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Public urged to join consultation on waste and recycling centres

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USERS of the county’s waste and recycling centres (WRCs) are being asked for their views on the future operation of the service.

A public consultation has been launched and puts forward potential options for residents to provide feedback.

It follows examination of data that showed at some sites less than 30% of available slots at WRCS are being booked.

And, against a backdrop of ongoing changes to recycling legislation from the Welsh Government and increasing financial pressures, it is now timely to undertake a review of the WRCs.

Cllr Cris Tomos, Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “For Pembrokeshire to be top for recycling in Wales is a fantastic achievement and one which we are rightly proud of. I thank our dedicated staff for all their hard work and also thank our residents who have helped us achieve this recognition.

“With further changes to come on legislation to recycling from the Welsh Government and with the data to hand from the booking system showing the level of demand at our WRCs it makes sense to examine the WRCs role, function and financing.

“We are of the view that WRC provision should reflect the demand across Pembrokeshire to provide an efficient service and value for money.”

The Council currently operates six WRCs across the County – Crane Cross, Hermon, Manorowen, St David’s, Waterloo and Winsel – one of the highest levels of WRCs provision in Wales.

The current operating costs for the WRCs are more than £1.3m per year.

This cost is not sustainable and mandatory requirements to sites in line with changes to environmental permits will also require about £250,000 of infrastructure costs at five of the six WRC sites.

The consultation provides two options to balance the needs of the public as far as practically possible with the statutory level of service and budgetary constraints.

They include reducing the number of sites operated by the council or rationalising the opening hours of all WRCs.

The potential savings of a closure of a small WRC would be approximately £45,000 per year while reducing the opening hours by two days per week could provide a cost reduction of about £10,000 per year.

The public’s views are also sought on the retention of the booking system, the range of materials collected and the range of non-domestic materials which incur charges.

Cllr Tomos added: “We understand and recognise how important the waste and recycling services are to our residents and I would urge all Pembrokeshire people, businesses, voluntary and community groups to please get involved with this consultation and provide your thoughts.

“We’d love to hear your own ideas, suggestions and different ways of working so that the services can be retained and made more efficient and effective.”

The consultation is now live at https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/ and closes on Monday, August 9, 2021.

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Protect yourself and others from Covid-19 this festive season

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL says it is reminding people to think of the continuing risks from Covid variant when attending Christmas parties or other social gatherings this year.

Covid-19 has not gone away, and the emergence of the new Omicron variant is an added concern.

Although figures in Pembrokeshire have dropped slightly in the past few days, case numbers still remain in the higher half of the all-Wales table.

It is human nature to want to forget about Covid as the festive season approaches, especially following the disappointment when the tighter restrictions had to be brought in just before Christmas last year.

Christmas parties and other planned gatherings during this holiday season is one particular area people can take extra care when planning festive events and looking forward to the celebrations.

Please consider meeting in smaller group numbers than you might ordinarily, in a well ventilated location and try to avoid mixing with too many other people. Wear a well fitted face covering where required. Be extra careful if you have contact with any vulnerable person.

The take up of both the Covid vaccination booster, as well as the flu vaccine is as important as it’s ever been, now that we are seeing a new variant, so if you aren’t up to date with your vaccines and boosters we urge you to take up these offers.

Cllr David Simpson, Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, said: ‘It is vital that members of the community remember the simple things we can all do to give ourselves the best protection against Covid-19 and slow down the spread.

‘Continue to work from home where you can, take up vaccination including the booster when offered, keep your distance where possible and use face coverings where required.

‘The protective measures will help make a difference to keep us safe, so please maintain hand hygiene, meet outdoors when the weather allows and let fresh air in if you are meeting indoors. Together we can ensure this Christmas is better than last year’s.’

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Meals on Wheels St Davids celebrates success at Ystadau Cymru Awards

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A COLLABORATIVE project involving St Davids Befriending Group and Pembrokeshire County Council has scooped the ‘Delivering Social Value’ award at the prestigious Ystadau Cymru awards for its Community Meals on Wheels (MoW) project.

Ystadau Cymru encourages excellence in active management of the Welsh public sector estate through strategic collaboration and good practice guidance.

The MoW project, which has been running since April, has provided people with a hot meal and helped the vulnerable in the community through the pandemic.

In total, the St Davids Befriending Group is made up of local individuals who work together on a voluntary basis in collaboration with Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi.

The Award was presented to the winners by Minister for Finance and Local Government, Rebecca Evans MS. The judging panel hailed the project for being an inspiration to bringing a collaborative effort to life and realising what can be done when the public sector and resilient communities come together.

A Meals on Wheels service was last operated in St. Davids in the late 1980’s when it was run by the Royal Voluntary Service.

And although Pembrokeshire County Council tried twice to re-establish this in the early 2000’s – it was without success.

But, come the autumn of 2020 the St. Davids Befrienders got together to try once more to restart the service. After an initial meeting held last January between the volunteering group and local authority staff, the service launched in April 2021 – and it has gone from strength-to-strength.

All the meals are cooked by the staff at the Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi canteen as it’s a suitable venue to mass-produce the food in a safe environment with trained staff.

The Head teacher was supportive of the concept as the school is at the heart of the community.

Cllr David Lloyd said: ‘I am honoured to be part of such an incredible team that time after time delivers a wonderful service to people in St Davids.

‘This is a true team effort from the St. Davids Befrienders to our friends at Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi school.

‘The delight on the people’s faces when the food arrives, or when someone knocks on the door just for a chat, is something to behold. As one of those who deliver the food I can’t express the excitement and pleasure on the faces when I knock on their door, it is absolutely moving.

‘It makes everything worthwhile and brings the community together in ways that sometimes can be slightly missed. I want to take this opportunity to thank Sarah Oliver at Pembrokeshire County Council, Ystadau Cymru for this marvellous award and Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi’s school for enabling the St. Davids Befrienders to provide the amazing Meals on Wheels service.’

Applications were encouraged to demonstrate how the projects achieved social value through collaboration with multiple partners – and this is exactly what the Meals on Wheels realised.

Cllr David Simpson, Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council added: ‘This is a hugely successful and significant project for the people of St David’s – and I’m delighted it has been celebrated in this way.

“The St David’s Meals on Wheels is a great example of collaboration between volunteers, stakeholders and the local school.

“It has breathed new life into a voluntary service that was lost decades ago. This is an incredible achievement.’

Since April, the MoW team have delivered meals, ensuring some of the most vulnerable in the community receive a hot, healthy and delicious meal. 

Chief Executive Will Bramble said: ‘This collaborative project, involving the public estate, has made a significant impact on the community they serve.

‘I am immensely proud that this partnership approach has enabled this Authority to help provide a Transformative way of working which benefits those who need it most.

‘This recognition is a symbol of what can be achieved when communities pull together, utilise local resources to solve problems – and more importantly, show they care.’

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Parents warned of pitfalls of buying e-scooters this Christmas

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Thinking of buying an e-scooter as a gift this Christmas? You may want to rethink that idea the local police are saying.

Dyfed-Powys Police has teamed up with partners Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Powys and Ceredigion councils, as well as Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, to remind people that privately owned e-scooters are illegal to ride on public roads, pavements, parks and cycle paths.

Anyone caught doing so risks being issued with a £300 fine, six penalty points on their driving licence and having the e-scooter seized.

E-scooters can only be used on private land with the permission of the landowner.

Chief Inspector Thomas Sharville, Specialist Operations Department, said: “I would remind anyone considering purchasing an e-scooter as a Christmas gift that it is illegal to use a privately owned e-scooter on public roads, pavements or cycle paths.

“Their speed and silence can pose a significant danger to other road users and pedestrian safety, especially vulnerable pedestrians.

“Please consider a more suitable, and safer, gift for your loved ones

“Retailers may be happy to sell one to you but it could be seized the moment you attempt to use it in a public place.”

Additionally, for any driver or motorcyclist that has passed their driving test in the last two years it could result in a driving disqualification and the need to re-take both the theory and practical driving test.

Trials of rental e-scooters are taking place in some parts of England, but they should only be used within the local area hosting the trial.

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