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Cure proposed for pigeon problem

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Adaptable: Llanelli's pigeons

Adaptable: Llanelli’s pigeons

LIKE many towns, Llanelli has suffered a blight of pigeons making a mess of its town centre.

One effort to tackle the problem – an imitation hawk – was placed inside the St Elli Centre. The device screeches every few seconds. Birds seem oblivious to its purpose as a deterrent, nonchalantly fly by, and have even been known to land on it.

The noise from the plastic raptor could be the most irritating sound in Llanelli and may actually drive people out of the centre rather than the birds

In the past Llanelli’s pigeon objectors have tried pigeon contraception in pigeon food and proposed sealing off the entrances to the shopping centre. However, anyone who has travelled on the London Underground knows that pigeons happily enter and exit automatic doors.

A statement by Carmarthenshire County Council’s Public Health Department reads, “The Public Health section receives a number of complaints each year concerning pigeons and issues relating to them. Regrettably, the Council has very limited powers with regard to these issues and for the most part cannot deal with the matters directly.

‘The council has no policy to control or to cull birds within the area, as such actions can only have a short-term impact. The installation of bird netting and or spikes can prevent pigeons from perching on a property. Such products are commercial available. However, installation of such equipment would need to be undertaken on a large percentage of properties in Llanelli town centre to improve the situation as evidence shows pigeons will relocate from one structure to a nearby structure once the proofing works are undertaken.’

A Llanelli based environmentalist and bird of prey handler thinks he has come up with a solution to Llanelli’s pesky pigeon problem. Darren Harries of Hawk Off says that one of the best ways of keeping the pigeon population at bay in the town is by placing hawk nesting boxes in the town, which would encourage the nesting of peregrine falcons.

Mr. Harries told the Herald, “If we have more birds of prey in the town centre area it will do a number of things. It will cut down on pest numbers and also become a talking point for the town attracting environmental tourists. We have a number of peregrine nest sites in the Llanelli area. Some of the peregrines do stay around the Llanelli area and other areas in the UK have put out nesting boxes for them. This had had a great response from the public and wildlife enthusiasts.

“That would be an eco-friendly solution and something that would help the town. There are other types of Hawks in the area like Sparrow hawks and Kestrels but the Peregrine is great for pest control.

“I am sure if boxes where placed on high vantage points around the town Peregrines would use the boxes. This would be a long process however once there are a few breeding birds in the area the pest problem would be reduced significantly.

“Once we have peregrines in town they will need to be monitored and rung. Some areas have live cams on nest boxes and this has benefited schools and nature lovers.”

Mr. Harries remains convinced that his green, eco environmentally friendly idea of using birds of prey is the best option and is willing to meet with town centre representatives as well as any related council departments.

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Llanelli lockdown looms

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PUBLIC HEALTH WALES have confirmed that Wales’ first town-only lockdown could happen after experts express concern at a spike in the level of positive Coronavirus cases in and around Llanelli.
Dr. Quentin Sandifer, Public Health Wales’ Medical Director confirmed that a ‘high level of concern’ exists at a virtual meeting of the Senedd’s Health, Social Care and Sports Committee this morning (Wednesday, Sept 23).
Dr. Sandifer was questioned by Assembly Member David Rees who asked: “How small an area could you go down to if you wanted local restrictions?”
The Public Health Wales representative replied by stating: “Looking at the position in Carmarthenshire, we do see quite a variation within that county area, with the highest figures of concern in the Llanelli area.
“That is where we are paying particular attention within Carmarthenshire. So we are able to go down to a sub-county, local level in terms of our considerations, and that is what we are actively doing.”
Dr. Sandifer went on to say that local lockdowns imposed early elsewhere, like Caerphilly, are “beginning to demonstrate some effect on infection rates.”
With the threat of a local lockdown hanging over Llanelli, a mobile testing unit has been set up at Parc-Y-Scarlets today and if you require a test, you can e-mail covidenquiries.hdd@wales.nhs.uk or call 0300 333 2222.

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Gemma runs 50 miles for air medics who attended her Dad

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A GRATEFUL Ammanford mum has raised £350 by running 50 miles for the Wales Air Ambulance after the Charity’s medics tried to save her dad’s life last year.

The air medics were first on the scene after Gemma Pritchard’s dad Gerry, suffered a major heart attack in February 2019. He sadly passed away in intensive care two days later.

Speaking of the care her dad received, the mum-of-one said: “The service they provided was out of this world. Every member of the crew kept us updated every chance they could. They worked tirelessly to save my dad and despite all efforts from the crew he sadly passed away a few days later. I will forever owe them my life for all the efforts that evening.

“Losing our dad was so hard after already losing my mother in 2011. We had to go through all the heartache of losing another parent.” 

Gemma, 30, who works in Jenkins Bakery and as a cleaner, completed the 50-mile challenge in 13 days. Running wasn’t something that came naturally to Gemma before the fundraiser. She was supported by her husband Owain and daughter Lillie-May, 5, to complete the challenge.

Owain did the last run with Gemma, which was 10 miles. She added: “I couldn’t run 10 seconds before the challenge he pushed me massively to achieve my goal.

“My first run I managed 3 miles then I upped it to 5 miles, then 6 and then I went straight in for the 10 miles. My poor feet still feel it now. I knew this would be a massive challenge to myself.”

This is Gemma’s first fundraiser and she is already thinking of different ways she can raise funds for the charity in future.

She said: “I’m overwhelmed at the funds I did raise, although I would’ve loved to raise a lot. I’m still very happy with what I have raised for my first of many fundraisers for such an amazing crew.

“I’d like to thank everyone who donated.  I’m so proud of completing my challenge.”

Mark Stevens, Wales Air Ambulance Fundraising Manager, said: “We are extremely grateful for the support Gemma has shown our charity. It is incredible to hear that despite Gemma’s loss she still wanted to show her support to our medics. It’s inspirational to hear that she picked a 50-mile fundraiser even though she couldn’t previously run before the challenge.

“Thank you to Gemma and everyone who has supported her. We’re delighted to hear that Gemma hopes to raise more funds in the future for our Charity.”

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The latest increase in coronavirus in Wales is ‘sobering’ says First Minister

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THE FIRST MINISTER, Mark Drakeford has criticised the lack of communication with the UK government as he gave a briefing on what he described as the “sobering” increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalisation in Wales.

The infection rate in Wales has risen to 23.6 infections for every 100k people as cases have spiked in areas including Merthyr, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Caerphilly and Newport.

Hospitalisations remain low but are rising, with five people currently in intensive care with Covid-19 and and 53 Covid patients on all hospital wards, according to the latest data from Public Health Wales from Sunday, September 13.

Mr Drakeford said that the number of people in hospital with coronavirus had risen to 41 with four people in intensive care.

He also said that the R number in Wales was almost certainly now above one – meaning the virus is spreading exponentially again. The latest estimate, he said, was between 0.7 and 1.2.

Mr Drakeford said: “In this most difficult week, there has been no meeting offered to First Ministers of any sort. Since the 28 May, there has been just one brief telephone call from the Prime Minister.

“This is simply unacceptable to anyone who believes that we ought to be facing the coronavirus crisis together.

“We need a regular, reliable, rhythm of engagement: a reliable meeting even once a week would be a start. I make this argument not because we should all do the same things, but because being round the same table allows each of us to make the best decisions for the nations we represent.

“There is a vacancy at the heart of the United Kingdom, and it needs urgently to be filled, so we can talk to each other, share information, pool ideas and demonstrate a determination that the whole of the country can face these challenges together at this most difficult time.”

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