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Pembrokeshire beaches awarded Blue Flag honour

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ELEVEN beaches in Pembrokeshire will now be able to fly a Blue Flag – an international award that tells the public it’s one of the best beaches in the world.

83 beaches across the country have also received the Seaside Award – Keep Britain Tidy’s own award for the beaches that meet the very highest standards for cleanliness and facilities.

There were Blue Flag Awards and Seaside Awards for Amroth, Newgale, Saundersfoot, Dale, Whitesands, Coppet Hall, Tenby North, Tenby South, Tenby Castle, Poppit Sands and Lydstep.

There were also Seaside Awards for Broadhaven, Goodwick, Gelliswick, Little Haven, Newport, Nolton Haven, St. Brides, Sandy Haven and Wisemans Bridge.

This news comes in the 30th anniversary of the Blue Flag programme in Wales, as well as Visit Wales’ Year of the Sea.

Despite this, research from Keep Britain Tidy reveals that over a quarter (27%) of children have never been swimming in the sea in this country. Surprisingly, one third (33%) have never been on holiday to the coast and nearly one in five (18%) have never even set foot on a British beach.

Four in five (82%) parents admit that they have decided against taking their children to the British coast. Other than the typical British weather, the cleanliness of the beach is the number one cause for concern – with 40% worrying about unclean water, 38% put off by litter and two in five (42%) saying they’re put off by dog mess. As a result, nearly half (47%) would leave immediately if they saw litter and dog mess on a beach, while 40% wouldn’t let their children play there. More than a quarter (29%) would even warn others not to visit.

However, two-thirds of parents say that knowing a beach has been awarded Blue Flag or Seaside Award status gives them confidence that a beach is a clean, safe place for their children to play, with 15% saying they will only go to an award-winning beach.

The international Blue Flag and the UK Seaside Awards are the quality marks for beaches and mean those visiting them can be sure that they are clean, safe and meet the highest environmental standards, as well as the tough international bathing water quality standards. Alongside this, Blue Flag beaches have to run a minimum of five educational activities for the local community and visitors to make people aware of the importance of looking after the natural environment. The awards, following hot on the heels of the charity’s Great British Spring Clean and Great Plastic Pick Up campaigns, are part of Keep Britain Tidy’s commitment to support and celebrate the country’s best beaches for everyone for enjoy.

Keep Britain Tidy’s Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton said: “Blue Flag leads the fightback for the Blue Planet. Our research shows that nearly two thirds (65%) of parents would prefer to visit beaches with Blue Flag or Seaside Award status, so growing the number of beaches with an award is vital to encourage more families to visit our beautiful coastline.

“Blue Flag and Seaside Awards set the standard for our beaches, including the war against the litter and plastic that does so much damage to our marine environment.

“Keep Britain Tidy leads the fight to create clean, plastic-free beaches. We are committed to creating a great environment on our doorstep for everyone to enjoy and offering a quality mark that shows everyone just how fantastic our beaches can be.

“It’s brilliant to see so many beaches in Wales and the rest of the country winning Blue Flag and Seaside Award status this year, thanks to the dedication and hard work of beach staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards. Hopefully next year we’ll see an even greater number joining us as we drive up standards across the board.”

This year’s winners will be presented with their flags at a ceremony on Cromer Pier, hosted by North Norfolk District Council.

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Pembroke: School to be closed tomorrow due to ‘major leak’

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Closed: Due to a 'major leak' (pic. Martin Cavaney)

A ‘MAJOR LEAK’ has closed Ysgol Harri Tudor / Henry Tudor School in Pembroke this morning (Dec 13).

The electrical system has been affected by the leak and the classrooms are not usable.

The council have said that the school will remain closed on Friday (Dec 14) as well.

A Pembrokeshire County Council spokesperson said: “Ysgol Harri Tudor / Henry Tudor School in Pembroke is closing this morning (Thursday, 13th December) at 10.30 am because of a major leak in one of the buildings. This affected the electrical system and rendered classrooms unusable.

“All staff and pupils are safe and transport arrangements are in place.

“Please monitor Pembrokeshire County Council’s social media pages for information as to whether the school will be open tomorrow (Friday, 14th December). A decision will be taken later today.”

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Santa dog parade raises money for Greenacres

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FRIARS VAULTS in Haverfordwest hosted a Santa dog parade to raise money for Greenacres Animal Rescue on the weekend.

The event, which took place on Sunday (Dec 9), included a catwalk for dogs, hunt for treats and a raffle.

The total amount raised on the night was £110 with a further £45.50 collected through the donation box.

The winner of the best-dressed Dog was Deb and Steve Bunston with Pip, in second place was Danielle Boswell with Badger and in third place was Caitlin Davies with Denzal.

Greenacres Animal Rescue said on their Facebook page: “A huge thank you to all at Friars vaults Haverfordwest & Jamie Sid Williams for holding the fabulous fancy dress pooch party yesterday.

“A very welcome £158.50 was raised for Greenacres. Thank you all”

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Legal advice about former councillor convicted of rape to be released

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THE COUNCIL’S legal advice relating to former councillor and convicted rapist Dai Boswell will be released into the public domain.

In a recorded vote at Thursday’s (Dec 13) Full Council meeting, 41 members voted in favour of the documents being released with just seven voting against.

Cllr Jacob Williams submitted a notice of motion calling for it to be made public and the matter was discussed by an Overview and Scrutiny Committee before coming back to council.

He stated that having seen the documents and providing sensitive information isn’t divulged, that the public has every right to see them.

Boswell was elected in 2017 but did not take up his seat for the first month and the council instructed legal advisor James Goudie QC to give his advice on the matter.

The Council spent over £2000 in doing so and had recommended that the information should not be released.

At Thursday’s meeting Cllr Brian Hall said: “On November 15, the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny committee discussed releasing instructions and evidence which was called for a month after the 2017 election.

“The leader made it clear at a meeting on July 26 that the instructions and advice would be made available to members. The council is now seeking general publication. The recommendation was that the instruction and advice should not be made available as Cllrs could view documents on a need to know basis in order to satisfy themselves in their councillor capacity.

“Two members spoke in support saying the documents contained matters of public interest and that it should be in the public domain.”

Cllr Jacob Williams added: “The legal advice seeking to be published relates to a period of time after Dai had been elected and before he was found guilty. The council were preventing him from taking his seat despite him not being charged.

“Well over £2000 was spent that the council hadn’t been made aware of. I did get it so that councillors were able to see that advice and what I read was a real eye-opener.

“The Monitoring Officers’ report objecting had a number of red herrings and straw men. She said it will create a precedent but I am not seeking to create that. This is just to release two specific documents.

“She also said that approving any request would open up a can of worms if the interest and advice was publicised and that anything that appears in the media would lead to the council conducting business with its hand behind its back.

“This is just this set of legal advice which reflects poorly on senior members of this authority. I am one of the most vocal councillors in opposing the whim of officers when they find themselves in a bind, they go to lawyers to get themselves out of a pickle. This has been a very expensive lesson.”

Cllr Michelle Bateman asked how many councillors had asked to see the legal advice and the Monitoring Officer Claire Jones said that just two had asked, one of which was Cllr Williams.

Cllr Mike Stoddart said: “The Monitoring Officer states that it is not advisable to proactively publish this but we are not proactively publishing. This has been dragged out by the notice of motion. This will be reactive.

He went on to say that there were occasions when the council should keep its advice close to its chest but said this was not one of those occasions.

The debate took a different turn when Cllr Mark Carter asked the leader if views expressed on social media bordered on ‘workplace bullying’ but Council Leader David Simpson said he was not a policeman and that he could not close down a Facebook page.

Cllr Mike Evans added: “I don’t want to see this advice but this is about the principle of whether the public should be allowed to see the advice. The officers are here to give us the whole picture and not the windows they wish us to look through.”

Monitoring Officer Claire Jones gave a lengthy speech about the possible publication of the documents stating that her recommendations to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee were to do with responsible publication and that it was not to be done lightly.

Claire Jones added that Cllr Boswell’s appeal remains live and that there were still victims at the heart of this.

She went on to say that safeguarding was a matter for everyone and that her door was always open to members to come in and discuss issues and that due to the amount of social media interest it was moving towards the documents being in the public interest.

Cllr David Simpson said he was concerned that only two members had seen the advice and that others were discussing without having seen it.

Cllr Williams summed up saying that the speech the Monitoring Officer gave was one of the most ‘memorable’.

In the recorded vote 41 members voted in favour of the advice being released with seven voting against and six abstaining.

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