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Carmarthenshire Leader calls for national strategy on flood defences

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THE Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council has called on Welsh Government to make investment in flood defences a national strategic priority.

Cllr Emlyn Dole has made the call after another weekend of flooding which has affected homes and businesses in several parts of the county.

He said it was heart-wrenching to see people facing yet another clean-up and said the frequency and intensity of flooding needs a national strategy.

Carmarthenshire County Council mobilised a co-ordinated response over the weekend to prepare and help affected communities and supported partners agencies and emergency services, including Natural Resources Wales which is the primary agency for main river flooding.

Flooding affected parts of Carmarthen, Newcastle Emlyn, Llanybydder, Pontweli, Llandysul, Pontargothi and Llangadog.

Speaking on Monday, Cllr Dole said: “Once again there are homes, businesses and communities that have had terrific difficulties with the rain and flooding and some are facing the process of cleaning and starting over once again.

“Carmarthenshire has been hit on several occasions since Storm Callum (in 2018). This weekend rivers reached levels precariously close to that reached during Storm Callum. It’s evident that flooding is becoming more frequent and more intense.

“Its impact isn’t any less devastating every time we see it – knowing from experience how long it takes to recover and seeing that is heart-wrenching.

“It can’t continue in this way – events that were once one in 100 years have turned into four in a year and a half.

“We’ve worked with all agencies to support Natural Resources Wales who are the primary agency in response to river flooding.

“Flooding must be a strategic national priority. We need investment in flood defences – we are calling on Welsh Government to make this a strategic national priority.

“We can’t continue with this repeated devastation. Residents are waking up to another clean-up once again. I will continue to seek these reassurances.”

The Leader has thanked the council’s workforce who supported communities over the weekend, and said the clear-up, safety assessment and support will continue.

“The efforts made by our staff throughout the weekend has been extraordinary and will continue today,” he said.

“We put rest centres in place and put updates out to the communities throughout the weekend.  Our communities and health and safety teams mobilised to set up rest centres and visited properties, supported by the Delta Wellbeing team.

“Our highways team responded throughout Friday and Saturday. High-capacity water pumps were deployed, sandbags were placed at strategic locations and a crew was put in place to support residents and respond to highway flooding.

“Several roads were closed. The highways team started the clear up as soon as waters receded. Our engineers have inspected bridges and further highways inspections will take place.

“We will be visiting businesses that were affected today.”

Anyone who needs assistance following the flooding should call 01267 234567. Information is also available at www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales

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Calls for collaboration in effort to stop future Towy floods

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CARMARTHEN WESTE and South Pembrokeshire Senedd Candidate Cllr Samuel Kurtz has called for collaboration to address the continued flooding in Carmarthen. 

The Towy River has breached its banks a number of times in quick succession, causing misery for a number of businesses and residents. 
Senedd candidate Cllr Samuel Kurtz has written to the Welsh Government Rural Affairs Minister urging for a collaborative approach to deliver an action plan that will help protect against flooding.

Commenting, Sam Kurtz said: “The distressing scenes of the flooding of the Towy have become all too regular, causing anguish and pain for those affected. 

“I’ve called upon the Rural Affairs Minister to ensure that there is an agreed action plan, which is financed, to introduce proper mitigating features and flood defences. 

“This can only be achieved with everyone working together to an agreed end solution, from business owners and Carmarthenshire County Council to Natural Resources Wales and Welsh Government. I’m willing to work with all to help bring an end to these floods.”

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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50

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EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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Cyclist killed on A40 was serving police officer, force confirms

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A CYCLIST who died after a crash with a van on the A40 in Carmarthenshire was a serving police officer with Dyfed-Powys Police, the force has confirmed in a statement to Herald.Wales.

The driver of the van involved in the crash, which happened on Thursday (Feb 25) has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, it was confirmed on Friday (Feb 26).

Police are investigating the fatal collision, which caused the road to be closed for 12 hours, and are asking for any witnesses to come forward by calling 101.

37-year-old Lynwen Thomas, who is a former student at Ysgol Bro Myrddin, Croes-y-Ceiliog, Carmarthen, was a sergeant and a very well-respected member of Dyfed-Powys Police.

A spokesperson for the police said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues, who have all been offered specialist support. We ask that family members are given the privacy they need at this difficult time.”

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