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New Fire Station opened in Aberystwyth

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(L-R): Arwel James, Ceredigion Response Manager; Mick Crennell, Deputy Chief Fire Officer; Cllr Janice Dudley, Fire Authority Chair; Cllr Paul James, Ceredigion Fire Authority Member; Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council; Chris Davies MBA, Chief Fire Officer; Robert Quin, Assistant Chief Fire Officer

(L-R): Arwel James, Ceredigion Response Manager; Mick Crennell, Deputy Chief Fire Officer; Cllr Janice Dudley, Fire Authority Chair; Cllr Paul James, Ceredigion Fire Authority Member; Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council; Chris Davies MBA, Chief Fire Officer; Robert Quin, Assistant Chief Fire Officer

ON THURSDAY, October 13, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS) hosted the official opening of its brand new Community Fire Station in Aberystwyth.

The Fire Station was officially opened by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, Carl Sargeant AM and attended by MAWWFRS Chief Fire Officer Chris Davies MBA; Deputy Chief Fire Officer Mick Crennell; Assistant Chief Officer Elizabeth Aitken; Assistant Chief Fire Officer Robert Quin; MAWWFRS Authority Chair Janice Dudley; Elin Jones AM; Mark Williams MP; Brendon Sommers, Mayor of Aberystwyth; Miss Bronwen Morgan, Chief Executive of Aberystwyth County Council and Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council.

The station crew and dignitaries were treated to a performance by a joint choir of pupils from Plascrug Community School and Ysgol Gymraeg Aberystwyth.

Winners of a local art competition for primary school pupils were also present, as the winning works are displayed in the new Community Fire Station. These pupils represented Ysgol Llwyn yr Eos, St Padarn’s Catholic Primary School, Ysgol Gymraeg Aberystwyth and Plascrug Community School.

The state of the art development, undertaken by Carmarthenshire developers WRW Group, is located on the former station’s ground at Penparcau Road, Trefechan. The new two-story building incorporates three fire appliance bays, office accommodation for Ceredigion County Command, as well as community facilities, including a cafe, which will be open to the public.

Building work on the new £1.6 million Community Fire Station in Aberystwyth commenced in July 2015 and the station temporarily relocated to the TA Centre on Park Avenue for the duration of the building works.

The brand new facility boasts many pioneering qualities, which includes being built to a Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM).

Carl Sargeant, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, said: “I am pleased that the Authority has involved the community in designing, constructing and operating the station. This approach has involved pupils from local schools and students from Aberystwyth University and Coleg Ceredigion as well as providing valuable work to local contractors.

“Our firefighters undertake difficult and sometimes dangerous work and deserve the best possible facilities and support. This state-of-the-art facility certainly meets those standards. It will also mean firefighters can keep in close touch with the communities they serve and protect. This will help keep local people safe from fires and other hazards.”

Chris Davies, MAWWFRS Chief Fire Officer, said: “Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service is delighted to deliver this brand new facility to the community of Aberystwyth.

“This innovative Fire Station reflects the evolving role that the Fire and Rescue Service plays in emergency response and community safety work.

“Incorporating three fire appliance bays, Ceredigion County Command offices, a Blood Bike base and a community cafe, this Fire Station truly is a community resource fit for the 21st century and able to adapt to the challenges of the future.

“It was a pleasure to hear the children’s choir sing at the opening and a privilege to welcome students from Ysgol Llwyn yr Eos, Ysgol Gymraeg Aberystwyth, Plascrug Community School and St Padarn’s Primary School, who have their art work displayed at the new station, here today.

“We are grateful to the TA Centre for accommodating the temporary station whilst the building of the new station took place.”

Jon Williams, Business Development Director for WRW, said: “We have enjoyed bringing our own expertise to the fore to help realise the potential of the scheme. Now operational, we hope the facility goes on to become a cornerstone of the community and that it allows MAWWFRS to continue its excellent service provision for the locality.”

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Ceredigion gritters prepare for Winter with a visit from ‘Goldie’

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AS WINTER maintenance training preparations continue, a specially-painted golden gritter named ‘Goldie’ visited Ceredigion on 2 October to mark Econ Engineering, UK’s biggest manufacturer of gritters, 50th anniversary.

‘Goldie’ is spending the autumn visiting local authorities across the UK as they prepare for the winter ahead.

Ceredigion County Council prepares for winter all year round; salt replenishment starts in early June to ensure that by the time winter begins stock levels are up to approximately 10,000 tonnes. This is the amount of salt that gives Ceredigion the resilience it needs if it cannot secure additional salt supplies during the winter season in a timely manner.

The winter service fleet is operated by 51 qualified gritter drivers and maintained by 9 mechanics who all work on a rota basis over the winter period. There are 10 primary gritting routes covering 437km of Ceredigion’s roads, including the Trunk Road network.

One of the first tasks for the winter service team is to ensure that over 400 Grit bins across the county, which are for the motorist to use, are filled and any damaged bins replaced. Depending on the severity of the winter and the availability of resources, these bins may need to be replenished again during the season.

Councillor Dafydd Edwards is the Cabinet member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services and Housing. He said: “Although autumn has just begun, our staff have been preparing for winter for many months already and now are taking the next step to ensure our winter fleet is ready for any frosty occurrence. Training is being completed and maintenance checks are being carried out on the gritters. Our fleet consists of 10 frontline gritters, 5 situated in each of the north (Glanyrafon) and south (Penrhos) depots and 7 reserve gritters.

“The decision as to whether gritters are deployed depends on what information is received from MetDesk, our weather forecast provider. Each day during October through until the end of April, the council will receive three forecasts a day. This information is analysed by a group of experienced duty officers, who are on duty 24hrs a day, to determine whether a gritting run is required or not.

“Having Goldie here has been a timely reminder that winter is on the way and the council is doing everything it can to minimise disruption to travelling over the winter. If you are a motorist, it’s also time for you to be mindful of how you should prepare for winter too – in the way you drive during icy conditions.”

Andrew Lupton Econ Engineering Sales Director said, “Econ Engineering has worked with Ceredigion for many years now and we’re delighted that Goldie has been able to make a guest appearance as preparations for winter get into full swing. Ceredigion has always shared Econ’s own belief in the important role that technology and innovation can play in keeping winter roads safe and the council has taken great care to specify that their Econ vehicles are fitted with the most up-to-date technology. We have fitted the fleet of gritters with high-tech kit including navigation aids for the drivers, which ensure gritting routes are treated accurately across the region, both maximising road safety and minimising the impact of salt on Ceredigion’s environment.”

For more information on Highways During Winter and advice on driving in Winter go to https://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/resident/travel-roads-parking/highways-during-winter/

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Trains could be opening from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth

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THE REOPENING of the Aberystwyth to Carmarthen railway is not only possible, it’s now on the cards. This was the message of a meeting at Plaid Cymru’s Annual Conference in Swansea, arranged by Ben Lake MP, Elin Jones AM and Traws Link Cymru.

The meeting came after the publication of the Welsh Government’s rail strategy document, ‘A Railway for Wales – Meeting the needs of future generations’, in which the Welsh Government states that it wants to ‘improve connectivity on the nation’s key corridors – especially the western corridor from Ynys Môn to Aberystwyth, Carmarthen and Swansea Bay.’

Over the years, Plaid Cymru has secured commitments by the Welsh Government to invest in scoping, feasibility and technical studies. It has also made several manifesto pledges to reopen the line.

The inclusion of the rail route in the Welsh Government’s rail strategy document is a major step as it lists, for the first time, that the re-opening of the line is part of the Welsh Government’s overall transport plan for Wales.

Ben Lake MP said:

“I am grateful to Mike Walker and Geraint Blayney for preparing such a detailed presentation, and indeed to the entire campaign for working so diligently to ensure that this important proposal receives the attention and consideration it deserves.”

Elin Jones AM said:

“It’s great to see that the campaign to reopen has now for the first time been given official status within a Government transport strategy.

“Whilst Welsh Government had commissioned both a scoping study and a full technical feasibility study for the reopening in recent years, it is only now that they have included the line as part of its future thinking.

“It will be for Westminster Government under the current devolution settlement to fund new rail infrastructure, but Welsh Govenrment has a role in ensuring that it is high on the agenda for rail investment.”

Mike Walker, a campaigner for Traws Link Cymru said:

“Following the Feasibility Study into the re-opening of the Aberystwyth to Carmarthen railway that was published in 2018, and which showed that there are no insurmountable engineering problems associated with the re-establishment of the line, Traws Link Cymru is further encouraged by the recent document released by the Welsh Government  “A Railway for Wales: Meeting the needs of Future Generations’.

“This outlines future Strategic Corridor Developments for Wales including enhanced connectivity from Ynys Mon, through Dolgellau, Aberystwyth and Carmarthen, to Swansea and South West Wales. For the first time, the Welsh Government has publicly acknowledged the need for a north-south rail corridor, a key element of which is the Aberystwyth to Carmarthen line that has been the focus of the Traws Link Cymru campaign.

“The onus is now on the Welsh Government to accept that the re-opening of this railway line is a transport priority for Wales, and to seek funding from Westminster to deliver the project.”

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Hate Crime Awareness Week 2019

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NATIONAL Hate Crime Awareness Week will take place from October 12 – 19  this year. Ceredigion County Council is highlighting the campaign by reminding residents of what is a Hate Crime and signposting people to the necessary support; whether they may be a victim or a witness to a hate crime incident.

Ellen ap Gwynn is Leader of Ceredigion County Council and Members’ Champion for Equalities. She said: “We will not tolerate any form of Hate Crime in Ceredigion. Everyone should be respectful of each other’s individual characteristics and beliefs. This national week of raising awareness is an important reminder to us all that we need to live in harmony with each other to make our communities safe and prosperous places for our residents to live in without fear.”

Hate crimes may be physical or verbal attacks, threats or insults that are motivated by the victim’s age, disability, ethnicity, religious belief or non-belief, sex or gender identity or sexual orientation.

Hate crimes can be any criminal action that is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by prejudice and hatred.

Kay Howells is the Mid and South West Wales Community Cohesion Coordinator. She said: “Hate crimes often go unreported, leaving offenders free to commit further offences. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a hate crime, please make sure that it gets reported. By reporting these offences a picture of the number, type and range of incidents taking place in Ceredigion can be recorded, enabling resources to be targeted in order to deal with them.”

If you are in immediate danger call the Police by dialling 999 (non-emergencies 101).

You can make a report online using the Victim Support website, http://www.reporthate.victimsupport.org.uk/ this can also be made anonymous if that’s better for you.

Alternatively, you can call Victim Support directly 24 hours a day on 03003 031 982. If you would like support they can arrange this at the same time as making the report.

Visit the council’s Hate crime page for more information: http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/your-council/strategies-plans-policies/equality-diversity/hate-crime/

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