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Wales to reduce speed limit to 20mph in built-up areas from Sunday

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WALES will introduce a new default speed limit of 20mph (32km/h) for residential roads from Sunday, making it the first UK nation to make such a change. This follows Spain, which has already adjusted its national speed limits in 2019. However, drivers are being urged not to rely solely on their satellite navigation systems for the speed limit updates, as some GPS firms have indicated that immediate updates might not be possible.

What This Means for Drivers

The new law will affect around 35% of Welsh roads with lamp-posts no more than 200 yards (183m) apart. Notably, since this will be the national speed limit, 20mph signs will be unnecessary on those roads unless the limit changes. But while police have noted that enforcing the new speed will be a “last resort” in the early stages, fixed speed cameras will not show such leniency.

Simon Williams, of the RAC, advised drivers to stay updated. “Until sat-nav systems have been fully updated, they shouldn’t rely on them to know what the speed limit is on any particular stretch of Welsh road,” he stated.

Political Reactions

The speed limit change has spurred varied responses from politicians. House of Commons leader Penny Mordaunt criticised the move, terming it “insane”. Mordaunt suggested that the Labour party was punishing motorists. However, Lee Waters, the deputy climate change minister for Wales, described Mordaunt’s comments as a “pantomime”.

Economic and Safety Implications

First Minister Mark Drakeford highlighted the safety benefits, stating that while it may take an extra minute for journeys, the change could save ten lives in Wales each year. However, the Welsh Conservatives have drawn attention to Welsh government documents which estimate that the speed change could cost the Welsh economy between £2.7b and £8.9b due to increased journey times. Yet, Mr Drakeford counters that the NHS could see savings of £92m annually.

Historically, more people were severely injured or killed in 30mph zones in Wales than in any other zones. Safety campaigners, Brake, have emphasised that the risk of fatality is five times higher at 30mph compared to 20mph.

Which Roads Will Change?

Of the 22,000 miles of road in Wales, an estimated 7,700 miles will change from 30mph to 20mph. About 30,000 road signs are set to be replaced.

However, not all 30mph roads will experience this reduction. Local authorities have the discretion to maintain the 30mph speed limit where they can provide evidence that such speeds are safe and won’t endanger pedestrians and cyclists.

Controversial Change?

The speed limit adjustment has seen its share of controversy. A majority of respondents to a Welsh government-commissioned consultation were against the change. Furthermore, the Welsh Conservatives have voiced strong opposition.

Mark Drakeford admitted the change would require adjustment, likening it to the introduction of the breathalyser. He expressed hope that, over time, the community would see the benefits of the reduced speed in terms of safety.

As Wales moves forward with this landmark change, it remains to be seen how smoothly the transition will be and what the long-term impacts, both positive and negative, will be.

Crime

Police confirm arrests following violent disorder in Pembroke Dock

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POLICE in Pembrokeshire have made a statement following the incident on Saturday in which a man on a hoodie was seen wielding a samurai sword in Pembroke Street, Pembroke Dock whilst others engaged in a punch up. 

The police have now confirmed that four people were arrested following events, three men and one woman.  

On Monday a spokesperson said: “Dyfed Powys police responded to a report of disorder and an individual with a weapon, on Pembroke Street, Pembroke Dock at approx. 4:50pm, Saturday June 15.

“Emergency services were dispatched immediately and arrived at scene shortly after.

Four people were arrested; 3 males aged 51, 47, 46 and one female, 37 and have since been released on bail, pending further police enquiries.

We are not looking for anyone else in relation to this incident.

Superintendent for Pembrokeshire, Craig Templeton of Pembrokeshire said.

“We understand this has caused concern amongst residents in the area.

We would like to thank members of the public for their patience and support during this incident.

You will likely see a greater police presence in the area and our local officers will be available should you have any concerns and wish to speak with someone”.

If you have any information that may assist officers in their investigation, please contact us either online via https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline[email protected]

Direct message us on social media or call 101

Quoting Ref: 252 of the 15th.

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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Wanted: Steven Kimpriktzis in connection with drug trafficking operation

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE have said they are urgently seeking information leading to the arrest of Steven Kostas Kimpriktzis, aged between 45 and 50, in relation to a significant drug trafficking operation.

Kimpriktzis, an alleged central figure in an Organised Crime Group (OCG), is accused of conspiring to supply Class A controlled substances across Liverpool, Dorset, and Pembrokeshire between May 2021 and March 2022.

The police allege Kimpriktzis’s direct involvement in the orchestration of drug movements that have significantly impacted the regions involved. Standing at approximately 175 to 180 cm (5′ 10″) with a medium build and described as White European in ethnicity, Kimpriktzis has known connections in both Liverpool and Reading and has been spotted in Greece recently.

The Dyfed-Powys Police force is leading the charge in this cross-regional investigation, emphasising the severity of the charges against Kimpriktzis. As part of a larger OCG, his activities have drawn considerable concern, prompting a nationwide alert for his apprehension.

Authorities are appealing to the public for any information regarding Kimpriktzis’s whereabouts or activities. Confidential tips can be relayed anonymously by contacting 0800 555 111. The police stress the importance of community assistance in curtailing the operations of such organised crime groups, which pose significant risks to public safety and wellbeing.

In the ongoing battle against drug trafficking within the UK, the capture of individuals such as Steven Kostas Kimpriktzis represents a critical step in dismantling networks that fuel illegal drug distribution and associated criminal activities. The Dyfed-Powys Police remain dedicated to this cause, urging anyone with knowledge that could lead to Kimpriktzis’s arrest to come forward.

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‘SPARC’ Powering progress for females – launches on International Women’s Day

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ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY, Pembrokeshire College proudly hosted the highly anticipated launch event of the Sustainable Power, Renewables, and Construction (SPARC) Alliance. This occasion celebrated women and effective collaboration between industry, notably the Alliance members: Blue Gem Wind, Floventis Energy, Ledwood Engineering, Port of Milford Haven and RWE Renewables, local secondary schools, and Pembrokeshire College.

The collective aim of SPARC is to promote gender diversity in these underrepresented industries. Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, Fay Jones, delivered an empowering address, emphasising the importance of initiatives like SPARC in promoting gender diversity. Wales Office Minister Fay Jones said: “I was delighted to come to Pembrokeshire College on International Women’s Day to celebrate the excellent work that’s been achieved by all the partners in promoting opportunities for young women. Encouraging women into professions like engineering and construction is vital to ensure they have the chance of achieving fantastic well-paid careers in their local area.

It’s great to see the UK Government’s investment in the Swansea Bay City Deal being used for such a brilliant scheme.” The event that was opened by Dr Barry Walters, Principal of Pembrokeshire College, reminding the audience of the current gender gap in the featured sectors and the role we all should play encouraging females into non-traditional roles.

Keynote speaker and trailblazer Jessica Leigh Jones MBE, captivated the audience with her insights into the pivotal role of women in driving innovation and progress in the green economy. A highlight of the event was the SPARC Alliance panel discussion Chaired by the former Minister for the Environment, Sustainability and Housing, Jane Davidson. The highlight was the female ‘Careers’ panel, five female professionals took time out of their busy schedules to inspire the next generation of engineers by answering questions from learners.

The SPARC Alliance investment and the additional funding from the Swansea City Deal, will support school teachers to deliver SPARC engagement activities. Awareness raising, building confidence and interacting with industry will add to unlocking female potential in these underrepresented industries. “Pembrokeshire College and Pembrokeshire County Council extend their gratitude to all partners whose unwavering collaboration and support have brought this transformative initiative to fruition, breaking barriers and building a future filled with opportunities for future generations.” SPARC Lead, Hayley Williams.

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