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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Ambulance service prepares for busy New Year

THE Welsh Ambulance Service is reminding New Year’s Eve revellers to stay safe and know their limits as they ring in 2020.

As with Black Friday, the Trust has teamed up with blue light partners, health boards, St John Cymru Wales and local authorities across Wales to ensure one of its busiest nights of the year goes off without a hitch.

Louise Platt, the Trust’s Assistant Director of Operations, said: “After a busy Christmas period our ambulance service is preparing for New Year’s Eve with a plea to those celebrating to start 2020 safe and well.

“The traditional party night puts more demand on 999 call handlers, ambulance dispatchers, clinicians in the control room and ambulance crews than any other time of the year.
“Whilst most people will drink responsibly, unfortunately there are some who will overdo it.
“From causing a scene in a bar, falling over and breaking your leg, to driving home over the limit, we urge everyone to stop and think.
“We don’t have an endless supply of ambulances and our message is clear: behave responsibly and only call us if it is a genuine emergency.”The service is urging people to consider these tips to have a good time and keep safe:
·       Don’t drink on an empty stomach – make sure to eat something before you go out
·       Drink in moderation and pace yourself – alternate your alcoholic beverages with soft drinks or water
·       Don’t drink and drive – pre-book your taxi home or arrange a lift
·       Think carefully about when you jump in the car the following day – tiredness itself can impede your ability to drive
·       Keep away from hostile situations
·       Look after yourself and your friends

Health chiefs deny claims of cuts to heart failure service

* Mabon ap Gwynfor claims the heart failure services faces the axe. 

A pioneering heart treatment service in north Wales faces the axe as the local health board looks to make savings, it has been claimed.

But this has been denied by a board spokesperson.

Since 2015, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) has funded the heart failure service - a series of community hospital based one-stop diagnostic clinics, heart failure nurses and pharmacists - to look after the most seriously ill heart patients.

The money was designated as “spend to save” and has resulted in significant savings for the health board, hospitals and their patients.

But health campaigner Mabon ap Gwynfor, Plaid Cymru's National Assembly candidate in Dwyfor Meirionnydd, says the board's "dire" financial situation means that there is no core funding to continue the service in the longer term.

He said: "The service has been shown to prevent between a quarter and a half of heart-failure patients being admitted to a district general hospital.

"It costs about £430,000 a year but is estimated to save at least £1.5m a year because of reduced admissions.

"Concerned GPs contacted me over plans to cut funding last month and the service has had a six-month extension. However, the future of the service remains uncertain and is likely to deteriorate further without guarantees of long-term funding."

He added: "The health board has spent the last year unable to decide on whether to continue the service funding, despite the evidence presented of lives improved and hospital admissions saved.

"GPs say this has exposed serious deficiencies in the health board management’s ability to make simple decisions. Despite intense lobbying of different managers and executives, the board’s funding lapsed and the service was due to be disbanded until a last-minute temporary reprieve.

“The community heart failure service is saving around £1.5 million each year in direct inpatient hospital costs, not to mention the benefits in patient safety, lives saved and quality of life improved, enabling our DGHs to avoid further overcrowding.

"With further investment to a total of £600,000, the service could be extended across the region and make the £2.5 million annual savings that it was on the verge of reaching previously."

Mr ap Gwynfor said he was disappointed that a service that was delivering good outcomes for patients and making savings was "under threat" and called on the health minister, who has direct control over BCUHB, due to it being in special measures, to intervene.

But a BCUHB spokesperson said: “It’s entirely wrong to suggest we are looking to cut funding to this service.

“We asked the service to complete a business case which takes into account an evaluation of the service and its performance, as well as detail on how it can be replicated in other areas of North Wales. 

"As with all requests the health board receives to commit funding, we need to go through a robust evaluation of the benefits of non-recurring projects to ensure the best use of public funds.

“This request for a business case is not about stopping the service, but about ensuring we have the best approach to providing this service to people across North Wales.

“More work is needed to ensure this business case takes into account the future development and provision of the service.

“We fully recognise the value of the heart failure service, and are actively working with the service so that, together, we can continue to ensure this service remains available to people in North Wales.”

Monday, December 30, 2019

Railway volunteers in running for top award

* The new track looking west into the station site.

The Llangollen Railway Trust is in line for an award for the work put in by its volunteers to complete a new track layout for the Corwen station project.

The Trust has been listed for the Heritage Railway Association's 2020 Award for Large Groups for the completion of the trackwork to connect with the extension railhead into the station site.

There are five entries in the Large Group category with competition from projects including the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway, TalyLlyn Railway, Isle of Wight Steam Railway and the Volk's Electric Railway at Brighton.

The winner will be unveiled at the annual Heritage Railways Association Awards night to be held in Birmingham on February 8 when the shortlisted entries in all categories are announced.

George Jones, spokesman for the Corwen project, said. "We hope the immense effort to infill the gap in the embankment and lay a new rail formation across it during the course of the past eight months will receive appropriate recognition at the awards ceremony, although we recognise we are up against some stiff competition."

Following the Golden Fishplate occasion on December 10 the volunteers continued to work laying track for the siding and completed the 300 ft length on December 21. There is a now an impressive length of double track on the final approach to the Corwen terminus where once there had been a void in the embankment.

Looking forward to the New Year, the project members plan to concentrate on completion of the island platform with the insertion of drains, installation of lamp posts and running-in board, and the final pair of canopy columns, with a need to level up the infill material and spread fine grain sand ready for the pavers. 

There is also the matter on completing the gap in the platform wall, which has provided road vehicle access, with the final layer of easi-blocs and platform edging.

All this represents a lot of work for the project volunteers, who are mainly retired and working on the basis of three day a week.

Ballasting, packing and alignment of the track in the platform loop, with the aid of a hired in tamper machine, will follow before an official inspection later in the year.

If all this can be achieved, the new station will open on a date to be announced in 2020. It is all subject to available resources and continued support to complete the project.

Hard to see the road ahead for comeback Camry

* The revived Toyota Camry (above and below).

Toyota Camry road test by Steve Rogers

Toyota is turning into a company of comebacks.

First we had Corolla, back after 13 years on gardening leave, and now the Camry has been given a second chance 15 years in exile.

It's a strange one because Camry was loved the world over - a staggering 19 million sold since 1982 - yet it couldn't do the numbers in Britain. 

Thirty years ago this was the sort of car most people aspired to, downsizing hadn't entered our vocabulary, but we preferred our Ford Sierras, Vauxhall Cavaliers, and Volkswagen Passats to a Camry or Mazda 626.

Bringing Corolla back made total sense because people are still buying family hatchbacks, but Camry? It is in the same league as Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia etc where sales have plummeted as customers turn to SUVs and smaller cars.

Premium models like Audi A4, Mercedes C-Class and BMW 3 Series are coasting along but Camry is not in that league and wouldn't you buy a Lexus, the luxury arm of Toyota, instead?

Not everyone thinks that way so here are a few positives to get us in the mood with Camry. It's well built, roomy with space aplenty front and back, and it's a hybrid. Mark my words there will be plenty of action on the hybrid and electric fronts in 2020.

Yet my first impressions of Camry were a bit dulled. There was a dated look to the dashboard, a mixture of the future (touchscreen) and past (big switches). Then I drove and did not like the feel of the brakes. The pedal did not have the usual progressive feel; all a bit too sharp and took a while to produce smooth braking. Minor stuff in the scheme of things although I believe first impressions count for a lot, particularly when parting with big money for a car.

Oddly enough I got to like the big, clearly marked illuminated switches because it harked back to the days when life was easy. You got straight on with it rather than spending 10 minutes, or more, trying to fathom the touchscreen just to get some heat or change the radio station.

Readers may recall my silly rant a few weeks ago with the voice control on the Lexus UX. As a sister car the Camry uses much the same technology and although our friend rejected my request to change the radio station she did manage to input a post code for navigation so let's just leave it at that.

Go for the top of the range Excel and you will get a decent amount of kit for your money. Toyota has weighed in heavily on safety so there is a full range of features to keep you safe. I was particularly grateful for the rear cross traffic alert when warned of an approaching car when reversing out of a parking space with a van alongside blocking my view.

Excel sits on 18in alloy rims with low profile tyres so road thumps are often felt although generally the ride is all you would expect from a large family saloon where the emphasis is on comfort rather than sharp handling.

Which brings us on to the hybrid engine. Camry gets the larger 2.5 litre petrol which combined with the electric motor pumps out a healthy 215bhp. It is the only choice and a drawback for fleet sales where there is still a market for diesel but Toyota is sticking to its guns.

The surprise is that in spite of its size economy is good and engine emissions exceptionally low. It never fell below 46mpg and there were trips when I averaged better than 50mpg so as far as hybrid goes I am finally convinced this is a viable alternative to diesel.

I hear fellow motoring scribes digging the knife into the electric CVT transmission - I've done the same in the past - but Toyota has refined the system down the years and I had no complaints this time round. Acceleration is brisk, mid range pick up adequate, and as long as you don't thrash the engine, when it doesn't sound happy, everything is smooth and refined.

Batteries for the electric motor are housed under the back seat which means boot space is not compromised and is a good size.

If hybrid is your bag then you have to look at Camry because Toyota has pedigree and knows what it is doing.

Is Camry set to make the big comeback? It is going to be difficult, the market for big saloons is declining, and Camry is not making it into my top five.

Key facts
Camry Excel hybrid
2.5 litre petrol; 215bhp
0-62mph 8.3secs; 112mph
50.4-53.3mpg combined
101g/km. 1st year tax £140
Insurance group 32
Boot: 524 litres

Sunday, December 29, 2019

£8m boost for youngsters with extra learning needs

Children and young people in Wales with additional learning needs are set to benefit from an £8m investment.

The funding is part of the Welsh Government’s Draft Budget for 2020-21 and helps children and young people with additional needs to receive a high-quality education and reach their full potential.

The investment will support local authorities and further education colleges in providing education for children and young people with additional learning needs (ALN). 

The new amount is in addition to the £20m package currently supporting the implementation of the new ALN system over this Assembly term.

ALN education is being transformed in Wales, following the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act, which became law last year. A new statutory support system for children and young people with ALN is due to come into force in September 2021.

Making the announcement, the Education Minister, Kirsty Williams said:
“We remain determined to ensure that all learners, no matter their background, are supported to meet their full potential.

“We recognise that local authorities continue to face significant pressures in supporting young people with additional learning needs. The investment we are announcing is specifically targeted to help manage those pressures and provide the best possible education for learners, while implementing our ambitious programme of ALN reform.

“We can be proud that Wales is leading the way with our ALN reforms. Our changes will ensure we identify those with ALN as early as possible, so we can work with them and their families to plan tailored support to meet their needs.

“We are changing the expectations, experiences and outcomes for young people to help all our learners achieve their full potential.”

Sally Holland, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, said: “I welcome the Welsh Government’s plans to give this much-needed boost to the system. My Investigation and Advice Service is contacted more frequently about support for additional learning needs than any other issue and my case work shows that children and young people do not always get what they need. 

“It is essential to invest now, both so that children and young people can be supported immediately and to increase our capacity across Wales before the new law is implemented.”

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Allotment sheds may no longer need permission

Planning permission will no longer be required for the erection of a shed or glasshouse on an allotment in Wales under new Welsh Government plans to simplify planning rules.

An allotment is traditionally used for the growing of fresh fruit and veg produce, although in some instances may also be used for growing plants, the keeping of hens, rabbits or bees.

They are usually large areas of land divided up into smaller plots. The site is often owned by a local authority, or managed by an allotment association with the individual plots cultivated by one person or family.

Structures such as sheds and glasshouses are commonly sited on allotments.

Currently, in most circumstances, planning permission will be required for the erection of a shed or glasshouse.

It is being proposed planning rules are amended to permit the erection of a shed/ glasshouse on each plot, subject to conditions limiting their size.

To prevent the density of development increasing to unacceptable levels on allotments, it’s proposed there should be a limit of one shed/glasshouse per 125 square metres (equivalent to half a plot).

Local Government Minister, Julie James said: “Requiring planning permission for a shed or a glasshouse on an allotment, which is small in scale and has limited effects, is unnecessary. It imposes unwarranted costs on individuals and local planning authorities.

“I want the communities of the future in Wales to be places where people want to live, work and enjoy leisure activities. Providing support for community food growing and green infrastructure is essential to delivering this vision.

“Our allotments are not only great for growing our own food, they’re a wonderful example of places that create opportunities for leisure and social interaction, while also supporting healthy and active lifestyles.

“I hope the changes we propose making to planning rules will allow our allotments to grow and thrive long into the future.”

The proposed changes will also reduce the number of minor planning applications, allowing Local Planning Authorities to concentrate their resources on larger, more complex applications.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Register for next dementia aware workshop

The next #DementiaAwareDenbighshire Community Led Network meeting will be held on Thursday 30th January 2020 from 11.00am till 1.00pm at St Collen's Community Hall, Llangollen.

The aim of this Network is to proactively lead on and facilitate initiatives to improve the awareness of Dementia in Denbighshire. 

The network meets in community-based venues once every four months to keep momentum and build a movement for change across the county, with the aim of making Denbighshire a safe, supportive and inclusive place for everyone.

The network is open to all individuals, organisations, voluntary and community groups and businesses operating in Denbighshire, people living with dementia and their families and carers, alongside representatives of Third Sector organisations and social enterprises, town and community council members, Denbighshire County Council, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, who are interested in building a movement for change.

The agenda for this meeting can be found here.

To confirm your interest in attending this FREE event, please register on Eventbrite:

Alternatively you can call 01824 702 441.

Concert supports canal boat for disabled trust

A successful concert was held at the English Methodist Church for the Canal Boat for Disabled People Trust.

It featured Cantorion Collen Singers (conductor Eirwen Jones, accompanist Owen Roberts) and their guest soloists Myfanwy Grace, Gabriel, Tom Cowan, James Nicholas and Bili and Joseff. 

A spokesperson for the organisers said: "We would like to thank Aldi, Amacor Capital Ltd, Gwyn Davies, S.J.Newsagents, Spar, and Watkin & Williams for their support and donations and everyone who attended to make it a special Christmas occasion." 

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Salon celebrates year of success

* Jades was highly commended in the Christmas Festival shop window competition earlier this month. Here the certificate is handed over to Susan Davies by Santa and Ian Parry. 

A Llangollen hair and beauty salon says its business has been boosted by the growth in wedding venues in and around the Dee Valley.

As 2019 draws to a close Jades Hair & Beauty on Oak Street is seeing out the year with a buoyant business thanks to its loyal customer base who continue to support them.

Business partners and sisters Louise Wilson and Sue Davies say their two-pronged approach to business in nurturing their existing client base and maximising the potential of Llangollen having some of the best wedding venues in the UK such as Tyn Dwr Hall, Tower Hill Barns, The Wild Pheasant Hotel and Trevor Hall has changed the way they position their business.

Louise said: “This year we have been privileged to work with some beautiful brides and their family and friends not only in the salon but also visiting them at their dream wedding venues. I believe our attention to detail and personal recommendations makes us the ideal choice for brides who are looking for that extra special experience on their happiest of days.

"We have had an amazing year and that is thanks to our dedicated team  in the salon and to our clients who remain loyal to us, many of whom have been coming to us since day one.

“This year we were pleased to be nominated at the Welsh Wedding Awards and the Women In Business Awards."

Sue said: “We do not take that custom for granted and have to constantly evolve with innovative, new ideas and treatments, combined with top class training in all aspects of our services including nail art, hair colour, wedding hair and makeup. We also put a lot of effort into researching the products we offer for sale in the salon as we want to be confident that our clients are getting first class, quality products that we personally feel confident to recommend and use ourselves.”

New treatments currently being offered upstairs in the Beauty Rooms include individual lashes, Russian lashes  and classic semi-permanent/lash lift.

With 2020 likely to be another busy year it’s also a cause for celebration as Jades Hair & Beauty marks 40 years in their salon on Oak Street.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Vicar reflects on a busy time of the year

* Father Lee Taylor's own picture of him decorating the church for Christmas.

Llangollen's vicar has been reflecting on one of his busiest times of the year for the Metro online.

Along with workers from the Red Cross, London Zoo, the Samaritans and a hotel chef Father Lee Taylor has been revealing what it's like to be working full-out over the Christmas period.

Father lee, who is responsible for four local churches, writes in today's issue: ‘Christmas is most certainly one of the busiest times of the year for priests, especially those of us that care for a group of churches. 

‘We know that Christmas is an extended festival that begins on 25 December and should continue for at least twelve days. 

But, sadly this is not the case (due to consumerism).

‘Every day and every evening during this period is filled with Christmas engagements and duties: carol services in schools and nursing homes, concerts, services. ‘[There are also] invitations to deliver a Christmas message or to be the after-dinner speaker at a Christmas function for the various organisations in the town, just to name a few of my responsibilities at this time of year. 

‘All full of joy and very good fun but very exhausting. 

‘I celebrate the Mass of Christmas Day in each of my four churches which are in and around Llangollen, north wales. 

After each service, I believe it is important to spend time greeting people as they leave the church.

‘So, by the time I have finished my final service at my fourth church, it is the early part of the afternoon. Then I go and take communion to those, who through illness or infirmity, are housebound. 

‘I am usually home and totally exhausted by the early evening and just want to go to bed but then find myself flat out on the floor with a large gin and tonic, trying to drown out the sound of carols whirling around my head.’

* To see the article, go to: 

Merry Christmas from llanblogger

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Watercolours to go on show at Oak Street Gallery

* Rocks, Frikes, Ithaca, Greece (2001).

* St Agnes in the Scilly Isles (2001).
Watercolour paintings by  late Wrexham artist Mike Coates will be on show in an exhibition which opens at The Oak Street Gallery in Llangollen at 7pm on Saturday January 4.

Mike Coates (1943-2006) achieved his Art Degree at Cheltenham College of Art and Design. He also spent a two formative years at Falmouth College of Art. 

He taught all his life and after retiring from Bryn Offa School in Wrexham he went sailing in the Mediterranean, visiting new islands and countries as he traversed the Bay of Biscay and entered the Mediterranean via a quick stop in Gibraltar. 

Mike found true fulfillment in his sailing and painting. All his work was painted ‘Plein Air’ and once the boat was anchored safely he would trek off with his rucksack to find that image, that view, to paint. 

In 2005 whilst on an impromtu cycling trip to France he became ill. Eventually being diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiform, a brain tumour. He died in 2006. 

These watercolours are a record of all the places he  visited, seen from his unique perspective - Journeys by sea.

Monday, December 23, 2019

St Collen's holds atmospheric carol service

* The candlelit St Collen's carol service.

St Collen's hosted its well-attended Carols by Candlelight evening yesterday (Sunday).

The event began, literally, on an atmospheric note with the first verse of Once in Royal David's City being sung from the back of the church.

The refrain was taken up by the powerful choir who added the second verse and the rest of the favourite carol was sung by the congregration.

The service, for which the church lights were switched off and the congregation held lighted candles, was interspersed with prayers led by the vicar, Father Lee Taylor, and readings by various people closely associated with the town.

Further favourite carols, augmented by or performed solely by the choir, included While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night, We Three Kings of Orient Are, O Come All Ye Faithful and, finally, Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.

St Collen's has its Crib Service at 4pm tomorrow (Christmas Eve) for which children are invited to come dressed as their favourite nativity character, and Midnight Mass at 11.30pm tomorrow.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Grants up for grabs this winter

Christmas has come early for change makers, social entrepreneurs, voluntary and community groups and third sector organisations in Denbighshire this year. 

Denbighshire Voluntary Services Council (DVSC) launched four grant rounds at their Winter Funding Fair, which took place at the Naylor Leyland Centre in Ruthin last Thursday.

The Dementia Aware Denbighshire Community Led Grants, Welsh Church Act funding for wellbeing initiatives as well as community grants for Learning Disabilities and the Youth Led grant programme opened for business on 12th December with a total up to £23K available

The deadline for applications for all grant programmes is the 20th of January 2020. Match funding from the Welsh Church Act will also be available for projects meeting the fund’s criteria.

At the funding fair DVSC welcomed over 20 voluntary and community groups, social entrepreneurs and Third Sector organisations from Denbighshire. 

They met with different funders one to one and DVSC staff were at hand to talk them through the grant criteria, answer questions and give examples of best practices.

Dementia Aware Denbighshire Community Led Grant

DVSC is continuing to spread awareness about dementia throughout the county by launching a third round of Dementia Aware Denbighshire grants of between £250 and £2,000.

Helen Wilkinson, Chief Executive at DVSC, explains: “For this third round we have set criteria around place-based activities which can raise awareness about dementia. We are also encouraging collaboration and partnership between organisations and projects that are building community capacity.”

The grants will be open to voluntary and community groups, social entrepreneurs, third sector organisations, social enterprises, small businesses and individuals in Denbighshire. As with the first two rounds a volunteer led Dementia Aware decision-making panel, including people with lived experience, will review the applications and make funding decisions.

Welsh Church Act

The Welsh Church Act Fund, with grants of up to £500 available, supports wellbeing and will be open for both specific applications and match funding. “The aim of the fund is to support voluntary action and local voluntary and community groups in Denbighshire”, Helen says. “Groups can apply for the grants for activities relating to or based in church run premises. Projects battling loneliness and isolation or promoting wellbeing can also be funded through the grants.”

Organisations applying for the Dementia Aware Denbighshire, the Learning Disabilities grants or the Youth Led Grant programme can get match funding from the Welsh Church Act, providing they meet the criteria set for the funding.

Denbighshire Learning Disabilities Grant

Grants of up to £ 1,000 are available for community groups and organisations thanks to the Denbighshire Learning Disabilities programme. Helen elaborates: “It is the first time we will be distributing these funds, for which we have set several criteria. Schemes aiming to integrate people with learning disabilities into mainstream activities, initiatives around progression from child to adult services and projects focussing on raising awareness with employers are just a few of the applications to be eligible for funding.”

Youth Led Grants

The final grant programme that was launched at the Funding Fair is a second round of Youth Led Grant funding. The aim of the Youth Led Grants is to support a range of small volunteering projects and activities, led and carried out by young people which are based around six priority areas identified by Welsh Government.  
“The projects that will be awarded funding will be those which have the potential to make the greatest contribution to long-term prosperity and wellbeing”, Helen continues. “So, we encourage applications built around one of the six criteria being early years, better mental health, housing, skills and employability, social care or decarbonisation.” An independent youth led panel will be reviewing the applications.
If you are interested in applying for one of these exciting funding programmes, you can find all necessary information on the DVSC website: Alternatively, you can call Mair, DVSC’s Community Development Officer or Gareth, #DenbighshireVolunteers Support Officer on 01824 702 441. DVSC is supporting all grant applicants with a free organisational health check, increasing each organisation’s chances to get the right funds for their next project.

* If you want to find out what the future holds, you can sign up for DVSC’s Spring Funding Fair, to be held on 25th March at the Market Hall in Ruthin. To confirm your attendance for the fair, follow the Eventbrite link: More details about the Fair and other exciting events will be announced on DVSC’s social media channels, Twitter and Facebook or you can follow Denbighshire Voluntary Services Council on Eventbrite to be notified of any upcoming events. You can also sign up to DVSC’s Sector Support Bulletin.

Stay safe taxi advice from county council

Denbighshire County Council is urging residents to stay safe this Christmas and book taxis in advance of their evening out.

Although there have been no reports of unlicensed vehicles in Denbighshire, they can be a common problem across the country, and with the Christmas party season in full swing it's important to know how to tell an unlicensed taxi from a licensed one, says the council 
All vehicles will be identified by individually numbered plates front and back with hackney carriage vehicles also having a roof sign, while all drivers will carry ID badges.
Emlyn Jones, Head of Planning and Public Protection, said: "Unlicensed taxis may seem to offer a better deal but it's not worth risking your safety to save a few pounds.
“These vehicles are not insured as taxis and the drivers have not gone through the rigorous checking involved in the licensing process.
“Licensing officers will be carrying out checks to ensure no unlicensed taxis are operating in the area. Never get in a taxi without first checking that it's the one you have booked or that it's a legitimate Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Vehicle.”
When the party is over and you need to get home, remember these guidelines about council licensed taxis:
•             Hackney Carriage Vehicles have a plate attached to the front and rear of the vehicle displaying the vehicle details and licence number.
•             Hackney Carriages can ply for hire from designated taxi ranks and can pick up passengers who flag them down.
•             Private Hire Vehicles have a blue sign attached to the rear doors of the vehicle showing the licence and a plate at the rear of the vehicle displaying the vehicle details and licence number.
•             Private Hire Vehicles can only be booked in advance through an operator.
Never get in to a vehicle that does not display an appropriate plate at the rear. It is not insured and may not be licensed. 
Ensure that the driver is displaying a council approved driver's badge. For your own safety, always take a council licensed vehicle - the driver and vehicle have both been vetted.
Emlyn Jones added: “Don't let a good night out be ruined by an unlicensed taxi. Always book in advance or make sure you have the number of several local taxi firms stored in your mobile phone before going out."

Saturday, December 21, 2019

New MP votes for EU Withdrawal Bill

* Simon Baynes MP, left, with Brexit Minister James Duddridge MP.

Simon Baynes MP fulfilled his promise to voters in Clwyd South by voting, for the first time as a new MP, for the Second Reading in Parliament of the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill which passed by a majority of 124 yesterday. 

The Withdrawal Agreement Bill will ensure that the UK ceases to be an EU Member State at 23:00 on 31 January 2019. 

At this point the EU Communities Act 1972 will be repealed and the UK will enter the implementation period. 

Earlier in the day, Mr Baynes met with the Brexit Minister James Duddridge MP to discuss the Brexit bill before the parliamentary debate.

The Withdrawal Agreement will take Britain out of all EU laws and aims to allow the UK to strike its own free trade deals. 

It will also end the direct jurisdiction of the European Court in Britain and mean that the UK government rather than the EU will be in control of taxes. 

It will ensure that Northern Ireland will be in the UK customs territory and it will abolish the backstop. 

Any further delay will be avoided by ruling out any extension to the implementation period beyond 2020.

It will end free movement of people and a new Immigration and Social Security Co-Ordination Bill will create an Australian-style points-based immigration system which the Government says will "welcome skilled workers from across the world to contribute to the United Kingdom’s economy, communities and public services".

The Withdrawal Agreement will be complemented by a new Employment Bill which will protect and enhance workers rights, making Britain the best place in the world to work. 

There will also be a new Environment Bill which the government claims will transform the UK’s environmental governance after leaving the EU by putting environmental principles into law, introducing legally binding targets, and establishing a new Office for Environmental Protection.

Simon Baynes said: “It was a great honour to vote as the new MP for Clwyd South in today’s historic vote in parliament which will ensure that we finally release the country from the stranglehold of indecision, restoring confidence to people and businesses and get Brexit done. 

"The Queen’s Speech set out not only how we will leave the EU but how we will maximise the opportunities of Brexit – taking back control of our money, our laws, our trade and our borders, introducing an Australian style points-based immigration system and investing in the NHS.

"We will work around the clock to repay the trust millions of voters placed in this People’s Government and
ensure that work starts with getting Brexit done.

"At the beginning of the new decade, at the beginning of a new dawn for our country, our Parliamentarians will return to Westminster to immediately finish the job, take us out of the EU on 31 January and move this country forward.”