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British fishermen angry and betrayed over post-Brexit trade deal

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A FISHING INDUSTRY leader said he felt “angry, disappointed and betrayed” by the post-Brexit trade deal agreed by Boris Johnson, which he warned would force some firms out of business.

Barrie Deas, the chief executive, said that there was growing disappointment and frustration in the industry – with many fishers furious that EU boats will be able to fish up to six miles off the coast of Britain.

Andrew Locker, chairman of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO), added to the criticism, and said many fishing businesses would be “absolutely worse off by this deal”

Mr Locker who himself runs two boats said: “I don’t know how the hell we’re going to get through 2021. We used to swap the quota we didn’t want with the French and Germans didn’t want. That enabled us to put together a fishing plan. This year we’re going to be woefully short of the amount of saithe, hake and cod we can catch. I am angry, disappointed and betrayed.  

There is anger that the “marginal” gains on the share of fish that the UK fleet will be allowed to catch may be outweighed by the end of the system of quota-swapping, which has until now enabled deals to be made between British boats and their European counterparts on mainland Europe.

This is despite The Cabinet Office minister, Michael Gove saying this week that the UK had struck the “best possible” deal for the UK fishing industry, as a whole.

Gove argued that at present British fishermen were entitled to about half the fish in UK waters but by 2026 this will increase to two-thirds.

The agreement, released on Boxing Day morning, contains numerous pages dedicated entirely to fishing policy in the UK and EU’s new relationship, and asserts the “sovereign rights” of EU states and the UK “for the purpose of exploring, exploiting, conserving and managing the living resources in their waters”.

However it also includes a line on “the social and economic benefits of a further period of stability, during which fishers would be permitted until June 30 2026 to continue to enter the waters of the other party”.

Mr Locker said he was not aware of any allowance in the trade deal for UK firms to trade fish quotas with EU countries, which is a crucial part of how the industry manages its catch.

He said many fishing firms would go out of business by the end of the transition in 2026, telling the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “We are really, really going to struggle this

Mr Locker added: “When Boris Johnson and his government promised Brexit to the fishermen, he promised none of us would be worse off. And I can sit here now and tell you there is a considerable amount of fishing industry representatives and people, fishermen, small families, small communities, absolutely worse off by this deal.”

He said UK negotiators had won a “fraction” of the fishing quotas they had promised and warned about the prospect of having to revisit the deal when the transition period ends in 2026, describing it as a “can of worms”.

“When we were within the EU we used to trade fish with the EU and we used to swap fish that we didn’t use with fish they didn’t use, and that enabled us to put together an annual fishing plan,” he said. “What we’ve got now is a fraction of what we were promised through Brexit, a fraction of the fish we need to fish our annual fisheries plan through Brexit.”

A senior member of the UK’s negotiating team defended the agreement, and described fish as “one of the areas where we had to compromise somewhat”, but said this had been done by “both sides”.

The official said: “The crucial thing on fisheries policy is that although there is a transition, at the end of the transition it returns to normal arrangements, and we have full control over our waters.

“There’s a transition to that point and ideally we would’ve got out of it a bit faster, but where we’ve got to is acceptable and offers gains for the fisheries industry in the short run and a huge right to control everything and work within that after this five-and-a-half-year transition.”

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Brand new features unveiled at Scolton Manor Park

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ONE of Pembrokeshire’s best-loved family destinations has announced it will be unveiling several new attractions in June, ready for the summer holidays.  

Among the new features at Scolton Manor are an eco-explorer village, a 1.2km woodland cycle track, an outdoor pirate ship play area and a dedicated railway attraction complete with steam train locomotive ‘Margaret’ and ‘Scolton Express’ play train.

Mark Thomas, manager of Scolton Manor Park, said the team were looking forward to showing visitors the new attractions.

“We’re delighted with our new facilities and believe they will perfectly complement the attractions we have here already at Scolton,” he said.

The woodland eco-explorer village aims to give children more opportunities for outside play and spark their enthusiasm to discover more about the natural world.  

Cllr Paul Miller, Cabinet Member for Economy, Tourism, Culture and Leisure, said the village is perfect for all young explorers from toddlers right through to older children.

“Children love playing outside and we want to inspire them through their play to not only find out more about biodiversity and the environment but also how to care for it,” he said.

“As well as eco-explorer areas, games and activities there will be fun tips on how they can reuse, reduce and recycle more and protect the environment.”

The eco-explorer village is funded by a £50,000 grant from the Landfill Disposals Tax Community Scheme and £25,000 grant from Community Facilities Programme (Welsh Government), in partnership with the Pembrokeshire Beekeepers’ Association.

Mark Thomas said the current attractions at Scolton have also proved very popular since the outdoor areas at the park re-opened to the public earlier this spring.

As well as an adventure play area for older children which includes a 30-metre zip wire, a spinning climbing web and ‘super swings’,  younger visitors can enjoy the wooden playground, sensory musical play area and woodland play features.

“The many and varied attractions at Scolton enhance its role as a community facility while providing a wide range of countryside experiences at a lower cost,” said Mark.

“The new features in particular will also help to continue the development of the site into a must-visit tourist attraction within mid and North Pembrokeshire.”

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Public engagement exercise over new hospital between St Clears and Narberth

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HYWEL DDA is asking the people of Pembrokeshire to help it further shape and deliver future services by taking part in a six-week engagement exercise.

Since the publication of its strategy, A Healthier Mid and West Wales: Our Future Generations Living Well in 2018, the health board has worked with partners to provide care and develop services. However, the coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on health and care services. As a result, the health board now wants to learn from the public about how the pandemic has affected their health and care, and access to it.

This week, Hywel Dda UHB has been distributing a discussion document for the public to consider, along with a questionnaire for completion.

Hywel Dda UHB is also asking for the public’s feedback in relation to its long-term strategy to develop and build a new hospital in the south of the Hywel Dda area, somewhere between and including St Clears, in Carmarthenshire, and Narberth, in Pembrokeshire.

This location is the most central for most of the population in the south of the Hywel Dda area, and it was determined through the public consultation held in 2018.

The public is also being asked to nominate sites for a new hospital based four criteria:

The nominated site must be within the zone between and including St Clears in Carmarthenshire and Narberth in Pembrokeshire. This location is the most central to most of the population in the south of the Hywel Dda area.

The nominated site should be a minimum of 35 acres of reasonably developable land.

The nominated site should have realistic prospects of obtaining planning permission for a new hospital.

There should be appropriate transport infrastructure for a major hospital site.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “The global pandemic has had a major impact on all areas of our lives so it’s crucial that the health board considers, reflects and learns from this extraordinary period. This engagement exercise will allow the public to tell us in their own words how COVID-19 has affected their health and care, and access to it.

“I would encourage as many people as possible to participate because the feedback we receive will play a major role in helping shape future services. This in turn will allow us to deliver on our long-term commitment for a healthier mid and west Wales.

“I would also stress that this engagement exercise is part of an ongoing process. Over the coming months and years, we plan to engage with the public, stakeholders and partners on a wide variety of issues, such as service models. Everyone will have their chance to give their views and opinions because we are committed to continuous engagement with the public to ensure we provide the best possible care.”

The engagement exercise will run until Monday June 21.

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Paul Sartori taking action to support climate with National Lottery grant of nearly £14,000

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LOCAL hospice at home charity, Paul Sartori Hospice at Home, is taking action to support the climate with the installation of solar panels at its main head office in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire.

The charity which delivers end of life care services across Pembrokeshire, has been awarded a grant to fund the purchase and installation of solar panels at Paul Sartori House, Winch Lane. This investment is part of an ongoing commitment to address the climate emergency and the charity joins many others who are taking action. Paul Sartori was one of 35 community groups, who were selected to take part in the Climate Action Boost scheme, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.

Working alongside Renew Wales, a partner in the initiative, the group explored methods to help tackle the causes and consequences of climate change, and to operate more sustainably. A number of options were discussed to reduce their impact on the environment and Renew Wales helped the charity to develop an environmental action plan, which is to be implemented over the coming months. The scheme available to cover a variety of environmental reduction activities, including renewable energy, reducing consumption, local food and reduced or less impactful travel.

Paul Sartori Hospice at Home wouldn’t normally be associated with environmental activity. Through regular consultation over many months, the charity has been really encouraged by what they have learnt.

“We have invested a lot of time in developing the plan; discussed a number of alternatives along the way, but feel that the solar panel installation will have the biggest impact for the charity in the long term”, said Sandra Dade, Charity Manager. “The National Lottery Climate Action Boost has really inspired our charity to minimise our impacton the environment and we will continue this journey,” added Sandra.

Jemma Nurse, Funding Manager at The National Lottery Community Fund said, “The climate emergency is everyone’s business, which is why The National Lottery Community Fund is acting to support and inspire communities to minimise their own impact on the environment. We are proud to be a significant funder of environmental projects and Paul Sartori Hospice at Home, along with the other groups participating in Climate Action Boost, will play a valuable part in building our knowledge so we can share our learning with other funders across Wales and the UK.”

The services provided by the Paul Sartori Hospice at Home enable people in the later stages of any life-limiting illness to be cared for and to die at home with dignity, independence, pain free and surrounded by those they hold most dear, if that is their wish.

All of the services are free of charge, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, thanks to the generosity of the Pembrokeshire Community. Further information on the charity and its services can be obtained by visiting their website www.paulsartori.org, or by phoning 01437 763223.

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