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 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
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 .
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.
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 .
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 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 “