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Air quality ‘puts children at risk’




A MEETING of the County Council’s Environmental & Public Protection Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday April 8, received a report on poor air quality in the centre of Llanelli.

The Environment Act 1995 places a duty on local authorities to assess and manage air quality in its area. This is achieved through the Local Air Quality Management work. There are various pollutants that can be assessed but local authorities are only required to monitor for those that have a potential to breach the Air Quality Objectives. For Carmarthenshire, the main pollutant of concern is nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

While NO2 levels are not sufficiently high to cause immediate health effects, the current levels could cause adverse health effects over the long term, particularly in people suffering from respiratory conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The Environment Act 1995 specifies how local authorities deal with areas that fail to comply with the national air quality objectives.

The town of Llanelli has experienced increasing levels of NO2 over the last few years, to the extent that the air quality objective for NO2 has been breached. The Welsh Assembly Government has required the authority to carry out a Detailed Assessment to ascertain the extent and level of breach of the Air Quality Objective.

It is now proposed to designate part of Llanelli as an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA).

The Policy Guidance for which states: ‘The legal imperative to protect air quality should not be displaced with political imperative if this means the local authority is not working towards compliance with the Air Quality (Wales) Regulations 2000, as amended’.

The proposed designated area incorporates the Sandy Road roundabout and follows an easterly direction along the A484 Pembrey Road before turning north up New Road as far as the mini roundabout in Furnace, and then travels back south along Old Road as far as the junction with Thomas Street on the A476.

The boundary then travels north east along the A476 through Felinfoel Road and Panteg, as far as the mini roundabout joining Farmers Row. The boundary travels back south west along the A476 right down to Thomas Street bearing left along the A484 continuing on to the roundabout and bearing right following the A4214 along Stepney Place.

The boundary continues along the series of mini roundabouts going through Upper Robinson Street and Murray Street before turning right at the junction with Station Road. The boundary continues along the A4214 through Church Street, Hall Street, West End on to Pembrey Road before reaching Sandy Road roundabout to complete the boundary.

The committee remitted the matter to May’s Executive Board meeting and a meeting of the full council in June.

Public health services manager Sue Watts: “The first step in improving air quality in the affected areas is to declare an AQMA, which the council is now preparing to do.”

She continued: “The declaration of the AQMA by Carmarthenshire Council is a legal process and will include areas that are considered as being part of the solution, not just those areas affected.

“Carmarthenshire Council, working with identified stakeholders, will formulate an action plan which will aim to reduce levels of NO2 back within the objective levels again.”

Attempting to reassure members of the public about the council’s commitment to maintaining better air quality, Ms Watts concluded: “Air quality will continue to be monitored throughout the process to fully assess the impact and to help engage in consultations.”

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Antisocial behaviour falls as police operation continues




POLICE said that they saw a reduction in antisocial behaviour involving young people in Carmarthenshire over the weekend, following weeks of increased activity.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers proactively patrolled areas which have recently become hot spots for teenagers to gather and drink alcohol as part of an ongoing operation.

A police presence was also maintained on trains between Llanelli and Carmarthen to identify how many youngsters were travelling in the area and where they were getting off.

Sergeant Gemma Davies said: “Over the weekend we continued our work to target, deter and deal with antisocial behaviour and underage drinking in hot spots identified primarily in Llanelli and Burry Port.

“Section 34 dispersal orders had been put in place ahead of the weekend, meaning we could move on anyone likely to cause antisocial behaviour, but thankfully they were not required. This is an improvement on previous weekends when we have had to exercise these powers.

“A significant number of young people were spoken to, with the vast majority being pleasant, not under the influence of alcohol, and not causing any trouble.

“Members of the public acknowledged the high police presence, as did the young people, and this might have deterred underage drinking.

“We are very pleased to have seen the change in attitudes and behaviour this weekend.”

The force received just one call reporting youngsters gathering at Burry Port harbour, with no offences or antisocial behaviour identified by attending officers.

Of the young people spoken two over the weekend, two were found with alcohol which was seized. Follow-up antisocial behaviour letters will be issued, and home visits will take place shortly.

Groups were also reminded of the dangers of swimming near the harbour and were encouraged to take their rubbish home.

Officers on the rail network removed one drunk adult from a train.

Sgt Davies said: “I would like to thank all officers involved in the operation over the weekend, as well as the young people who made sure they stayed within the law while enjoying the weather.

“We will be out and about again next weekend and throughout the summer, making sure the area is enjoyable for all who visit.”

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Lord Lieutenant visits Mass Vaccination Centre




Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sarah Edwards, has paid tribute to all those involved in the COVID-19 vaccination programme during a visit to the Y Ffwrness Mass Vaccination Centre in Llanelli.

During the visit on Wednesday 9th June she was joined by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Lt Col David Mathias, and the High Sheriff of Dyfed, Mr.Jonathan Gravell. They met and spoke to the centre’s vaccinators, NHS staff, security staff and volunteers.

To date, the collective efforts of mass vaccination centres, GP practices and community pharmacies in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, have resulted in the Hywel Dda University Health Board delivering over 431,850 vaccinations. This means 266,785 of the eligible population have now received a first vaccine, and 165,056 have received both doses.

The Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed said: “It was wonderful to see first-hand the incredible work being undertaken by the vaccinators, NHS staff and volunteers. They have played a crucial role in the success of the vaccine rollout programme. I would also pay tribute to the public for their overwhelmingly positive response to getting vaccinated.”

Maria Battle, Chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board, added: “On behalf of the health board, I was delighted to welcome Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sara Edwards, the Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Lt Col David Mathias, and the High Sheriff of Dyfed, Mr Jonathan Gravell. I am deeply proud of everyone involved in the vaccination programme and I’m glad they got to see for themselves the incredibly work being undertaken to help get us through this pandemic.”

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Alcohol seized and teenager arrested as police deal with antisocial behaviour




POLICE seized large amounts of alcohol and arrested a teenager as they continued to deal with antisocial behaviour over the weekend.

Dyfed-Powys Police had proactive plans in place to deal with ongoing issues of groups of youngsters gathering in Carmarthenshire following rising reports of alcohol-related antisocial behaviour over the past two months.

Dispersal orders were in place across Llanelli and Burry Port, giving police the powers to move anyone believed to be causing a nuisance, harassment or distress out of the area.

Officers patrolling the rail network in Carmarthenshire on Saturday noticed a large amount of young people getting off the train at Ferryside, where an additional dispersal order was put in place and alcohol was seized.

Officers were also required to deal with children trespassing on the railway tracks.

Sergeant Gemma Davies said: “We had received reports of children with alcohol running across the tracks, which posed a huge danger to themselves and others, and had to be stopped as a priority.

“One boy who was detained became abusive towards officers and could not be reasoned with. Officers had no choice but to arrest him for his own safety and to prevent further offences from being committed.

“This incident goes to show that the kind of behaviour we are dealing with goes beyond groups of young people meeting to have a good time, and is putting people in highly dangerous situations.”

A 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of trespassing on the railway and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

He has been released under investigation pending further enquiries by British Transport Police.

Early intervention was taken in the Trostre area of Llanelli, where officers noticed groups of children meeting on Saturday.

Sgt Davies said: “More than 60 young people were moved on from both locations and a large amount of alcohol was seized.

“Out of these groups, four notices were issued to those causing the most trouble in the Trostre area which prevented them from returning, and each of these youngsters were taken home.

“This swift action was a deterrent to other young people who were planning on joining the groups and were still travelling to the area.”

“We will continue to put plans in place each weekend and over the summer holidays to deal with antisocial behaviour, using all powers available to us to put a stop to it.”

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