THOUSANDS of voters across Carmarthenshire will head to the polls today to have their say on who they want to represent their local area for the next five years.
The election will determine who will lead Carmarthenshire County Council, which is responsible for a large number of vital services for people and businesses such as rubbish collection, managing schools, providing social care and housing to name just a few.
The number of electoral wards in Carmarthenshire will change from 58 to 51. This may mean that your address is in a different ward to previous local elections, and the name of your ward may have changed.
The total number of county councillors will increase from 74 to 75.
Some people have already had the chance to cast their vote in today’s election via a postal vote.
For everyone else, polling stations will open across the county at 7am and, they will remain open for fifteen hours – closing at 10pm.
For the first time, those aged 16-17 will be able to take part and vote in the local government election.
EU citizens are permitted to vote in the election.
Some people could have two votes, for example if they live in two Local Authority areas (for example students or because of work).
Voters will get a ballot paper to select which candidates they want to back.
If there is more than one councillor in a ward (Dual seat ward) voters will get more than one vote.
It is first past the post, so the winners in the ward are the candidates who win the most votes.
HOW TO VOTE
Polling stations will open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday, May 5, 2022.
You don’t need your poll card to vote.
You must vote at your assigned polling station.
If you are registered to vote, but you don’t have your poll card, you can go to the polling station and give them your name and address.
In Wales, you don’t need any form of ID.
Once the polls close at 10pm, ballot boxes are taken from all the polling stations to local or regional counting centres, where staff are waiting to start opening and recording the votes.
The counts will start at 9am on Friday, May 6.
It is estimated the first Council ward declaration will be at around 10am, the full council declaration is estimated at 2pm.
Driver jailed for head-on crash that caused life-changing injuries
A DRIVER who caused a head-on collision with a car being driven by a pregnant woman told police officers at the scene he had drunk 13 cans of strong lager the night before.
Rhodri Rees, aged 36, of Llandysul, admitted his drinking had gone into the early hours before he got behind the wheel and caused the crash on the A476 in Llannon, near Llanelli, by overtaking another car on a bend at around 7.40am on December 11, 2020.
The severe impact meant both drivers were trapped in their cars and had to be cut free by firefighters.
Thankfully the baby was unharmed in the collision, however, its mother suffered serious, life-changing injuries. She had a number of operations to repair the damage and was unable to walk for a year and still suffers the effects of the accident today.
Dyfed-Powys Police Sgt Nicholas Brookes said “When Rees was spoken to by our officers at the scene he told them he had drunk 13 cans of Stella Artois and that he had gone to bed after midnight.
“He failed a breath test at the scene and was arrested on suspicion of drink driving before being allowed to go to hospital for treatment.”
The following day he was interviewed at Carmarthen Police Station where he told officers he had consumed eight or nine cans of Foster’s before going to bed around 2am, before getting up at around 6.45am and setting off.
A sample of blood was taken just before 1pm on December 11 showed Rees had 39mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood – the legal limit being 80. A blood alcohol expert had calculated that at the time of the collision the level of alcohol would have been no less than 113mg and more likely 129mg.
PS Brookes added: “This was a serious case that could have been so much worse.
“Rees admitted drinking a considerable amount of alcohol and getting little sleep before getting behind the wheel. He was lucky no-one was killed.
“I would like to commend the officer in the case, PC Benjamin Stevenson, who conducted a thorough and meticulous investigation for the offence of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.”
On Tuesday, 17th May, Rees appeared before Swansea Crown Court, having pleaded guilty at a previous hearing, and was sentenced to 18-months in prison.
He was also disqualified from driving for three years and 9 months, with a requirement for an extended test to regain his licence.
No monkeypox cases identified in Wales say public health officials
THE UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has detected 11 additional cases of monkeypox in England.
The latest cases bring the total number of monkeypox cases confirmed since May 6 to 20.
The new cases come on top of the nine already identified in the country.
There are currently no cases of monkeypox identified in Wales, public health in Wales have said.
Public Health Wales said it is working with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Public Health Scotland, and Northern Ireland HSC Health Protection Agency to respond to UK cases of monkeypox.
Richard Firth, Consultant in Health Protection for Public Health Wales, said: “We are working closely with our UK partners to monitor and respond to cases of monkeypox in the UK. Monkeypox is a rare disease that has been reported mainly in central and West African countries. No cases have so far been identified in Wales.”
“Monkeypox does not spread easily between people and the overall risk to the general public is very low. It is usually a mild self-limiting illness, and most people recover within a few weeks. However, severe illness can occur in some individuals.”
The first case in the current outbreak was confirmed on May 6.
It is not the first time monkeypox has been reported in the UK.
Three cases were also reported in 2021, two of them in Wales.
New city of Wrexham gets big thumbs up from business leaders
BUSINESS leaders have given a big thumbs up to news that Wrexham has been granted city status following a competition to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Wrexham Business Professionals have campaigned for more than a decade to help secure city status and say they are “cock-a-hoop” that the bid was successful, having previously failed last time around in 2012.
According to the group, made up of successful businesses and highly skilled professionals working together to promote regional prosperity and the enterprise and expertise in the region, becoming a city is a “fantastic once-in-a-generation” opportunity.
Wrexham joins seven other winners from across Britain and the overseas territories – including Bangor in Northern Ireland, Stanley in the Falklands, and Colchester in England.
The competition for city status has taken place in each of the last three jubilee years, with previous winners including Newport, which became a city in 2002.
Ian Edwards, a senior member of Wrexham Business Professionals and a director of Allington Hughes, said: “We have supported the idea of Wrexham becoming a city for many years. As far as we are concerned, this is a no-brainer and is one of the best things to have happened to Wrexham for a long time
“Even before the pandemic and the consequences of the pandemic we’ve always thought that being a city would give Wrexham a lot of kudos and would provide a massive economic benefit for the whole of North Wales.
“During the pandemic some business in Wrexham have done well but others – notably in leisure, tourism and hospitality – have really suffered and we really have to get back on our feet economically.
“It’s not just about putting Wrexham on the map – being a city will provide an effective lever in attracting inward investment and new jobs which will help the whole area thrive and prosper.
“The benefits of city status transform the fortunes of the town and provide a better future for the people who live here.
“It feels like the stars have now aligned perfectly and that the time is now right to do our best to seize this opportunity.
“The fact that Wrexham AFC has been bought by Hollywood A-listers Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney helped add bit of magic and stardust to the bid.
“A lot of people across the world hadn’t heard of Wrexham before and now other Hollywood stars are embracing the story and putting on the club’s shirt.
“We’ve never had such a high profile – not just nationally but internationally.
“You really couldn’t script it better. There’s never going to be a better time to become Wales’s seventh city.”
It was a sentiment echoed by the group’s chair, chartered accountant Gill Kreft, co-owner of the Pendine Park care organisation.
She said: “City status will give Wrexham a huge fillip and provide the recognition it deserves as the commercial capital of North Wales.
“City status will undoubtedly help attract more inward investment and funding into the town and the surrounding area.
“It will also give us an enhanced reputation and status as well and raise awareness of what a great place this is and what a lot it has to offer. Wrexham has a lot going for it.
“It will be a massive boost for us and for North Wales and give the town more confidence about itself.
“Hopefully, we can now go for a hat-trick with Wrexham AFC finally winning promotion and being crowned as City of Culture 2025. Fingers crossed!”
Gill Kreft, chair of Wrexham Business Professionals
Ian Edwards., leading member of Wrexham Business Professionals
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