Cllr Gary Allman (Conservative St Augustine’s) is taking the Cardiff Bay Authority to task for failing to clear the rafts of rubbish which have been floating for weeks around the River Ely

The Cardiff Harbour Authority  (which is run by Penarth lifeboat helm  Andrew Vye-Parminter)  is being accused of failing to clear pollution and accumulated debris from the Penarth side of the River Ely in a timely manner.

The allegation comes from Penarth Town Councillor Gary Allman (Conservative St Augustines)  who has taking up the cudgels on behalf of scores of residents living in Penarth Marina homes that overlook the River Ely .

The view from homes in Penarth Marina overlooking the River Ely

The Cardiff Harbour Authority is the body which manages Cardiff Bay and is responsible for keeping its waters clear of the tons of debris, flotsam and rubbish being brought downstream by the rivers Ely and Taff .

The Authority is responsible for the maintaining water quality within the 200-hectare freshwater Bay and managing it. It claims to have 3 primary aims –

  • To maintain and enhance an outstanding, sustainable environment
  • To provide exceptional facilities and activities to ensure that Cardiff continues to have a premier waterfront location
  • To work in partnership with stakeholders to ensure continued public and investor confidence in Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Harbour Authority’s own dock in Cardiff Bay accommodates number of its vessels and workboats – vessels which critics say are not being effectively deployed

The Harbourmaster’s headquarters operates a number of specialist rubbish clearing vessels and a large fleet of workboats and launches – some of which are allegedly nicknamed  “The Olympic Flame” – because they never go out .

Cllr Allman pointed to several objects floating in the water – scores of plastic bottles, driftwood, oil-drums, and some easily identifiable plastic footballs – which have been floating in rafts of rubbish near the Penarth bank of the River Ely for more than three weeks.

The debris  – which floats on the surface of the water in large accumulations like a miniature Sargasso Sea – is said not to be the result of last week’s bad weather .

The notorious black Sondico football – familiar to all riverside residents – is one of several which have been floating in the same patch of rubbish on the River Ely for 3 weeks

Cllr Allman said this large clump of pollution, which has included dead cats and dogs, has been floating in the same area for weeks – and is a sight which – he says – had disgusted several families who had visited the Marina earlier this month to watch the Cardiff Half marathon.

Further upstream the Cardiff Harbour Authority has a floating boom, extending almost across the entire river, which is meant to trap and collect the rubbish as it flows downstream – but clearly a lot of the detritus is not being intercepted by this device.

This patch of flotsam is one of a number of similar accumulations along the River Ely

The Cardiff Bay Authority says that last December, January and February over 150 tonnes of rubbish was removed from the bay – but it  forecast that – subject to weather – up to 1,000 tonnes of rubbish was expected to be removed from the water during 2018.

However the Cardiff Bay Authority has yet to explain to Cllr Allman why the large patch of floating rubbish including pram wheels and floating car tyres which has accumulated in the River Ely has been allowed to remain there for so long –  triggering dozens of complaints from local residents  .

Cardiff Harbourmaster Andrew Vye-Parminter – a Penarth Lifeboat helm – is the target of Cllr Allman’s complaints

Cllr Allman says he now wants to “embarrass” the harbourmaster of Cardiff Bay – Andrew Vye-Parminter – and  make sure he gets the mess cleaned up .

Cllr Allman  says a request for a face-to-face discussion with Mr Vye-Parminter had been channelled through Penarth Town Council’s official representative on the Cardiff Bay Advisory Committee – Cllr Nigel Humphrey (Labour St Augustines).

However Cllr Humphrey (Labour) had told Cllr Allman (Conservative) he had “tried to get an appointment” for Cllr Allman to the see Harbourmaster Andrew Vye-Parminter,  but claimed that Cllr Allman had “been too busy“. “If you want me to try again I will” – Cllr Humphrey had allegedly told  Cllr Allman.

Cllr Allman said “It’s not a case of ‘trying again’. How do I explain to the residents down here that this rubbish, which has already been here for weeks, could still be here in another week or ten days’  time?”

Cllr Allman said “People want to support the harbourmaster if he hasn’t got enough funding or the processes are incorrect” but “there is no excuse why this mess can’t be cleaned”. 

Cllr Allman says waterborne wildlife is being put at risk by the rubbish accumulation

Cllr Allman said Harbour Authority  launches regularly motor straight-past the large area of rubbish – but says that , in email exchanges, the Harbour Authority has claimed the rubbish is “difficult to see from a boat”.

Cllr Allman says “Whatever political party we are in should make no difference. All councillors of all parties should come together on this. This is about an environmental issue in Cardiff Bay “


About NewsNet

Penarth Daily News email address Penarth Daily News is an independent free on-line fair and balanced news service published by NewsNet Ltd covering the town of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, UK. All our news items are based on the information we receive or discover at the time of publication and are published on the basis that they are accurate to the best of our knowledge and belief at that time. Comments posted on the site by commentators reflect their opinions and are not necessarily shared, endorsed or supported by Penarth Daily News.
This entry was posted in Penarth Daily News. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Penarthian says:

    Dead cats and dogs floating in the water?! A great advert for cardiff – NOT
    Get it cleaned up and stop making excuses !

  2. Lesley Monger says:

    Last time I went down for a walk on the barrage it was a total disgrace
    Full of rubbish washed up and it had been like that for weeks
    Trees plastic tyres you name it thankfully didn’t see any animals!

  3. Barnacle Bill says:

    The only time the harbour master is seen afloat is when the TV cameras are about for the big events. The rest of the time he drives a desk the size of an aircraft carrier!

  4. I frequently see the harbour authority’s launches go up and down the River Ely. They go so fast that the wash produced causes vessels moored on the pontoons to rock thus placing them at risk of damage. Perhaps they’re travelling too fast or too busy gossiping to see the debris in the water.

  5. Plassey Resident says:

    Cardiff Rivers Group do a great job of rounding up volunteers to help tidy up this mess however they really shouldn’t have to due to Councils neglect. I volunteered with them last summer cleaning up the shoreline near the Dr. Who Exhibition. It was truly disgusting how many Heroin Needles are washed down the river to our shorelines.
    CARDIFF COUNCIL really need to play their part on this!

  6. French Boy says:

    We should count ourselves lucky we have such a dedicated, competent and good looking Harbour Master patrolling our waters. Many other Harbour Authorities would give their right hand to have this Public Servent in their employment.

  7. Penarthur says:

    They only live on a disused tip anyway. What are they moaning about?

  8. Dave says:

    The Cardiff Harbour Authority has been under extrme work load recently due to very high river flows, carrying a huge amount of debris. If you take a look at the Cardiff Bay barrage environmental compound you can see countless skips full of fresh river debris being handled every day. However there are only so many hours in a day & sometimes it takes time to collect these unusually high amounts of debris. Shaming the harbour master for this, with political intent, when you haven’t done your research is deeply unfair & is a defamation of character.

    • Gary Allman says:

      Thank you for the reply I do not seek political intent far from it I am a resident and if you had read ARTICLE 3 weeks I was e mailed it gets cleansed daily what would you like me to tell the people that voted me in. PDN were 100% correct in what they reported
      What is fair is that the wildlife can swim in a clean water bay. People can walk past and not look at rubbish. Im sure you would agree.
      Cllr Allman

  9. Andrew Worsley says:

    Wow that Harbourmaster has one mean finger! just look how he’s pointing it , I wouldn’t like to be on the receiving end of that , well done , I think we need more pointing fingers in Penarth , in my younger days the pointing or indeed wagging finger was the highest form of seriousness and meant you really meant business. Once again bravo!

  10. Andrew Worsley says:

    Okay Councillor? changes nothing regarding my praises.

  11. Onj Arch says:

    Unjust and unprovocted attack on our hard working harbour master.

    Clir Allman should #GetInTheSea

Comments are closed.