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Heavy rainfall causes disruption around Ceredigion

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OFFICERS worked around the clock following disruption during the heavy rainfall of Sunday (Jan 21). Three roads were closed and a number of others only passable with great care.

Rhodri Llwyd, Highways Services Group Manager, said: “Sunday was a very busy day for us dealing with all the requests, especially between 3pm and 6pm. Five crews were out in the north of the county and three in the south where they were out clearing roads, ensuring safety to those travelling, as well as voluntary distributing sand bags, as well as extra staff called in to aid with the significant number of calls that were received within a few hours.”

The supply of sandbags is a voluntary service and the Council cannot guarantee to deliver sandbags at all sites that might need them. At times of high flood risk, the Council endeavours to deliver sandbags to occupied properties at imminent risk when requested.

Rhodri Llwyd continued: “It’s a hard task to work in such conditions. One of the most important issues for us was to ensure the safety of those travelling on Ceredigion roads, as well as the staff working to ease issues. That meant closing the A4159 between Lovesgrove and Bow Street for a time, the B4337 at Talsarn and later the A44 between Lovesgrove and Aberystwyth.”

Council staff reacted promptly after an initial weather warning that was received at 11am, and responded to calls from the residents throughout the afternoon which peaked at 2pm. The Council have county and regional plans in place that are implemented, by working with partner organisations, when an incident occurs. An Incident Response Arrangement was already established when the first flood warning was received from Natural Resources Wales.

Deputy Leader of Ceredigion County Council and Cabinet member responsible for Technical Services, Councillor Ray Quant MBE, said: “It’s a difficult time for everyone when rainfall is as heavy as it was on Sunday and it was a hard task for the infrastructure to cope. Sunday’s weather has tested the resources within the Council, but we thank the staff for working tirelessly to ensure Ceredigion residents were safe.”

Residents and businesses who know that they are located in flood risk areas are encouraged to take measures to protect their properties in readiness for the event of floods. Resources can then be directed towards the protection vulnerable people during severe flood risk events.

Councillor Quant explains: “During this incident, we saw many people prepared for flooding, especially those who live in low lying areas that are at risk of flooding. It is recommended that those who were not prepared this time, and who think they may be affected in future, to act now, in readiness for any such weather in the future. Floodgates and sandbags can be prepared before-hand and used promptly if the risk of flood arises.”

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News

Police issue warning to community over ‘fake beggars’

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POLICE in Aberystwyth are warning the community about a fraudulent group who have been travelling to the area to beg.

Many residents and visitors have donated cash believing members of the group are genuinely in need.

PC Phil Woodland: “I’m proud to work in a town where people want to help each other, but in this case, their kindness is being exploited.

“We’ve tried working with the group to ensure they have the support they need, and through this effort it’s become clear they are not genuinely homeless. We are using legal powers where possible and necessary to deal with the issue.

“Giving money to someone who is begging is a personal choice, however, on this occasion the community is being misled. At the end of the day, these people are returning to their homes – they are essentially scamming people.”

Those involved are described as men and women of Romanian descent, aged between 30 and 50. Police say they visit Aberystwyth on the train or bus, and return home to Cardiff at the end of the day.

The situation is being monitored by the neighbourhood policing team, and anyone with information is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police online: http://bit.ly/dppReportOnline, by email: contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

If you are concerned about someone you believe is sleeping rough, StreetLink exists to help connect them with the local services that can provide support: https://www.streetlink.org.uk/

Shelter Cymru offers practical advice on how to help someone who is begging, or you believe is homeless, on their website: https://sheltercymru.org.uk/7-ways/

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Community

RNLI in Wales urges people to stay safe as Storm Brendan hits

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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging people to stay safe near the Welsh coast as severe weather could make our seas and coastlines particularly dangerous.

Lifesaving charity, the RNLI, is encouraging people to exercise extreme caution if visiting the shoreline, especially along exposed cliffs, seafronts and piers.

The expected strong winds and severe gales pose a severe safety risk to those visiting the coast.

Named Storm Brendan by Met Eireann, it swept eastwards across Ireland before making its way through the rest of the UK this morning with yellow wind warning in place for most of the Welsh coast.

Chris Cousens, RNLI Regional Water Safety Lead for Wales said:

‘This rough weather could make visiting parts of the Welsh coastline treacherous and bring very dangerous sea conditions.

‘Sadly, around 150 people lose their lives on British and Irish coasts each year and over half of these people didn’t plan on ever entering the water. Slips, trips and falls can be a major factor in these kinds of incidents.’

If you see someone else in danger in the water, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. If you have something that floats that they can hold on to, throw it to them. Don’t go in the water yourself – too many people drown trying to save others.

The charity, which provides a search and rescue service around the UK and Ireland, is facing its own Perfect Storm as demand for its services has increased but it is facing a shortfall in funds. This past year, the RNLI has been busier than ever, and stormy conditions can mean additional call outs for the already extremely busy volunteer crews. Whatever the weather, RNLI volunteers will still be on call to rescue those at difficulty at sea.

The RNLI’s major new fundraising appeal, The Perfect Storm, which aims to help the charity get back to living within its means, is running throughout November and December. To find out more or to donate visit RNLI.org/ThePerfect Storm.

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Community

Are you missing out on a Council Tax reduction?

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IF YOU’RE struggling to pay your Council Tax bill, then help could be available for you through the Welsh Government’s flagship Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS).

The scheme, which will continue to support vulnerable households in 2020-21, currently benefits one in five of all households in Wales. In the last year almost 280,000 low-income households have received help from the scheme, with 220,000 paying no council tax at all. Many more receive other discounts or exemptions.

You may be entitled to pay less council tax if:

• you believe you live on a low income
• you live alone, or with people/children who do not pay council tax
• you are a student
• you are disabled
• you are severely mentally impaired

Understanding why there are still vulnerable households not benefitting from the help they are entitled to is a priority for the Welsh Government. Last year we commissioned research to understand the circumstances of households in Wales and the effects of the UK Government’s Universal Credit on the CTRS.

The interim report out today shows that for many households, the move to Universal Credit can have a significant impact on council tax reduction awards. Whilst many households currently receiving a 100% reduction will continue to do so, for others, the move to Universal Credit is shown to have an adverse impact, particularly for employed households, self-employed households, and working households in receipt of a Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

Full findings of the interim report are available on the Welsh Government website. These findings will now be considered in more detail to inform the next stages of the research and policy development in this area.

Encouraging people to make sure they are not missing out on help they could be entitled to, Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said:

“Ensuring every household in Wales receives the council tax support they are entitled to is an important part of our commitment to making council tax fairer.

“Our scheme is already helping hundreds of thousands of households across Wales, but we know that there are still many missing out on the discounts, reductions and exemptions they are entitled to. I encourage everyone to check the Welsh Government website to find out if they could be paying less.”

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