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Severn Bridge tolls to be axed by Christmas

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FOLLOWING up the commitment made by the Prime Minister Theresa May, Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns has confirmed that all tolls will be scrapped with free flow traffic on the Prince of Wales bridge and the original Severn Crossing between Wales and England ahead of schedule on December 17, 2018.

After 50 years of tolls of up to £20 per vehicle, Theresa May’s Conservatives chose to scrap tolls for the 25m vehicles per year using the crossings that support the key route between South Wales and the West of England.

The Secretary of State for Wales confirmed that, ahead of the great festive getaway, tolls will be abolished completely and permanently to make way for a new economic powerhouse between South Wales and the West of England.
The decision will, for the first time, combine the economic might of a growing Welsh economy and the West of England to further spread prosperity across the United Kingdom.

Regular commuters will enjoy free flow journeys and save over £1,400 per year in toll charges from mid-December – transforming the economic opportunities on both sides of the Severn. It is estimated that scrapping tolls will provide an immediate benefit of over £100m per year for Wales, over a billion pounds of economic benefit to Wales over the next decade.

Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, said: “My number one aim when I became Secretary of State for Wales, was to do away with tolling that for half a century has restricted and distorted the growth and connections of the Welsh economy. Wales will be more open for business than ever after the Conservatives deliver on this commitment. Scrapping tolls before the festive period is an early Christmas present for hard-working commuters who will be £1,400 per year better off.

“This is just the start of my plan to pursue yet more growth for a stronger and a better-connected Wales. Scrapping the Severn tolls is an example of the Conservatives ensuring that all four nations of the UK thrive after Brexit, in doing so, transforming the joint economic prospects of South Wales and the West of England.

“This direct intervention will guarantee that links are strengthened and enhanced between the natural economic areas of South Wales and the West of England.”

Prime Minister, Theresa May, said: “By abolishing tolls for 25million annual journeys between two nations, the Conservatives are sending a positive, open-for-business message. Toll-free, free flow journeys between both communities will drive further economic benefits to all areas surrounding the crossings and the key economic centres in Cardiff, Bath, Bristol, Newport and across to Swansea and West Wales.

“By removing a major added cost of doing business between Wales and England, the Conservatives continue to deliver on improving the economic prospects of working people. With this major step, we are encouraging a close bond between two nations as part of the United Kingdom, whilst driving economic growth right across the country.”

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Pigs seized after been found in appalling conditions

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A TYCROES farmer who had his 27 pigs seized after they were found neglected and living in appalling conditions has been ordered to pay £12k.

Adrian Alexander of The Old Stable Yard, Heol Troeon Bach, admitted a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to the animals, including piglets and sows, and one for not meeting their needs at Llanelli Magistrates Court.

In a case led by Carmarthenshire Council, the court heard that the 51-year-old did not provide enough food, water and dry bedding for the pigs despite being advised by Carmarthenshire Council’s animal health officers on a number of occasions.

Living conditions of the pigs were up to their bellies in deep slurry which prevented them from exhibiting normal behaviour. The majority of them were grossly underweight.

When examined by a vet some of the animals were given a body score of 2 and a sow given 1 – Body score 1 being visually thin with hips and backbone very prominent and no fat cover.

Others were found shivering, covered in muck and had difficulty moving around.

Although some improvements had been made following advice from council officers, it wasn’t enough to end the animals’ suffering and they were seized.

Alexander also admitted two charges of breaching Animal By-Products by failing to ensure that no animal or bird had access and burning a dead piglet in a disused bath tub.

He was banned from keeping pigs for three years and given an 18-Month Community Order. He must complete 25 day of rehabilitation activities, do 180 hours of unpaid work and pay £12k court costs. An £85 victim surcharge must also be paid.

The council’s executive board member responsible for animal health welfare, Philip Hughes said: “This was a shocking case of neglect, with the owner not even providing his animals with their very basic needs – food, water and dry bedding – and the living conditions were totally unacceptable. He was warned on a number of occasions and whilst some improvements were carried out, it was not enough and the pigs were seized. Had they not been removed from the farm then the suffering would have continued.”

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Llanelli: Police appeal for information over town centre assault in April

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POLICE are appealing for witnesses to an assault, which took place in Llanelli town centre.

A 36-year-old man made a report to police after sustaining serious injuries during the early hours of April 28.

The victim cannot recall the incident, and reported waking up near the Hungry Horse restaurant.

He sustained fractures to his head, a bleed on the brain, and multiple broken bones during the injury.

These injuries are not believed to be life-threatening or life-changing.

CCTV enquiries show there could have been witnesses to the assault, and officers investigating are keen to speak to them as they might have vital information. Officers would like to speak to a female with dark hair, who was wearing dark jeans and a yellow jacket, in particular.

Anyone who was in the East Gate area, or in Market Street, between 2am and 4.30am on April 28 is asked to contact Dyfed-Powys Police by calling 101. Please quote crime reference DPP/0906/28/04/2019/02/C.

A 20-year-old has been arrested on suspicion of assault, and has been released on bail while enquiries continue.

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Life saving medical kit for police on the roads

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POLICE officers have been given equipment that improves the chance of survival for those injured in a serious crash, as part of Dyfed-Powys Police’s effort to reduce the number of people who die on the roads.

The medical kits are being given to roads policing officers, who are often the first at the scene of a serious crash. They are described as the best available to deal with the type of bleeding they encounter at road traffic collisions, and also in the case of knife and glass wounds, and are the same as those issued to ambulance crews.

Sergeant Owen Dillon, of Brecon Roads Policing Unit, worked with the Welsh Ambulance Service to trial the kit, which he has called ‘simple to use, but effective’.

He said: “We work really hard to reduce the number of collisions on the roads, but unfortunately they do still happen, and people can become seriously injured.”

“It only takes a few minutes for someone to bleed to death, so it’s vital that police officers – who are often first at scene – can deal quickly with any bleeding while waiting for paramedics.”

The equipment has been bought with funding of around £1,000 from the Police and Crime Commissioner. Traffic officers in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys will keep the equipment in their patrol cars.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn, added: “Keeping people safe is a top priority for me and this investment will equip officers with the best medical kit possible to deal with immediate life threatening injuries. I am committed to ensuring Dyfed-Powys plays an active role in keeping road users safe.”

Police officers are already trained to use tourniquets and bandages, and the Roads Policing Units who work as part of Op Darwen – the force’s campaign to reduce casualties on the roads – are being given the additional training they need to use this equipment.

Figures show that in 2018, 67 motorcyclists were either killed or seriously injured on roads in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys, and men were eight times more likely to be affected than women.

The Welsh Ambulance Service is committed to working in partnership with other emergency services to save lives.

Carl Powell, Clinical Support Officer for the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “It is vital that Roads Policing Officers, who are often the first on scene and confronted with serious and life threatening injuries, are supported in preserving life with equipment that is effective in dealing with major bleeding.

“The trauma packs are a proven lifesaving asset and need minimal educational input to be used.”

As part of the Op Darwen, the force is urging motorcyclists to ride safely, and reminding drivers to be vigilant to motorbikes and other powered two-wheelers.

The campaign will run until October, when statistics say the roads are busiest. Roads Policing Units are working across the Dyfed-Powys Police area using a combination of education, engagement and enforcement, to reduce the number of casualties on the roads.

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