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Turn down the lights and discover the benefits dark skies bring

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OFFICERS from the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, Pembrokeshire County Council and Natural Resources Wales are encouraging members of the public, businesses and organisations to join a county-wide effort to reduce light pollution.

As well as giving people a clearer view of the dark skies above, reducing light pollution can also benefit wildlife and improve your health.

There are eight designated Dark Sky Discovery Sites in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. These are some of the best places to experience the night sky, away from areas where the stars are obscured by light pollution, but are easy to access.

Park Authority Health and Tourism Policy Officer, Hannah Buck said: “It is difficult to capture in words the experience that people gain from looking up at the sky on a clear night in a place that is free from light pollution, where the stars and the magnificence of the Milky Way can be appreciated.

“Light pollution not only obscures our ability to see the stars, it also wastes energy which in turn can lead to increased levels of greenhouse gas emissions. This has been proven to have a negative impact on human health and can have significant impacts on wildlife.”

Park Authority Biodiversity Officer, Sarah Mellor added: A number of our bat species such as horseshoe bats are very sensitive to artificial lighting and will actively avoid lit areas. Light pollution can completely change their environment and can lead to them abandoning roosts or delaying their emergence from roosts reducing their foraging time. In some cases lighting can even cut them off entirely from the best insect-rich feeding areas.

“Birds can also be affected. The Pembrokeshire islands of Skomer and Skokholm are home to 350,000 pairs of Manx shearwaters. Each year the young emerge from their nest burrows in September to begin their migration to South America. These inexperienced birds are easily put off course by artificial lighting on the mainland and on ships. Each year volunteers help to rescue grounded Manx shearwaters and release them back at sea to continue their journey.”

One of the simplest ways to show your support for the effort to reduce light pollution is to take part in Earth Hour, which will see lights across the globe turned off from 8.30pm-9.30pm on 30 March.

Businesses and landmarks around the world also take part in the initiative, switching off their lights to help make a noise for the Earth Hour movement. For more information on Earth Hour visit www.earthhour.org.

Any local residents, community councils or businesses that would like to know about dark skies or light pollution should contact Hannah Buck by emailing hannahb@pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk.

To find out more about the Dark Sky Discovery sites in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park visit www.discoveryinthedark.wales/pembrokeshire.

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Council’s cannon stolen from outside Cleddau Bridge Hotel

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A LARGE cannon has been stolen from the now closed Cleddau Bridge Hotel in Pembroke Dock in the last few days.

A local councillor and the police have appealed for information which will lead to the safe return of the gun.

Ward councillor Joshua Beynon said: “Dyfed-Powys Police have just telephoned me to say they are investigating the cannon that was stolen from the former Cleddau Bridge Hotel. It is believed to have gone missing sometime between the evening of Wednesday 20th March to the morning of Thursday 21st March.”

The police said in a statement: “If anyone has any information then can I urge you to call the police on 101 and quote the crime number: DPP/0064/21/03/2019/01/C as soon as possible.”

The cannon, one of two dug up from the ground at Hobbs Point and later restored, used to stand outside Llanion Park, the former offices of South Pembrokeshire District Council, which is now the head office of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

The canon is the property of Pembrokeshire County Council and was given to the hotel on loan.

The hotel’s management neglected to make arrangements for its return to the local authority on closing down.

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How to get a refund for unused Cleddau Bridge tickets after April 1

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has announced details on how it plans to refund Cleddau Bridge users left with unused books of bridge tickets after it becomes toll-free.
From 1st April until 30th June refunds will be available from the Cleddau Bridge office itself and the North Wing Customer Service Centre in County Hall, Haverfordwest.
Refunds for all three classes of tickets will be available at the Cleddau Bridge office.

The classes are:

Class A blue-coloured tickets (for motorcycles)
Class B red tickets (cars and light commercial vehicles)
Class C orange tickets (HGVs).

Refunds at the office will be available round-the-clock from 12 noon on 1st April and will be paid – wherever possible – back to the original debit/credit cards up to a maximum of £150 with cash refunds up to £30.

Any refunds over £150 will be made by BACS transfer unless otherwise agreed in advance.

Only Class B red tickets will be refunded at the North Wing Customer Service Centre in Haverfordwest.

Here, refunds will be paid back to the original debit/credit card up to a maximum of £90 (ie three books of 50 tickets)

The maximum cash refund at this location will be £30 (ie one book of 50 tickets).

Refunds at the North Wing Customer Service Centre will be available weekdays between 9 am and 1 pm and 2 pm until 5 pm.

Organisations which have previously purchased tickets with a value exceeding £400 will be contacted during the week commencing Monday, 25th March with instructions on how to reclaim their refunds on an appointment basis at the Cleddau Bridge office.

The County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Paul Miller, said: “I am delighted to announce that bridge users who have unused tickets due to the cessation of tolls will be reimbursed and not find themselves out of pocket.”
Those who qualify for refunds are asked to wait a few days before making a claim so as to avoid a long wait. This particularly applies to refunds at the Cleddau Bridge office.

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Council issue ‘rave alert’ to farmers, landowners and local communities

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL and Dyfed-Powys Police are asking farmers, landowners and local communities to be on alert over the coming weekend (23rd and 24th March) for warning signs of any illegal raves planned for their land.

Any suspicious activity should be reported immediately to the police, especially if there are unusual numbers of vehicles – in particular, camper vans, vans or trucks – seen in the locality.

Illegal trespassers may recce sites in advance of any rave, or people may approach landowners and ask around for land, in the guise of hiring it for acceptable activities such as gymkhanas or scout camps.

Raves can cause anxiety to the community they are held in and, if not dealt with swiftly, are difficult to stop due to the sheer numbers of people involved. There is also a safety concern involved in breaking up such events.

Anyone with concerns should call Dyfed Powys Police on 101 and ask to speak to the Duty Sergeant or Duty Inspector at Haverfordwest Police Station.

Alternatively, please call Pembrokeshire County Council’s out-of-hours service on 01437 775522.

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