Leader's Update: Storm response shows best of Team Pembrokeshire
Good afternoon everyone, I hope you are well.
I had hoped to issue my latest update on Friday but of course the response to Storm Eunice and then Storm Franklin over the weekend had to be the priority.
I would like to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to all Pembrokeshire County Council staff and our contractors who went above and beyond to respond to one of the busiest periods we have seen in a very long time.
It was truly a team effort. From the pre-event planning across the Authority, the contact centre starting early to take the public’s calls, the team in the Incident Management Centre overseeing the response, the teams out and about on the ground clearing trees and checking structures, closing roads, managing risks to the public, checking on elderly and vulnerable residents, to the communications colleagues who kept us all updated throughout the weekend.
It was lovely to see feedback from you, the public, thanking all our staff and contractors for their efforts. Even as I speak the crews are out attending to the latest calls and building maintenance issues.
I would also like to thank our partners from across Mid and West Wales for their response. Western Power Distribution described the incident as the worst storm they have ever experienced in the South West Region, that shows the level of challenge we have all faced.
Thank you one and all for your efforts.
Since my last update we have again seen a series of announcements from the Welsh Government on the Covid-19 situation.
Thankfully the public health situation is improving to the point that the Welsh Government has announced that some of the last remaining protections can be removed.
From Friday the legal requirement to show a Covid Pass to enter venues such as nightclubs, cinemas, theatres and concert halls has been removed.
However, it is worth remembering that events and venues can continue to use the pass if they choose to.
From Monday 28th February, the requirement to wear face coverings will be removed from most indoor public places, apart from in retail, public transport and health and care settings.
However, if the public health conditions continue to improve, the legal requirement to wear face coverings in all remaining settings could be lifted by the end of March.
I know that for many, many people that this will be just the news that they wanted to hear.
It has been a long two years and these announcements are a major step towards the normality we all crave.
However there will also be some, particularly those most at risk from Covid-19, for whom these steps will be a worry.
I would ask everyone to remain cautious, continue to do what you can to minimise the risk of catching and spreading Covid-19 and, at the same time, reassure those people for whom this is a worrying time.
The next three-weekly review of the coronavirus regulations will be carried out by March 3rd, when the remaining measures at alert level zero will be reviewed.
This will be my last Leader’s Update for this Council term as next month we move into the pre-election period.
The Local Government Elections, including elections to Pembrokeshire County Council and local Town and Community Councils will be held on Thursday 5th May.
If you have not already, you will shortly receive important information regarding the elections arriving on your doorsteps.
Most important of all, these letters will urge you to ensure you are registered to vote do so before the deadline of midnight on Thursday 14th April.
You can register to vote at: www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
The County Council and Town and Community Councils deal directly with issues that impact on all our lives here in Pembrokeshire.
Therefore it is so important that you are able to have your say who represents you.
The Council is particularly keen to ensure that 16 / 17 year olds and foreign nationals are registered to vote for these elections.
Following the introduction of new legislation in Wales, anyone aged 16 or over on 5th May and legally resident in Wales can cast their votes if they are registered to do so.
I would also urge anyone who is considering standing for election and doing their bit for their local communities to learn more about the roles.
Our webpage https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/elections-and-voting is a good place to start for all information on the elections.
The Council’s YouTube page also features a series of videos from current Councillors explaining more about what the role entails.
You can find the videos here: https://www.youtube.com/user/PembsCouncil/videos
I’d also like to remind everyone of the upcoming deadline for the Winter Fuel Payment scheme.
This is for eligible households to claim a one-off £200 payment to provide support towards paying their on-grid winter fuel bills.
The deadline is Monday, February 28th.
See all the information here: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/income-support/winter-fuel-payments
We are now into the half-term break.
The Council has set up a host of exciting experiences to ensure there’s no chance of boredom slipping in.
Check out what Scolton Manor has to offer at: https://www.facebook.com/scoltonmanor (please check in advance to make sure the site is open following the storms).
Pembrokeshire Leisure’s Winter of Wellbeing also has plenty to keep young people fit and happy.
There’s lots going on so check out the website for the latest: https://pembrokeshireleisure.co.uk/schemes/winter-of-wellbeing/
Stay safe everyone and thanks for all the feedback received on this Leader’s Update over the last couple of years.
I hope it has been a welcome source of information and I once again thank Team Pembrokeshire for how you have all worked together during some of the most testing times we have experienced.