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Edwards election chopper promise

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police copterJONATHAN EDWARDS has requested a meeting with the UK’s Home Secretary Theresa May in an effort to safeguard the Dyfed-Powys Police helicopter. The returning Plaid Cymru MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr had written to Ms May before Parliament was dissolved to discuss the issue. At the time, he told the Herald that he had asked the Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb to raise the matter, but it was’ clear that he had not done so.’ Mr Edwards has written again to the Home Secretary to press the need for a review to protect the police helicopter and its base. A similar call for action by Stockton South MP James Wharton led to Mrs May requesting a review of the decision to relocate the Durham Tees valley helicopter to Newcastle.

The Dyfed-Powys police force covers the second largest land area of any UK constabulary, and is responsible for patrolling half the Welsh landmass. Scrapping the Pembrey base would mean that the nearest helicopter bases would be in Flintshire and the Vale of Glamorgan. Dyfed Powys is the largest police force in England and Wales in geographical terms, and is responsible for policing almost half of the Welsh landmass. Speaking to the Herald, Mr Edwards said: “I started this campaign before the General Election and I am determined to see it to a successful conclusion. It is a matter of common sense in terms of policing: there is no good argument to close the base or lose the helicopter.

All the facts point to the helicopter being an essential, effective and effi cient tool for our police force. As it stands we have a blatant example of cuts before effective policing. The alternative proposals have been proven beyond doubt to be unequal to the tasks that our police helicopter faces. The Dyfed Powys Police Force, which was the fi rst force in the UK to operate a Police helicopter, deserves to continue its work with their helicopter unit. I have requested a meeting with the Home Secretary so that I can put forward in the strongest possible terms the need to keep our helicopter here in Pembrey, and to protect our police services and communities.” The fate of the Pembrey base has been under discussion for some time. Dyfed-Powys and South Wales Police forces were both due to join the NPAS system in the summer of 2013, but had renegotiated over concerns regarding the amount of support they would receive.

Last November it was announced that the Dyfed-Powys helicopter would remain at Pembrey until it was replaced with like-for-like NPAS coverage. The decision made in February to close the Pembrey base was described by Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon as ‘deeply disappointing,’ and stated that the decision to join the NPAS had ‘included the retention of Pembrey as an operating base.’ Helicopters are used as a cost- effective way of searching large areas. According to Dyfed-Powys Police, a helicopter can search an area of one square mile in 12 minutes at a cost of £160. The same operation would take 12 offi cers 454 man-hours and cost £4,500. Other than search operations, the Dyfed-Powys helicopter plays a major role in transporting casualties to hospitals, which given the rural nature of the region is often essential.

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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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