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Tree planting underway in Carmarthenshire

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Carmarthenshire County Council is actively looking for areas where new trees can be planted to help make up for the loss of trees that are being affected by ash dieback disease.

Ash dieback is a fungal disease which is having a devastating effect on ash trees across the UK – it is thought around 95% of ash trees could die from the disease.

The council is currently having to remove affected trees for which it is responsible along A and B roads throughout the county as the trees are at risk of falling posing a serious risk to the public. Other landowners are also having to take similar action.

As a result, the council is now identifying areas in the county where new woodlands can be created. As well as helping to make up for the loss of ash trees, these will bring a number of other benefits. These new woodlands will, in time, absorb carbon dioxide, improve air quality and soil structure and support biodiversity by providing new wildlife habitats.

It is also part of the council’s climate change action plan which details how it will cut its carbon footprint and become net zero carbon by 2030.

The council has just finished planting 77 new trees at St David’s Park in Carmarthen. It includes a mixture of pine, lime, cherry, sweet chestnut, birch and oak on the south side of the site reflecting the Victorian planting that was characteristic of that area, and an avenue of oak trees leading down to Hafan Derwen.

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Executive Board Member for Biodiversity Cllr Philip Hughes said: “It is thought around 95% of ash trees could be affected by ash dieback disease and this will have a big impact in the landscape. To mitigate for this loss, we are identifying opportunities for planting trees and new woodlands which will also bring additional benefits such as new wildlife habitats and carbon-sequestration.

“The new planting that has just been carried out at St David’s Park will help to ensure that future generations will continue to enjoy the magnificent treescape associated with this site. It is now our job to look after them and ensure they become well-established.

“The lime, pine and chestnut trees that were part of the original planting at the park in the late 19th century are now beginning to reach maturity, and we need to continue to plant more trees in this area if we are to safeguard the quality of this landscape.

“It is increasingly difficult to integrate the planting of large trees into urban areas, but St David’s provides the perfect opportunity.

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“We are also looking for new sites; we would want to ensure that the land doesn’t have an existing biodiversity value of its own and we are also looking for areas where there is public access so that these places can be enjoyed by people. If we find land that is suitable for planting, we can progress an application to Welsh Government for a woodland creation grant.
We have four sites that we are actively progressing at the moment and this is an area where we will be doing more work in the future.”

The planting at St David’s Park has been carried out with help from a Welsh Government funded Enabling Natural Resources grant.


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Carmarthen

Glangwili first hospital in Wales to administer new osteoporosis medication

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Glangwili Hospital has become the first in Wales to administer a new medication that will help patients suffering from osteoporosis.

It was approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and it the first new osteoporosis drug treatment of its kind for over a decade.

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The new treatment – Romosozumab – is now available in Wales for preventing future fractures in patients suffering from osteoporosis. 

The bone-building drug is given as a simple injection under the skin. It is highly effective for preventing fractures by the way it acts on bone cells, particularly in postmenopausal women with severe osteoporosis.  It is one of only two treatments that help to promote bone formation, and the first to reduce bone loss at the same time.

On Thursday 21 July, Carole Bevan became the first patient in Wales to receive the medication at Glangwili General Hospital, Carmarthen.

She said: “I am very fortunate to be the first patient in Wales and quite pleased at being considered and offered this treatment. I did not feel the needle at all and I’m happy to self-administer the injection monthly for the next 12 months.”

Dr Abhaya Gupta, Consultant Physician at Glangwili Hospital, added: “The availability of this drug in Wales is an additional option for treating patients with osteoporosis, many of whom suffer devastating consequences from hip fractures, spine and wrist fractures.

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“By its novel mechanism of action this treatment has the potential to revolutionise our approach to treating those people with severe disease who are at very high risk of fracture, especially when it is used as their initial treatment.

“With increasing numbers of elderly patients with osteoporosis, this injection is an additional drug available to specialists to treat these patients, helping to reduce disability and health and social care costs in the long term.”

Catrin Beddoe, a pharmacist at Glangwili Hospital, added: “This is a simple injection given once a month for one year to appropriate elderly female patients suffering from the devastating consequences of fractures, and I am pleased to be part of the specialist osteoporosis team involved in this exciting work.”

(Lead image: Hywel Dda NHS)

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Carmarthen producer wins best sausage in Wales award

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Red Valley Farm in Carmarthen is celebrating coming first in Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales’s ‘Put Your Best Sausage Forward 2022’ competition, with their wild garlic sausages crowned as the very best bangers in Wales.

Business partners Andy Washbourne and Graeme Carter were delighted with the victory, with the high-flying producers taking the coveted award for the second year running. As winners, they will now automatically qualify for the ‘Champion of Champions’ sausage competition at the UK-wide Butcher Shop of the Year 2023 awards.

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Speaking after winning the title during a special event at the Royal Welsh Show, Graeme Carter said: “It really is an incredible honour to have our sausages named as the very best in Wales. Winning an award like this really makes all the hard work worthwhile and shows that our ethos of producing quality, small-scale and locally produced pork pays off in the end.

“We were really proud of our wild garlic sausages, but it’s still a pleasant surprise to win the title. We had a really good time at the final judging event and the fact that the standard was so high amongst all the shortlisted finalists just goes to show what a fantastic pork industry we have in Wales.

“Since taking over the farm from my parents a few years ago, specialising in rearing pigs has really turned into a passion for me and Andy. We were gifted one boar to help clear the ground following some tree planting and everything has literally grown from there. We just plan to go from strength to strength and concentrate on what we do best, which is quality, sustainably produced pork.

“We’re now really looking forward to be representing Wales at the ‘Champion of Champions’ sausage competition and hope to be crowned the best across the whole of the UK.”

Red Valley Farm pipped Haverfordwest’s Prendergast Butchers and Puff Pigs of Ynysybwl to the title, wowing the panel of judges including leading Welsh food personality Chris ‘Flamebaster’ Roberts.

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Chris said: “Nobody likes a banger more than me and the quality of those that made the final meant it was certainly a pleasure to be on the judging panel.

“It’s always really tough to choose a winner when the standard is so high, but right from the off we were impressed with the wild garlic sausages. They looked the part, the consistency was spot on and they just tasted amazing. Having now had a sample of them I’m pretty keen to get my hands on the recipe myself to try and work out the secret of making sausages taste so good!”

Speaking about his delight at the standard of entries to this year’s competition, Rhys Llywelyn, Market Development Manager at Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales, said: “It was fantastic to be back at the Royal Welsh Show to hold the awards and the standard of the three finalists certainly didn’t disappoint. However, in the end Red Valley Farm just about came out on top, so a huge congratulations to them and we wish them the best of luck at the UK ‘Champion of Champions’ finals.

“Our small-scale pork producers in Wales have a fantastic story to tell. They specialise in creating a unique, hand-reared product that is often only available to buy directly from themselves and local independent shops, like butchers. This makes it a more sustainable food product, generating fewer food miles, and I’d urge consumers to seek out their local producer and find out for themselves the fantastic quality that’s on offer.”

For more information on pork produced in Wales, and where you can buy it, visit porcblasus.cymru.

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(Lead image: Patrick Olner)

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Three post vehicles damaged in Carmarthen sorting office fire

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Three Royal Mail vehicles were damaged in a fire at Carmarthen Sorting Office yesterday evening (10 July).

A postal worker has reported that the fire started at the Pensarn depot with an electrical fault on a postal delivery vehicle, with the fire then spreading to two nearby vehicles, although this has yet to be officially confirmed.

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Fire at Carmarthen sorting office (Image: Nathan Watkins / facebook)
Carmarthen sorting office fire
Smoke rises above Carmarthen sorting office (Image: Nathan Watkins / facebook)

Two fire appliances were sent to the fire, which was “well alight” when firefighters arrived. Dramatic images show smoke rising above the sorting office, with concerns raised on social media that the fire would spread to the sorting office building.

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “Emergency services attended our Carmarthen Delivery Office after a fire broke out on Wednesday evening, damaging three vehicles. Nobody was injured in this incident, and we expect it to have no impact on services to customers.

“The cause of the fire has yet to be determined, and we will assist in full with any inquiry which the emergency services may undertake.”

A Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said: “At 8.54pm on Wednesday 20 July, crews from Carmarthen and Pontyates attended two vehicles on fire in the yard of the Royal Mail Sorting Office, Pensarn, Carmarthen.

“The vehicle was well alight on arrival, fire was fought by crews using Breathing Apparatus and 2 Hose Reels Jets, a thermal imaging camera, and foam to extinguish.

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“The cause was accidental, no persons were injured.

“Crews left the scene at 9.33pm.”

(Lead image: David Morris / Facebook)

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