REPRESENTATIVES from the Port of Milford Haven attempted to ease fears surrounding plans for a temporary waste storage site at a recent meeting of the Pembroke Dock Town Council.

Natalie Britton, director of Quayside operations, and Chris Oliver, the operations manager, discussed the plans with councillors for almost an hour, promising issues with previous waste storage on the site would not reoccur.

The representatives said they had learned from the previous operation between Pembrokeshire County Council and the Potters Group, which was suspended in 2017 after residents complained of bad odours and flies.

Mrs Britton said this time would be different as the port would have control, and said members of the team lived in the area.

Mr Oliver promised the controls they were putting in place would be of a very high standard, with multiple layers of control, including mesh that wouldn’t allow insects through.

“[We have] A very fine mesh a few millimetres thick, it a very strong mesh and the holes are too small for any insects to get out of.

“On top of that we have pesticide boards, these don’t emit anything, it’s a substance painted on the board to have an additional layer of control.

“Finally, there will be a steel framework and screen. That will act as a visual screen and act as a final control for anything that gets through our layers of control.”

Mr Oliver added they would make sure they avoided past issues by inspecting where the waste comes from.

“We are going to the source,” he said. “We are going to be assessing and inspecting, making sure that they are meeting the requirements of the contract.”

Mrs Britton explained that the permit application had been deliberately broad to allow discussion with all potential customers.

“We have had a number of enquiries from a number of companies,” she said.

“We are not in a position to be able to go any further with those discussions because we don’t have a permit in place.

“We decided to apply for a very broad permit to cover multiple different areas, we wanted to keep our options open.”

Because they don’t currently have a contract in place, Mrs Britton said everything was currently “quite hypothetical”.

Mrs Britton said the port expected to get a response to the application from Natural Resources Wales by the end of August.

Councillor Tony Wilcox said in response: “I expect they will go through the plans with a fine toothcomb because they didn’t do a very good job the last time.”

Cllr Wilcox sought assurances that the first bales through Pembroke Dock wouldn’t be waste that has been left at a Swansea port for an extended period.

“Absolutely not - 100 per cent not - no one could pay us enough to take that,” said Mrs Britton.

When asked what impact the storage site would have on traffic, Mrs Britton said it was difficult to say until they have a contract, but didn’t expect it to be a big issue.

Before closing the meeting, Mayor Gordon Goff said: “If it works, it works, that would be great.

“But, this is Pembroke Dock, an historic town, we don’t want to be known as Pembroke Dock a toxic town. We don’t want everyone else’s crap down here.”

The representatives said the plans for waste storage was just one part of a wider plan for growing the port.

Other areas identified for growth include encouraging more cruise ships and becoming a stopping off stop for passing vessels where they could have repairs carried out.