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Monday, February 07, 2005

A life in the day of

Busy, busy day with wall to wall meetings. Very little time to blog. Few opportunities even to form full sentences.

I started off the day by meeting the Swansea Bay Racial Equality Council to discuss historic issues relating to the local Council and its approach to race equality issues. This was very useful and I went away with a list of action points to take up with various officers in the local authority. The issue seems to be that nothing has moved forward since the Council's racial equality strategy, first drawn up in 2002. There is no action plan and funding for the SBREC has also been static. This has left a huge job for the new Administration to do, but it needs to be kick-started.

My second meeting of the day was in Plasmarl, Swansea, where residents have commissioned a study of local youngsters and their needs. The purpose was to thrash out a way forward for the ideas and issues that were highlighted by the survey. The collection of teachers, politicians, Council Officers and youth workers divided up into small discussion groups to see what they could come up with. Afterwards we devoured a very tasty buffet lunch put on by local volunteers.

Straight into the car to head for Crymlyn Burrows and a tour of the Materials Recycling and Energy to Waste plant situated there. This has been a very controversial development because of the incinerator attached at the end of the process. I spent a large amount of time fighting it in conjunction with local residents and that fight formed a major part of the backdrop to the Swansea East Assembly by-election in 2001.

The plant has been out of action for the best part of 18 months following a fire in the composting section and it is only now that operator HLC is getting it back on line. When I arrived the incinerator was still being fired up, a process that could take until the end of February. Newly arrived domestic waste was being sorted by a Lithuanian workforce but the sorting plant was temporarily out of action - diesel fumes had activated the fire alarms and automatically shut down the plant. This was sorted by the time our tour came to an end.

My purpose for going to the plant was to see where the recommissioning process was at but also to find out more about the Objective One application to extend it so as to take another 100,000 tonnes of waste. It was an educational experience but one that is worth keeping an eye on.

From here I got straight into my car and onto Neath to meet the Superintendent of Police to discuss Anti-Social Behaviour Orders and other matters and then back to Swansea for a meeting with residents in Landore to listen to their views on traffic matters. Tomorrow is just as hectic with non stop meetings from 9.30am to 8.30pm. It is one of the reasons why I enjoy this job so much.

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