‘Smelly’ family beach remains on pollution alert

Environment Agency officials have confirmed a section of Exmouth beach remains off limits to swimmers amid reports ‘black and smelly’ pollution has been detected at the Devon beauty spot.

Chloe Parkman www.devonlive.com

It comes as East Devon District Council urges beachgoers to avoid entering the water between Orcombe Point and the lifeboat station due to the situation – which is now under formal investigation.

EDDC confirmed that both EA and South West Water have been investigating the incident. SWW is set to take bacteriological samples at low tide later today.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency told Devon Live: “The Environment Agency is investigating reports of a pollution incident at Exmouth, in the area between Orcombe Point and the lifeboat station. A member of the public alerted the Environment Agency to the incident, reporting black sand and an odour.

“We have liaised with South West Water and they will be taking bacteriological samples at low tide later today. East Devon Council, as owner of the beach, have put up signs advising against bathing and our Swimfo website carries the same message, advising against bathing.

“As soon as we have the results of South West Water’s sampling we will review the advice. With the current hot weather we appreciate people’s desire to cool off in the sea, but we must carry out our investigations fully and satisfy ourselves that there is no risk to bathers.”

EDDC says that lifeguards have put out red flags on the beach between Orcombe and the lifeboat station to advise against going into the sea in that area until the incident is resolved. Yesterday, a spokesperson for EDDC told Devon Live: “We are currently working with the Environment Agency which raised a pollution incident after reports of black sand with a foul odour near an abandoned sewer line at the eastern end of the beach. Currently, we are unsure whether this is a result of a sewage pollution, a surface water discharge or a natural occurrence.

“South West Water have been notified and will be attending [18 July] and the Environment Agency may also be attending today. Our lifeguards have put out red flags on the beach between Orcombe and the lifeboat station to advise against going into the sea in that area until the incident is resolved.”

SWW claims they have investigated and found that all assets are operating as expected. A SWW spokesperson said: “We’ve investigated the report of a potential issue and found that all of our assets are operating as expected.”

If anyone is concerned about pollution or any environmental incident they should call EA 24 hour incident hotline 0800 80 70 60.

Comment on Tory priorities

“Conservatives on the ball as usual – arguing like five bald men over a comb while out there in the real world they have created over the last 12 years, real people wonder why they have water shortages while water companies pay billions to CEOs and shareholders instead of building reservoirs or fixing leaks, why they can’t (af)ford to eat, wash or get to work while utility companies post record profits, why filling up their cars needs a bank loan while oil companies post record profits, why their kids have to leave as wealthy incomers buy up all the local housing stock – and why FIrst Past The Post is good enough for us proles while they agonise over repeated rounds of run offs and vote transfers to identify the next star to continue to destroy our communities.”

Posted by the Guardian

Tory police boss banned from driving after breaking speed limit five times

A Conservative police and crime commissioner who pledged to crack down on speeding has been banned from driving for six months after being caught breaking the speed limit five times in a 12-week period.

Jessica Murray www.theguardian.com 

Caroline Henry, the PCC for Nottinghamshire, was sentenced at Nottingham magistrates court on Monday after previously admitting the offences.

She was elected in May 2021 after a campaign in which she used the slogan “make Notts safe” and promised to “reduce crime with action, not words”.

She is now facing calls to resign, with Nottingham Labour MP Lilian Greenwood saying “it’s untenable for her to continue in her role”.

The 52-year-old, who is the wife of the Broxtowe MP, Darren Henry, was caught speeding in a blue Mercedes and a silver Lexus with a personalised number plate in 30mph zones at four locations in Nottingham in March, May and June last year.

At a hearing earlier this year, magistrates were told that Henry had written a letter to the court saying she was “very sorry, embarrassed and ashamed”. Two of the offences were committed on consecutive days, the court heard.

Henry was captured over the speed limit twice near a primary school in Daybrook, Nottingham, as well as roads in Chilwell, Beeston and on the city’s A610.

Speed cameras clocked her speed as 40mph in a 30mph zone, with other excess speeds recorded at 35mph and 38mph.

Imposing a £2,450 fine as well as disqualifying her for six months, the district judge, Leo Pyle, said of the offences: “What they show is that you are driving at consistent speeds above the speed limits.”

On her official PCC website, Henry listed ensuring an “effective and efficient” police response to speeding as one of her priorities.

The judge dismissed Henry’s application to keep her driving licence due to “exceptional hardship”.

Her defence solicitor, Rhys Rosser, urged the court not to ban her so she can visit her child in hospital in Salisbury, saying it “cannot be done by public transport”. But district judge Pyle said that, despite it being an “inconvenience”, Henry’s husband could “facilitate” it.

Speaking outside court, Henry declined to comment on whether she would resign. “I am truly sorry for speeding,” she said. “Quite properly, today at Nottingham magistrates court I have been fined and banned from driving for six months.

“I remain committed to serving the people of Nottinghamshire as police and crime commissioner.”

Corruption question put to Mid Devon District Council leader

Corruption could never occur in Local Government? -Owl

Lewis Clarke www.devonlive.com

Questions have been asked on how Mid Devon’s leader is not at risk of corruption after a report by Transparency International UK. Councillor Barry Warren (Lower Culm, Non-Aligned) spoke at a Mid Devon Council meeting on Wednesday, July 6, saying that they released a report entitled Corruption in UK Local Government The Mounting Risks.

He said: “On page 43 of the report is a paragraph which reads ‘council leaders have considerable patronage power which can facilitate corruption. They are able to appoint the members of their cabinet and award chairmanships, all roles which bring financial gain for the recipients in the form of special responsibility allowances.

“This may lead to situations where councillors are unwilling to challenge a leader because they fear losing one of these roles, or where they feel obliged to provide informal favours, such as offering information or turning a blind eye to misconduct.’”

He continued: “Since 2019 election two additional cabinet posts have been created. Seven cabinet members have been removed from their portfolios and replaced by other members and two changes of chairman of scrutiny committee have been instigated. What assurance can the leader give to the residents who are administered by Mid Devon District Council that there is no risk of potential corruption as identified in that report?”

Leader of the council, Councillor Bob Deed (Cadbury, Independent) responded saying: “What you’ve just read out probably applies to Westminster, but it certainly does not apply to Mid District Council.

“In terms of patronage as leader, I have always taken the view that the appointments that I make are based on the available members who would be suitable for the post which I am requesting them to undertake at the time.

“Throughout the last three years, the cabinet at any one time has represented the best available talent that was at my disposal. Patronage doesn’t come into it and never will come into it. I’m not sure that the leader from memory has any control over any committee chair apart from the cabinet because he’s in situ.

“I don’t know why you should think that there might be a problem among members of the cabinet or the leader’s approach in Mid Devon. When I was in the city, I was always considered somebody to be trusted, which was why 25 years ago I had £500million to control in terms of lending. My director never asked me about anything.”

Cllr Warren added: “I wasn’t thinking anything. I saw this and thought we ought to get it out the way because somebody raised it with me from outside. That clears the air nicely.”

‘Smelly’ black sand on beach investigated

People are advised to keep off a section of beach because of a reported pollution incident.

“All of our assets in the area are operating as expected”. – SSW

Has Captain Mainwaring been reincarnated in SWW? – Owl

BBC News www.bbc.co.uk

Exmouth beach

A large patch of black sand has been found on Exmouth beach. Image source, Google

East Devon District Council said there was a “large patch of black and smelly sand” at the east end of Exmouth beach.

South West Water (SWW) said “all of our assets in the area are operating as expected”.

The council said people should not bathe between Orcombe Point and Exmouth lifeboat station “until this is resolved”.

SWW said it would continue to “monitor the situation”.

The Environment Agency is also investigating.