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AM challenges council to step up a gear




Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 09.52.43LLANELLI AM Lee Waters is calling on Carmarthenshire County Council to change its approach to encouraging people to travel under their own steam.

Lee led the campaign for Wales to pass the ground-breaking Active Travel Act in 2011. The new law is the first of its kind in the world and requires Welsh Councils to provide routes for people to walk and cycle.

“20% of the journeys we make by car are for distances of under a mile; trips that a generation ago were routinely made by foot or on bike,” the Llanelli AM explained. “But we’ve become stuck in the habit of using the car more and more, and we’re storing up huge problems for ourselves – it is no accident that Wales has some of the highest levels of childhood obesity in the world.”

The AM met with Llanellibased campaigners from the Carmarthenshire Cycling Campaign to discuss how the new law is being implemented locally.

After the meeting Lee Waters said: “This is not about sports cycling and wearing lycra; the purpose of the Active Travel Act is to make it easy for people to make everyday journeys by bike or on foot. What needs to change to get more people to consider swapping a short car trip for a bike ride, as we used to and many still do. The evidence suggests we need to alter the road layout to make people feel safer as well as encouraging more people to alter their habits.

“Our priority should be on linking the places we travel to for everyday journeys with well designed routes. I think Carmarthenshire Council are prioritising the wrong projects; we should be tackling the problem of car use for the school run, instead of spending hundreds of thousands on new paths alongside the main road from Llanegenech to Dafen, or an elite racing track in Pembrey.”

The AM is supporting the ‘Give us 5 miles’ campaign, being championed by the Carmarthenshire Cycling Forum.

Spokesman Phil Snaith said after the meeting with the Llanelli AM: “The built up area of Llanelli is predominantly flat and compact with around 40,000 people within two square miles. With some existing high-quality cycle routes around the town, there is already something of a cycling ‘culture’ and it is rare to visit the town and its centre without seeing a cyclist. The town centre needs more people, and improved walking and cycling links would provide these and the additional spend these groups bring. Studies have shown that improved walking and cycling can boost footfall and trading in town centres by as much as 40%.

“The County Council’s highest priority for investment within Carmarthenshire should be a cycling network for Llanelli. Llanelli already has over six miles of good quality cycleways but these are almost all peripheral to the town. We have set out a plan for seven new links to connect the whole built up area of Llanelli – and only one would need to be a completely new section of path, and the remaining six need footpath conversion or widening.”

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Antisocial behaviour falls as police operation continues




POLICE said that they saw a reduction in antisocial behaviour involving young people in Carmarthenshire over the weekend, following weeks of increased activity.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers proactively patrolled areas which have recently become hot spots for teenagers to gather and drink alcohol as part of an ongoing operation.

A police presence was also maintained on trains between Llanelli and Carmarthen to identify how many youngsters were travelling in the area and where they were getting off.

Sergeant Gemma Davies said: “Over the weekend we continued our work to target, deter and deal with antisocial behaviour and underage drinking in hot spots identified primarily in Llanelli and Burry Port.

“Section 34 dispersal orders had been put in place ahead of the weekend, meaning we could move on anyone likely to cause antisocial behaviour, but thankfully they were not required. This is an improvement on previous weekends when we have had to exercise these powers.

“A significant number of young people were spoken to, with the vast majority being pleasant, not under the influence of alcohol, and not causing any trouble.

“Members of the public acknowledged the high police presence, as did the young people, and this might have deterred underage drinking.

“We are very pleased to have seen the change in attitudes and behaviour this weekend.”

The force received just one call reporting youngsters gathering at Burry Port harbour, with no offences or antisocial behaviour identified by attending officers.

Of the young people spoken two over the weekend, two were found with alcohol which was seized. Follow-up antisocial behaviour letters will be issued, and home visits will take place shortly.

Groups were also reminded of the dangers of swimming near the harbour and were encouraged to take their rubbish home.

Officers on the rail network removed one drunk adult from a train.

Sgt Davies said: “I would like to thank all officers involved in the operation over the weekend, as well as the young people who made sure they stayed within the law while enjoying the weather.

“We will be out and about again next weekend and throughout the summer, making sure the area is enjoyable for all who visit.”

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Lord Lieutenant visits Mass Vaccination Centre




Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sarah Edwards, has paid tribute to all those involved in the COVID-19 vaccination programme during a visit to the Y Ffwrness Mass Vaccination Centre in Llanelli.

During the visit on Wednesday 9th June she was joined by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Lt Col David Mathias, and the High Sheriff of Dyfed, Mr.Jonathan Gravell. They met and spoke to the centre’s vaccinators, NHS staff, security staff and volunteers.

To date, the collective efforts of mass vaccination centres, GP practices and community pharmacies in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, have resulted in the Hywel Dda University Health Board delivering over 431,850 vaccinations. This means 266,785 of the eligible population have now received a first vaccine, and 165,056 have received both doses.

The Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed said: “It was wonderful to see first-hand the incredible work being undertaken by the vaccinators, NHS staff and volunteers. They have played a crucial role in the success of the vaccine rollout programme. I would also pay tribute to the public for their overwhelmingly positive response to getting vaccinated.”

Maria Battle, Chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board, added: “On behalf of the health board, I was delighted to welcome Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sara Edwards, the Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Lt Col David Mathias, and the High Sheriff of Dyfed, Mr Jonathan Gravell. I am deeply proud of everyone involved in the vaccination programme and I’m glad they got to see for themselves the incredibly work being undertaken to help get us through this pandemic.”

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Alcohol seized and teenager arrested as police deal with antisocial behaviour




POLICE seized large amounts of alcohol and arrested a teenager as they continued to deal with antisocial behaviour over the weekend.

Dyfed-Powys Police had proactive plans in place to deal with ongoing issues of groups of youngsters gathering in Carmarthenshire following rising reports of alcohol-related antisocial behaviour over the past two months.

Dispersal orders were in place across Llanelli and Burry Port, giving police the powers to move anyone believed to be causing a nuisance, harassment or distress out of the area.

Officers patrolling the rail network in Carmarthenshire on Saturday noticed a large amount of young people getting off the train at Ferryside, where an additional dispersal order was put in place and alcohol was seized.

Officers were also required to deal with children trespassing on the railway tracks.

Sergeant Gemma Davies said: “We had received reports of children with alcohol running across the tracks, which posed a huge danger to themselves and others, and had to be stopped as a priority.

“One boy who was detained became abusive towards officers and could not be reasoned with. Officers had no choice but to arrest him for his own safety and to prevent further offences from being committed.

“This incident goes to show that the kind of behaviour we are dealing with goes beyond groups of young people meeting to have a good time, and is putting people in highly dangerous situations.”

A 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of trespassing on the railway and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

He has been released under investigation pending further enquiries by British Transport Police.

Early intervention was taken in the Trostre area of Llanelli, where officers noticed groups of children meeting on Saturday.

Sgt Davies said: “More than 60 young people were moved on from both locations and a large amount of alcohol was seized.

“Out of these groups, four notices were issued to those causing the most trouble in the Trostre area which prevented them from returning, and each of these youngsters were taken home.

“This swift action was a deterrent to other young people who were planning on joining the groups and were still travelling to the area.”

“We will continue to put plans in place each weekend and over the summer holidays to deal with antisocial behaviour, using all powers available to us to put a stop to it.”

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