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Storm Callum flooding report makes 55 recommendations for action

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AN INVESTIGATION into the flooding incidents in Carmarthenshire caused by Storm Callum has put forward 55 separate recommendations for action.

Hundreds of homes and businesses across the county were affected by one of the worst flooding to hit South Wales in the last 50 years.

Storm Callum is the biggest flood event on record for the River Teifi and the biggest for the River Towy since 1987 and resulted in a massive clean-up operation running into millions of pounds.

As a Lead Local Flood Authority, Carmarthenshire County Council has a statutory requirement under section 19 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 to carry out an investigation and publish its findings.

In particular, reports should be carried out for flooding incidents where 20 or more properties in a locality are affected by flooding internally. As a result, full reports have been carried out on the flooding that affected communities in Johnstown, Carmarthen; Pensarn, Carmarthen; Llanybydder and Llandysul / Pont Tyweli. Major flooding also occurred in Newcastle Emlyn on the county boundary, however Ceredigion County Council is taking the lead on this.

A multi-agency Storm Callum flood group has been meeting monthly since October to oversee the investigation and delivery of the recommendations and will continue on a quarterly basis to discuss the progress on the various actions. Many of the actions have already been completed, some are for the local authority to undertake; others are for various partner agencies such as Natural Resources Wales, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water and Network Rail to take forward.

Executive Board Member for the Environment Cllr Hazel Evans said: “Storm Callum had a devastating effect on many of our communities and a real effect on people’s lives. We cannot underestimate the damage caused by this type of flooding and it is important a full investigation is carried out so that we can try and understand what happened and why, and what we can try to do to in terms of flood alleviation in the future.”

Director of Environment Ruth Mullen, who chairs the multi-agency flood group, said: “Going forward I think the report makes it clear that there is a need for us all to better understand and manage flood risk; and we also need to fill in some gaps in relation to the current information and knowledge we hold, for example, in relation to the surface water drainage network.

“There are also further surveys and investigations that can be carried out in some areas so that we can better understand if there are any additional measures that can be put in place to lessen the risk of flooding in the future. Of course, this will cost money and will be reliant on further funding and / or grants. We have already received £3.1m from Welsh Government to carry out repairs to the road network due to damage as a result of Storm Callum and we have also been successful in budding for £30k of Welsh Government capital funding to undertake a feasibility study / outline business case to evaluate the flood risk and mitigation at Pensarn.”

The report will go before the Environmental and Public Protection Scrutiny Committee for discussion on Friday, July 5.

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Health

Those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster should get jabbed by end of June

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ALL those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster are being urged to take up their offer of the vaccine before the end of next month.

A deadline of 30 June has been introduced to ensure all those eligible for the spring booster will have a long-enough interval between this and the autumn 2022 booster, if they are also eligible.

An announcement by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) about which groups will be eligible for the autumn booster is due to be published shortly.

The JCVI has advised that people over-75, older care home residents and all those aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed are eligible for the spring booster.

Those who are 75 on or before 30 June, can get their booster at any point up to the deadline.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “It is important we continue our very high take up levels of the vaccine to help protect us against the risk of serious illness from Covid-19. I would urge everyone who is offered a spring booster vaccination takes up the invitation.”

If someone eligible for a spring booster has had a Covid infection recently, they will need to wait 28 days from the date they tested positive before they can be vaccinated. They will still be able to get vaccinated after 30 June as part of this campaign if they have to postpone their appointment.

All those eligible for spring boosters will be invited by their health board or GP.

It is not too late for anyone who needs a primary dose (first, second or third) to be vaccinated.

Please check for local arrangements.

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Health

Young people in Wales being failed when moving from child to adult mental health services

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MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES are failing young people when they move from child to adult services, says a mental health charity.

Mind Cymru is calling for Welsh Government to make urgent changes to improve the system.

Nia Evans, Children and Young People Manager at Mind Cymru, said: “Young people have told us that their needs, thoughts, and feelings about moving to adult services are often unheard, or ignored.

“Welsh Government must support Local Health Boards to make sure this doesn’t happen, change the way services are run and make sure our young people are being heard and properly cared for.”

Mind Cymru has published a report, in ate the result of interviews with young people about their experiences of moving from Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – (SCAMHS) to AMHS.

They highlighted five key areas where services are failing young people:
– Poor information offered to young people, particularly on their rights
– Inconsistent use and follow through of care and treatment plans
– High thresholds for SCAMHS and AMHS referrals to be accepted
– Feeling abandoned / cut off from SCAMHS
– Age still dominates decision making process for moving from SCAMHS to AMHS

Nia Evans said: “Any one of these issues could make the process of moving from children’s services to adult services difficult for our young people. But often, more than one is happening at any one time.”

“Our young people have a right to care and support from a mental health system that has been put in place to help them recover. Action must be taken immediately to make sure support systems are robust and doing the job they were designed to do.”

Mind Cymru is asking people to email their Member of the Senedd (MS) and amplify the voices of these young people whose experiences are often unheard, and use the #SortTheSwitch hashtag on social media.

The full report is available here, including what a good move from SCAMHS to AMHS would look like for young people, and where the current system could improve.

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Business

Average UK price of diesel hits record of more than £1.80 a litre

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LESS than two months after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a 5p a litre cut on the average price of fuel – diesel prices have reached a record high price of 180.29p a litre.
The previous high of 179.90p was recorded on March 23rd 2022 – the day of the Spring Statement from Sunak.

In recent weeks, the UK government has tried to move away from its reliance on importing Russian oil, following President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Worryingly for drivers of petrol cars, the price per litre is fast approaching the record levels of 167.3p per litre set on March 22nd.

This latest price rise adds another challenge to UK households, as the cost of living crisis continues to impact families across the country.

RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Sadly, despite the Chancellor’s 5p a litre duty cut the average price of a litre of diesel has hit a new record high at 180.29p.”

“Efforts to move away from importing Russian diesel have led to a tightening of supply and pushed up the price retailers pay for diesel.”

“While the wholesale price has eased in the last few days this is likely to be temporary, especially if the EU agrees to ban imports of Russian oil.”

“Unfortunately, drivers with diesel vehicles need to brace themselves for yet more pain at the pumps. Had Mr Sunak reduced VAT to 15% as we call on him to do instead of cutting duty by 5p, drivers of diesel vehicles would be around 2p a litre better off, or £1 for every full tank.”

“As it is, drivers are still paying 27p VAT on petrol and 29p on diesel, which is just the same as before the Spring Statement.”

“The average price of petrol is also on the rise having gone up nearly 3p a litre since the start of the month to 166.65p which means it’s less than a penny away from the all-time high of 167.30p set on 22 March.”

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