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Contamination debate kicks up a stink

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Bill Thomas: The asker of awkward questions

COUNCIL LEADER Emlyn Dole used a debate on the Council’s strategy on contaminated land to slam the Welsh Government for introducing regulatory obligations on local authorities without coming up with the money to perform or fund them.
Cllr Dole asked: “Where is the Welsh Government’s funding for this? It seems to have hit a brick wall. The Government issues guidance but does not provide funding to match the guidance it hands down.”
Cllr Sian Caiach (Hengoed) asked how many contaminated land sites there were across the County, especially in respect of those residential areas where residents are advised not to grow vegetables or eat those they have grown in their back gardens.
Responding, Council officer Sue Watts said that the Council had identified contaminated land in an extensive survey in 2001 and had identified some of them before the Welsh Government withdrew funding for the exercise. With regard to residential areas, Ms Watts was unable to say whether the Council had advised residents other than in 2001, and was uncertain whether the warning was contained in their deeds. No ongoing information had been provided to residents.
Cllr Sian Thomas (Penygroes) pointed out that there were significant dangers following on from illegal dumping that had taken place at some sites in the County. Highlighting an incident at the former Emlyn Colliery in her ward, she told councillors that late night dumping of almost certainly illegal waste in the colliery had been a problem. She noted that if the environmental report on the Emlyn site was taken at face value, then the existing village would need to be demolished.
Cllr Thomas told councillors: “Any developer must ensure us that the land upon which they wish to build is safe, not only for garden but also for digging out foundations.”
There was a dispute between Cllr Bill Thomas (Lliedi) and Chair Peter Griffiths as to whether Cllr Dole would take note of the European Union proceedings against the UK regarding the pollution of the Burry Inlet and the Loughor Estuary. Alongside the Chair, Council Chief Executive Mark James appeared agitated and eager to curtail Cllr Thomas’ intervention in the discussion.
To widespread groans from Plaid Cymru and Independent members, Cllr Thomas suggested that the Chief Executive had told the Chair to deny him the opportunity of asking questions. Cllr Griffiths continued to prevent Cllr Thomas from asking the officer questions about the Burry Inlet and the Loughor Estuary.
Finally the officer confirmed that the Council was aware of the case and its potential impact upon the Council as a potential contributor to the payment of any fine levied by the EU.

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Llanelli: Stop notice issued for school planning application

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A CONTROVERSIAL planning application for a new 480-spaced school in Llanelli has been issued a stop notice by the Welsh Government.
Carmarthenshire County Council is proposing to build a new £9.1m school on Llanerch Fields in Llanelli and were looking to determine the planning application in the coming weeks. Welsh Government will now decide whether to call in the application or not.
The new school would accommodate 420 primary and 60 nursery pupils, set over two floors with larger classrooms with integrated IT facilities, a multi-purpose hall and specialist provision for pupils with additional learning needs.
Over recent years there has been much debate in the area on the choice of site for the new school with campaigners arguing that they support a new school, but object against Llanerch fields being built upon. Last year an attempt to get the land designated as a village green was turned down.
In 2017, Ysgol Dewi Sant as the first Welsh medium primary school to be provided by a local authority celebrated its 70th birthday.
Councillor Rob James, local member for Lliedi, stated “From day one I have raised concerns that the Council’s site choice and planning process opened the Council up to the possibility of the Welsh Government calling in the planning application. It is clear that these concerns were not misplaced and there is now a really chance that it will be. 

“As a local Councillor, a school governor and a parent, I am passionate about the need for a new school for the pupils of Ysgol Dewi Sant and it is important that local pupils get the benefits of a 21st century school.
“I will now be working with Council Officers to ensure that contingency plans are prepared in case the Welsh Government state that the planning application does not comply with national planning policy.
“I will also work with parents, pupils, residents and interested parties are able to engage with the Welsh Government during this process.”

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Third annual Burry Port Raft Race is eagerly awaited

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THE THIRD ANNUAL BURRY PORT RAFT RACE, organised by Burry Port couple, Craig and Isabel Goodman, will be held on Saturday (July 27).

The event which is held in Burry Port Harbour, raises much needed funds for both Burry Port RNLI and a children’s football academy and primary school the couple support in The Gambia.

The day launches at 12pm with stands, food stalls and children’s inflatable games and rides and these will be available until 5pm. You’ll also have a chance to meet the crews, who’ll be busy putting the final touches to their rafts.

Rafts launch at 3pm, followed by a presentation ceremony, including prizes for first raft over the line, first raft to sink and best dressed raft.

Craig said: ” A huge thank you goes to all our sponsors, including overall sponsor Dawsons, along with continued sponsorship from Celtic Couriers, Parker Plant Hire, Burns Pet Nutrition, Burry Port Co-Op, Llanelli Star, LBS Builders Merchants, Burry Port Marina, First Choice Flooring and Pembrey and Burry Port Town Council.

For any further information about the event, please contact 07825 842981.

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Compensation offered after FSCS declares Llanelli firm in default

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CONSUMERS could get back money they have lost as a result of their dealings with a failed regulated firm in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire. The firm is Hayden Williams Independent Financial Services Limited formerly Assura Protect, Room 1, 7 Meadows Bridge, Parc Menter, Cross Hands, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales SA14 6RA.

The firm was declared in default in June 2019 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

FSCS is the UK’s statutory compensation scheme that protects customers of authorised financial services firms that carry out certain regulated activities. A declaration of default means FSCS is satisfied a firm is unable to pay claims for compensation made against it. This paves the way for customers of that firm to make a claim for compensation with FSCS.

Alex Kuczynski, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at FSCS, said: “FSCS steps in to protect consumers around the UK when authorised financial services firms go bust. This vital service, which is free to consumers, protects deposits, insurance, investments, home finance and debt management. We want anyone who believes they may be owed money as a result of their dealings with this firm to get in touch, as we may be able to help you.”

Since it began in 2001, FSCS has helped more than 4.5m people, paying out more than £26bn in compensation.

If you wish to make a claim with FSCS against Hayden Williams Independent Financial Services Limited, you may be able to do so using FSCS’s online claims service at https://claims.fscs.org.uk Or you can contact its Customer Services Team on 0800 678 1100 or 020 7741 4100

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