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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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42 new officers for Dyfed Powys Police in the first wave of police recruitment

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DYFED Powys Police has a recruitment target of 42 new officers in the first wave of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pledge to increase officer numbers across the UK.

The Home Office on Wednesday (Oct 9) confirmed the officer recruitment targets for every police force in England and Wales for the first year of the unprecedented drive to increase their ranks by 20,000 over the next three years.

Stephen Crabb, Preseli Pembrokeshire MP has said that this is ‘a strong start’ to helping Dyfed Powys tackle new forms of crime and keep West Wales as one of the safest parts of the country.

Following the Home Office announcement, Stephen Crabb said: “Forty-two additional police officers for Dyfed Powys Police is a strong start to strengthening frontline policing and making people feel safer.

I praised the good work local officers do in tackling County Lines drug gang in Parliament earlier this year and asked that additional resources be provided to help them stamp out this and other terrible crimes. I’m pleased the Prime Minister listened and is delivered on his pledge to increase officers numbers.”

Strengthening police numbers is a priority for the government, which is providing £750 million to support forces to recruit up to 6,000 additional officers onto our streets by the end of 2020-21, the first stage in this new uplift. This is thanks to the additional funding announced by the Chancellor in the Spending Review.

Every single police force in England and Wales will be able to recruit additional officers this year to help keep all of our communities safer.

All officers recruited as part of the 20,000 uplifts will be added to those hired to fill existing vacancies. They are also on top of the extra officers already being recruited because of the £1 billion increase in police funding for 2019-20, which includes money from council tax and for serious violence.

Government funding for recruitment in 2020-21 will cover all associated costs, including training and kit.

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Anti-Slavery campaigner receives medal

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A Pembrokeshire woman who has committed herself to combating modern slavery has been presented with the British Empire Medal.

Dr Anne Kelly of Saundersfoot was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June.

A Swansea University lecturer, she sits on the Dyfed Powys anti-slavery forum that meets in Carmarthen. Much of her work is done
through the Soroptimist International organisation.

Through her personal commitment, she is contributing to more victims of slavery being identified, recovered and supported as well as
bringing their perpetrators to justice.

It is partly through her determination and constant lobbying of MPs that the Modern Slavery Act became law in March 2015.

Dr Kelly was presented with the British Empire Medal by the Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sara Edwards, in a ceremony at County
Hall on Friday (Oct 11).

Dr Kelly was accompanied by family members.

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A letter and petition in support

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PUPILS from Milford Haven school were outside County Hall on Thursday (Oct 10) handing out letters to Councillors as they entered the main building to attend a meeting which had Milford Haven School on the agenda.

A PLEA TO DECISION MAKERS

Stevie Joseph, 14, who wrote the three-page letter said that it contained the reasons why she felt that the sixth form should stay open.
“The college is just not the same for some of us”, she said, “we need the pastoral care and support that a sixth form gives us”.

“The decline in pupil numbers is something we have noticed but Milford now has one of the biggest primary schools in Wales so its stupid to close the sixth form…. The numbers are going to go up. We should not close it now and then wait to see that improvement.”

Stevie’s classmate Rebecca said: “I would like to be in an environment where I know people. I have known these teachers for many years, and it will be weird [if I go to college and] they will not be there.”

PETITION AGAINST CLOSURE

A petition to Pembrokeshire County Council has been started on Change.org.

At the time of going to press around 500 people had signed.

Organiser Jenny did not give her last name but wrote on the page: “Milford Haven School may have to close the doors to their current sixth form department.

“The residents of Milford Haven hold the sixth form very close to their hearts as a lot of them attended themselves.

“As a community, we are all deeply saddened to hear this could be coming to an end. In previous years, this sixth form was thriving.

“As a collective, hundreds of thousands have been raised for Children in Need as well as other good causes and charities.

“Sixth form has provided pupils with vast amounts of opportunities and helped them to mature into respectable young adults. It has given students the chance to further their education in subjects they are extremely passionate about. In some instances, Milford Haven Sixth form has provided options that wouldn’t be offered anywhere else in the county.

“As it stands, if our sixth form was to close down, all pupils in year 11 and younger would have to attend either Pembrokeshire college or one of the last remaining sixth forms in the county which is Haverfordwest High which would be the closest in distance to attend.
“But in college you lose the family and community connection you have when you become part of the sixth form family.”

To sign the petition online click the link on the Pembrokeshire Herald Facebook page.

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