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Council completes £2.4million energy conservation scheme

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A £2.4MILLION energy conservation project has been rolled out across key Carmarthenshire County Council buildings as the council strides towards its 2030 zero-carbon target.

The council has been working with Ameresco, a cleantech company on the public sector Re:Fit framework that specialises in energy efficiency and renewable energy to improve local authority, school and hospital buildings across Wales and England.

An extensive range of energy conservation measures have been installed across council buildings, including solar PV panels, LED lighting replacement, lighting controls, pipework insulation, building fabric improvements, boiler upgrades and water and heat saving technology.

Members of the public will see examples across Carmarthenshire County Council leisure centres where pool covers preserve heat to lower running costs, and at Carmarthen where large-scale solar panel installations span the roof.

By replacing aging infrastructure and optimising the running of existing equipment, the project will deliver annual energy savings of over two million kWh – equivalent to around £315,726 in annual cost savings and 675 tonnes of annual CO2 reduction.

Cllr Ann Davies, Executive Board Member with responsibility for climate change, said the investment will significantly reduce the authority’s carbon emissions, energy consumption and increase renewable energy generation.

“Working with Ameresco has allowed us to accelerate the roll-out of our energy efficiency programme in a more comprehensive manner and at a greater pace than could be achieved using limited in-house resources,” she said. “We look forward to developing further phases to help us become a net zero carbon local authority by 2030.”

Britta MacIntosh, senior vice president of Ameresco, added: “Our project with Carmarthenshire County Council is a demonstration of our continued commitment to delivering sustainable solutions worldwide.

“The council’s progressive climate change goals provide a model for communities who strive to become cleaner and more efficient, and we are thrilled to be a part of seeing such plans come to fruition.”

Last year Carmarthenshire County Council became the first local authority in Wales to publish a climate change action plan detailing how it will work towards becoming net zero carbon by 2030, and in 2019 became one of the first councils in the UK to declare a climate emergency.

The council procures all its electricity from renewable energy sources and ensures that all new major build projects incorporate renewable energy, including solar panels, air and ground source heat pumps where appropriate.

Other efforts to reduce carbon emissions include converting street lights to low energy LED and upgraded fleet including electric cars and more energy efficient refuse and gritting vehicles.

The council is also working with other public bodies to deliver wider change, exploring opportunities for tree planting and renewable energy generation on council-owned land.

Find out more about the council’s commitment to net carbon zero and practical ways the council is saving energy, by visiting www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales

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Respect, protect and enjoy Halloween safely

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RESPECT, protect, and enjoy. That’s the message from Dyfed-Powys Police as officers urge people to celebrate Halloween safely.

The force has launched Operation Bang 2021, asking people to think differently about the way they mark Halloween this year.

Covid-19 hasn’t gone away, and with some restrictions in place, officers are encouraging people to respect their neighbours, protect emergency services by reducing demand, and enjoy celebrations at home.

Inspector Justin Evans of the Crime and Harm Reduction Unit said: “You might be familiar with Op Bang, which is an annual operation aimed at keeping people safe over Halloween and bonfire night. This year, while our policing focus remains firmly on tackling antisocial behaviour and keeping people safe, for the second year our message is a little bit different given the unusual circumstances we’ve found ourselves in.

“We’re asking people to consider celebrating at home instead of going out and about, respecting that there are people who find Halloween distressing at the best of times, and who might find that the uncertainty of the current situation has heightened these feelings of anxiety.

“We also ask that you do your best to keep yourself and your family safe to prevent adding pressure to the emergency services during already busy times.”

Carving pumpkins, making crafts, and creating a spooky trail around your house or garden are all ways to celebrate Halloween at home with younger children.

While older children and teenagers might still want to meet up with friends, parents are urged to keep track of their plans, remind them to consider the consequences of their actions, and be mindful of lockdown restrictions.

“Fortunately, the majority of communities we police don’t experience a great increase in crime at this time of year, but there can always be one or two people who spoil it for everyone else,” Insp Evans said.

“We don’t want anyone’s enjoyment to get out of hand and cause distress or harm to others.

“By working together we can have a safe and enjoyable Halloween.”

For Halloween craft ideas and ways to celebrate at home, check out the Dyfed-Powys Police Pinterest page.

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Community

Christmas Toy Box Appeal to support families

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Council staff will purchase gifts and toys and distribute them in the run-up to Christmas.

CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has launched its annual Christmas Toybox Appeal.

The appeal, in its 11th year, helps hundreds of children with families who can’t afford to buy toys or gifts.

Last year saw us help more families than ever who were struggling financially with more than 7,500 gifts were distributed to 1,256 children.

The appeal was launched online for the first time in 2020 following the coronavirus pandemic and people were asked to make a financial donation instead of buying gifts and toys. Given the current situation people are asked to donate in the same way.

Gifts will be bought out of the money donated and given to families who, for a range of reasons, are not able to give their children a Christmas that most of us take for granted.

Schools, family centres and youth workers identify those who are in greatest need of support.

Council staff will purchase gifts and toys and distribute them in the run-up to Christmas.

The council’s executive board member responsible for the Toybox Appeal, Cllr Mair Stephens said: “Last year we saw an unprecedented demand from families struggling to buy their children gifts. The appeal ensured that local children, who might otherwise have received nothing or very little, were given a gift at Christmas. We have always had fantastic support from the public and couldn’t do it without their help. Every donation, no matter how big or small, will make a huge difference to those less fortunate families. So please dig deep and donate to the online Christmas appeal.”

You can make a financial donation by visiting their website

If you have a cash or cheque donation please call 01267 234567.

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Education

New Year start date for new state-of-the-art Pembrey primary school

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The new modern purpose-built £8.25million primary school will be built next to the existing school site on Ashburnham Road.

WORK will get underway to build a state-of-the-art primary school in Pembrey in the new year.

Carmarthenshire County Council has unveiled plans for its latest new school, part of its multi-million pound Modernising Education Programme, jointly funded by the Welsh Government through its 21st Century Schools initiative.

The new modern purpose-built £8.25million primary school will be built next to the existing school site on Ashburnham Road.

On completion it will provide high-quality teaching facilities for 270 primary pupils and 30 nursery pupils.

It will also incorporate a Flying Start facility for younger children, located in a mobile classroom on the current school site.

The school has been designed by Carmarthenshire County Council’s own architects and the work will be carried out by Carmarthenshire-based TRJ Construction Ltd, selected from the South West Wales Regional Contractors Framework.

Headteacher Helen Jacob said: “Teaching staff, pupils and families are excited and looking forward to seeing our new school come to life. Our children will benefit from seeing every phase of their new school being built right alongside us – it has been designed to enhance learning and teaching and it is very much deserved.”

Cllr Glynog Davies, Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services, added: “We are proud to be delivering yet another fantastic new school in Carmarthenshire as part of our Modernising Education Programme.

“The new Ysgol Pen-bre will provide an excellent learning and teaching environment and will also benefit the local community, with many features built into the design that can be used by local people when it opens.

“We look forward to seeing construction start in January.”

By the end of the 2020/21 financial year, Carmarthenshire County Council will have invested £295million in transforming its network of nursery, primary and secondary schools.

Since the programme was launched, 12 new primary schools and two new secondary schools have been built and a number of other schools have been remodelled and refurbished to provide top-class learning and community facilities.

Find out more at www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/education

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