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The long-term challenge facing Newgale

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PM visit: David Cameron visited Newgale last year

PM visit: David Cameron visited Newgale last year

DURING the severe storms early last year, the A487 at Newgale was closed for several days when shingle was washed onto the road.

A recent report commissioned by Pembrokeshire County Council concluded that the shingle bank will become increasing unstable and vulnerable to failure, with a timescale of 10-20 years over which the current situation may become unsustainable.

The Council therefore instigated a public meeting to discuss the future of the shingle bank at Newgale, which was held at Solva Memorial Hall on February 18. This discussed the stability of the shingle bank and the consequences of any future failure and feedback was welcomed from the public.

A substantial amount of feedback has already been received, and the Council intends to summarise this and provide a public report on this reaction to date.

Head of Highways & Construction at the Council commented: “We have received a huge amount of constructive feedback in response to this initial invite for opinions as to the way forward at Newgale, and thank the public for their widespread and informative comments”.

“The feedback includes comment on the importance of tourism as a key industry in Pembrokeshire and that the road through Newgale is an important link to the St David’s Peninsular, providing one of the iconic viewpoints of the Pembrokeshire coastline”.

“As a response to a number of concerns, it is stressed the Council is not abandoning Newgale. The current shoreline policy identified for Newgale is one of Managed Realignment. This means that Pembrokeshire County Council and Natural Resources Wales, as the risk management authorities for coastal flood and erosion, will implement a managed way forward to minimise, as far as is possible, the impacts of change on the locality.”.

In order to manage any change, the Council will need to appraise all the possible options from retention of the status quo, to the provision of a new road. Funding will also need to be secured, all the requisite statutory consents obtained, and eventually any scheme procured and constructed.

The Cabinet Spokesperson for Environmental and Regulatory Services and the Welsh Language, Cllr Huw George, noted: “Ongoing consultation will be a vital and important strand running through all this work”.

The Council have also had preliminary discussion with National Resources Wales and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Coastal flooding or fluvial flooding from a main river such as the Brandy Brook is the responsibility of Natural Resources Wales and so any scheme that affects the Brook will need to be undertaken in partnership with them. Mr. Phillip Pickersgill, the Acting Head of Operations South west Wales, commented:-

newgale“The storms last year highlighted the risks to our coastline and the communities that live there. Indications are that climate change will increase these risks and we need to understand and manage them appropriately. We welcome the opportunity to work with Pembrokeshire County Council in helping communities and the environment adapt to this risk.”

Mr. Tegryn Jones, Chief Executive, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, commented on the actions being taken: “The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority welcomes the proactive lead being taken by Pembrokeshire County Council and Natural Resources Wales to properly consider and address the changing coastline at Newgale”.

“All relevant organisations need to work with local communities to ensure a long-term sustainable solution that takes account of the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of Newgale and the St David’s Peninsula.”

Stephen Crabb MP said: “There is clearly a long-term challenge facing Newgale and the St Davids Peninsula, and there will be some major engineering challenges whatever option is chosen. However, with all the relevant agencies working together there should be no need for knee-jerk responses. We have time to come up with a solution which protects businesses and communities in Newgale and the Peninsula.”

“It was a postive step forward to bring together the Council, Natural Resources Wales and the National Park on Friday to discuss what will happen next. I emphasised the need to involve the local community at every step of the process, to ensure that a solution is reached that protects the village and allows business and tourism to thrive in North Pembrokeshire. It’s also vital that the spectacular view of Newgale beach is protected.”

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‘Reach out to friends and family’ says Council Leader

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THIS week’s update from Cllr David Simpson, Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council:

‘Hello everyone, I hope you are all keeping well and safe.

‘I’d like to highlight that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week.

‘I’m very aware that the last 15 months has had a huge impact on our lives and, in some cases, our wellbeing.

‘Mental Health can be a hidden issue and we all need to be aware that some people may need some extra support.

‘On a personal level the lockdown restrictions have reminded me of the importance to talk to people and to ensure people are supported.

‘Supporting your friends and family can be as simple as a phone call to say hello. A quick hello can ensure people are ok and managing and can give someone a huge uplift.

“Our communities have done a fantastic job of supporting each other so please, Team Pembrokeshire, continue these efforts.

‘I urge you all to pick up the phone and say hello to your friends and family, as we all need to play our role in everyone’s wellbeing – talking about issues does make a difference.

‘If you are suffering from Mental Health or general wellbeing issues please reach out, do not struggle on your own, your friends and family can help and make a difference.

‘Please also take the opportunity to also view the website at https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week which has much more information and support.

‘I now want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in last week’s elections.

‘Elections take a phenomenal amount of organisation at the best of times but even more so in a pandemic situation.

‘To all those who ensured the smooth running of the elections process, thank you.

‘Congratulations to all the successful candidates and I look forward to working with them to further improve the lives of Pembrokeshire people.

‘We have now had further updates from Welsh Government and the next phase of the unlocking road map has been unveiled.

‘From Monday, 17th May, indoor hospitality can re-open.

‘Up to six people from six different households will be able to meet indoors in pubs, cafes and restaurants.

‘We have so many fantastic hospitality venues in Pembrokeshire who we know will be giving their customers a big welcome after so long away.

‘The opening of indoor hospitality will be a major landmark in our emergence from the pandemic and towards recovery.

‘While out and about please remember social distancing rules are still in pace, consider your actions on others, remember your footprint has an impact on our communities, so please tread lightly.

‘When you go home, leave with a smile – enjoy your days out, enjoy seeing your families and most importantly enjoy our beautiful county and please support us in keeping Pembrokeshire special – play your part and please be responsible.

‘I want to wish you all a lovely weekend and I look forward to talking to you all again next week through my update.

‘Thank you everyone.’

You can keep up to date with all the Council’s press releases here: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/newsroom

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Plan to rescue rare butterfly from extinction in Pembrokeshire

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THE PEMBROKESHIRE Coast National Park Authority is stepping up efforts to save the marsh fritillary butterfly, which was once widespread in Wales but is now close to extinction in Pembrokeshire.

Funded by the Pembrokeshire Nature Partnership, the new landscape scale strategy aims to improve the fortunes of the rare species, which relies on networks of flower rich marshy grasslands across the landscape.

Much of this habitat, which is home to the favourite food of its larva – the devil’s bit scabious (succisa pratensis), has been lost due to drainage, inappropriate tree planting and the neglect of traditional management of grasslands through light grazing with heavy animals such as cattle.

National Park AuthorityBiodiversity Officer, Sarah Mellor said: “The marsh fritillary in Pembrokeshire is now in a very precarious position. We think it has already become extinct in a number of areas in its former range and it has not been seen on the St Davids Peninsula since 2013. The population around Keeston and Tiers Cross is also now thought to be extinct.

“We must find a way to make space for wildlife in our landscape to ensure that nature can thrive for future generations. It is quite sobering to think this species could disappear from Pembrokeshire in my lifetime. We have a responsibility not to let this happen on our watch.

“Even in those areas where it remains we have seen dramatic declines, for example around Mychanchlogddu it used to be recorded from 32 sites, but since 2015 it has only been seen at seven sites.”

The National Park Authority has already stepped up its action to rescue the rare butterfly by assisting landowners to bring sites into suitable management through grant aid and providing suitable grazing animals through the Pembrokeshire Grazing Network and the Conserving the Park Scheme.

The new strategy will include mobilising Park Authority staff and volunteers to undertake targeted surveys at sites across the county, as well as helping landowners to manage their land in a sensitive way to help ensure the future of this rare butterfly.

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Santander turns away customers due to nationwide computer glitch

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CUSTOMERS of Santander in Haverfordwest were being turned away this morning by branch staff saying that they were unable to make transactions due to a computer glitch. It is understood that branches use the same computer systems which run the bank’s other systems.

Problems arouse last night when computer updates which the bank was implementing did not go to plan.

Some Herald readers contacted the news room to speak of their surprise that they were not able to access their funds.

One reader, who had gone to the bank to withdraw funds to pay rent on his home was told that there was nothing that could be done.

Website and App transactions are also being affected at the high street bank, and card transactions are being declined

The head of money at consumer magazine Which?, Gareth Shaw, said many customers will be stressed, “with people reporting that they have been unable to make online payments or in some cases purchase food in their local supermarket”.

“Customers can incur fines, penalties and fees when they’re not able to access their finances, so the bank must offer compensation to all those who have been impacted in this way”.

Santander told customers they can “access cash from other banks’ ATMs, at the Post Office and can get cashback where that’s available”.

A service status page on its website said planned maintenance was due to be performed on the Santander mobile banking app overnight on Friday. It is not known whether this prompted Saturday’s problems.

On Twitter, a Santander spokesperson said: “We’re sorry that a technical problem is affecting our services, our teams are working hard to fix it.

“You can access cash from other banks’ ATMs. Please check back here for further updates.”

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