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Numbers for drink drive arrests in Wales

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DESPITE coronavirus restrictions and a national lockdown in December, Welsh police forces breathalysed almost 5,000 motorists.

Of the 4,906 breath tests administered, 181 (3.7%) motorists failed, or failed to provide a specimen, and will lose their licences.

Officers also carried out 469 DrugWipe tests, with 274 (58.4%) failing, leading to 377 arrests.

Led by Dyfed-Powys Police in Wales, the national campaign saw all four forces take part throughout December to clamp down on drink and drug driving.

Strategic Lead for Roads Policing in Wales, ACC Mark Travis of South Wales Police said, “Drink and drug driving has devastating consequences for families and communities. The majority of drivers are responsible, so we thank those drivers who respect the law and the safety of others. The results of this campaign sadly show that many are not, their behaviour places others at risk and this is unacceptable.

“As a service we are committed to reducing fatal collisions. We will use our resources to target those members of the community who place others at risk and it really is not worth the risk. Let’s make our roads and communities as safe as we possibly can.”

Dyfed-Powys Police Superintendent Clark Jones-John said: “181 drivers in Wales had a Christmas and New Year to remember for all the wrong reasons – after being arrested by our officers for drink and drug driving.

“It is disappointing that some people are still prepared to take the risk and get behind the wheel whilst under the influence.”

Although the figures showed a reduction in the percentage of failures for three of Wales’s forces, Dyfed-Powys Police saw an increase of almost 5%.

The dangers of drink and drug driving are plain to see. Those that do take the risks clearly don’t think about the families of those people who have died at the hands of a driver who is affected by alcohol or drugs.

“Our officers are often the first ones on the scene of these types of collisions and some of the things they have witnessed are horrific. Nobody should ever have to witness that or have to suffer due to the irresponsible and unlawful actions of another.”

In the UK, there were 42,613 breath tests administered, with 3917 (9.2%) failed, or failed to provide. Of the 4,217 drug tests, 2813 (66.7%) were positive.

Supt Jones-John added: “Our officers work 24 hours a day, seven days a week and anyone who is considering driving whilst under the influence should know that we will be out and about waiting for them – please don’t think the rural nature of the region affords you protection because it doesn’t.

“We will continue to crack down on those who take this unnecessary risk and bring them before the courts.”

The Drug-drive arrests by force were as follows: Gwent Police 119, North Wales Police 82, Dyfed-Powys Police 78 and South Wales Police 98

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Ceredigion public transport services arrangements challenging

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WORK is ongoing to provide sustainable and affordable travel opportunities by bus.

A procurement process is currently underway to secure statutory learner transport requirements as well as opportunities for the general public to travel by bus on a number of routes in Ceredigion.

With the current arrangements coming to an end on 31 December 2022, tenders received for local bus routes are being evaluated. There is particular focus on their affordability taking into account the significant increases in tendered prices.

Unfortunately, no tender has been received for operating the 585 service, Aberystwyth-Tregaron-Lampeter. Unless a last minute contract can be negotiated, the non-school journeys on this route will not operate as of January 2023.

Opportunities for the general public to travel on some learner travel services will continue from January 2023 onwards. This is due to the integrated nature of the bus network in Ceredigion.

Councillor Keith Henson, Ceredigion County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Transport Services said, “It is a very difficult time for the bus industry with spiralling costs, a lack of qualified Public Service Vehicle (PSV) drivers, uncertainty around future funding arrangements and low passenger numbers. The number of people using buses in Wales has been in decline for a number of years. This has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic which has led to the amount of public funding required to subsidise local bus services rising dramatically on already stretched public finance budgets.

The Council will continue in its efforts to work with key stakeholders including local bus operators, Welsh Government and Transport for Wales to provide sustainable and affordable travel opportunities by bus. However, in the short term at least, it has to be recognised that the outlook is very challenging.”

Further updates will be provided in due course while officers focus their attention on providing the best level of travel opportunities possible.

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Flood warnings issued in parts of Ceredigion

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FLOOD warnings have been issued in Borth, Borth River Leri and the tidal area at Aberystwyth seafront.

The high tide is expected at 8:15pm on Thursday 24 November 2022 at Borth. Wave overtopping at the seafront is expected to occur between 7:15pm and 9:45pm. The properties closest to the sea front are most at risk.

If you are worried or experiencing flooding, call Floodline on 0345 988 1188.

You can visit Natural Resources Wales website to see the current flood warnings in force, check the river and sea levels or keep an eye on the 5-day flood risk forecast: https://naturalresources.wales/?lang=en

You can also follow Ceredigion County Council, Natural Resources Wales and the Met Office on social media for updates on the weather situation.

Any further details will be updated on this page: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/novemberfloodwarnings

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Winter Fuel Support Scheme open for applications

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ELIGIBLE households are reminded to apply to the Winter Fuel Support Scheme for support towards paying winter fuel bills.

Welsh Government has re-launched the Winter Fuel Support Scheme for 2022 – 2023 as part of a £90m support package to address immediate pressures on living costs.

To date, Ceredigion County Council has assisted over 5,000 households with these payments, and paid out in excess of £1million. So, if you are facing increased fuel bills and think that you may qualify, please submit your application as soon as possible. Eligible households can claim a one-off £200 payment to provide support towards paying their energy bills for their primary residence in Wales.

The scheme is open to households where the applicant or their partner is responsible for paying the energy bills and is in receipt of one of the following benefits (at any time between 1 September 2022 and 31 January 2023):

Income Support
Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
Income Related Employment & Support Allowance
Universal Credit
Working Tax Credits
Child Tax Credits
Pension Credit
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
Carers Allowance
Contributory Based/New Style Job Seekers Allowance
Contributory Based/New Style Employment & Support Allowance
Armed Forces Independence Payment
Constant Attendance Allowance
War Pension Mobility Supplement

If the applicant or their partner who is liable for the fuel costs does not receive any of the above qualifying benefits then they may still be eligible for a payment if a qualifying person lives with them. A qualifying person must meet all the following:

occupy the applicant’s or partner’s home as their primary residence, and
is a dependent child or an adult living with the applicant or their partner, and
is in receipt of one of the following benefits (at any time between 1 September 2022 and 31 January 2023):
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
Attendance Allowance
Armed Forces Independence Payment
Constant Attendance Allowance
War Pension Mobility Supplement

The payment will be available to all eligible households regardless of whether they pay for their energy on a pre-payment meter, by direct debit or by paying a bill quarterly. The fuel received can be on or off grid.

Councillor Gareth Davies, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Finance and Procurement Services, said: “I would encourage people facing higher fuel bills to check if they are eligible for the Winter Fuel Assistance Scheme to get invaluable help with fuel bills when it is most needed.”

Applications can be made up until 5pm on 28 February 2023 on the Council website: https://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/resident/benefits/winter-fuel-support-scheme/

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