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Schemes commended for commitment to promoting energy efficiency

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CEREDIGION COUNTY COUNCIL were commended at an awards ceremony for their efforts based on a number of schemes and interventions which have been delivered within the County.

Nominated by Warm Wales, the Council were commended for an Energy Efficiency Award at the Regional (Wales) event which was held in Cardiff at the start of February. This award was given for the Council or Local Authority Body for showing a true commitment to promoting energy efficiency within their region.

Ceredigion has seen a number of schemes being delivered that were commended.

Applications were submitted to Welsh Government for the Warm Homes Arbed schemes and areas decided on based on the need. Llandysul, Llanarth and Cardigan were the areas that were successful for the scheme. The works included the installation of external wall insulation and other minor measures, such as loft insulation and upgrading heating systems within 212 properties.

Within the Warm Homes Arbed scheme, Citizens Advice was employed to deliver energy advice and raise awareness of energy efficient measures in the home to reduce carbon emissions and in turn, global warming. They also supported householders with advice and interventions that would increase household income and reduce expenditure, to make warmth more affordable and help improve householders’ and their families’ health and wellbeing, thereby preventing and alleviating fuel poverty.

There were 3 successful National Energy Action schemes. These included the installation of 16 biomass and solar panels in Tregaron and Hinterland area; 40 draught proofing installations in properties in the Borth area; and 100 heated seat covers for vulnerable residents targeting Disabled Facilities applications.

Ceredigion was with the first Council to launch the ECO Flexibility scheme in Wales and undertook a procurement exercise to produce a framework for companies to deliver the works. OFGEM realised that Councils are better able to identify fuel poverty within their areas. The ECO Flexibility was introduced where Councils can relax the ECO criteria and establish their own criteria that would benefit the fuel poor and vulnerable households within their areas. The scheme included distributing letters to households living in energy inefficient properties with an Energy Performance Certificate with a Band E, F or G. A great deal of interest was generated and many households are benefiting from heating systems/upgrades and loft insulation. The scheme was deemed very successful in Ceredigion and other Councils have been in contact to share best practice, criteria and Framework.

Councillor Rhodri Evans, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Lifestyle Services said, “Receiving this commendation for the hard work that has been put into schemes to promote energy efficiency within Ceredigion at a regional event is wonderful and shows the hard work of our staff. I would like to thank these members of staff for their hard work in ensuring these schemes are delivered in rural West Wales to provide a healthy and happy lifestyle for our residents.”

The Judges considered the nature, scale and scope of the work carried out, based on factors including the impact that the work has had on the local community; satisfaction of customers and local community; the level of expertise possessed within the team; and the priority the Council gives to tackling fuel poverty within its plans.

Over the past few years, the Council have also launched the Oil Syndicate for all areas of the County as well as delivering various other energy efficiency schemes and advice.

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Have you seen this rainbow coloured AA van around the coast?

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DRIVERS who break down along the Ceredigion coast may well find the gold (or yellow) at the end of the rainbow as a distinctly colourful AA van has been spotted driving around the area.

Cardigan-based Russ Williams, who has been an AA patrol for eight years, has won an AA-wide competition to emblazon his van with an eye-catching rainbow livery in support of Pride in London.

He is one of eight AA patrols across the UK who will be rescuing members in these special vans throughout the summer. In addition, two AA Signs vans will also be sporting the vibrant design. The vans will also feature in the Pride in London event on Saturday, July 7.

Russ, 39, said: “I’m really excited to have been chosen to support Pride with the colourful rainbow livery.

“It looks great on the van and I’m looking forward to chatting about it to members as they get out and about this summer.”

To celebrate Pride, the AA is also launching a competition* for both members and non-members from June 18.

Anybody who spots one of the 10 rainbow vans can enter by safely snapping a picture and sharing it on the AA’s Facebook page with hashtag #SpotThePrideVan, as well as the location and time they saw it. There are 10 prizes up for grabs, ranging from a VIP shopping experience to theme park tickets and restaurant vouchers.

Edmund King, AA president, said: “Visibility of our vans is always important as they need to stand out and be seen. These limited edition rainbow vans are a welcome addition to our fleet and certainly make a positive statement.

“We’re honoured to be adding a big splash of colour and all things rainbow to our summer this year by supporting Pride. It is an uplifting celebration of diversity and our support underlines our fundamental commitment to ensuring equality is embedded within the AA.”

The vans have already begun to cause a stir on social media, with TheGayUK Magazine tweeting: ‘The motoring section of @TheGayUK is loving the @TheAA_UK new livery to commemorate London #Pride 2018’.

The annual Pride in London event will take place on Saturday, July 7, this year. In addition to supporting, the AA will also be taking part in the parade with an army of AA volunteers walking alongside an inspirational float.

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65 ‘never events’ in Welsh hospitals over three years

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A TOTAL of 65 ‘never events’ have occurred in Welsh hospitals over the last three years, including: surgery on the wrong eye, foreign objects left in patients after surgery, and a hip replacement on the incorrect hip.

So-called ‘never events’ are incidents which should never happen in a clinical environment, and a worrying 21 were recorded in 2017/18.

It follows 21 in 2016/17 and 23 in 2015/16.

Almost a third of all ‘never events’ over the last three years (20 of 65) were recorded as a result of foreign objects being left in patients after surgical procedures, and there have been a shocking 16 incidences of surgery having been carried out on the wrong site – including an incorrect hip replacement, and surgery in the wrong part of a patient’s spine. There was also an incident in 2015/16 where a patient fell out of a ‘poorly constructed’ window.

The annual reports show that over the last three years Abertawe Bro Morgannwg and Cardiff and Vale health boards recorded the most never events – 18 and 16, respectively.

They were followed by Betsi Cadwaladr (11), Cwm Taf (8), Aneurin Bevan (7), and Hywel Dda (4) health boards. Last year, Public Health Wales also had once never event. Powys have had none.

Shadow Health Secretary, Angela Burns, said: “There’s always the potential for human error, but when NHS staff are under immense pressure – dealing with more patients than ever whilst being under-resourced – that margin for error widens.

“Fortunately, the vast majority of patients receive extremely high levels of compassionate care when encountering the NHS. But these figures remain stubbornly high, and patient safety has been seriously jeopardised on occasions.

“These are ‘never events’ – incidents that should never have occurred. But they are continuing to happen, leaving lasting, potentially life changing consequences on individuals. This is unacceptable and we need to greater instil a culture of learning, responsibility and accountability in to our NHS as we transform our services for the future.”

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Drone crash lands near West Wales Airport

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THE FIRE and rescue service was called to West Wales Airport after an unmanned aircraft crashed this week.

A spokesman for the MoD said: “We are aware of an incident involving a Watchkeeper aircraft which did not result in any injuries,” said a spokesperson.

“The aircraft has been secured and there is no risk to the public. An investigation is underway.”

Police and firefighters were called to the scene near Cyttir Mawr farmhouse after the drone came down in some trees close to the airstrip, near Aberporth, Ceredigion, at about 5pm on Wednesday (Jun 13).

A fire service spokesperson told The Herald that one crew used foam to clean up the resulting fuel spill from a pilot-less plane, which also known as a UAV

Opened in 2002, West Wales Airport is used by the military and civil aviators. The airport’s unmanned aircraft centre is the only type of facility of its kind in Europe according to Wikipedia. The Ministry of Defence used the Airport to test the Watchkeeper drone.

Jill Gough, of CND Cymru, said: “By my reckoning, this is the fourth drone they’ve lost – and these UAVs cost £6m apiece – it’s an absolute scandal, really.”
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