Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

Llanelli AM sets out bold metro vision for west Wales

Published

on

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.”

News

Local charity wins award

Published

on

AFTER winning the hearts of judges and residents, local Llanelli charity, Ail Gyfle Second Chance, has been named as a winner in the Jewson Building Better Communities competition.

Following thousands of regional entries being submitted from across Great Britain, the community rehabilitation and skills development centre has been awarded £4,000 worth of materials from the builders’ merchant.

Using their winnings, Ail Gyfle will expand its current facilities to make the charity accessible to people with disabilities, by levelling out the yard and installing disabled toilets.

This year’s Building Better Communities competition was launched in April 2018 and more than 2,400 entries – made up of good causes from up and down Great Britain – were submitted. These were later narrowed down to a shortlist and put to a public vote, with the winners announced at an awards ceremony held in Coventry on July 3.

At the event, Ail Gyfle and 36 other UK successful projects were presented with prizes by renowned architect and TV personality, George Clarke. After being awarded their prize, Sian Waters, CEO, Ail Gyfle Second Chance said: “This is perfect and will make a huge difference for us. We’ve had accessibility issues in the past, but we’ll use the materials to make our building more disabled friendly, which will open up so many doors when it comes to helping more people in the local community.”

George Clarke commented: “It’s community charities like Ail Gyfle which help bring people closer together and Jewson does great work in supporting them with Building Better Communities. This competition is a fantastic idea and it’s always great to see so many happy faces at the awards presentation.

“By giving something back to the areas that support them, Jewson is creating brighter futures for those who need it. I’d like to congratulate Ail Gyfle on their deserved win.”

Jewson Managing Director, Thierry Dufour, added: “At Jewson, we believe in the positive power of community spirit and it is local causes such as this one, which bring this to life. By lending a helping hand to those who need it, we can help build better communities across Britain and support those unsung heroes who go out of their way to help others.”

Building Better Communities is being supported by Jewson supplier brands: Velux; Marshalls, Polypipe; British Gypsum; Tarmac; Recticel and Norbord. To see the full list of winners, visit: www.buildingbettercommunities.co.uk

Continue Reading

News

Shark catch may be biggest ever in Welsh waters

Published

on

A LLANELLI fisherman had a day to remember on a recent angling trip – landing a massive 21 stone shark.

George Simmonds was on a charter trip fishing out of Dale, Pembrokeshire, when he hooked the enormous thresher shark – thought to be the biggest ever caught in Welsh waters

It took him two hours to land the shark, and three men were needed to lift it onto the boat, where its weight was calculated before it was released alive.

Only three thresher sharks are believed to have been caught in Wales, with the previous record set in 2015 by Mr Simmonds’ friend, David Thomas – also in waters off Milford Haven.

The pair were together on the latest fishing expedition on Wednesday morning when they saw a pair of thresher sharks leaping from the water, before Mr Simmonds’ reel started to spin. The shark ran off around 300m of line, and was finally landed after over two hours.

“It was pretty hard and when I saw it, let’s just say I said a few choice adjectives,” he said.

“I’ve been fishing since I was young enough to hold a fishing rod and I’ve travelled all over the world fishing – but this was a big moment, a personal achievement for me.

“It’s so rare and difficult to land a thresher shark as they are so large. In the shark world, it’s up there at the top of the list.”

Thresher sharks get their name from their long tail, which is often as long as their body. The sharks are active predators, and are commonly found along the North American and Asian continental shelves.

Meirion Williams, from Bridgend – who is known as Pie – organises regular shark fishing trips in the summer months off the Pembrokeshire coast and was with Mr Simmonds and others when they made the catch.

He said records showed it was only the third thresher shark caught off the coast and they believed it was a the largest and heaviest – but they are unable to claim an official record because they did not kill their catch.

“It was so big it got caught in the hatch door of the boat as we tried to get it on board,” he said.

“The body was 6ft 8in long and the tail was 6ft – it was the length of the boat.

“We put the shark back quickly and then it swam off really calmly.

“These sharks are very, very rare to see in Wales and so hard to catch.”

Andy Truelove, the skipper of the boat, added: “As with any shark there is a risk of being bitten and it does happen – never seen an incident myself and wouldn’t want to, teeth are like razor blades.

“With a thresher there is also a risk from the tail, it could do you a lot of damage. Fortunately this lady was well behaved.”

Research published this week showed that Pembrokeshire was one of the top five places in the country for spotting different species of shark, with more predicted to move into the waters around the coast as a result of rising sea temperatures over the next 30 years.

Continue Reading

News

Homeless man killed by drink and drugs

Published

on

A HOMELESS man who had spent the majority of his life with no fixed abode passed away after drinking heavily and taking morphine on the same night.

An inquest held at Llanelli Town Hall on Wednesday (Jul 18) heard that 50-year-old Colin Young was born in the Merthyr area and grew up in Aberdare.

He became estranged from his family, and aside from a brief spell working as a painter and decorator, he spent much of his time moving between the Valleys and Llanelli, living on the streets, which was partly the result of drug and alcohol issues.

Coroner’s Officer Hayley Rogers explained that on the evening of April 19, Mr Young visited a friend’s house and after consuming alcohol fell asleep on the sofa.

A short time later, in the early hours of April 20, he was found in an unresponsive state, and the emergency services were called. However, despite the efforts of paramedics, he was pronounced dead at 3:44am.

A post-mortem gave the cause of death as mixed drug and alcohol intoxication, and the death was treated by police from the outset as unexplained and non-suspicious.

Coroner Mark Layton quoted the toxicology report, which showed a high level of blood alcohol and the presence of a quantity of morphine. The latter, combined with alcohol, was sufficient to be fatal, he added.

In conclusion, the death of Mr Young was found to be related to the drugs and alcohol he consumed in the last hours of his life.

Continue Reading

Trending

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK