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Plan to increase resilience to coastal flooding

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The storms and associated coastal conditions on 5 December 2013 and 3-6 January 2014 reached a level and ferocity not seen in Wales for many years.

The storms and associated coastal conditions on 5 December 2013 and 3-6 January 2014 reached a level and ferocity not seen in Wales for many years.

A DELIVERY plan to make Wales more resilient to coastal flooding has been launched today (Jan 5) by Natural Resources Wales (NRW).

Since the devastating storms that hit communities along the coast of Wales 12 months ago the priority has been to repair and restore defences damaged in the storms.

The delivery plan issued today outlines how the 47 recommendations made by NRW in April 2014, following an in-depth review into the impacts of last winter’s flooding, are being implemented. It details progress to-date and what more needs to be done, by all the organisations involved.

Five of the actions have already been completed with work on another 35 well under way, including:

Ongoing work to evaluate improvements at locations around the coast of Wales which either experienced flooding or came close to flooding during last winter’s storms. For example, local improvements have been made for areas that flooded in Rhyl, with work ongoing to evaluate longer term options.

  • The Welsh Government has launched its consultation on ‘Flood and Coastal Investment Programme’, which looks at how future investment in defences should be prioritised.
  • Continued work developing flood plans for flood risk communities through NRW’s Flood Awareness Wales programme, including signing up a further 1,156 people to the free Floodline Warnings Direct service.
  • A permanent offshore buoy deployed off the Pembrokeshire coast to improve flood forecasting.
  • Preparatory work for a major coastal flooding exercise in March 2015.
  • Publication of the assessment of environmental change experienced during the storms.
New plan: Improvements will include a permanent offshore buoy deployed off the Pembrokeshire coast to improve flood forecasting.

New plan: Improvements will include a permanent offshore buoy deployed off the Pembrokeshire coast to improve flood forecasting.

Work on the remaining seven recommendations will begin in January 2015.

The storms in January 2014 caused millions of pounds worth of damage, hundreds of homes and businesses were flooded and even the natural environment and landscape of Wales were changed.

But although the storms were devastating in many places, the existing coastal defences protected around 74,000 properties from flooding – avoiding an estimated £3 billion of damage.

Also today – as part of the commitment in the plan to sustain investment in defences – the Welsh Government announces £1.9m towards a new flood defence for Rhyl. The funding marks the final phase of the coastal defence scheme which, once completed, will mean a reduced flood risk to over 2,600 homes and businesses in the area.

On a visit to Garford Road and West Rhyl coastal defence scheme, Carl Sargeant, the Minister for Natural Resources, said: “This term of Government will see over £245 million of Welsh Government investment in flood and coastal erosion risk management, supported by an additional £50 million from Europe. This demonstrates our commitment to protecting communities by managing the risks of flooding.

“I’d like to commend Natural Resources Wales, who have today published their delivery plan to take forward the recommendations contained within the Coastal Flooding Review. I am pleased to be able to announce an additional £150,000 of funding for NRW in the next financial year to assist in progressing the recommendations. I look forward to continuing to work with them and relevant organisations across Wales to ensure that we do all that we can to mitigate against the effects of flooding and keep our communities safe”

Jeremy Parr, Head of Flood Risk Management for NRW, told The Herald: “Although we are 12 months on from the storms which affected so many communities in Wales, people still continue to feel their impact.

“And with the risk of coastal flooding likely to increase in the future due to climate change we are likely to see more extreme weather like this in the future so we all have to understand that increased risk and how we can prepare for when it happens again.

“The aim of this delivery plan is to make further improvements to the support to communities before, during and after a flood, working together with local authorities, the Welsh Government, emergency services and responders and with communities.”

The delivery plan focuses on six areas: Sustained investment in coastal risk management, improved information on coastal flood defence systems, greater clarity of roles and responsibilities of agencies and authorities, assessment of skills and capacity, more support to communities to become more resilient, delivery of locally developed plans for coastal communities.

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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50

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EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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Nolton Haven: Man hospitalised after getting into difficulties in sea

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A MAN was taken to hospital after getting into difficulties in the sea off Nolton Haven on Friday.

Emergency services were alerted at 2.40pm on February 26 by a 999 call to the control centre.

The Little Haven RNLI lifeboat, Broad Haven Coastguard, an ambulance crew and a Coastguard rescue helicopter assisted police in the operation.

The male casualty was stabilised on the beach and shortly before 4.30pm, was then transported to Withybush Hospital.

A police spokesman told The Herald: “We were called to a male who had got into difficulties in the water at Nolton Haven shortly before 3pm.

“He was taken to hospital by ambulance.”

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Cyclist killed on A40 was serving police officer, force confirms

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A CYCLIST who died after a crash with a van on the A40 in Carmarthenshire was a serving police officer with Dyfed-Powys Police, the force has confirmed in a statement to Herald.Wales.

The driver of the van involved in the crash, which happened on Thursday (Feb 25) has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, it was confirmed on Friday (Feb 26).

Police are investigating the fatal collision, which caused the road to be closed for 12 hours, and are asking for any witnesses to come forward by calling 101.

37-year-old Lynwen Thomas, who is a former student at Ysgol Bro Myrddin, Croes-y-Ceiliog, Carmarthen, was a sergeant and a very well-respected member of Dyfed-Powys Police.

A spokesperson for the police said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues, who have all been offered specialist support. We ask that family members are given the privacy they need at this difficult time.”

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