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Extension of rail concession welcome news

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Rebecca Evans, Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales, has welcomed news today that a popular concessionary railscheme run on rural railways by the Labour Welsh Government is to be extended by 6 months.

Mrs Evans, who recently facilitated a meeting of train service users with the Minister for Transport, said:

“I am delighted that the concessionary rail scheme on rural railways has been extended until next March.

“When we met with the Minister we made the case for the concessionary rail scheme, highlighting how popular it was and noting the importance of the scheme in tackling loneliness and promoting inclusion for older people and disabled people.

“I have only heard good feedback about the concessionary rail scheme, and am pleased that the Welsh Government continues to invest in it.”

The Transport Minister, Edwina Hart, has announced the extension of the concessionary rail scheme on rural railways until March 2014.

Eligible pass holders will continue to benefit from free rail travel on the Conwy Valley Line between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Llandudno, and on the Welsh section of the Wrexham – Bidston Line for another six months.

The Cambrian Coast and Heart of Wales schemes, which operate during the winter months, will also run until March 2014.

The scheme, which has been funded by the Welsh Government since 2007, complements the concessionary bus fares scheme and gives access to public transport in areas where bus services are limited.

Transport Minister, Edwina Hart, said: “The concessionary rural rail scheme demonstrates our commitment to sustainable transport in Wales and is an important service for the elderly and disabled in our rural communities.

 “This popular scheme also addresses our goals of decreasing private car use, reducing rural isolation and strengthening our rural communities.”

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Haverfordwest drug dealer jailed for more than three years

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A MAN caught in possession of drugs twice in a month by Dyfed-Powys Police has been jailed for three years and nine months.

Nabil Ali Syed, aged 29, of St Issells Avenue, Merlin’s Bridge, Haverfordwest, pleaded guilty to four counts of possession with intent to supply drugs and two counts of possession when he appeared at Swansea Crown Court on Friday, 31 July.

“This sends a clear message that drug dealing will not be tolerated and when caught you are going to face a lengthy custodial sentence even if you are of a previously clean character, as was the case here,” said Phillip Jones.

Syed was first arrested when he was pulled over after concerns over the manner of his driving on the A40 near St Clears on April 18.

A subsequent search found a quantity of cocaine and other class A, B and C drugs in his possession.

A month later, on 19 May, Syed was stopped while walking in Hawthorn Rise, Haverfordwest, during checks over Covid-19 restrictions, when he was once again searched and found to be in possession of a quantity of cocaine and crack cocaine.

DC Jones added: “This is a positive result. Although he was relatively unknown to police, it is clear he was very active in drug supply in Pembrokeshire.

“We hope this result will send shockwaves to people involved in drug supply in West Wales.”

To report anything suspicious or concerns about the selling and taking of drugs in the community call 101, or report online. To report information anonymously, call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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Porthgain: Stranded kayakers recovered by Fishguard RNLI

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A FAMILY of four in two kayaks became stranded on an isolated beach near Porthgain on Thursday evening (Jul 30).

The RNLI said: “The incident resulted in both Fishguard RNLI lifeboats launching to recover them and their kayaks.

“The all-weather lifeboat and inshore lifeboat launched at 8.30pm with full crews and were on scene at 9.30pm with the all-weather lifeboat standing off whilst the inshore lifeboat picked up the two parents and two children, who were all well, from the remote beach and delivered them and their kayaks back to Porthgain and then returned to base shortly before 11pm.”

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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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