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No extra funding for National Marine Plan

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THE WELSH GOVERNMENT announced its new Welsh National Marine Plan on Tuesday, November 12. However, it will provide no extra resources to already over-stretched planning authorities to fund the extra workload imposed by it.
Councils and other planning authorities will be left to fund the Government’s grand vision from existing resources.
Speaking ahead of the launch of the Welsh National Marine Plan, Minister for the Environment Lesley Griffiths said the plan aims to ensure our seas are ‘abundant with life’ and can provide ‘clean, green, and safe energy’ for people across Wales for the next 20 years.
The Government hopes its plan will put Wales at the forefront of tackling climate change through renewable energy sources and help safeguard and manage important fishing stocks and aquaculture production. It claims harnessing natural assets will make a significant contribution to achieving the Welsh Government’s target of net zero emissions by 2050, whilst also protecting marine ecosystems and minimising the impact on the environment as the seas get busier.
The plan contains policies targeted to the key uses of Welsh seas from fishing, to tourism and recreation, ports and shipping, undersea electronic cables and the collection of sand for use in construction. These policies aim to ensure the coastline and abundant ecosystems work alongside developments, rather than compete for marine space.
The Welsh National Marine Plan will work in tandem with the forthcoming National Development Framework, which is also a 20-year plan.
The Welsh Government claims that the two plans will ensure strategic planning for both land and sea.
The plan also develops closer relationships with neighbouring countries to ensure the sustainability of the seas around Wales, particularly on cross border areas like the Severn and Dee estuaries.
From Tuesday (Nov 12), planning decisions by local authorities and other relevant bodies with the potential to affect the Welsh Marine Plan Area will need to be taken in consideration of the Welsh National Marine Plan.
Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said: “This is our first step in ensuring we utilise our seas to the best of their potential, without harming our marine and coastal environment.
“It’s important to point out this is a living, active plan, not a plan to be put on a shelf to gather dust and be forgotten.
“The far-reaching plan has been developed through extensive collaboration with those working in the marine sector and is a significant milestone in our ambitions for the sustainable management of our seas.
“This plan sends a clear message on how we are planning for a more prosperous and resilient Wales where our seas will be abundant with life, as well as providing us with clean, green, and safe energy that will enrich the lives of the people of Wales.”
Clare Trotman, the Marine Conservatory Society’s Policy and Advocacy Manager (Wales) said: “We welcome the first National Marine Plan for Wales. This marks a significant step in the management of Welsh waters, providing guidance to regulators and developers on how Welsh seas should be used over the next 20 years. The Marine Conservation Society has worked hard to ensure that this first plan recognises the need to protect wildlife and marine natural resources for future generations, and avoiding the growth of marine industry ‘at any cost’.
“The tough job now will be to ensure that the Plan is implemented and used by regulators and other marine users, and not left on a shelf to gather dust! Resource from the Welsh Government should, therefore, be provided to support understanding and use of the plan, as well as for monitoring and updating.”
The Herald asked the Welsh Government what extra resources it would provide to councils and other planning authorities to follow through on the policy’s aims and ensure local compliance with the demands of a policy made by the national government over such a long period.
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We have been working with local authorities and other decision-makers to ensure they are aware of developments within the Marine Plan and the implications this would have for them when the plan is adopted. The WNMP provides guidance to support existing regulatory processes and no additional funding is necessary to support implementation.”

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First Minister eases COVID restrictions

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NEW rules have come into force today (Monday Aug 3) to make it easier for family and friends to meet outdoors, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced on Friday 31 July as he set out further changes to the coronavirus regulations in Wales.

The latest package of changes follow the sixth review of the coronavirus regulations and focus on enabling friends and family to meet each other outdoors and enabling more businesses to open indoors.

The First Minster has explained that consideration has been given to extend the number of people able to meet indoors, however this will depend on people continuing to follow the rules and levels of the virus in Wales.

And has urged people to follow the new rules and guidance to help keep Wales safe and control the spread of coronavirus in the face of worrying trends across Europe.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“We are becoming accustomed to living with coronavirus but we shouldn’t forget the danger it poses. This is a deadly disease and the risk to our health has not gone away – as we can see in parts of Europe where there have been new outbreaks and new measures introduced to control its spread.

“The rates of the virus in Wales remain low, allowing us to relax the restrictions further over the next few weeks but we can only do this if everyone continues to take steps to protect themselves and their loved ones.

“Businesses are required to take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of spreading the virus on their premises. They have worked really hard to put in place measures to protect staff and customers. And we all need to do our bit too by complying with these and to keep our distance whenever we leave home and meet others.

“To the small minority who aren’t following the rules – we will take action. We’re working with our enforcement authorities here in Wales to ensure they have the powers and resources they need. I want to make sure all the measures developed to keep us safe are complied with.”

A series of changes will be made to the coronavirus regulations over the next three weeks:

From 3 August:

The restrictions preventing more than two households or extended households meeting outdoors will be changed to allow up to 30 people to meet outdoors. Physical distancing must be maintained at all times.
Pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes will be able to re-open indoors. As will indoor bowling alleys, auction houses and bingo halls.

Licenced wedding venues will be able to re-open to provide wedding ceremonies. However, indoor receptions will not be able to take place for the time being – they will be considered as part of the changes for August 15.

The guidance will be updated to relax the position on children under 11 having to maintain a 2m distance from each other or from adults. This reflects the scientific evidence, which shows the risk of transmission is lower among this age group. However, it is very important older children and young adults continue to follow social distancing and the other measures to keep them safe.
If conditions remain favourable, from 10 August:

Swimming pools, indoor fitness studios, gyms, spas and indoor leisure centres will be able to re-open.
Children’s indoor play areas will be able to open.

The Welsh Government is also exploring whether changes can be made to the rules to enable people to meet indoors with other people who aren’t part of their household or extended household from August 15.

The First Minister added:

“It is thanks to the hard efforts of everyone in Wales that we have been able to control the spread of coronavirus and relax the restrictions. We can only continue to do this if everyone carries on this hard work.

“If we stop now, there is a real risk we will see new outbreaks of coronavirus and we may have to reverse some of these restrictions to control its spread again.

“We are facing the likelihood of a resurgence of the virus over the autumn and winter –this will not be over by Christmas. We all have an ongoing responsibility to keep Wales safe. This means maintaining social distancing, washing our hands often and thinking carefully about where we go, what we’re doing and why.”

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Temporary measures create extra space around the county

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FURTHER measures to aid social distancing are being considered by Pembrokeshire County Council following the successful implementation of several schemes.

Through engagement with local communities and funding from the Welsh Government for the re-allocation of road space, the Council has created extra space to support social distancing measures and the unlocking of businesses.

The measures also look to promote active travel and other forms of sustainable travel.

Over recent weeks schemes have been focussed on the centres of Tenby, Saundersfoot and St Davids as well as some measures in Narberth and Haverfordwest.

In Saundersfoot parking bays have been suspended and temporary barriers have been put in place to extend the width of the footway at Cambrian Terrace and The Strand.

A new one-way system has also been introduced in the centre of St Davids. This has allowed the carriageway width to be reduced and a new pedestrian footway created linking Oriel-y-Parc to Cross Square.

In addition the Authority has also partially pedestrianised Cross Square which has created a pedestrian friendly environment and an area that can be utilised for other types of activities including market stalls.

In Narberth the Council has introduced measures to support social distancing where footway widths do not lend themselves to two way pedestrian flow. Again parking has been suspended and temporary barriers installed to allow part of the highway to be utilised by pedestrians. Further measures are currently being considered at other locations.

In Tenby for the annual pedestrianisation scheme, the Council has looked to support the unlocking of businesses by providing guidance and advice on various matters including Café Culture and social distancing.

Our Streetcare team has played a pivotal role in meeting various businesses including those from the hospitality sector, and has looked at individual properties to see what measures can be implemented.

In addition we have provided extensive information signage at all of the above locations highlighting the need to social distance.

All measures have involved community engagement from the start which has meant that we have been able to develop the schemes with the support of those impacted.

The situation across Pembrokeshire is currently being reviewed with regards to whether further measures are needed.

Councillor Phil Baker, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Licensing and Major Events, said: “By working closely with our communities we have been able to determine what needs to be done and where, to ensure we can continue to unlock safely.

“The extra space provided and the safe space for pedestrians is part of our plans to work together and adapt the way we live in response to Covid-19.

“These schemes will support our businesses, residents and visitors and we will implement further schemes where it is deemed necessary.”

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Police dispersed large group of teenagers and seized alcohol in Broad Haven

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POLICE have been out in force in Broad Haven dealing with groups of teenagers gathering and drinking in Broad Haven.

It is currently illegal for more than two households to meet together outdoors due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Friday night (Jul 31) operation resulted in an amount of alcohol being seized.

A police spokesperson told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “Officers are currently in Broad Haven dispersing a large group of teenagers who have gathered. Alcohol has been seized and they have been directed to leave the area.

“If a parent has a child currently in Broad Haven could you please contact them and arrange to collect them.”

Police are urging youngsters to respect local communities by not gathering in large groups this weekend

Officers and their partner agencies are concerned about reports there may be gatherings of youngsters planned for this weekend in Pembrokeshire.

Police are working closely with partners in the county this weekend, and will act quickly to disperse any such gatherings.

Police are urging youngsters to act responsibly, and respect our local communities and the sacrifices we’ve all made over the past few months to have some more freedom now.

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