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Welsh Government plans major reduction in transport emissions as new 20 year plan is published

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Cyclist travelling on the Kingsway in Swansea (Image: Swansea Council)

Welsh Government today published its new draft transport strategy pledging a major reduction in carbon emissions from the transport network in Wales.

Transport currently make up 17% of Wales’ carbon emissions but Welsh Government has committed to set new and stretching five year priorities to tackle carbon emissions as it seeks to meet decarbonisation targets.

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The draft strategy, ‘Llwybr Newydd – New Path’, was launched on Tuesday and will shape Wales’ transport system over the next two decades. It sets out a range of new ambitions to reshape transport in Wales, including a new sustainable transport hierarchy that will help shape investments towards greener transport options.

Ken Skates MS (Image: Welsh Government)

Minister Ken Skates said it was a ‘once in a generation’ moment to put public transport at the heart of Wales future.

Published as the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect daily lives, the strategy recognises that patterns of less commuting and more home working are likely to continue.

Welsh Government has already outlined its long-term ambition for 30% of the workforce to work from home or remotely, achieved by giving people more choice over how and where they work. The strategy recognises that more local services and more active travel can mean fewer people needing to use their cars daily.

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‘Llwybr Newydd’ sets out four long-term ambitions for the transport system in Wales, delivered through a set of five year priorities. It also contains nine ‘mini-plans’ for modes and sectors: active travel; rail; bus; roads (including streets and parking); the third sector; taxis and private hire vehicles; freight and logistics; and ports, maritime transport and aviation.

Trains at Swansea Railway Station (Image: Jaggery / Geograph)
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A consultation has been launched for people to have their say on the plans, which runs until 25 January 2021.

Ken Skates, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, said: “Our public transport system is one of the most important national assets we have. It connects people to one another, binds communities together and enables businesses to grow and expand. It’s one of the most powerful tools for social justice and inclusive growth that we possess.

“But in 2020 we stand at an important moment in its development. Our climate is in crisis, new technology is disrupting the way we think about travel itself and coronavirus is severely testing the financial and economic foundations of public transport models.

“Our new strategy – Llwybr Newydd – sets out a commitment to a major reduction in transport emissions so we our all playing our part in the address the crisis we face. It shows how promoting social justice and tackling the climate emergency will be at the heart of our work, particularly in the context of a pandemic which is fundamentally changing the way we live, work and play.

“The shift towards a greener transport system is already underway, with record levels of investment in active travel and public transport. Llwybr Newydd is a once in a generation opportunity to reinforce and accelerate that work so that we can make our transport system in Wales genuinely fit for future for generations to come.”

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Lee Waters MS (Image: Welsh Government)

Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, said: “We’ve reached the point where travelling by car is seen as the easiest way to get around for most people. If we are to succeed in tackling climate change that has to change, but it’s going to take a big effort to encourage people to consider alternatives.

“We will only succeed in persuading people to alter their habits if we make the alternative to using the car more attractive. And that’s the task our new transport strategy sets itself.”


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Carmarthenshire

Pembrey Country Park retains prestigious Green Flag award

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Pembrey Country Park has once again received the prestigious Green Flag Award.

The international award has been given to the popular tourist attraction for its amazing green space for the last three years.

The award is recognised for having the highest possible standards, being beautifully maintained and boasting excellent visitor facilities.

Around £4 million is being invested into the park as part of a masterplan to continue its development as a major tourism destination within Carmarthenshire and Wales.

This is the second award for Pembrey Country Park after it celebrated winning the Blue Flag status for Cefn Sidan earlier this year.

Since the Blue Flag awards were first introduced in 1988, Pembrey Country Park has won more Blue Flags than anywhere else in Wales. Cefn Sidan was also the first Welsh beach to win the accolade.

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Much of the investment has been completed with upgrading and extending camping and caravanning including the installation of a new amenity block and the opening of Yr Orsaf restaurant.

Work has already been completed on a national closed road circuit, a BMX pump track, an adventure golf course, a changing places facility at the ski and activity centre and new accessible toilets.

Improvements will soon be underway to upgrade the outside area surrounding Yr Orsaf restaurant and hub to give visitors a better experience.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Sports and Tourism, Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths said a lot of effort has been put into making the park what it is today. He said: “We are thrilled to be receiving this award once again which is only given to those green spaces that have demonstrated high standards. The coronavirus pandemic has shown us how important our green spaces are and they clearly provide health benefits for everyone.”

The Green Flag Award programme is delivered in Wales by environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy, with support from Welsh Government.

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Lucy Prisk, Green Flag Coordinator at Keep Wales Tidy said: The pandemic showed us just how important high-quality parks and green spaces are to our communities. With more visitors than ever enjoying our green spaces, I’d like to congratulate the hard work of staff and volunteers who have maintained excellent standards at these sites.”

Wales still holds more than a third of the UK’s Green Flag community sites.

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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‘Strong evidence’ Nantycaws recycling centre fire caused by battery incorrectly discarded in blue recycling bag

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Carmarthenshire Council are urging householders in Carmarthenshire not to dispose of batteries in black or blue bin bags.

It comes after strong evidence suggests that a fire in Carmarthen’s Nantycaws Recycling Centre last April which caused millions of pounds of damage may have been started by a battery that was disposed of in a blue recycling bag.

The fire destroyed the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) and the recycling centre was forced to close to the public for five days.

Batteries should be removed from any items that contain them such as rechargeable items, mobile phones, electric toothbrushes, toys, television remotes etc and then disposed of separately at a recycling centre or local battery recycling point.

Batteries that are difficult to remove from items can be recycled at the electrical bay at the recycling centre.

In the last five years, fires suspected or proved of being caused by Lithium Ion Batteries have more than doubled with 48% in 2021 compared to 21% in 2016/2017.

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The most common inappropriate items within bin bags presented for kerbside collection by residents include electrical waste such as toasters children’s toys, hair styling equipment, separate old batteries ranging from standard cell batteries to rechargeable lithium ion batteries and mobile devices.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Hazel Evans said: “Thankfully no one was injured in the fire in Carmarthen’s Nantycaws Recycling Centre last year. Please do not put loose dead batteries or items that hold batteries in your bin bags with other rubbish, it is extremely dangerous and the consequences can be very serious. All our recycling centres have facilities to dispose of your batteries safely as well as many shops and supermarkets that have battery collection points.”

The batteries are initially compromised when unknowingly crew throw the bags containing electrical items into the vehicles which get compacted, they are then transported to the MRF where they can come into contact with further materials that can result in serious consequences.

Richard Vaughan-Williams, Arson Reduction Manager at Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service added: “Lithium-ion batteries can be found in an increasing number of consumer items and disposing of such items has become a growing concern, especially for our partners who operate waste management facilities. Even small lithium-ion batteries can present a very real danger of an intense fire which can then spread quickly. We advise those looking to dispose of batteries to carefully consult waste instructions from their local authority.”

Last year The Environmental Services Association launched a campaign to raise awareness of incorrectly recycling batteries. Millions of pounds worth of damage caused by discarded batteries happens at recycling centres every year and endangers the lives of people who work in them.

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(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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Parents pay tribute to 6 month old girl killed in Llanelli horror drunk driver crash

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The parents of a six-month-old baby killed in a collision in Llanelli on Friday (8 October) have paid tribute to their “perfect baby girl” who they say was “a gift from God”.

Eva Maria Nichifor died following a collision involving a blue 3 series BMW and a blue Vauxhall Vectra at the Heol Goffa crossroads in Llanelli at around 9pm.

Eva Maria’s parents Florin and Carmen, who originate from Romania, but now live in Llanelli, issued a tribute in English and Romanian.

“We are distraught by our loss. Eva Maria, only six months old, will be missed by us all.

“She was our miracle, our perfect baby girl, a gift from God. She will always be in our hearts.

“We would like to thank everyone for their support at this horrific time. It has meant so much to the whole family.

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“We would now like time to grieve and would ask to be given privacy in which to do so.”

Suntem foarte supărați pentru pierderea noastră. Eva Maria, avea doar 6 luni si cu toții ii vom simți lipsa.

Ea a fost minunea noastră, un copil perfect și un dar dat de Dumnezeu. Va fi in inimile noastre pentru totdeauna.

“Va mulțumim tuturor pentru susținerea voastră in aceste vremuri dificile, înseamnă foarte mult pentru noi.

“Am vrea acum puțin timp sa ne adunam in liniște alături de familia noastră.

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A woman has been charged with causing Eva Maria’s death by dangerous driving.

Lucy Dyer, aged 23, of Heulwen Terrace, Llanelli, was remanded in custody following the court hearing at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Monday (11 October). 

She is due appear before Swansea Crown Court on Friday, 12 November.  She was also charged with drink-driving.

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