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Call for clarity on council mergers

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councilWITH the deadline approaching for local authorities to set out proposals for voluntary mergers, the Welsh Government has confirmed a timetable for final decisions and elections. At Assembly question time on Wednesday (Oct 8), Joyce Watson AM asked Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews to clarify plans for upcoming elections to local authorities, whether or not they choose to merge with neighbouring councils. Joyce Watson asked:“It seems difficult to set out clear timetables for local elections until we know where we are with voluntary mergers.

However, will you confirm that elections to existing local authorities will take place in May 2017 and that those authorities who merge voluntarily will have their elections in May 2018? Are you confident that local representatives and voters are equally clear about that?” The Welsh Government set out plans for sweeping changes to local government in the Reforming Local Government White Paper, which it consulted on from 8 July to 1 October. Local Authorities have until 28 November to come forward with voluntary merger plans. In west Wales, Pembrokeshire County Council is exploring a potential merger with Ceredigion. That is despite Ceredigion councillors rejecting the idea in a unanimous vote last month.

Meanwhile, Carmarthenshire Council’s Labour leader Kevin Madge has said the county should continue as a standalone authority. In answer to Mrs Watson, Mr Andrews said: “The Member is right, and the onus is on local authorities to indicate whether they are going to come forward with voluntary merger proposals. “Voluntary merged councils will not have elections in 2017; unmerged councils will. Voluntary merged councils will vest in April 2018, having been set up in shadow form in April 2017, and they will have elections in May 2018.

The first elections for the remaining new authorities will be in May 2019, with shadow authorities and shadow councils established and vesting day for those new authorities would then be in April 2020. In May 2022, full local government elections for all authorities would be held.” “I look forward to receiving many expressions of interest by November 28.”

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New Quay RNLI lifeboat crew trains with lifeguards

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NEW QUAY lifeboat station hosted a special training evening with the lifeboat crew and Ceredigion’s RNLI lifeguards last week.

Pete Yates, one of New Quay RNLI’s inshore lifeboat helms, worked closely with Ceredigion lifeguard supervisor, Tirion Dowsett, to plan scenarios for the teams to practice working together in casualty care situations.

A large scale scenario included four casualties to be dealt with by the inshore lifeboat crew and two lifeguard teams on a nearby beach, whilst a third lifeguard team and lifeboat crew members dealt with a separate scenario at the lifeboat station.

Pete said: “It was a great evening of training. We had 9 lifeguards and 13 lifeboat crew in attendance.

“The main scenario included casualties suffering from hypothermia and propeller injuries. A second scenario involved a mechanic suffering head injuries in the forepeak of the all-weather lifeboat and requiring extraction on a stretcher.

“On completion of these scenarios we all gathered back at the station where one of our senior crew members sprung a great act at being a diabetic having a hypo, and being suitably angry and aggressive.”

Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager, added: “It was great for our lifeboat crew members to work with the lifeguards as it builds a deeper understanding of each other’s roles and encourages teamwork between us. This is of great benefit when dealing with real life casualty care situations.”

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Coastguard rescues dog stuck on cliffs

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LAST TUESDAY (Aug 27), New Quay RNLI’s inshore D-class lifeboat, Audrey LJ, was tasked by Milford Haven Coastguard to assist the Coastguard with a dog stuck on the cliffs near New Quay.

The volunteer crew launched the inshore lifeboat at 1.50pm with four crew members on board and made their way south down the coast.

Brett Stones, New Quay RNLI’s helm said: “We located the dog on the cliffs by Castell Bach, near Cwmtydu. We stood by while the Coastguard team caught the animal. The dog was unharmed and safe with the Coastguard so we were stood down.

“However, while returning to station we were then tasked to a small vessel with engine failure. We towed the stricken boat with three people on board back to New Quay. We rehoused the inshore lifeboat and it was ready for service by 2.40pm.”

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New maintenance Lorries cut carbon emissions

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The Ground Maintenance Team has purchased three new lorries to support ground maintenance services in Ceredigion.

The new lorries will move Ceredigion County Council’s Ground Maintenance Service’s equipment to and from the grounds that they look after. The lorries will also take cut grass away for composting. This provides the most efficient way of maintaining the areas that the team is responsible for.

Councillor Dafydd Edwards is the Cabinet member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services together with Housing. He said: “The new vehicles replace ones which had provided excellent service for almost 20 years. They are fitted with Euro 6 engines which are considerably more efficient and better for the environment.”

The Grounds Maintenance Team is also incrementally introducing electric-powered mowers, blowers, hedge cutters and strimmers into its fleet. This equipment is better for the environment, is easier to use and causes less noise and vibration.

The new lorries support Ceredigion County Council’s commitment to be a net-zero carbon council by 2030.

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