Friday, 28 August 2009

Cautious Welcome for Rail Investment

Two Plaid councillors in Carmarthenshire who have raised concerns previously about the rail service to Carmarthen have given a cautious welcome to the plans by the Government for rail investment, which may bring some improvements.

Cllr Alan Speake said, “It’s good news of course that Plaid’s Transport Minister has been able to secure the electrification of the main line as far as Swansea, when the London govrenment had originally planned that the scheme would stop at Bristol. But we must see this as just the first phase. It is vital for West Wales that the rest of the line, to Carmarthen and beyond, should also be electrified so that trains can run through rather than having to change at Swansea.”

Cllr Linda Davies Evans added, “The One Wales government has also agreed to invest in doubling the track around the west of Swansea, and this work will enable trains to run to West Wales more frequently when it is completed. This is another important step, and I hope that it will be completed rapidly, so that extra trains can run and the whole service become more reliable.”

Friday, 14 August 2009

Plea for speed limit at Denham Avenue

Plaid County Councillor Mari Dafis has asked for a speed limit of 20 mph to be imposed at Denham Avenue, Llanelli, in the interests of safety. Cllr Dafis said this week, "There are serious problems at Denham Avenue. Although the speed limit is currently set at 30mph, in practice a number of vehicles actually travel at up to 50mph along this stretch of road.

"There have been problems with parked cars being smashed into as a result, and I am concerned about the possibility of a serious accident occurring if no action is taken. There are two schools in the vicinity, and that ought to be sufficient reason for reducing the speed limit to 20mph and introducing other measures which will help to keep traffic within the speed limit.

"I have been told that budgetary constraints prevent the council from doing anything this year, but I will keep pressing for this in the hope that action can be taken when funds are available."

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Response to language strategy

The Welsh Government recently published a new draft strategy for Welsh-medium education, and Plaid's 30-strong group of councillors in Carmarthenshire has this week given its response. Group leader, Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths said, "Carmarthenshire is one of a very small number of counties in Wales where there is still a majority of Welsh speakers. It is absolutely crucial for a county like this that there is a strong and clear strategy for the expansion of Welsh medium education, and we welcome the fact that the Government has produced the first-ever national strategy for doing this. There are, however, a number of weaknesses, and we have highlighted these in our response.

"We very much welcome the One Wales Government's proposal to ensure that a proper and thorough survey is conducted to establish the true level of parental demand. This is something for which we have been calling in the county council although to date the Labour/Independent administration has refused to properly carry out a survey. Instead, we have had a sham questionnaire in one part of the county, with no real attempt to fully explain the advantages. But most important of all, there is no purpose in obliging councils to conduct surveys unless they are also then obliged to make provision to meet the full level of demand highlighted by those surveys.

"We also felt that the targets being set were not ambitious enough, particularly in a county like Carmarthenshire, and have called on the government to set more challenging targets."

Monday, 3 August 2009

Welcome for Welsh education expansion in Llanelli

Plaid councillors in Carmarthenshire have welcomed a report from the county’s officers recommending a number of options for increasing the number of Welsh medium places in prmary schools in Llanelli. The demand for Welsh-medium education has increased substantially in the town, and the county council has been struggling to respond to the demand for some two years now. According to the latest plans, the Council intends to increase the number of places in all of the current Welsh schools, and recognises the need to start planning now for more Welsh schools in the area.

Councillor Dyfrig Thomas said, “More and more parents are choosing Welsh-medium education for their children in the town. They understand the advantages of ensuring that their children are completely bilingual, and also know that Welsh schools are the best way of doing that.

“I very much welcome the plans to increase the number of places in Ysgol Dewi Sant as well as the substantial increase in Ysgol Ffwrnes, and this is as well as the new school for Brynsierfel. But all of this is just a short term answer to the immediate problem – the figures clearly show that we need to find a site for a further Welsh school urgently, and start planning for another school after that.”

Cllr Thomas added, “It’s very encouraging to see that the demand is growing in every part of the town, from people in all our comminties.”