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Council to build Baglan ‘EV Charging Park’ for its vehicles

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Neath Port Talbot councillors have approved plans for an electric vehicle charging infrastructure for council fleet vehicles, pool and staff cars paving the way for zero-emission transport in the county borough.

Members of Neath Port Talbot Council’s Streetscene and Engineering Cabinet Board have backed plans to develop an EV ‘Charging Park’ at the council’s premises in The Quays, at the Baglan Energy Park, to support the council’s transition from carbon based fuels to zero emission vehicles.

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One of the council’s electric vehicles (Image: NPT Council)

The Charging Park, which will be in the existing staff car park at The Quays, will come with Photovoltaic (PV) solar canopies which will not only contribute to the energy costs but will further enhance the council’s green identity.

The UK Government has announced an end to the sale of new diesel, petrol cars and vans from 2030. Hybrid vehicles will continue to be on sale, however, from 2035, the sale of new hybrid vehicles will also end and all new cars and vans sold in the UK will be zero emission vehicles.

Also, the Welsh Government wants all new cars and light goods vehicles in the Public Sector fleet to be ultra-low emission by 2025 and where practicably possible, all heavy goods vehicles are to be ultra-low emission by 2030.

The Welsh Government Energy Service (WGES) has worked with the council to develop a plan identifying vehicles that will need to be replaced with zero emission vehicles. The council has 58 cars and light vans along with 24 medium vans that are scheduled to be replaced by 2025. It is therefore essential infrastructure is in place to charge these vehicles as they come on-line.

Members were told this was “only the start of the journey” because as the council’s fleet transition from carbon based fuels continues, other locations will also need to be identified to support the charging of vehicles.

The council has already installed a limited number of charge points at Tregelles Court, Tawe Terrace and Port Talbot Civic Centre with a further charge point at Llansawel Place for the Library Service. These new units complement the two twin point charging units already located at the council’s Service Response Centre (SRC) at The Quays. This brings the total to twelve EV charging points for fleet vehicles at various locations within the county borough so far.

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Cllr Annette Wingrave, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Sustainable Development said: “The move to zero emission transport is in line with this council’s Decarbonisation and Renewable Energy Strategy (DARE) which sets out how the council will lead by example and reduce its own carbon footprint when carrying out its operations and functions.

“It also sets a proactive agenda for the council in its role as community leader, landowner, employer, regulatory body and service provider so we can work in partnership with other public and private sector organisations as well as joining forces with local residents to deliver the changes required for a cleaner, greener future.”

(Lead image: NPT Council)

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Dyfed Powys Police

Drivers in Dyfed-Powys police area least likely to have car stolen

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New research has shown that drivers in Dyfed-Powys police’s area are the least likely to have their car stolen in all of England and Wales.

There were 623 vehicle thefts in 2021. This means just 1.2 cars were stolen per thousand households.

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The study, conducted by  A-Plan Insurance, was carried out by assessing Home Office data of vehicle thefts in each Police Force Area and determining the rate according to the number of thefts per household. 

With 100,185 cars stolen in London in 2021, England’s capital had 11.1. vehicle thefts per thousand households. This puts it first for the area where drivers are most likely to be the victims of vehicle theft. 

The West Midlands comes second for its vehicle crime rate, with 10.4 vehicle thefts per thousand households (30,608 cars stolen in 2021), while Greater Manchester had nine cars stolen per thousand households (25,495 vehicle thefts), making it the third most dangerous place to own a car. 

Cumbria and North Yorkshire are also some of the least likely areas for vehicle theft, with 727 and 1,433 cars stolen respectively in 2021. That’s 1.5 vehicle thefts per thousand households in Cumbria and 1.7 in North Yorkshire. 

The research also analysed data from 2020, to determine whether vehicle thefts have increased or decreased in each Police Force Area since last year, finding that although London is still the worst place for vehicle theft, the crime rate is improving. Compared to 2020, car thefts in the capital are down by nine per cent, however, it’s a different story in the West Midlands, with 12 per cent more vehicles stolen in 2021.  

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Greater Manchester also saw an increase of five per cent on last year, but Hampshire is the area where vehicle theft has increased the most, with 22 per cent more cars stolen in 2021 than in 2020. 

Gloucestershire has seen the biggest improvement when it comes to the number of cars stolen in the area, with nearly a third fewer thefts in 2021, compared to 2020. 

The full results of the research

Police Force Area Household figures (mid-2020) rounded to 100 Vehicle thefts per 1,000 households (year ending Dec 2021) Total vehicle thefts (year ending Dec 2021) Percentage change in vehicle thefts (from 2020 to 2021) 
London (Metropolitan Police and City of London) 3,543,000 11.1 100,185 -9 
West Midlands 1,148,800 10.4 30,608 12 
Greater Manchester 1,190,500 25,495 
South Yorkshire 599,500 7.5 10,572 -4 
Bedfordshire 267,900 6.9 4,704 -17 
West Yorkshire 964,400 6.1 14,358 -4 
Hertfordshire 485,400 7,180 
Essex 768,400 5.9 10,896 -6 
Warwickshire 247,600 5.4 3,167 -18 
Cleveland 245,100 5.2 2,989 
Thames Valley 964,200 4.9 12,000 -18 
Hampshire 839,500 4.9 9,760 22 
Nottinghamshire 489,000 4.9 5,714 -12 
Avon and Somerset 737,300 4.9 8,407 -4 
Leicestershire 438,800 4.8 5,330 -20 
Dorset 344,100 4.8 3,718 -4 
Merseyside 632,500 4.7 6,726 -1 
Cambridgeshire 345,600 4.7 4,028 -8 
Northamptonshire 316,900 4.6 3,512 -25 
Surrey 474,900 4.6 5,545 -7 
Kent 778,300 4.6 8,508 -14 
Lancashire 643,600 4.4 6,735 -1 
South Wales 582,100 4.2 5,610 -14 
Northumbria 648,200 4.1 6,082 -15 
Derbyshire  461,800 4,229 
Sussex 750,100 3.8 6,522 -3 
Gwent 256,700 3.7 2,242 -9 
Staffordshire 488,600 3.6 4,079 -8 
Durham 283,900 3.4 2,150 -16 
Humberside 407,600 3.3 3,052 -20 
West Mercia 556,600 3.1 3,977 
Gloucestershire 275,200 2.9 1,838 -31 
Suffolk 330,800 2.9 2,178 -18 
Lincolnshire 332,400 2.8 2,144 -10 
Wiltshire 309,700 2.7 1,947 -14 
Cheshire 467,300 2.4 2,604 -1 
Devon and Cornwall 778,700 1.8 3,210 -7 
Norfolk 398,800 1.8 1,613 -15 
North Wales 308,300 1.7 1,225 -4 
North Yorkshire 360,900 1.7 1,433 -22 
Cumbria 227,000 1.5 727 -13 
Dyfed-Powys 231,200 1.2 623 -12 

Commenting on the findings, a spokesperson for  A-Plan Insurance said: “Theft is one of the main concerns for drivers, especially if you live in an area like London or the West Midlands, where there’s a higher risk of your vehicle being stolen than there is in somewhere like Dyfed-Powys and Cumbria.

“It’s interesting to see that some of the places with the highest vehicle crime rates are improving, though, and drivers can rest easier by making sure they have adequate insurance cover for their vehicles to protect them from theft and other risks.” 

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Llanelli

West Wales car dealership to double in size

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Dafen-based Llanelli Motor Company have broken ground on a new development that will see their forecourt double in size over the coming months.

Led by Managing Director Ian Jonathan, the two-phase project will see the independent car dealership increase the number of used vehicles it has on sale to over 400 by January 2023.

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“It’s certainly an exciting period for the business,” said Ian, “and with the significant changes to the used car market, we felt now was the right time to start the project, which has been in the pipeline for over five years.”

Although the business was potentially looking at 2020 as a start date for the developments, the Coronavirus Pandemic put the brakes on the project.

However, since the easing of lockdown restrictions and the delay in obtaining new vehicles, the used car market has seen an unprecedented spike in demand.

Dafen based Llanelli Motor Company is planning to double in size
The company have broken ground on an expansion that will see over 400 cars on sale by the end of January 2023

“The last 12 months have been exceptionally busy,” continued Ian.

“No sooner are we finalising our 140-point safety check on vehicles before placing them on the forecourt, than they are being purchased within a matter of days”.

With the ability to stock 150 nearly new vehicles of all makes and models at the moment, the 1-acre expansion will increase this to 250 by September before more than doubling it to 400 by the spring of 2023.

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In order to facilitate this growth, the company will also be entering a recruitment phase and looking to employ at least 10 new members of staff across its sales, workshop and admin teams as well as taking on new apprenticeships.

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Lifestyle

Swansea man’s delight as he scoops combined £37,000 cash-and-car prize

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A Swansea man who was feeling lucky during the working week was left in a state of delighted disbelief on finding out he had won a combined £37,000 cash-and-car prize with online competitions company BOTB.

Anthony Brain from Swansea could not believe his luck when BOTB’s Christian Williams picked up the phone to let him know he was the winner of its Midweek Lifestyle competition.

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Anthony, who works for Swansea-based automotive products company Marelli, scooped a brand new BMW 128ti, as well as a cash prize of £2,000.

After recovering from his initial shock, Anthony said: “It’s absolutely unbelievable – I’m over-the-moon and still on a real high from it. It’s rare that I take part in the Midweek Lifestyle Competition – I think I’ve only entered it once or twice before – but I was feeling lucky during the working week, so thought ‘why not?’ When I got the call to say I’d won, I was stunned.

“Being a car enthusiast, I’m really excited about winning the car but the cash is brilliant too. We’ve already booked some holidays with some of the winnings, including to Italy and Florida. It’s nice to have something to look forward to.”

Anthony said his prize win has prompted colleagues to throw their hat in the ring and give BOTB’s competitions a go.

He added: “The thing is you’ve got to be in it to win it – and I think once you know someone who has won, you feel more hopeful that you could be in with a chance. I’d encourage anyone thinking about entering to try it for themselves.”

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Other recent winners have bagged a motorbike, a luxury holiday to Barbados and £15,000 in cash. 

The company, listed on the stock market, was founded by William Hindmarch in 1999 and has given away more than £47m worth of cars so far. 

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