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Storm clean-up priority for National Park Authority

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storm cleanPEMBROKESHIRE COAST NATIONAL PARK AUTHORITY is continuing to prioritise storm clean-up work following the continued extreme weather as it attempts to keep access open wherever possible.

A total of 35 locations around the National Park experienced damage in the early January storms, ranging from the accumulation of debris to the loss of coastal land and dunes. Inland, flooding and high winds resulted in severe gully erosion to some bridleways and brought trees down across paths.

Although the majority of repairs or diversions had been completed at these locations, some suffered further damage during the early February storms and some work will have to be repeated.

National Park Authority Access and Rights of Way Manager Anthony Richards said: “Repairing the storm damage is a priority in order to make sites and paths as safe and accessible as possible. Some repairs will be temporary and more permanent work will take place after the late February high tides.

“The emphasis on repair work on car parks, beach access paths and the Coast Path in readiness for the main visitor season is in the interest of all users, local communities and not least, the local economy.

“Public safety is our primary concern and the Authority is advising people to stay away from dune areas as erosion from the high tides has resulted in many dunes becoming unstable and in danger of collapse.”

Following an update to the National Park Authority on February 5th, Chairman Cllr Mike James and Authority Members thanked officers for their prompt response to the damage and for their continued hard work.

Cllr James added: “I would also like to extend a thank you to members of the local community who have volunteered to help with the clean-up effort, including Coleg Ceredigion students who cleared debris at Newport Parrog and Newport Sands and pupils from Cardigan School who helped at Poppit Sands.”

While every effort is being made to keep access open, more complex issues at two popular locations at opposite ends of the county have resulted in a prolonged closure as further investigations and expert advice is taken in order to find the best possible long-term solution.

As a result, the access path down to Caerfai beach near St Davids remains closed as a landslide has undermined the beach access footpath midway down the slope.

On the Coast Path at the Penally end of Tenby South Beach, the viewing platform and beach access steps were severely damaged by the January storm and a further three metres of Coast Path were lost due to dune erosion. An alternative route is in place and, until the dune system has stabilised, it is not possible to fully assess the options or develop a long-term solution.

Sites and paths considered dangerous or out of repair for their intended use such as wheelchair suitable paths have been temporarily removed from the Park’s website until they can be repaired. In each case an explanation is provided for this interruption via on-site signage.

National Park Rangers are working with Keep Wales Tidy, the National Trust and Pembrokeshire County Council to coordinate a series of volunteer clean ups of beaches and public land on beach heads. Residents of local communities and voluntary wardens have also been turning out to help with this task.

A funding bid has been awarded by the Welsh Government to help cover the costs of the clean-up to the Wales Coast Path, while all other avenues of funding are being explored to limit the cost to the Authority.

For up to date information and advice following the storm damage please visit www.pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk.

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National Lottery gives £63m to Pembrokeshire over 25 years

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THE National Lottery celebrates its 25th Birthday today and charities and community groups in Pembrokeshire are marking the incredible impact of the £63 million awarded to more than 2,400 good causes in the area over the last quarter of a century.

The National Lottery’s first draw took place on 19 November 1994 and the 25th Birthday is a moment to celebrate the extraordinary impact the National Lottery has had on good causes in Pembrokeshire – large and small – in the areas of arts, sport, heritage and community.

Whether it’s funding for large iconic projects and landmarks; small community projects which make a big difference; producing the most amazing films; or supporting grassroots sports clubs – it’s thanks to National Lottery players, who raise more than £6.4 million each month for good causes in Wales, that brilliant projects which support our communities and make a vital and sustained contribution to our national life are possible.

As part of the celebrations today, an unique map of Wales, featuring 14 of the most iconic landmarks funded over the last 25 years will be unveiled. The map, created by Welsh artist Hannah Davies, will be on display at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff from November 19th – 25th, features Skomer Island, which was awarded more than £1.6 million from the National Lottery in 2004 for renovation and conservation work, including refurbishing the 150-year-old farmhouse and outbuildings. The map also features St Davids Cathedral which was awarded a £524,000 grant from the National Lottery in 2004 to restore the historically important Cloisters at St Davids Cathedral. The cloister walks were built on the exposed foundations of the original 14th century Cloisters and have been reconstructed to their original heights. New educational facilities, meeting rooms, vestries and lavatories were also built and a new Treasury housing unique artefacts.

A wide variety of other local projects in Pembrokeshire have received National Lottery funding over the last 25 years, including:
· £4.8 million towards modernising and redeveloping the Torch Theatre in Milford Haven – a vibrant centre for the arts;
· £2 million to Revitalise, renovate and conserve historic properties in Haverfordwest town’s conservation area so they can become more attractive and commercially viable; and
· £427,000 to build Haverfordwest Skatepark – a free to access outdoor skateboarding, skating and biking facility in the town which opened in 2013. Wales and Pembrokeshire’s own World Champion wheelchair sports superstar, Lily Rice, can often be seen practicing her tricks here.

70% of all National Lottery grants however have been for small amounts worth up to £10,000, bringing benefits to communities far and wide. These include:
· £10,000 for Pembrokeshire based The DPJ foundation in 2016 to launch and raise awareness of Share the Load – a 24/7 telephone and counselling service for people with mental health problems in rural communities. The charity was established by 31-year-old Emma Picton-Jones, whose 34-year-old husband, Daniel Picton-Jones, an agricultural contractor, tragically took his own life in 2016 after battling with depression and anxiety;
· £4,885 for the Fishguard Unit 142 of the Sea Cadet Corps to create an IT suite which will benefit the cadets and the wider community; and
· £1,500 for Fishguard and Goodwick Jemima Rowing Club to purchase new equipment and coaching training.

In the last 25 years, more than £166 million of National Lottery funding has been invested to 17,300 grassroots sports projects in Wales – creating opportunities for everyone to get fit and improve their lives through sport. The National Lottery has also helped develop some of Wales’ most successful and recognisable athletes to thrive. Those currently reaping the rewards from the National Lottery funded World Class Programme include 30-year-old Matt Bush from Neyland who became the first British man to claim a title at the World Para-taekwondo championships in Turkey this year. The World Class Programme affords athletes coaching, training, and competition support, medical, technology and scientific services. Matt, who stands at 6ft 5in is joined by Welsh Taekwondo star Jade Jones on the programme and has his sights firmly set on representing Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the Olympics in Tokyo 2020.

Highlighting the impact of the National Lottery in Wales over the last 25 years, Nick Capaldi, Chair of The Wales National Lottery Forum and the Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Wales, said: “For 25 years, The National Lottery has been creating possibilities and making us proud of our communities whilst protecting the things we’re most passionate about in Wales. Without the funding, many of our most loved and iconic landmarks wouldn’t exist and many charities wouldn’t be changing lives to the scale they are now. The 25th Birthday is a time to recognise and reflect on the momentous and positive impact the National Lottery has had on the lives of people in communities throughout Wales.”

Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has had on your community over the past 25 years by visiting www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using hashtag: #NationalLottery25.

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Rosemarket: St Leonards Park man to appear in court on rape charge

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A 40-YEAR-OLD man is due to appear at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court today (Nov 20) after being charged with rape.

Christian Edward Macleod of St Leonards Park, Rosemarket, is charged with raping a woman aged 16 or over in Milford Haven on September 22.

He is also charged with common assault.

It is likely he will appear before Swansea Crown Court next month due to the nature of the charges.

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Coastguard help Fisheries Officer with Sandy Haven fishing net

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MEMBERS of the public contacted the coastguard to complain about a fishing net across Sandy Haven beach on Sunday. The very long net, which was anchored to the sand, was left with dying and dead fish in it.

Local Tracey Griffiths was on the beach and videoed the scene. It was viewed by 9,000 people on Facebook within 24 hours.

She wrote on her post: “This long line was anchored right across the mouth of Sandy Haven this evening; it must have had dozens upon dozens of dying or dead fish caught up in it.
“We tried to save as many as we could, but the tide was coming in and this net was hundreds of meters long.
“This is illegal, and the coastguard have been informed.
“Sandy Haven is protected and has all sorts of beautiful wildlife like Otters that use it. The people who laid this should feel ashamed…”

A spokesman from HM Coastguard Dale posted on social media: “Coastguard Operations Centre at 16.27 to investigate a large net at Sandy Haven. Many members of public had reported the issue. We expected a large trawl net, a threat to navigation.
“The Team arrived and found a large monofilament net placed across the beach.
“The incident was of interest to Fisheries Enforcement and we were asked to preserve the scene.
On their arrival we provided safety cover then assisted the Fisheries Officer with the recovery of the net.”

A spokesman close to the finish industry, who did not want to be named, told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “I think this is a beach set gill net with grey mullet in it.
“They are legal if under 50 meters long and mesh size greater than 100mm.
“There is no need for license if it was set without a boat. Beach set nets are usually legal, although morally wrong.”

At the time of publication, this newspaper had not yet confirmed the length of the net and its legality or otherwise.

There is a link to Tracey Griffith’s video on The Pembrokeshire Herald Facebook page.

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