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Getting ready for the big chill

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big chillPEMBROKESHIRE County Council is gearing up for the cold winter months ahead.

The Council’s transportation team is preparing its winter road plan to cope with whatever the weather brings. Although last year’s winter weather was relatively mild, Council gritters were still in action for 65 days.

The year before was exceptionally severe with gritters out for over 100 days and maintenance staff working the whole of the festive season – including Christmas Day itself.

This year the Council has stockpiled 7,000 tonnes of salt/grit – with a further 1,000 tonnes in reserve – ready to use on the County’s busiest roads should temperatures take a dive.

Staff are on standby 24 hours a day seven days a week to enable them to respond to emergency situations at short notice.

“We are determined to keep the county moving whatever the weather,” said Councillor Rob Lewis, Cabinet Member for Transportation.

“We prepare as much as we can but at the end of the day it’s impossible to predict exactly what the winter weather will bring.

“We hope to have a mild winter, but if it is not to be, then we are ready for the worst.”

Over winter the Council subscribes to a dedicated weather forecasting service and is also able to monitor data from a number of weather stations in the region including three in Pembrokeshire and a further eight in neighbouring authorities.Sensors installed at these outstations store and relay vital information such as air and road surface temperatures as well as wind speed.

A dedicated winter maintenance duty officer is also in place – including out of hours and at weekends- to monitor and plan for bad weather and coordinate the council’s response to it.

A team of 39 trained drivers will be on standby ready to respond should conditions take a turn for the worse. At their disposal they have one rotary snow plough (snow blower), 16 straight ploughs, five purpose built gritters, 11 demountable gritters and two trailer spreaders – plus access to additional snow clearing equipment from private contractors if needed.

Should temperatures start to dip towards freezing they will cover 11 primary salting routes across the county as a precaution.

Once these main routes have been completed they will tackle a network of secondary routes.

“During periods of snow and low temperatures it is policy is to give priority to key routes – ie those with high levels of traffic flow and then treat secondary routes as quickly as resources allow,” said Councillor Lewis.

Pembrokeshire has 120km of Trunk Road and 2,459km of county roads in total and ensures that all trunk roads and all class 1 and more heavily used or strategic class 2 and 3 roads are covered- 594km in total.

One treatment of the County’s primary gritting network (approximately 600km) uses on average about 75 tonnes of grit/salt.

Information about any disruption to services – including snow and ice – can be found on the council’s website: www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/serviceclosures

People can also stay up to date during bad weather conditions by:-

• Registering for school and Cleddau Bridge closure alerts – www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/alerts
• “Like” us on Facebook – www.facebook.com/pembrokeshirecountycouncil
• “Follow” us on Twitter www.twitter.com/pembrokeshire

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Milford Haven: Man charged over two burglaries and criminal damage

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE have released an update in relation to the spate of burglaries in Milford Haven

34-year-old Thomas John Picton has been charged with two burglaries and criminal damage in the town.

He is, say police, suspected of being involved in a burglary carried out at Cohen’s pharmacy of November 26, another at Heaven Scent shop and criminal damage to a door at The Precinct on the same date.

He will appear before Llanelli Magistrates’ Courts this morning (Dec 3).

An arrest has also been made in relation to a more recent burglary at the Royal British Legion on December 11. He was also arrested on suspicion of possession of class A.B and C drugs. He has been released under investigation.

One suspect is outstanding.

Some 11 arrests have now been made in connection with a spate of burglaries that has targeted businesses and homes in the town.

Dyfed-Powys Police has vowed to continue to crack down on suspects and prevent further burglaries in the lead up to Christmas.

Sergeant Terri Harrison from Milford Haven’s Neighbourhood Policing team said: “Hopefully this arrest provides some reassurance to the public following recent burglaries in the town. One burglary is one too many, and we will ensure that it will remain a priority for us, ensuring that we bring as much patrol cover and preventative effort as we possibly can.

“We are also aware of the impact that burglaries can have on individual householders and businesses alike. Don’t make it easy for them, stay alert to your surroundings and report anything suspicious to police immediately no matter how insignificant it may seem. The report of a suspicious vehicle or people acting strangely in your neighbourhood can help us to prevent and detect crime. We need to work together to tackle this.”

Chief Inspector Harries added: “There has been a significant amount of work carried out by the Criminal Investigation Department, response officers and neighbourhood policing teams from across the county to tackle this rise in burglary offences. We are committed to maintaining patrols in the area and seek support from the community to report any concerns.”

If you would like further advice on home security you can contact your local Neighbourhood Policing Team on 101.

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Carmarthen West & South Pembs still blue as Hart increases majority

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SIMON HART has retained his Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire seat with an increased majority.

Polling over 22,000 votes, he comfortably saw off the challenge of Labour’s Marc Tierney, who recorded just shy of 14,500 votes.

Plaid’s Dr Rhys Thomas polled over 3,000 votes in third. Alistair Cameron of the Liberal Democrats finished fourth.

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Stephen Crabb demolishes Labour with his biggest ever majority

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POLLING the largest ever number of votes for the Conservatives in Preseli Pembrokeshire, Stephen Crabb increased his majority in yesterday’s General Election.

Mr Crabb polled 21,381 votes against his nearest rival’s (Labour’s Philippa Thompson) 16,319.

Plaid Cymru finished third with 2,776 votes and the Liberal Democrats trailed home in fourth with 1,943 votes.

After Returning Officer Ian Westley announced the outcome, Mr Crabb gave a notably short victory speech in which he concentrated on thanking his opponents for a good campaign fought hard but with little personal rancour.

Philippa Thompson called on Mr Crabb to work for the benefit of all his constituents in response.

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