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Councils clash over Mynyddygarreg school closure plan

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Kidwelly Town Council has voted unanimously to oppose the closure of Ysgol Mynyddygarreg, urging Carmarthenshire County Council to reverse their decision.

In a letter to Carmarthenshire’s Director of Education, Gareth Morgans, the town council says: “Small rural schools are an important part of the community, particularly in villages such as Mynyddygarreg, which has seen a slow and steady decline in facilities. The village has no shop, garage, pub or post office – all of which having closed in recent years. The closure of the school would decimate the community in Mynydygarreg.

“Mynyddygarreg is a growing community. Indeed, there is a prospective LDP site for housing opposite the school, and another under construction just a few hundred yards down the road at the bottom of the hill.

“The last time Carmarthenshire Council tried to close the school in 2009, Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg joined the community, led by Ray Gravell in campaigning to keep the school open. Concerns were also raised about the impact the closure of the school would have on the Welsh language. These concerns remain.

“A community impact assessment written as part of the school closure bid does not seem to mention the impact to the community of Mynyddygarreg.

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“The proposals to close do not mention the fact that the school has been green rated by Estyn – the highest rate for excellence for the last four consecutive years.

“Governors of the school are unhappy by decisions by the County Council and feel that this current situation has been forced upon them.

“Parents, many of whom specifically chose a small school like Mynyddygarreg for their child’s education, are unhappy at the decision to close the school. The new build for Ysgol Gwenllian being 2 miles away, across a busy bypass which has no safe crossing, active travel links or even pavements.

“Parents have indicated that should the school be closed, they are not minded to send their children to the new Ysgol Gwenllian. As they would have to take their children by car in any case, they would be looking for another small school in the vicinity.

“In a recent Senedd debate, the First Minister when speaking directly about the planned closure of Ysgol Mynyddygarreg said the council does not have a level playing field. It positively has to make arguments as to why the school should close. The presumption is that it should stay open.

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“As a community council, representing the community of Kidwelly and Mynyddygarreg, we feel that Carmarthenshire County Council has not made sufficient argument that the school should be closed.

“Parents, governors and the community are calling on Carmarthenshire County Council to change their mind and resolve to keep Ysgol Mynyddygarreg open.”


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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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