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Fire service pay tribute to London high rise victims

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Tragic: The fire in London this morning (Jun 14)

MID AND WEST WALES FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE have paid tributes to the victims of the tragic fire in London today (Jun 14).

Chris Davies, Chief Fire Office of Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: ”As the terrible events in London are still unfolding and the circumstances of today’s incident remain unclear, our thoughts are with those who have lost their lives, been affected by this incident or are responding from London Fire Brigade or as part of the wider multi agency response. This incident has been traumatic and challenging for all those concerned.

“At this stage, we do not yet know what caused the fire, where it started or how it has spread in such a way. As such, it’s important that we do not try and speculate on these key questions and allow those who are conducting the investigation to come to their conclusions. However, there is some important advice that we can share with those that live in high rise properties across mid and west Wales.”

The fire service advice is as follows:

  • If you live in a high rise property, you are no more at risk of a fire starting. Our advice is that people who live in high rise properties / purpose built flats or maisonettes, aside from having a working smoke alarm and taking fire safety precautions, is to make sure you know your escape route and what to do if there is a fire inside your home of somewhere else in the building.
  • Never prop or wedge doors open. The exterior doors of your home are specially designed to resist fire and stop the spread of smoke. However, to do this, they must be kept closed when they are not in use. It is also a good idea to close your internal doors when you retire for the night.
  • Make sure that your escapes routes, inside and outside of your flat, are kept clear of obstacles at all times.
  • Know where your keys are – vital time needed to escape may be lost if you have to scramble around looking for them.

If the smoke alarm sounds:

  • Don’t open doors looking for the source of the fire.
  • Alert everyone else and leave the flat, closing the door behind you.
  • Don’t stop to gather personal belongings or pets.
  • Don’t use a balcony to escape unless it’s part of an official escape route.
  • When you are out of the building, find a phone and call 999 – and remember to keep calm and speak clearly.
  • Never go back into the building until you have been told it is safe to do so.

If a fire breaks out elsewhere in the building:

  • It will normally be safe for you to stay in your own flat. Open a window if you need fresh air, and stay by the window where you may been seen. If your own flat becomes affected by smoke, leave at once, closing windows and doors behind you.
  • If you have to leave the building, always use the staircase and never use the lift.
  • If you have to move through smoke, keep as close to the floor as you can, where the air is fresher.
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Llanelli: Woman on trial for fiddling more than £100,000 in benefits

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A LLANELLI woman is to stand trial accused of fiddling more than £100,000 in benefits she was not entitled to.

Emma Jane Campbell, aged 49, appeared at Swansea Crown Court today for a plea and trial preparation hearing before Judge Keith Thomas.

Campbell, of Elizabeth Street, denied retaining wrongful credits totalling £42,908 between 2002 and 2010, £63,113 between 2002 and 2016 and £7,722 between 20002 and 2013.

The amounts were said to relate to income support, housing benefit and council tax relief received by Campbell when she had capital in excess of the permitted amount.

Campbell is also charged with fraud by claiming Jobseeker’s allowance and employment support allowance but failing to notify the Department for Work and Pensions of her true financial position.

Campbell entered pleas of not guilty to all the charges.

She was granted bail until the start of her trial on April 17.

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Burry Port RFC welcomes asset transfer

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BURRY PORT RFC has welcomed its takeover of its home base from Carmarthenshire County Council.

The Rugby Club has signed a 99 year lease for the playing fields and changing rooms at Burry Port Memorial Park as part of the county council’s asset transfer programme.

The club has also been awarded a Maintenance Grant to assist with maintaining the asset and an Improvement Grant to assist with making any improvement works they may wish to undertake.

Around 80 per cent of the county council’s recreation assets have already been transferred, or are nearing completion, to town or community councils, or community groups.

Two years ago the council’s executive board agreed a package to offer community councils or groups the opportunity to take over the running of facilities in their areas.

Councillors believe it gives local people greater control in the future of their area and their community.

Burry Port RFC secretary Jonathan Davies said the club accepted that changes had to be made although it would not have chosen it.

“In hindsight I think it is a positive thing for the club. It has increased the assets of the club and given members a sense of belonging to the park.”

Executive board member for assets Cllr David Jenkins said: “Unfortunately, we can no longer afford to maintain all the recreational assets in our portfolio.

“However, this is not just a cost saving exercise – communities are often best placed to manage facilities in their local environment.

“I’m pleased that Burry Port RFC has taken over and is looking forward to the future.”

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Sandy Road air quality raised in Senedd

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AIR QUALITY concerns from Sandy Road residents were raised in the Senedd last week by local AM Lee Waters, who called for a whole-scale review to improve air quality in Wales.

Calling on the Welsh Government to look into what has worked elsewhere in the UK and abroad, he spoke at length about Sandy Road in Llanelli – an Air Quality Management Area with known harmful levels of nitrogen dioxide.

Mr. Waters said: “I feel desperately sorry for the people who live on Sandy Road. They are fed-up about the build-up of traffic. It is an unpleasant place to walk and it is an unpleasant place to live. I completely understand residents’ frustration.”

During the Plenary debate held on Tuesday, the Assembly Member spoke of how local campaigner Ray Jones, who lives along Sandy Road, has led an impressive and passionate campaign to tackle the issue – but stopped short of supporting Mr Jones’ call for a bypass: “Ray Jones is a doughty campaigner on these issues. His solution, and the solution of nearly 2,000 people who’ve signed a petition, is to create a bypass along Sandy Road. Whilst I understand the desire to alleviate the bottleneck that we have created on Sandy Road, creating an expensive road—we know that roads on average cost £20 million per mile—over an area of tranquility where there is an existing housing development will, I think, not solve the problem; it would simply shift it.

“These are the sort of desperate measures that people are forced to think about, because we’re offering them no alternative. I don’t think this short-term fix would solve this, but what else are we offering people in this situation?”

Mr Waters went on to criticise a recent air quality improvement action plan published by Carmarthenshire County Council.

“Carmarthenshire County Council have come up with an air quality management area plan that simply talks about possibilities; they don’t talk about actions. We’re kicking the can down the road constantly, leaving it to future generations. The evidence is plentiful of what we need to do to change this. We need to have behaviour change and we need to invest in alternatives to car use, and stop building houses in areas where there is poor public transport.”

He finished his contribution to Tuesday’s debate with a call to action: “This is the political leadership dilemma we face in this National Assembly. It is easier for the quick fix than it is the long-term solution… It is time that we tackled the causes, not the consequences. We need a whole-scale review into what has worked elsewhere in the UK and abroad to improve air quality, and we must stop monitoring failure and start modelling success.”

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