IN 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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7-year-old Mattie from Pembrey takes on home Pen y Fan-tastic challenge for Action for Children
Plucky Mattie Denman will climb the equivalent of Pen y Fan in the drive at her family home in Pembrey on Friday 22nd May to raise funds for Action for Children.
Mattie (7), has always wanted to climb the highest mountain in South Wales and is unable to currently because of the coronavirus pandemic. As the family exercise at home every day, she decided she wanted to do the 6-mile equivalent journey there while she waits for the chance to do it for real. Mattie chose Action for Children as her mother, Sian, works for the charity in Carmarthenshire.
Mattie said: ‘My Mammy works for Action for Children and I want to help as well because lots of families need help. My older brother and sister help Action for Children, so I asked Mammy if I could do something. We exercise everyday walking up and down the drive and I have always wanted to climb Pen y Fan, but we have never done it.
‘Mammy said I could pretend I am walking it and people will give money to the charity. I said brilliant, that is what I am going to do and I am super excited to do it. I will use mammy’s step counter and I hope I can help children that need support especially because it is so hard for some families because of coronavirus.’
Proud mum and family support practitioner for Action for Children, Sian, added: ‘Mattie has a lovely heart and really wanted to do something and I’m very proud she chose Pen y Fan as her home challenge. Action for Children has been going the extra mile during the coronavirus pandemic continuing to support vulnerable families through phone and video sessions as well as food and help with the basics from our Emergency Appeal Fund.
‘It is a tremendously challenging time for our families and every bit of money will directly help those in our communities who need it most. I hope as many people as possible will donate to Mattie’s brilliant fundraising effort, it’ll make it even more special when we finally get to climb Pen y Fan for real.’
If you want to support Mattie’s Pen y Fan challenge please go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mattiesclimb
Housebuilder launches Coronavirus move in package
A South Wales housebuilder has launched new incentives which mean homes are ‘ready to move into’ during the Covid-19 crisis – without the need for tradespeople or delivery people.
People in Wales are allowed to move into new build houses during the lockdown – and many people have successfully done so.
However, the limitations of social distancing can add extra stress when it comes to having things like dishwashers, washing machines and turf installed in the new property.
That’s why Persimmon Homes West Wales has launched a new incentive package which gives purchasers the chance to buy a house with white goods and flooring already in place.
Sharon Bouhali, sales director at Persimmon Homes West Wales, said: “Our sales advisors have done a terrific job in talking with customers and guiding them through the buying process remotely, without the need of face-to-face meetings.
“It’s been a huge challenge, but we’ve risen to it – and Persimmon has sold more than 120 properties in South Wales during the lockdown period. We have customers moving into their new homes every week.
“But, understandably, some people are cautious about having too many tradespeople and contractors enter their home, even if they are doing their utmost to abide by social distancing rules.
“That’s why we have launched these new packages which mean people can turn the key, unpack and get on with enjoying their new home.”
The package includes carpets and vinyl throughout, turf in the back garden, sliding wardrobes, integrated fridge freezer, integrated washer/dryer, integrated dishwasher and £500 discount towards removal fees.
The deal is on offer at Glas Y Felin in Bridgend, Parc Yr Onnen in Carmarthen, The Bridles in Llanelli, Peterson Park in Pontyclun, Parc Brynderi in Llanelli and Allt Y Celyn in Rhos.
Persimmon’s marketing suites in Wales remain closed for the time being. Visit www.persimmonhomes.com or call 01792 229800 for details of homes available.
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