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Keep connected on the trains

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RAIL passengers will benefit from free Wi-Fi on trains across England and Wales from 2017, Rail Minister Claire Perry announcedtrain today.

Train operators are being asked to set how they will meet the commitment to provide this important service for passengers. All train operators bidding for new franchises and direct award agreements will have to include this specification in their bid.

Where there is no new franchise agreement due in the next two years, almost £50 million of funding will be released from the Department for Transport to ensure Wi-Fi is available on selected services from 2017. The operators in this group are Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN); Southeastern; Chiltern; and Arriva Trains Wales.

Rail Minister Claire Perry said: “I am determined to improve journeys for rail passengers. Free Wi-Fi is a priority for many as being able to keep up with work, connect with friends or even check the latest journey information online helps make rail travel more productive.

“We are investing record amounts in the rail network as part of our long-term economic plan, and this investment, coupled with major works such as the Thameslink programme, new Intercity Express trains and the Northern hub, will ensure that passengers will soon have a railway fit for the 21st century.”

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: “As someone who regularly travels from the North of Scotland around the country, I appreciate the value of fast, cheap internet connections on trains for both leisure and business travellers. That’s why the government is earmarking around £50m to provide free Wi-Fi on trains; this and our other franchising improvements mean that nearly three quarters of rail journeys will be made on trains with Wi-Fi provision.”

The department has challenged rail industry operators to begin installing equipment as soon as possible to deliver Wi-Fi by 2017.

The operators will now work with the department to develop detailed proposals identifying the most appropriate services and routes to benefit. Funding will be awarded subject to satisfactory proposals being received from TSGN, Southeastern, Chiltern, and Arriva Trains Wales.

Some operators have already installed equipment to provide improved mobile coverage on-board their trains, or are in the process of doing so. By targeting the investment at franchises that would otherwise have no immediate plans to introduce Wi- Fi, the government is ensuring that as many passengers as possible benefit.

The £47.8 million funding is money that Network Rail has been required to return to the government for missing punctuality targets set by the Office of Rail Regulation. It is the first time such money has been reinvested into improvements targeted at passengers.

Out of the £53.1 million total penalty against Network Rail, £5.3 million has been allocated to the Scottish Government, in line with the proportion of the penalty paid by Network Rail for late train running in Scotland.

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Multi-agency response to house fire in Siskin Close, Haverfordwest

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FIRE crews are attending a domestic fire in a property on Siskin Close, Haverfordwest.

As of 11.45pm on Monday evening crews were still dampening down a fire which enfulfed two floors of a domestic property.

It is understood the alarm was raised after 10pm.

Our reporter on the scene said that there were four fire crews in attendance as well as three ambulances as well as police, who had set up a perimeter, controlling access to the scene.

A large number of local residents were watching on from a safe distance as the incident was being dealt with.

At the time of writing the street was blocked off to traffic with a large number of emergency vehicles parked up, all the way around the corner to the top of Harrier Road.

All of the emergency services have been contacted for a comment.

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Outdoor hospitality given go-ahead and rules on mixing outdoors relaxed in Wales

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SIX people will be able to meet outdoors in Wales from Saturday 24 April while outdoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen from Monday 26 April as cases of new COVID-19 infections continue to fall, First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed today.

The current rule provides for up to six people (not including children under 11 years of age or carers) from a maximum of two households to meet outdoors.

The new rules from Saturday will allow six people (not including children under 11 years of age or carers) to meet outdoors.

People should observe social distancing from people from outside their household or support bubble when meeting others outside.

The rules for meeting indoors remain unchanged.

The First Minister has also confirmed outdoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen from Monday 26th April 2021.

First Minister, Mark Drakeford said: “The public health context in Wales remains favourable, with cases falling and our vaccination programme continues to go from strength to strength. Because meeting outdoors continues to be lower risk than meeting indoors, we are able to bring forward changes to allow any six people to meet outdoors.

“This will provide more opportunities for people, especially young people, to meet outdoors with their friends. This will undoubtedly have a significant positive impact on people’s wellbeing.

“I’m also pleased to confirm outdoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen from Monday 26th April.

“These changes will help the hospitality sector recover after a difficult twelve months.

“It is thanks to the continuing efforts of people across Wales we are able to introduce this change. Together, we will continue to keep Wales safe.”

On Friday (23rd April 2021), the First Minister will confirm further relaxations to the covid rules that will come into force on Monday 26 April 2021.

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Police ‘enforcement and engagement’ to curb anti-social behaviour in Tenby

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POLICE in Tenby will be using enforcement and engagement in a bid to curb future incidents of anti-social behaviour, they said on Monday (Apr 17)

The announcement comes after Tenby was left with empty cans, broken bottles and fast food wrappers strewn everywhere, after over two hundred young people gathered to enjoy the weekend – perhaps expected whilst pubs remained closed.

Licensed establishment have not yet been able to open in Wales, but they are open in England for outdoor refreshments. They are opening on Monday.

There were reports of young people walking through the town with boxes full of alcohol, with other people buying takeaway drinks from licensed premises before making their way to the harbour.

The sheer number of people meant people were urinating in the streets, some residents told The Pembrokeshire Herald.

A Dyfed-Powys police spokesperson said: “With the continued easing of the regulations designed to keep us safe and the weather getting warmer we have seen an increase of people visiting and out and about in the Pembrokeshire area.
“While it’s great that people are now able to visit Pembrokeshire again, the behaviour of some placed additional pressure not only on the police but on the local authority as well.
“Tenby in particular attracted a large crowd on Saturday evening, April 18, resulting in anti-social behaviour, especially in the harbour area.

Chief Inspector Louise Harries said: “We recognise the concerns of residents and businesses after the anti-social behaviour seen in Tenby on Saturday evening. We are working with partners to avoid these issues re-occurring in the future.
“Police officers will be patrolling the area over the coming weeks and while the priority will be to engage with the public, enforcement action will be taken where necessary”
“We want to see people enjoying and the majority of people are doing so in accordance with the regulations, however the minority who don’t are spoiling it for others.
“We will continue to engage with our communities and visitors to the area to ensure that everyone enjoys in a safe manner.”

(Cover photo courtesy Pure West Radio)

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