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Sandy Road air quality raised in Senedd



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.”


Llanelli AM sets out bold metro vision for west Wales



SHOULD the Swansea Bay area have its own driver-less metro system?

That is the view of Llanelli Assembly Member Lee Waters, who appeared on the BBC’s Sunday Politics show this week (Mar 18),

Lee Waters outlined his vision for the world’s first fully automated metro system, and he says it should serve our local area.

Interviewed by Arwyn Jones earlier today, Mr Waters said: “The key for getting people to replace car journeys with public transport is having what we call a turn up and go public transport system. And that’s clearly not the case in Wales. In parts of Llanelli, the last bus leaves at 4pm – you’re just not going to persuade people to give up their cars under those circumstances. The question then is, how can we realistically create a turn up and go public transport system in Swansea Bay?

“We need to think imaginatively.

“The UK government expect automated vehicles to be on sale in three years time. This is happening quickly. Let’s not try and create a Manchester or a Sheffield type tram system – we’re thirty years behind the curve on that. Let’s try and leapfrog and establish the Swansea Bay Region as a test bed for this new technology.”

The driver-less system proposed by Lee Waters would employ fast-emerging technologies, including driver-less, low carbon bus transit systems. Maps and timetables would be replaced with public transport apps, with vehicles ‘learning’ over the time the most efficient routes to take. And door-to-door services could even feature.

Cautioning against a carbon-copy of the Cardiff and the Valleys Metro, the Llanelli AM called on those tasked with drafting the initial plan to match the boldness of the Swansea Bay City Region bid.

 “The Cardiff and Valleys Metro is moving very slowly, because it’s so complex. For the next five years, you’re not going to see many additional services because of the time it takes to convert track to light rail. All prerequisites to getting a rail system working in a different way. I think what driver-less technology offers us, is a chance to not bother with that and instead having these car-sharing, lift-sharing pods taking us where we want to go.”

Similar plan: A driver-less metro system proposed for Moscow

The Welsh Government have recently agreed to fund the development of a ‘strategic outline case’ for improving public transport provision across the region. The budget allocation is the first step in deciding whether or not to pursue the 10-20 year vision for a Swansea Bay Metro.

Mr Waters welcomed the funding provision, but warned against fixating on journey time savings to London – stating:

 “There’s a broader economic point to this – I don’t want Llanelli and the Swansea Bay area to be a commuting pad to Cardiff. Instead of sending people out of our area, we need a public transport system that creates viable and vibrant communities.”

 In appealing for an ambitious approach to be taken, the Assembly Member contended: “For too long we’ve played catch up. We take ages, and too often the result is pretty shoddy.

 “So let’s not do that again. We’re starting from an almost blank sheet of paper, let’s go straight to the future solution.

 “This change is happening at pace and we need to be all over it.”

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18-year-old arrested on suspicion of robbery



POLICE in Burry Port have arrested and interviewed an 18-year-old man, from the Llanelli area, in connection to a reported robbery outside Co-Op, Station Road, Burry Port.

A man was attacked and his bicycle stolen during the incident, which happened at around 9pm on Tuesday (March 13).

The suspect has since been bailed with conditions which prevent him entering the Burry Port area, while the investigation continues.

The victim is being supported by specially trained officers and his bike has since been returned.

Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact police by calling 101. If you are Deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Quote reference 32 of March 14.

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Appeal after man’s brother with Down’s syndrome has bike stolen



AN APPEAL on social media has been circulating today (Mar 14) after a Burry Port man asked for anyone with information about his brother’s stolen bike to come forward.

Keri Mckibbin took to the social media platform after his brother, Gareth, who has Down’s syndrome, was attacked and had his bike stolen.

Keri Mckibbin said on Facebook: “My brother had this bag ripped off him last night whilst on his bike outside the Co-Op.

“The bike is thought to have been kicked and smashed and it has been stolen. My brother has Down’s syndrome and was unable to fight back.

“He is deeply distressed and is badly missing his blue giant mountain bike.

“It appears that the police know a minority terrorising Burry Port but say they are unable to do anything about them. Also, drug taking by the Co-Op seems to be rife.

“A zero tolerance approach to crime needs to start immediately. The town will only get worse if it carries on.

“Can the councillors please work together on both sides, drop any egos you may have and get something done please. Please sort this town out and work with the police and show the leadership required to do so or we won’t have a town left.

“Political correctness or sound bites are not acceptable to the people of Burry Port any longer or people will sort it out themselves.”

Burry Port councillor Amanda Fox said: “Gareth Mckibbins bike has been stolen tonight from outside the Coop in Burry Port.

“Nearly everyone knows Gareth and knows how much his bike means to him, he is devastated.

“Please if you know where his bike is get in touch!”

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson said: “Police in Burry Port are investigating a theft of a mountain bike from a vulnerable adult from outside the Co-op yesterday evening. Anyone with information is asked to contact 101. Ref 32 of 14th March.”

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