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Have your say on tracks and trails project at Rhigos Mountain range

The Council is urging residents to take part in a public consultation exercise being undertaken by Sustrans, about a future project to create multi-modal tracks and trails in and around the Rhigos Mountain area.

The Council has gained funding from the Welsh Government’s ‘Enabling Natural Resources and Well-Being in Wales’ grant scheme to deliver a tracks and trails project, with partner Welcome to Our Woods – a community partnership based in Treherbert. It would establish a green infrastructure facility resulting in economic and community benefits through increased visitor numbers and community activity.

Where possible, the project will seek to connect the tracks and trails with key local attractions such as Dare Valley Country Park, along with wider travel networks and public transport services.

Walking and cycling charity Sustrans has been engaged by the Council as a consultant to assess the project’s design, feasibility and viability – and gaining local residents’ views is an important aspect of this process.

Sustrans began an online consultation exercise recently, which will run until Friday, February 7. Residents are urged to take part by using a community mapping tool, which allows the community to express their aspirations for the future delivery of the project – based on their local knowledge.

The online mapping tool, which has been set up by Sustrans, can be accessed via the following link https://www.sustrans.org.uk/about-us/our-work-in-wales/.

Councillor Ann Crimmings, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Leisure and Heritage Services, said: “Sustrans has now launched its public consultation exercise on a future tracks and trails project in and around the Rhigos Mountain range – and is inviting residents to have their say and help shape the project’s delivery.

“We are so fortunate to live in a County Borough which has so many stunning landscapes and places of natural beauty, and the tracks and trails project aims to increase local residents’ access to the environment around us – while also attracting more people to come and visit the local area.

“It promises to be a very exciting year for the local area, after Zip World was granted planning permission for a new zip wire attraction utilising Rhigos Mountain and the former Tower Colliery site – which has huge potential for economic growth as a very popular regional tourist attraction.

“I would urge residents to have their say on this potential tracks and trails project by engaging with the consultation process being run by Sustrans.”

For more details or to discuss the project, residents can email Eni Hansen-Magnusson at Sustrans via eni.hansen-magnusson@sustrans.org.uk.


Love Where You Live Awards 2020

Do you know a community group, school or individual, who goes above and beyond for their community and is passionate about their local environment?

Entries for the Love Where You Live 2020 awards are now open and will once again be held to celebrate and highlight the excellent work that is taking place by individuals, Streetcare staff, young people and community groups to make Rhondda Cynon Taf a cleaner, greener, County Borough.

You can nominate your 2020 environmental heroes online www.rctcbc.gov.uk/lovewhereyoulive.

The Lee Gardens Pool Committee, were crowned overall winners of the Love Where You Live awards 2019 for their amazing work and dedication to their local community.

Lee Gardens Pool, Penrhiwceiber, is so much more than a pool and has become an oasis for young and old to enjoy all year around. This is thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Lee Gardens Pool Committee, which was formed in 2015 and is made up of 101 amazing volunteers.

The colourful oasis in the centre of the village, has a picnic area so visitors can enjoy the surroundings and a tuck shop has been set up which provides affordable refreshments. The pool opens for the school holidays in the summer and is free to be enjoyed by the young - and the young at heart. The pool provides all year round activities for the village to bring the community together, in December the pool is transformed into a Winter Wonderland with a synthetic ice rink where the Church and local schools can come to sing carols.

The committee also works in partnership with St Winifred’s Church and the local Co-op to run a Fit and Fed project during school holidays. This is an initiative to combat holiday hunger and it is one that truly benefits the local community by providing free activities and lunch to children. A free Christmas Meal is also provided for the elderly which helps combat loneliness and isolation.

This project encompasses everything that Love Where You Live is about and it is for this reason that this initiative secured the award for Best Kept Community/Best Community Project and overall winner of the Love Where You Live Awards 2019.

Councillor Ann Crimmings, Cabinet Member for Environment, Leisure & Heritage Services Culture, said: “Last year's overall winner, Lee Gardens Pool, was a great example of the heroes we have in our community who work tirelessly to improve our County Borough, for the benefit of the whole community.

“The Love Where You Live Awards shine the spotlight on all the fantastic work that is going on within our communities, focusing on the people, schools and community groups like the Lee Gardens Pool Committee that truly are making a difference to all of our lives.

“These are people who are committed to improving the local environment for the benefit of everyone, and the Love Where You Live Awards provide the perfect opportunity to reward each and every one of them.

“This is our opportunity to not only congratulate these remarkable people on their achievements, but also to encourage others to follow suit by ensuring that residents understand the importance of recycling and improving the environment.

“By working together, we can make Rhondda Cynon Taf an even cleaner and greener place to live, work and visit.”

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council needs all its residents to Love Where They Live and join the fight against waste in order to keep our County Borough a clean, green place for all to enjoy.

If you are part of group or know someone who is passionate about their environment, often going above and beyond to recycle as much as possible, and raising awareness of environmental issues in the community then you should enter/nominate them for the Love Where you Live Awards 2020.

There are 7 categories for the competition and there is no limit on the amount of different categories each applicant enters.

Community Environmental Champion
Most Innovative Environmental Project
Best School Environmental Initiative
Best Kept Community/Community Project
Best Local Authority Team of the Year
School Environmental Champion (Pupil)
School Environmental Champion (Teacher)

Entering the Love Where You Live Awards is simple; you just need to fill out a short entry form that must be submitted by 31st March 2020. Applications will be placed before an independent panel of judges. The chosen finalists will be visited during May before the overall winner of each category is decided.

Further information and application packs are available online at www.rctcbc.gov.uk/awards or alternatively by contacting the Streetcare team on 01443 827364 or email LoveWhereYouLive@rctcbc.gov.uk

Once completed, application forms should arrive no later than 31st March to Love Where You Live, Streetcare Services, Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, Ty Glantaf, Unit B23, Taffs Fall Road, Treforest Industrial Estate, CF37 5TT.



Cabinet Approves 80% Recycling Target Increase

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has set out its commitment to make a difference not just locally but globally - as Cabinet approves recommendations to increase the Council’s recycling rate to 80% by 2024/25.

The recommendations, which were initially presented to the Climate Change Cabinet Steering Group, in December will see the Council change its recycling target to 80%, along with producing a suitable Social-Marketing Campaign informing residents of the need to recycle.

The report details the Council’s recycling performance for the first six months of 2019/20, the new Materials Recovery Facility, future developments at Bryn Pica and potential legislative changes. Recycling saves energy, reduces greenhouse gases and helps tackle climate change. Recycling will play a pivotal role in helping the Council achieve its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

The recommendations are based on the Council’s continued improvements as recycling figures have increased year on year – this is thanks to the combined efforts of its residents and improved facilities. Figures from the last six months show that the Council is on target to hit the Welsh Governments 70% target five years early.

Councillor Ann Crimmings, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Leisure and Heritage Services, said:

“Recycling is a key priority for the Council and will play a pivotal role in helping the Council achieve its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. The next Welsh Government recycling target for this Council is the 2024/2025 target of 70%. If we can maintain this performance and improve slightly we are well on course to achieve this considerably earlier than we need to. It is hoped that provision of the new Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) at Bryn Pica will go a long way in taking us over the target and towards 80%.

“We can only do this with the support of our residents and I would ask that if every resident could recycle just one more thing, or Stop.Think.Recycle then together this new target is achievable and will show how making changes locally can help us to make a difference globally.”

This year the Welsh Government target is set at 64% and failure to meet these targets could result in Councils receiving substantial fines. The fines are based on confirmed performance, meaning every ton missed in relation to this target, could result in a minimum fine of £200 per ton.

All Councils in Wales have to develop working systems to deliver these targets through new Materials Recycling Facilities, and true circular economy whilst ensuring they are able to change when there are legislative changes.

The Council recently invested in a new Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) at Bryn Pica, which it is hoped will increase the recycling percentages even further by improving the plants efficiency and output quality. Rhondda Cynon Taf’s recycling collection method is one of the easiest in Wales, so there is no excuse not to recycle.

In the future the Council is looking to build on the success of the Biogen Anaerobic Digestion plant, the Mattress Recycling Facility, Education Centre and Landfill site at Bryn Pica to develop an Eco Park on site, utilising the energy produced and providing units where businesses can set up and make a product from the materials we collect from Wales, in Wales - utilising green energy to develop a true circular economy.


Significant Ground Investigations For A465 Cynon Gateway North

The Council is carrying out ground investigations on land east of Penywaun and Hirwaun for the future A465 Cynon Gateway North – with these works set to be completed during the New Year.

The ground investigations began on Monday, December 2, taking place along the proposed alignment of the future bypass – with Quantum Geotechnical Ltd appointed to undertake the work.

The contractor may require traffic management on the A4059 near Penywaun to carry out elements of the scheme. The Council will give advanced warning of any significant disruption.

The Council has previously committed to delivering the A465 Cynon Gateway North in the future – which is a bypass extending the A4059 and creating a new link to the A465 Heads of the Valleys Road.

In October 2018, Cabinet supported Welsh Government’s plan to dual 17.7km of the A465, from Hirwaun to Dowlais Top, with work likely to start on site during 2020/21. This scheme will include an additional junction on the A465 at Croesbychan – and this junction will facilitate the Council’s bypass extension.

This scheme has huge potential for economic benefits to the Cynon Valley, by improving accessibility and connectivity, and providing infrastructure to promote economic activity within the Cynon Valley. It will also include measures to accommodate and promote Active Travel.

During July 2019, the Council undertook traffic monitoring along the A4059 and the Heads of the Valley Road (A465), to capture traffic patterns.

The upcoming ground investigations will see trial trenches/pits and bore holes undertaken – to gather geotechnical data for the next phase of the scheme’s design. The investigations are due for completion during February 2020.

Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Highways, said: “Significant ground investigations are underway as an important part of the design phase of the future A465 Cynon Gateway North, which will significantly reduce traffic congestion in the north of the Cynon Valley and has the potential for huge economic benefits in the region.

“This important project has the support of Welsh Government, alongside its own A465 dualling from Hirwaun to Dowlais Top – which will provide the key link for the bypass extension at Croesbychan. The Council has previously announced its full commitment to making this project a reality, and Cabinet Members agreed to allocate £1m to the scheme in October 2018.

“The Council will work closely with its contractor to complete the upcoming work as efficiently as possible. Some traffic management may be required on the A4059 throughout the scheme, and we will work to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum. I’d like to thank residents and road users in advance for their cooperation.”

Two Local Athletes Selected For 2020 Invictus Games

Two athletes from Rhondda Cynon Taf are among eight men and women from Wales selected as part of the 65-strong team to represent the UK at the 2020 Invictus Games.

Kelly Leonard, 41, of Aberdare, has also been named as Vice-Captain of Team UK. She will be joined in the team by Nathan Huddy, 39, of Llantwit Fardre.

Both are proud to be in Team UK, made up of wounded, injured and sick military personnel and veterans.

HRH The Duke of Sussex, Patron of the Invictus Games Foundation, has announced that the fifth Games will be held on May 9-16, 2020, and will be hosted in The Hague, The Netherlands.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council Deputy Leader, Councillor Maureen Webber, also the Council’s Armed Forces Champion, said: “I would like to congratulate Nathan and Kelly on their achievements and selection to the 2020 Invictus Games.

“They are a major sporting event on the global calendar and we are all backing the eight Welsh sportsmen and women selected, especially Nathan and Kelly, who will be flying the flag for Rhondda Cynon Taf.”

Team UK athletes, 89 per cent of whom have never taken part in an Invictus Games before, are now undergoing training camps delivered by Help for Heroes to ensure they are best prepared for the international sporting competition next year.

RAF veteran Kelly Leonard, a former RAF Physical Training Instructor, and now a Community Paediatric Physio for the NHS, had a motorbike accident which almost led to her having her foot amputated.

She said: “My accident stopped me in my tracks. I learnt to walk again and live the best I could within my limitations. I tried several different individual and team sports but failed to fill the void as I was never able to participate on a level playing field.

“I lost focus on sport and as a result my physical and mental recovery suffered. It left me with a loss of confidence and self- belief”.

Kelly has found that training for the Invictus Games has enabled her to find sports that she can really compete in, using abilities she did not think she still had.

Nathan Huddy is a former RAF Regiment Gunner who, whilst serving in Iraq in 2003, was involved in a landmine blast, seriously injuring his left foot. He also suffered severe shrapnel wounds.

Nathan was on a reconnaissance mission when one of his patrol's vehicles hit an anti-tank mine after they mistakenly entered an Iraqi minefield. As well as his physical injuries, Nathan also continued to suffer depression and anger until his daughter was born in 2013.

But within nine months, she had to endure two open-heart surgeries and was diagnosed with dwarfism and autism. This led to strains on his marriage and ultimately it broke down.

Still, his problems did not end when in 2017, he suffered a stroke and his mental health spiralled downwards, unable to shower, feed or tie his shoelaces for himself.

Watching the 2018 Invictus Games, he was inspired to contact Help for Heroes and said it was like “a switch being flicked inside his head.”

He said: “Since starting my journey, I’ve opened more to my partner and family, which has helped massively and I’m feeling less angry and frustrated.

“From the moment of my first training camp through to the UK Team trials, I was overwhelmed with the team spirit, support and encouragement.

“It blew me away how everyone was there for each other, willing them on to do their best. That camaraderie and friendship was exactly what I loved and missed about being in the forces.

“Heroes and Team UK has given that back to me. I’m the happiest I’ve been in years and I believe starting this journey ultimately saved my relationship and life.”

Team UK will compete in nine sports overall – athletics, archery; wheelchair basketball, cycling, powerlifting, indoor rowing, wheelchair rugby, swimming and sitting volleyball.

They will continue to train from now until May at various locations across the country.

HRH The Duke of Sussex was inspired to found the global tournament after attending the Warrior Games in Colorado in 2013 and seeing how injured American military personnel thrived on the challenge of taking part in competitive sports that aided their recovery.

He went on to stage the inaugural games at London's Olympic Park in 2014, followed by Orlando in 2016, Toronto in 2017 and Sydney in 2018, with The Hague chosen for the 2020 event where 500 competitors will take part in 10 adaptive sports.

The 2020 Invictus Games take place on May 9-16, 2020, at The Hague, The Netherlands


Beware of Council Tax Scam

Residents are being warned after a number of people received emails urging them to claim a council tax rebate.

Rhondda Cynon Taf council are warning residents not to click on links and share bank details if they receive a suspicious email.

The email appears in the style of a Gov.uk website and claims the recipient is eligible for a council tax reduction.

The council want to remind people that council tax is not dealt with by the UK Government or Welsh Government.


Trident Tyres celebrates its golden anniversary of trading

From humble beginnings operating by purely selling tyres to the local community, Trident Tyres has built an impressive reputation over the years in the Rhondda Cynon Taff region and beyond.

Founded back in 1969, the business was formed by three friends (hence the tri) with the original focus on tyre sales locally, but as time progressed the business began foraging into different areas, selling car accessories and parts which lead to a second shop, entirely focused on towing and trailer parts, and other similar accessories.

Fast forward to the early 90s and Trident had started to grow more into the trade and parts sector, developing the business even further whilst maintaining a strong retail presence in the tyre industry and parts and accessory sector. The rapid growth enabled the opening of a 2nd centre in Porth in 2014.

The stock is vast and varied with 1,000s of products from 100s of trusted and noteworthy brands, stocking everything from nuts and bolts to tyres and clutches. You can also visit the online store to take a look at the wide selection of car parts and accessories.
The stores stock 1,000s of products, including at the Porth branch (R)

Being the first car parts and accessories business in the Cynon Valley is a source of great pride to the Trident team, along with being the premier tyre dealer in the area.

Although the business has certainly changed and grown over the past 50 years in the industry, it still maintains the same enthusiasm and desire to provide top-quality service and products to its customers. Every customer can rest assured that the team at Trident will find the right tyres for you to ensure your safety on the road.

The Trident delivery vans cater for businesses all over the Rhondda Cynon Taff area, with the current focus being on branching out and seeking future business relationships further afield.

Although competition is now rife with national companies continually stretching their boundaries, Trident is proud of its status as a local Welsh company still flourishing and delivering high-quality products and services to our customers in the local area.

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