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MP calls on Welsh Government to explain broadband delays

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STEPHEN CRABB has called on the Welsh Government to come clean over broadband rollout delays.

Minister Julie James AM, whose responsibilities include digital infrastructure and inclusion, has been urged to explain the reasons for delays to the rollout of superfast broadband to rural properties across Wales.

Last year, the Superfast Cymru scheme saw BT receive £425m in return for connecting the vast majority of premises in Wales to next-generation broadband.

When the contract ended, 90,000 mainly rural properties still had not been connected. Further details of another scheme to complete the work were due to be announced in July, but at the start of August, Julie James AM suddenly announced that ‘unforeseen issues’ were causing delays which could not be further discussed because of ‘commercial confidentiality’.

Stephen Crabb, MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, said: “It’s simply unacceptable for the Minister responsible to announce delays to the next stage of Broadband rollout but refuse to explain why. Access to reliable, fast broadband is of increasing importance to businesses, large and small, in Pembrokeshire and I have worked with many across the constituency to improve their broadband access.

“However, the digital divide continues to exist with rural communities in Pembrokeshire suffering again. It is an inescapable fact that delivery of broadband infrastructure is devolved to the Welsh Government and Julie James AM should now come forward and explain the reasons for these delays.”

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Mount Estate: Man arrested after gas explosion threat

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Armed police: In the Mount Estate (pic. Herald)

ARMED POLICE have arrested a man on the Mount Estate in Milford Haven this afternoon (Oct 16) after responding to reports of a man who is threatening to set a fire using the gas supply in his flat.

The windows of the first floor flat, in Birch Mead, were smashed and a man was shouting to officers below threatening to cause an explosion.

Threatening: To cause an explosion (pic. Herald)

A Herald reporter at the scene had counted at least a dozen Dyfed-Powys Police vehicles, including vans and undercover cars.

Nearby residents have been evacuated and a cordon has been set up.

Emergency services: Gathered by the flat (pic. Herald)

Police asked residents and a Herald reporter at the scene to move back further after the arrival of the armed officers.

Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue, as well as specialists from the gas board, are also at the scene.

Watching: Locals were evacuated (pic. Herald)

A large crowd has gathered by the cordon.

MORE TO FOLLOW.

Armed officers: Locals were asked to move back upon their arrival (pic. Herald)

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Work goes on for NRW in aftermath of storm

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AFTER a weekend of heavy rain and floods which hit South West Wales particularly hard, the clear up has begun.

For Natural Resources Wales officers this means inspecting flood defences and other assets to assess and repair any damage caused by the high river levels and volumes of water.

Jeremy Parr, NRW Head of Flood and Incident Risk Management said:

“Our sympathies go out to anybody impacted by these floods and Storm Callum, it is an unwelcome reminder of the damage that severe weather can do.

“While some communities were significantly affected, for many the flood defences did their job and reduced the worst of the impacts.

The weekend storm caused 80 properties to flood across south west Wales and led to major disruption of businesses and transport across the whole of the country.

The River Teifi at Llandysul reached its highest level since records began in 1971 and the Towey above Carmarthen was at its highest since 1987.

NRW officers were on duty around the clock ensuring defence structures were sound, operating flood gates, erecting temporary defences and clearing trash screens.

In Abergwili, in the Tywi Valley, the flood gates were closed and prevented flooding despite the water level rising to within 180mm of the top of the gate, just short of the evacuation trigger of 150mm.

More people than ever visited NRW’s website to check the latest flood warning information. Before and during Storm Callum NRW’s flood pages received more than half a million-page views, while warning and informing messages on social media reached over 110,000 people.

Jeremy added: “After any major flooding event there are lessons to be learned and Storm Callum is no exception, so we will review what took place and how we responded to identify where improvements can be made.

“As is usual after any flood event, we now have our people out and about checking our defences for any damage, and to ensure they can continue to help protect people and property.”

“We won’t just look at the flood defence network, but also at our incident response and our warning and informing before, during and after the incident.

“While there were significant impacts in some areas, the initial indications are that these elements worked well.

“We will be working with our partners in local government and the emergency services to ensure we continue where possible to reduce the impacts of incidents like this.”

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Police appeal following five burglaries

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is appealing for information that could help their investigation into five burglaries in the Solva and St Davids areas.

They are thought to have happened between 8pm and midnight on Sunday, September 30. Cash, jewellery and a mobile phone were stolen.

A witness has described seeing a man wearing tracksuit bottoms in the area at the time. He may have been a passenger in a small silver car.

A man (aged 32) and woman (aged 39) from Cardiff have been arrested on suspicion of burglary. The woman has been released under investigation while the man has been recalled to prison for a separate offence.

The investigation is ongoing, anyone who saw anything, or has any information is asked to contact Sgt. Huw Watson at Haverfordwest Police Station by calling 101.

If you are Deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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