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Littering – the council response

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litteringIN THE WAKE of the article about a ‘littering campaign’ in Carmarthenshire, the Herald was contacted by Paul Morris, the Environmental Enforcement Manager at Carmarthenshire Council. Sadly, because it took Carmarthenshire Council’s Media Centre seven days to forward an email request for information to the person best-placed to answer it, we were unable to incorporate his response to many of the queries that were raised in our article. Because Mr Morris was unable to respond to any of our assertions at the time, here are his views. Mr Morris told us about some of the work that his team carry out: “We have eight Environment Enforcement Officers, who cover all environmental issues in the county including highways problems like abandoned vehicles, and skips and scaffolding on roads. They work in teams of two, so we have one team in Llanelli, one in the north-west, one in the north-east and one in the Gwendraith Valley.”

He added that due to the teams covering approximately 1400 square miles, a lot of the work that they carry out is based on information received from members of the public. Regarding what we described as an ‘anti-littering campaign,’ which we assumed was taking place due to the large number of press releases received from the council on the subject, Mr Morris said that no organised campaign was taking place. Describing the enforcement of littering laws, he added that discretion was always with the individual officer. “I feel very strongly about that,” he told us. “If an offence is committed, it can be dealt with in a number of ways. We can take the person through the courts, give them a verbal warning, or issue a fixed penalty notice.“Our strategy is educating people first, changing social attitudes. The enforcement is just the stick, and it is a very small stick.”

In our initial correspondence we also asked if there had been any quantifiable improvement in the amount of litter in areas patrolled by enforcement officers, as well as a change in social attitudes to littering. While acknowledging that it was more or less impossible to provide accurate measurements, he told us that in his personal experience a lot more people were disposing of their rubbish properly. “Sometimes the team from Carmarthen, say, come in after working Saturday and tell me ‘Paul the town’s spotless, there have been no offences,’ and that’s great even if it puts me out of a job!” Regarding the prosecution costs, which are significantly higher than those asked for by the CPS Mr Morris told us that is was ‘a completely different ball game.’ “When our officers investigate a case, whatever hours are spent, plus the Council’s legal costs and my time, are all written on a spreadsheet and presented to the Magistrates. If the court is not happy with the costs, they are not awarded, and that’s not a situation I want to get into.” The Herald is grateful to Mr Morris for clarifying the work that his department carry out. Had we talked with him at an earlier date, it would have resulted in a more balanced article. After speaking with the Council’s media centre, we have been advised that they are willing to facilitate interviews with individual heads of department in regard to technical issues that fall within their remit, something that we will bear in mind for the future.

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Cllr Kevin Madge elected as new county council Chairman

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THE new chair of Carmarthenshire County Council said he will work tirelessly during his term of office.

Cllr Kevin Madge, member for Garnant, takes the chain of office whilst celebrating 40 years as a councillor.

Taking the chair, Cllr Madge paid tribute to outgoing chairman Cllr Mansel Charles, member for Llanegwad, saying he had fulfilled his duties with passion.

Cllr Madge will chair the council for the next 12 months, with Cllr Ieuan Davies, member for Llanybydder, as his vice chair, and his wife Catrin as his consort.

“I’m very much looking forward to the year ahead, I will do my best for everyone. I will work tirelessly,” he said.

Cllr Madge has chosen the Trussell Trust, which supports a nationwide network of food banks and emergency food provision for people in crisis, as his Chairman’s Charity of the Year.

The Chair is the first citizen of Carmarthenshire County Council, and is elected at the Annual General Meeting.

Duties include chairing full meetings of the council, representing the council at formal and ceremonial occasions, welcoming visitors to the county, and attending and supporting events organised by local people and organisations.

Cllr Madge has been a county councillor since 1996, and a member of Cwmaman Town Council since 1979.

He also serves as chairman of the Royal British Legion Garnant branch, Garnant Family Centre and Cwmaman Meals on Wheels, and is a member of Amman Valley League of Friends.

He represents the county council on the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, and the Mynydd y Betws Wind Farm Community Fund, and is on the governing body of Ysgol Y Bedol.

A former pupil of Amman Valley School, Cllr Madge has worked in the Amman Valley throughout his life, most recently as agent and researcher to Dr Alan Williams MP until 2001.

A keen football supporter, he has served as chair and president of Cwmaman Football Club and spent 25 years as a Welsh League and Neath and District football referee.

He is married with two children and three grandchildren.

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‘UK Government should work with the Welsh Labour Government on Tata’

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LOCAL Assembly Member Lee Waters and Nia Griffith MP have called on the UK Government to work with the Welsh Labour Government to come up with a deal to protect steel making at Trostre, and across Wales and the UK.

Lee Waters AM met with representatives from Tata Steel on Wednesday to discuss the future for steel making at the plant following the reported collapse of the proposed joint venture with Thyssenkrupp.

During the meeting he stressed the need to protect the entire steel supply chain in Wales, including the high quality jobs at Trostre, and those that depend on its presence in Llanelli.

Lee Waters AM said “It’s clear that the support Welsh Government provided during the crisis of 2016 has been critical in getting extra investment into Port Talbot which will secure the works for years to come. However, Tata is a company run from India, and we simply don’t know what the board will decide about its future strategy. They may well be looking for a new joint venture partner, so we’ll have to vigilant about the implications for our local plants.”

“Tata has said it intends to continue with its existing business plan, and honor commitments made to the Trade Unions, so Nia and I will be keeping a close eye to make sure that happens.”

Welsh Government has been in active discussions with Tata steel following the collapse of the merger with Thyssenkrupp. In a written statement and during questions on Wednesday, the Welsh Government committed to invest in Welsh steel to protect its future and is looking at a range of measures to assist on energy costs, business rates and procurement of steel for public sector contracts.

Lee Waters AM said “The Welsh Government have given significant support to the steel industry here but it can’t do everything, and we now need the UK Government to work with them to ensure a future for skilled work in the steel industry in Llanelli and elsewhere in Wales.”

Nia Griffith AM said ““This latest news from Tata means yet more uncertainty for steelworkers. Their announcement about keeping Port Talbot is a start, but now we need real commitment from Tata on Trostre.

“We also need close cooperation from the company with the Trade Unions. Lee Waters AM and I will be urging the UK Government to follow Welsh Government in doing everything possible to secure the future of our steel industry.”

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MP and AM call for Trostre certainty after merger fails

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LOCAL ASSEMBLY MEMBER Lee Waters and Nia Griffith MP have called on the UK Government to work with the Welsh Labour Government to come up with a deal to protect steel making at Trostre, and across Wales and the UK.

Lee Waters AM met with representatives from Tata Steel on Wednesday to discuss the future for steel making at the plant following the reported collapse of the proposed joint venture with Thyssenkrupp.

During the meeting he stressed the need to protect the entire steel supply chain in Wales, including the high quality jobs at Trostre, and those that depend on its presence in Llanelli.

Lee Waters AM said “It’s clear that the support Welsh Government provided during the crisis of 2016 has been critical in getting extra investment into Port Talbot which will secure the works for years to come. However, Tata is a company run from India, and we simply don’t know what the board will decide about its future strategy. They may well be looking for a new joint venture partner, so we’ll have to vigilant about the implications for our local plants.”

“Tata has said it intends to continue with its existing business plan, and honor commitments made to the Trade Unions, so Nia and I will be keeping a close eye to make sure that happens.”

Welsh Government has been in active discussions with Tata steel following the collapse of the merger with Thyssenkrupp. In a written statement and during questions on Wednesday, the Welsh Government committed to invest in Welsh steel to protect its future and is looking at a range of measures to assist on energy costs, business rates and procurement of steel for public sector contracts.

Lee Waters AM said “The Welsh Government have given significant support to the steel industry here but it can’t do everything, and we now need the UK Government to work with them to ensure a future for skilled work in the steel industry in Llanelli and elsewhere in Wales.”

Nia Griffith AM said “This latest news from Tata means yet more uncertainty for steelworkers. Their announcement about keeping Port Talbot is a start, but now we need real commitment from Tata on Trostre.

“We also need close cooperation from the company with the Trade Unions. Lee Waters AM and I will be urging the UK Government to follow Welsh Government in doing everything possible to secure the future of our steel industry.”

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