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M4 variable speed limit will be enforced

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Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 13.59.47DRIVERS that flout the Variable Speed Limit restrictions in place along a busy stretch of the M4 around Newport will face tougher enforcement action, says Economy and Infrastructure Secretary, Ken Skates. 

The warning was issued ahead of a new safety campaign launched Wednesday (25 July) which aims to ensure drivers are more aware of and adhere to the variable speed limits in place on the M4 between Junctions 24 (Coldra) and 28 (Tredegar Park) before enforcement action is stepped up.

The Welsh Government introduced a Variable Speed Limit along this stretch of road in 2011 as a means of reducing congestion and improving safety and journey time reliability.

Infrastructure and technology installed along the motorway between Junctions 24 and 28 monitors traffic flow and calculates the optimum speed limits for current traffic volumes. The limits are lawfully displayed on the electronic Visual Message Signs [VMS] above lanes and at the sides of the road.

When vehicles travel at consistent and similar speeds, journey times become more predictable. Congestion and queuing is reduced as traffic continues to flow steadily and the risk of collisions from vehicles approaching the back of queues is lessened.

Ken Skates explained: “Since its launch the scheme has helped to improve traffic flow and reduce the number of collisions along this stretch, with the majority of drivers adhering to the limits in place.

“However, a minority of drivers continue to flout the displayed limits and act as if the restrictions do not apply to them so it is these motorists we are primarily targeting with this awareness campaign and subsequent enforcement action.”

The campaign is being led by GoSafe, Wales’ Road Casualty Reduction Partnership, and it will consist of two stages.

Phase one will focus on an education and awareness drive, to alert motorists that tougher enforcement will shortly be coming into effect. It will include publication of the number of offences captured on that stretch of motorway and a grace period for drivers during which those who exceed the stated limit will receive warning notices.

The second phase will focus on enforcement and those caught exceeding the speed limit displayed will be issued with a Notice of Intended Prosecution.

GoSafe Partnership Manager, Chris Hume, adding his support to the initiative, said: “Managing the speed of traffic through this busy section of the M4 Motorway is vital, and proactive enforcement of the variable speed limit assists GoSafe in achieving its strategic goal to make people safer on Welsh roads by reducing casualties and saving lives.”

The Cabinet Secretary added: “There is always room for improvement in road safety and everyone has a responsibility for improving safety and playing their part. The M4 variable speed limit is just one element of a multifaceted approach the Welsh Government takes to improving road safety on the motorway and trunk road network as a whole.”

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Politics

Elin Jones raises Fibre Ceredigion’s connectivity with Openreach

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ELIN JONES AM has attended an Openreach drop in session in the National Assembly of Wales to raise concerns about the lack of Fibre in areas of Ceredigion.

Elin Jones met with Openreach’s Partnership director in Wales, Connie Dixon, and Catherine Colloms, Director of Corporate Affairs. Elin also met with Openreach engineers and was shown the process undertaken in order to install fibres in people’s homes and businesses.

Elin Jones said:

“There are still many homes and businesses in Ceredigion that need to be connected to superfast Broadband. Many are in rural locations, but there are also whole villages and, in most cases, homes that are just at the end of the line and have fallen out of scope.

“More needs to be done to ensure that access to Superfast Broadband for premises across Ceredigion is equally available. I hope to meet with Openreach in the near future in Ceredigion in order to assess the challenges that they face in installing Fibre, but also for them to see the need in our communities for superfast.”

Connie Dixon, Openreach Partnership Director for Wales, said:

“We’re already working closely with the Welsh Government to bring fibre broadband to Wales and as a result of this partnership nearly 95 per cent of the country can access superfast broadband today. But we also know there’s more to do and we’re working hard to reach those properties that currently can’t access fibre broadband.

“We’re also committed to future-proofing the network with full fibre technology but in order to build a new full fibre network for Wales we’ll need the support from our public sector partners.

“It won’t be quick or easy, but action to reduce red tape and remove barriers will speed things up. Full fibre will open up huge possibilities for the Welsh economy and help answer long terms challenges like energy use, climate change and sustainable rural communities.”

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Plaid candiate votes to fight for police devolution

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AHEAD of the general election on 12 December 2019, Ben Lake, Plaid Cymru candidate for Ceredigion has outlined a commitment to continue to fight for the devolution of policing to Wales.

Between 2010 and 2018, the number of police officers in Wales fell by 9% – with rural Wales particularly hit due to the unfair funding formula used by the UK Government.

Plaid Cymru have announced that they will create a new £50m crime prevention fund to recruit 1,600 extra police officers through the devolution of policing. The proposals would see a greater police presence locally, and helping to root officers in their communities, rather than being stretched over large geographical areas with little resources.

Earlier this year a Welsh Government-appointed commission said Wales should have full control of its justice system, including powers to run policing – with further studies suggesting Wales’ four forces would be in line for £25m extra from the UK government if policing was devolved.

Ben Lake said: “Time after time, police budgets have been cut by the UK Government, meaning far fewer officers are available to police forces in Wales. Welsh forces and rural areas have been hit harder than those in the rest of the UK, due to an unfair Home Office funding formula.”

“Since my election in 2017, I have seen firsthand the detrimental impact this funding arrangement is having on Welsh police forces and communities, something I was glad to raise in Parliament.”

“We cannot expect a one size fits all approach police funding to work effectively across the whole of the UK, and as such, it is imperative that the criteria for the central Government grant are revised to reflect the demands and unique challenges faced by rural forces in areas such as Ceredigion.”

“It remains unacceptable that Wales is the only nation in the UK without powers over policing and justice, especially given the clear financial dividend that devolution would bring about.”

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Politics

Conservative Candidate for Ceredigion, welcomed Lord Nick Bourne back to Aberystwyth

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THIS week, Lord Nick Bourne of Aberystwyth, visited the University town to meet with Amanda Jenner, the Conservative Candidate for Ceredigion in the forthcoming General Election. Lord Bourne joined with members of the Aberystwyth University Conservative Society to support Amanda with her General Election campaign to be the next MP for Ceredigion.

Coincidently, Amanda Jenner and Lord Bourne have taken similar paths – both Aberystwyth University Law Graduates who have gone on to work in the Education sector before turning to politics.

Lord Bourne, until recently, was the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Wales Office and was heavily involved with the Mid Wales Growth Deal.

Commenting on the Growth Deal, Lord Bourne said,

“One very important thing that we have been spending a lot of time on as a Government, is to ensure we get money into Mid and West Wales, including Ceredigion, particularly to motivate businesses here.”

“I personally hope that this extends to projects involving Aberystwyth University – who are already doing tremendous work, led by Elizabeth Treasure the Vice-chancellor, to ensure we have prosperity and sustainability.”

Amanda Jenner added,

“From speaking with businesses in Ceredigion, I can see that there are some fantastic opportunities here, including in the tourism and education sectors. If elected as your MP, I would be a strong voice in Westminster, fighting to ensure that the Growth Deal stays on track and that we get the levels of funding needed for the proposals put forward by the partners of the Growth Deal.”

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