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Could car sharing be the answer to the growing fuel crisis?

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The UK’s largest car share provider, the Liftshare Group, is calling for employers to recognise the benefits of the sharing economy amid the growing fuel crisis.

Three of the UK’s biggest fuel providers have warned of shortages at some sites as a severe lack of lorry drivers and panic buying disrupts supplies. Petrol stations across the country are seeing pumps run dry, causing some employers to voice concerns about whether their teams will be able to make it to work on Monday.

Ali Clabburn, CEO and founder of the Liftshare Group said: “Current commuting habits are not sustainable. These shortages highlight the need for change, with 47 million empty seats on our roads every rush hour.

“A fuel supply shortage, rising traffic levels and Covid concerns around using public transport are a perfect storm which highlights the need for us to rethink how we travel.

“Current commuting habits are not sustainable. These shortages highlight the need for change, with 47 million empty seats on our roads every rush hour. Car sharing is the easiest ways to mitigate the impacts of climate change, affording sharers the opportunity to reduce travel costs, minimise congestion and improve air quality in their local community.”

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The easing of lockdown restrictions has seen many employers call their workforce back into the office, with traffic rising above pre-pandemic levels in some major cities. Commuters continue to eschew public transport in favour of driving, with used car sales up in response.

Single occupancy vehicles are one of the UK’s biggest emissions offenders, with the transport the UK’s biggest polluter. The commute is one of the least efficient journeys we ever make with commuting emissions accounting for 5% of the UK’s total emissions – 18 billion kg of CO2e annually.

Liftshare are calling for employers to empower their teams to Commute Back Better by inviting them to share their journey with a colleague. This is ahead of Liftshare Week (4th-10th October), the UK-wide event which aims to encourage and enable more people to discover the benefits of car-sharing.

(Lead image: Liftshare Group)

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Carmarthenshire

Keep your distance message as Portuguese Man o’ Wars wash ashore

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Beach walkers are being advised to keep clear of Portuguese Man o’ Wars that are being reported washed ashore along the Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire coast.

The Man o’ War is made up of a colony of organisms working together, and often mistaken for a jellyfish.

For humans and dogs a Man o’ War sting can be extremely painful and dead Man o’ Wars can still deliver a sting.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s Beaches Officer Myrddin Dennis, said: “It’s not unusual for Man o’ Wars to wash up on the Pembrokeshire shore and we are receiving calls about them from around our coastline.

“Our advice would be to keep your distance and not to touch them.  Please also keep your dogs on leads so they don’t get too close.”

(Lead image: Pembrokeshire Council)

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Environment

Professor becomes clean air champion for Wales

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A Swansea University expert has been named as one of the UK’s latest clean air champions.

Paul Lewis, Professor Emeritus at Swansea University Medical School, has a research background in the environmental impacts on respiratory health.

He is an expert member on the Welsh Government Clean Air Advisory Panel, helping advise on fine-particulate targets in readiness for a new Clean Air Act in Wales. 

He is also a member of the Wales Air Quality Direction Independent Review Panel and the Domestic Solid Fuel Burning in Wales, Task and Finish Group. 

Professor Lewis’s new role will see him joining the existing national Clean Air Champions  UKRI Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) Clean Air Programme. 

Professor Lewis said he was delighted at his appointment: “The role will allow me to engage with key stakeholders from academia, industry, government, the NHS and third sector right across Wales to help develop new solutions and policies to reduce air pollution and the impacts on our health and wellbeing.” 

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The Clean Air Programme is a £42.5 million investment that supports high quality research and innovation to develop practical solutions for today’s air quality issues and equip the UK to proactively tackle future air quality challenges. 

Professor Lewis and his fellow champions act as the central point for air quality research in their respective regions and will work to increase collaboration and impact across and beyond the programme. 

They will engage with researchers funded by the Clean Air Programme to explore ways of promoting knowledge exchange with relevant research users such as local businesses, industry health professionals, local authorities and the public. 

They will also gather intelligence on new local research, policy, and industry developments and contribute new ideas to enhance the impact of the programme.

(Lead image: Swansea University)

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Environment

City parks flying the green flag for excellence

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The lake at Brynmill Park

Six of Swansea’s main parks have once again been awarded green flag status, recognising the vital role they play in boosting residents’ wellbeing and improving the natural environment.

The Green Flag Award programme is delivered in Wales by environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy, with support from Welsh Government. Sites are judged against eight strict criteria, including biodiversity, cleanliness, environmental management and community involvement.

In Swansea, the Council’s Clyne Gardens, Singleton Botanical Gardens, Brynmill Park, Parc Llewelyn, Cwmdonkin Park and Victoria Park have all gained the prestigious flag status.

Two more green flags have been awarded to Penllergare Trust for their efforts at Penllergare Valley Woods and Swansea University has received recognition for Singleton Campus.

Mark Thomas, Cabinet Member for Environment Enhancement and Infrastructure Management, said: “Once again, our parks and cleansing teams have had their commitment to keeping our much loved parks in wonderful condition rewarded. It’s also important to recognise our council staff have achieved this during the pandemic making this achievement even more special.

“Retaining green flag status is important to the council in terms of making a wider statement on our commitment to ensure the public and visitors to the city have excellent green spaces they can visit and enjoy what we have to offer.

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“I’m also pleased to see a large number of community gardens also get recognition for what they offer residents. This is largely down to community groups and volunteers who take it upon themselves to look after these green spaces and make sure that wherever you live in Swansea, there is certain to be somewhere nearby that families can visit.”

A total of 13 ‘community awards’ have also been given to smaller community based gardens and green spaces, including two new winners – Clydach Community Garden and Blaenymaes Community Garden.

Julie James, the Welsh Government’s Minister for Climate Change, said: “Green spaces are vital for mental and physical well-being and throughout the pandemic we have seen how important these spaces have been for local communities. 

 “Wales still holds more than a third of the UK’s Green Flag community sites and it is fantastic to see more places in Wales receiving Green Flag Award and Green Flag Community Award. 

 “These landscapes play a vital role in delivering rich ecosystems and vibrant and resilient communities, and I congratulate all of the sites for providing excellent, year-round facilities and events for people in Wales.”

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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.”

Lead Image: The lake at Brynmill Park (Image: Swansea Council)

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