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​​Black bags ‘were rubbish’

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County Hall

County Hall

THE COUNCIL is to stop its supply of black bags to domestic households in a bid to save around £83,000 a year.

The council’s Cabinet met on Monday (Nov 30), to discuss stopping the supply and plans to increase fees for garden waste collection from £38 to £41.50 per year.

It was highlighted that Pembrokeshire County Council was one of few authorities in Wales to supply black bags and to stop it now would save money straight away.

Cabinet Member for Environmental and Regulatory Services and the Welsh Language, Cllr Huw George said: “Garden Waste Collections started in 2011, it’s a subscription only service and to date we have approximately 5300 customers and they pay £38 for a 40 week period where there garden waste is collected every fortnight.

“The position I have for Cabinet is that we amend the charges as follows; to increase the garden waste collection to £41.50 per bin per annum from the current £38.

“If the total number of customers remains around the same level it would generate an additional £18,500. In addition to that if we could increase that number it might secure the price of £41.50 as we move forward through the years ahead.

“It’s £2 per collection which is very reasonable. For £2 a fortnight we can take away your garden waste which would secure the service moving forward.

“Every year we supply 52 black bags to domestic properties and this is not a statutory duty and we are one of few authorities who still do so. We have downed the size and made them thinner.

“It is proposed that we, if we cease supplying black bags to households from 2016 onwards, we would save £83,000.

“The reason we are bringing this forward today is that we are about to go out and pay for the black bags coming on so if we can save paying them it means that the money is with us now rather than looking ahead 12 months.

“There are concerns that people, if they don’t have a black bag, would stick things into the orange bag but I must say that the people of Pembrokeshire have been absolutely brilliant with recycling.

“When we brought in fortnightly collections, there were some people who were saying it was the end of the world but the people of Pembrokeshire responded remarkably.”

Council Leader Jamie Adams said: “The costings are based on the net effect of the increase, not dissuading any customers from continuing with the provision of the service.

“We are one the last councils to supply black bags, recognising that we do need to encourage greater recycling, albeit the public has responded very well to that.”

Head of Environment & Civil Contingencies Richard Brown added: “We have increased the price in each of the last three years and each time we have seen an increase in numbers of people wanting to take the service up. This is because people realise how good it is. The service sells itself.

“We are not anticipating a drop, if we did that would be counter-productive but on previous performance we would expect this to be growing.

“In terms of the black bags, in Ceredigion they haven’t had black bags over the last 12 years so it is down to the residents there.

“A lot of people have been critical of the quality of the plastic bags which I would say are standard industry bags but I wouldn’t anticipate general disobedience from the public because we stopped supplying them with black bags.”

Cllr Jamie Adams said that this was part of a consultation process and added that members of the public had said that the council don’t need to supply black bags.

Cllr Alison Lee said: “I really don’t think this is going to be an issue and I think it would encourage more recycling and as Huw already said, the bags weren’t that good anyway.”

Cllr Huw George replied: “They were rubbish.”

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Warning to drug users in Ceredigion over ‘Street Valium’

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POLICE are once again warning drug users in Ceredigion to take extra care when taking illegal prescription drugs especially when taken in conjunction with other drugs and/or alcohol. Mixing drugs, knowingly or unknowingly, can be extremely dangerous for anyone taking them.

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson said: “We have reasons to believe that drug users are making use of “Street Valium” at the moment and this is very concerning as individuals just do not know what these tablets may have been combined with. Valium, also known as diazepam – is a benzodiazepine. Combining opioids and benzodiazepines is particularly dangerous because both types of drug sedate users and suppress breathing”.

“We would also appeal to drug users to seek medical attention immediately should they become unwell.

“Please share this information with anyone that you believe could come into contact with these drugs.”

To seek advice and support, visit https://barod.cymru/where-to-get-help/west-wales-services/ddas-dyfed-drug-and-alcohol-service/

Please be aware that some services may operate an automated service outside office hours.

In an emergency, or if you think someone’s life is at risk, always dial 999.

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Ben Lake MP stands up for Ceredigion’s hospitality sector in Parliament

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A WESTMINSTER Hall debate, brought about by an online petition signed over 200,000 times, saw MPs on both sides come together to shine a light on the challenges currently faced by restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and supply chain businesses across the UK.

During his contribution to the debate, Ben Lake MP emphasised the importance of the hospitality industry to Ceredigion’s local economy. Ceredigion is home to nearly 400 food and accommodation businesses, including 75 pubs, and together hospitality businesses employ 4,500 people in the county. This equates to over 16% of all employees, without accounting for the many supply chain jobs that are dependent on the sector, such as those found in breweries, food wholesale, and catering equipment hire businesses.

Figures published by UK Hospitality have shown that approximately 41% of hospitality businesses suggested that they would fail by mid-2021 and only one in five sector businesses have enough cash flow to survive beyond February.

Ben Lake MP said: “The vaccination programme of course offers some hope that we will see the level of Covid disruption reduce significantly this year, but hospitality businesses across Ceredigion tell me that they are deeply concerned about their immediate prospects for survival.

“I support calls for the Treasury to provide additional funds so that businesses can be supported to bounce back once restrictions have been eased, and to pause employer national insurance contributions for furloughed employees as a way of alleviating the burden on businesses that are still, in many instances, required by law to close. I also urged the Treasury to consider extending the business rates holiday for the forthcoming financial year, as well as extending the hospitality VAT reduction scheme into 2022.

“Not only would these support measures give businesses the support they require to see out this pandemic, it would also avoid the terrible situation whereby businesses that have previously received Government support are forced to close for good – leaving their employees without a job and previous Government support in vain.”

While there will be no direct action as a consequence of this Westminster Hall debate, it is hoped the result will put increased pressure on the UK Government to consider the proposal more seriously.

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Lifeboat Operations Manager in New Year’s Honours list

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Richard Llewelyn Griffiths the Lifeboat Operations Manager of Aberystwyth Lifeboat Station has been recognised for services to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in Wales.

He has been awarded a BEM.

Having served as a RNLI volunteer for an impressive 47 years, it is his role in the last 21 years as Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) which has earned him the most respect.

His local knowledge has provided reassurance to casualties and crews alike when launching in difficult conditions.

His operational decision-making and station management skills are outstanding, and he is greatly valued by crew, management, volunteers and coastal personnel both past and present.

He has contributed greatly towards Aberystwyth being recognised as a ‘benchmark’ Inshore Lifeboat Station, serving as an example to the whole institution of how a station could and should be run.

Richard said: ‘I’m very surprised but honoured to be receiving a BEM – the news still doesn’t feel real. My father was awarded a BEM in 1988 and I still have his medal at home, so to be awarded one myself for my work with the lifeboats is a great privilege. I’ve been fortunate to work with a number of characters during my time with the RNLI – both at Borth and Aberystwyth – and continue to volunteer alongside a good crew today.’

Nationally, a total of six Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteers have been recognised for their vital role in helping the charity save lives at sea through the New Year’s Honours.

Mark Dowie, RNLI Chief Executive said: ‘Following a challenging 2020, it is particularly pleasing to see these RNLI volunteers recognised in the New Year’s Honours list. Together, they personify the RNLI’s ‘One Crew’ ethos, representing the variety and diversity of roles from a former full-time mechanic to shore crew and fundraisers to station managers, who collectively deliver a shared vision to save every one. On behalf of everyone at the RNLI, congratulations to you all for being recognised for your longstanding service, hard work and selfless commitment. And thank you for everything you do to help the RNLI save lives at sea.’

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