Agenda item

To receive announcements by the Leader


While the yellow weather warning that is currently in place across much of South Wales resulted in some early morning snow showers and icy conditions across Bridgend County Borough, we have so far managed to escape most of the mass disruption that has been experienced elsewhere.


As you might expect, our teams have been working around the clock once more, and gritters have been making multiple trips to treat the roads network and keep the county borough moving.


The worst of the snow hit our valleys communities and higher-ground areas, and crews have been using our fleet ploughs to help keep them clear.


This includes the Bwlch mountain road, which was temporarily closed for several hours, but which is expected to open again this afternoon.


Thankfully, all recycling and waste collections were unaffected and have continued as normal. Maesteg Community Recycling Centre had to temporarily close its gates before reopening later in the day, but the sites at Tythegston and Brynmenyn remained open as usual.


Unfortunately, the snow did force Caerau Primary, Ysgol Cynwyd Sant, Calon y Cymoedd and Nantyffyllon Primary to all close for the day.


There are many reasons for why this might be necessary during severe weather, and it doesn’t always require heavy snowfall for a closure – for example, a school may not be able to open because of frozen pipes which may have burst, or because of insufficient staff supervision due to some school staff not being able to travel in from other areas where the snow has been heavier.


As such, members may want to remind their constituents that the council website includes a comprehensive section on how the council handles periods of severe weather and includes a dedicated school closures page which head teachers can use to let parents and carers know if a school has had to close unexpectedly.


Schools will also communicate independently with parents and carers using their own systems and are advised to prepare blended learning arrangements as a contingency in order to minimise disruption in the event of a closure. 


National guidance has also been produced for schools and childcare or play settings, and you can find this at the Welsh Government website.


I would urge members to take a closer look at both this and the council’s own web resource, and to make full use of it in the event of any further severe weather.


Members will be aware of our ongoing efforts to tackle homelessness in Bridgend County Borough, and I have some very good news to share on this front.


Minister for Climate Change Julie James has written to confirm that Welsh Government intends to allocate an additional £10m in revenue funding to local councils in 2022-23, so as to support homelessness prevention and the costs of providing temporary accommodation.


This is, of course, on top of £10m that has already been allocated in this financial year for temporary accommodation, and £6m for discretionary homelessness prevention.


Furthermore, the minister has confirmed that she is allocating an additional £24m to the Transitional Capital Accommodation Programme, which seeks to provide good quality, longer-term accommodation which in turn reduces pressures placed upon the use of temporary accommodation.


While the longer-term goal remains to reduce the reliance on temporary accommodation, move towards a rapid re-housing approach and fundamentally reform homelessness services, Welsh Government recognises that this transition will take time to achieve, and has allocated these additional resources in support of this.


We are currently waiting to hear what Bridgend County Borough Council’s share of the allocation will be, but I am sure members will join me in welcoming this additional resource.


Finally, I am sure that members will want to join me in congratulating Deputy Leader Jane Gebbie following the announcement that she has been appointed as the new Chair of the Cwm Taf Morgannwg Regional Partnership Board


As chair, Councillor Gebbie will be responsible for ensuring that members of the board are working together to improve the health, social care and well-being of people living in the Bridgend, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil areas. 


Among her first duties will be overseeing the delivery of the Cwm Taf Morgannwg Regional Area Plan, which outlines actions for creating better health and social care services and ensuring that partners are working co-productively with communities and frontline staff to create, lead and evaluate services effectively.


Councillor Gebbie brings a wealth of experience to the role, and I know that she will prove to be an effective and instrumental chair.