades, it has been in the front line of one environmental battle after another and Pembrokeshire FoE has taken a lead role throughout.

 

 

Formed originally as Narberth Friends of the Earth in 1988, one of its first acts was to set up a one-day a week paper recycling trailer in the town. The inadequacies of this soon became clear when, on windy days, local group members received phone calls asking them to collect newspapers blowing around the streets. As a result, it was decided to launch a fund for a bottle bank. This was quickly rewarded when a businessman responded to our press release by donating two – one for Narberth and one for Pembroke Dock.

 

This was the first in a long line of successes for the group. Some of the others were:

· Supported complaints by mothers whose children were ill after bathing on Goodwick beach by producing scientific evidence that linked this with the discharge of raw sewage into the bay. This was a local contribution to the successful campaign throughout Europe for cleaner beaches and seas.

· With the expert help of environmental barrister, Peter Rodrick, we took the UK government to the European Court to force it to compel oil and gas companies to provide environmental impact assessments for drilling activities in Cardigan Bay. As a result, the rigs disappeared from Cardigan Bay and have not returned, and all oil and gas activities in UK waters had to produce environmental impact assessments. 1993

· Whilst campaigning for better recycling facilities, we helped residents at Cresselly defeat plans for a landfill site near their village. 1992

· Gave campaigning and legal support to the Tenby Clean Seas Campaign that ensured that the best treatment was used for the town’s new sewerage system. 1995

· Fought a six-year, and often bitter, campaign to prevent a dirty tar-like fuel, orimulsion, being burned with totally inadequate pollution controls at Pembroke power station. This ended the planned global use of orimulsion. 1991 to 1997

· Responded to the Sea Empress oil spill (Feb. 1996) at Milford Haven by helping to collect oiled birds from the sea, doing daily media interviews and producing the first report of the impact of the disaster. Our head office in London set up a legal team that prepared a case for a prosecution which forced the Environment Agency to successfully prosecute the Port Authority.

· Supported local people in defeating proposals for a nuclear waste site at the former Royal Navy arms depot at Trecwn in North Pembrokeshire .1998

· Played a similar role in seeing off plans for growing GM crops at Mathry.2001

· Successfully opposed plans to dual the A40 between St Clears and Haverfordwest. Our alternative proposal for effective upgrading and safety improvements are among the measures that have been implemented by the Welsh Government. 1999 to 2015

· Actively supported the successful application for the Wear Point windfarm at Milford Haven. 2010

· Submitted a complaint to the European Commission, which it supported, about the use of an out-dated water cooling system at the new gas-fired power station at Pembroke that wastes significant amounts of heat, kills large numbers of fish and harms the marine ecosystem in the Milford Haven waterway. 2006 onwards

· Campaigned with the UK Tar Sands Network to oppose the importation of American tar sands oil at the Pembroke oil refinery. 2012

· Opposed proposals for a 25MW biomass-fired electricity generating station, which would rely on large amounts of imported timber, at Trecwn. This proposal has not been taken forward. 2014

· Successfully opposed plans for an Oily Sludge & Filter Cake Pyrolysis Incinerator at Pembroke Dock. 2015

· Supported and invested money in the installation of a small biomass boiler and solar panels at the Narberth Community Swimming Pool. 2015

· Campaigning, with support from Biofuelwatch UK, against proposals for a 350 MW bio-fuel power station at Blackbridge, Milford Haven. So far, this campaign has been successful. 2015 to present

· Lobbying local authorities to divest from fossil fuel investments. 2016 to present

· Supported the successful application for a community wind turbine at Llanfyrnach. 2016

 

As well as working specifically on local issues, Pembrokeshire FoE has campaigned in support of many important national and international FoE campaigns, such as to halt rainforest destruction, protect peat bogs and support bees. We have lobbied for parliamentary measures, such as the Home Energy Conservation Act, the Traffic Reduction Act and the Climate Change Act.

In addition, Pembrokeshire FoE has, over the years, issued hundreds of press release and letters; done numerous radio and TV interviews; organised public meetings; shown films; had stalls at events such as food, children’s and pop festivals; held election hustings meetings; and given scores of talks and presentations on a wide range of issues. These have all helped to create a far greater awareness of environmental issues amongst the public and our political representatives.

 

Written by Gordon @ FoE Pembrokeshire

 

If you feel inspired to join the group, or would like to start one in your local area, get in touch with us today

 

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