The final stage of recovery works to repair damage caused by Storm Callum on Carmarthenshire’s A484 is underway.
A highly complex programme of phased works has already been completed in one of the worst hit areas at Cwmduad, when a landslide tragically claimed the life of a young man.
Repairs as a result of the storm have also been carried out at Bronwydd.
Some 20 miles of the A484 was affected by the extreme weather conditions in Carmarthenshire in October 2018 stretching from Carmarthen to Cenarth.
Phase two of the support works have now started at other affected areas at Henallt Bends, Pante South, Llwyfan Cerrig Station, Foelfach, Tirgwili/Rock and Fountain, Mile End, Nantclawdd, the A484/A475 junction, Gelligatti before finishing at Flatwood in Cenarth.
Works will include felling damaged trees, providing foundations for new safety barriers, stabilising embankments and installing new highway drainage chambers.
Carmarthenshire Council secured funding from Welsh Government to carry out maintenance of the highway in response to detailed inspections following the storm.
Cllr Hazel Evans, Executive Board Member for Environment, said: “This has been a very complex operation covering over 20 miles and involving a number of agencies. Whilst the safety of the public is paramount, every effort will be made to ensure these essential works are carried out with as minimal disruption as possible until they have been completed. We understand that this has had a major impact on the local community and road users, and we would like to thank them for their patience and co-operation whilst these recovery and repair works are being carried out.”
Work underway to tackle ash dieback disease
WORK is underway in Carmarthenshire to tackle a serious fungal disease which is affecting ash trees across the country.
It is estimated that 90% of ash trees could die from ash dieback disease for which there is currently no known treatment.
The fungus infects the leaves and spreads through to the branches, causing the tree to eventually die. Dead branches and the trunk of the tree can become very brittle causing it to fall, posing a serious risk to both people and property.
The council is taking a risk-based approach to tackling the issue and ash trees along all Class 1 and 2 roads, the county’s busiest roads which make up 17% of the total highway network, have been surveyed.
Trees showing at least 50% of ash dieback in their crowns and which pose a risk to road users will have to be felled. A total of 2,512 trees have been identified.
Felling work will start later this month in Llanelli along the A4138 between Trostre and Llangennech where 215 trees along the stretch will be felled. This is the busiest road in the county for which the council is responsible.
The works are scheduled to start at Penprys roundabout on Wednesday, February 26 and are expected to take eight days to complete with the final phase taking place at the Talyclun junction on Sunday, March 1. The majority of works will be carried out from the cycle path to maintain traffic flow as much as possible and between 9am and 3pm to avoid rush hours.
The council will be writing to private landowners with trees alongside Class 1 and 2 roads offering guidance and advice on how to deal with ash dieback.
Surveys are also being carried out on ash trees on other council-owned land such as schools, car parks, council housing areas, safe routes and cycle paths. Surveys on ash trees alongside Class 3 and 4 roads will follow.
Executive Board Member for the Environment Cllr Hazel Evans said: “This is a very sad situation, but unfortunately we have no choice but to remove the trees if they have the disease and are in a location which poses a risk to public safety. We will try to minimise the disruption to road users as much as possible.
“It is a serious problem for both councils and other landowners across the UK and a lot of work is being carried out. It is important we raise awareness of the disease, particularly with landowners to offer guidance and advice, as well as the public in general.
“There will be a need for new trees to be planted to compensate for the loss of ash trees in the county, and we will be actively seeking funding to support re-planting projects.”
Symptoms of ash dieback disease are usually first apparent in the crown of the tree, with leaves turning black and falling in late summer rather than autumn, there can also be visible lesions above and below the point where the branches join the trunk of the tree.
For further information including frequently asked questions and advice please visit the website carmarthenshire.gov.wales/ashdieback
Whitland HWRC amongst those withdrawn from budget saving plans
CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council’s Executive Board has withdrawn proposals to close Whitland Household Waste Recycling Centre from its budget – alongside a number of others – following a comprehensive budget consultation.
The council had asked for public feedback on several suggestions as it looked at ways to save £16.5million over the next three years.
After reviewing that feedback, Executive Board has today (February 24, 2020) voted to withdraw the suggested closure of the recycling centre, as well as proposals to reduce public toilet provision.
In addition, they will no longer look to reduce the budget for youth support services and will not implement a proposed increase to cemetery charges.
Proposed efficiencies in budgets for education around additional learning needs will be deferred for at least three years, as will proposals for an administration fee for residential care placements.
In respect of leisure services, instead of increasing charges, additional income will now be met through increased usage of facilities.
Almost £12million has been added to the council’s budget to support inflationary related pressures, and a further £7.4million for new pressures including social care, waste and additional learning needs. The schools’ delegated budget has been given significant support with their budget increasing by £10.1million, providing them with the same spending power as they have in current year.
Funding has also been added to the budgets for social services to invest in workforce, and to the highways budget to improve roads.
Following these adjustments, the budget being put to Full Council for final decision in March will propose a Council Tax increase of 4.89 per cent for the coming year.
Cllr David Jenkins, Executive Board Member for Resources, said that a better than expected settlement from Welsh Government – an increase of 4.4 per cent – has allowed some flexibility in this year’s budget, but highlighted that many challenges remain.
“Welsh Government’s recognition of the unprecedented level of inflationary and unavoidable pressures facing local authorities does not detract from the fact that savings are still required, despite the welcome funding increase,” he said.
More than 2,000 people responded to the council’s budget consultation, offering valuable feedback on 14 separate proposals.
Executive Board reiterated that these proposals were put forward to get a measure of the public’s opinion, and that no decisions were made before reviewing their feedback.
Cllr Jenkins added: “I would like to express my thanks to all who took part in the consultation or responded to the surveys.
“One thing that is generally clear from those who took part in the consultation is that they do appreciate that difficult choices need to be made.
“I, as portfolio member for resources, and member colleagues, have again really tried to listen both to the public and fellow members’ concerns and respond accordingly.”
Sunday opening for three pharmacies in Carmarthenshire
Three pharmacies in Carmarthenshire have opened their doors to the public on a Sunday as part of a trial in the region.
Gravells in Llanelli and Nigel Williams in Llandeilo and Cross Hands will be open for members of the public who need to see a healthcare professional for treatment for common ailments and minor injuries.
This trial is to support the GP out of hours service by encouraging patients to access the pharmacy as the first point of call.
The well-established Triage and Treat provision is already available in the pharmacies through the week and on Saturdays.
The types of low level injuries that can be treated under Triage and Treat service are minor abrasions, superficial cuts and wounds, eye complaints such as sand in the eye, removal of items from the skin such as a splinter or shell and minor burns including sunburn. If the injury is too serious to be treated in the pharmacy, patients will be given advice about where to go.
Depending on which pharmacist is covering they are also offering Sore Throat Test and Treat; this is a new scheme which allows patients to call into their local pharmacy and be tested by a trained pharmacist using a quick and pain free test.
Following a consultation and assessment by the pharmacist, medication may be supplied for those patients where an antibiotic is required.
In many cases, a sore throat is the result of a viral rather than bacterial infection which means antibiotics will not work, and self-care and rest are the best course of action.
The pharmacies will also be able to help with providing emergency contraception and emergency supplies of medication as well as offering advice and treatment for common ailments.
The participating pharmacies are:
• Gravells Pharmacy, Off Thomas Street, Llanelli – open 10am – 1pm
• Nigel Williams Pharmacy, 109 Rhosmaen Street, Llandeilo – open 12pm -2pm
• Nigel Williams Pharmacy, Isfryn, Carmarthen Road, Cross Hands – open 3pm – 5pm
Pharmacist James Throne of Gravells Pharmacy said: “We’re pleased to be able to open on a Sunday morning to offer a range of services to patients who otherwise may have travelled to a hospital for treatment.”
Jill Paterson, Director of Primary Care, Community and Long-term Care for Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “The Health Board is delighted that we continue to expand the range of Services we are able to offer patients locally.
“Our Community Pharmacies are providing an increasing number of enhanced Services which enable patients and the public to seek assistance without having to attend a hospital or GP practice.
“We believe that providing these Services on a Sunday on a trial basis, will increase the local advice and support available to patients during the weekend period.”
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