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Batman to visit Bishop’s Palace

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View from top of cathedral  St. Davids Bishop's Palace 3(20)Pembrokeshire is home to more bats than anywhere else in Wales. And this August, visitors to St Davids Bishop’s Palace can explore the area’s nocturnal wildlife as well as its history, through a unique partnership between Pembrokeshire National Park and Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service.

Visitors to the Palace will be given an exciting opportunity to learn about bats, starting with a talk from Craig Stringer, a Pembrokeshire National Park Discovery Ranger for ten years. Craig will share his knowledge about the flying mammals, before embarking on a 90 minute walk in search of the fascinating creatures.

Currently 18 species of bat have been recorded in the UK, of which 15 have been recorded in the National Park with 12 of the species also breeding there. But being nocturnal creatures and with the largest species being the size of a small pear, bats are often difficult creatures to explore.

St Davids Bishop Palace, which is cared for by Cadw, is home to several species, including Common and Soprano Pipistrelle and Daubenton’s bat, the latter a species that hunts for insects along the River Alun. The Palace and its adjacent Cathedral also forms a ‘des res’ for bats, and at least eight species have been found there, including the rare Greater Horseshoe bat, which uses the Bishop’s Palace as a winter roost.

A night-time walk around the historic building and its grounds lead by Craig Stringer will let wildlife enthusiasts search for bats through identifying clues and using bat detectors to locate the creatures through the sounds they make.

Craig Stringer, Discovery Ranger and bat expert, said: “The Palace is an excellent site for bats, offering places for the creatures to breed, roost and feed, and there are several species to be found there.

“Bats make different noises depending on their species, for example the Horseshoe bat warbles and whistles! So it’s great fun for visitors to use the information that they’ve learned during the talk to identify the bat species. It’s quite a spooky experience which adds to the appeal, especially for children.”

John Griffiths, Minister for Culture and Sport, said: “The Brilliant Bats events appeal to families and wildlife enthusiasts alike, and these types of events are a fantastic way to attract new audiences to explore Cadw sites and learn about their local heritage.”

Amanda Canby-Lewis, Head Custodian, St Davids Bishop’s Palace, added: “The Palace may no longer be home to people but it is still very much lived in and there’s something magical about seeing its resident creatures of the night against such a dramatic backdrop.”

For further information about the events, visit www.cadw.wales.gov.uk. Find Cadw on Facebook and follow @CadwWales on Twitter to stay up to date with news and events about Cadw’s 128 historic sites this summer. 

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Community

New health concerns over Withyhedge Landfill site emissions

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LEVELS of a potentially harmful gas emitted by the Withyhedge Landfill Site have been recorded above World Health Organization (WHO) guideline levels, according to a recent report. Public Health Wales (PHW) conducted a health risk assessment on air quality data collected between 1 March and 3 April 2024 in the surrounding area.

The data indicates that during March and April, hydrogen sulphide, a colourless gas with a distinctive “eggy” smell, exceeded the WHO’s odour annoyance guideline. PHW warns that exposure to such odours can cause symptoms like headaches, nausea, dizziness, watery eyes, stuffy nose, irritated throat, cough or wheeze, sleep disturbances, and stress.

PHW stresses the importance of addressing the source of these offsite odours to mitigate potential health impacts on the local community. Despite an enforcement deadline passing last month, residents continue to report gas and odour issues in their homes daily.

“These are common reactions to unpleasant smells, and these effects should usually pass once the odour has dissipated,” PHW stated. “The long-term health risk is low.”

In response to the health risk assessment, PHW advises residents to keep doors and windows closed when the odours are present and seek medical advice if they feel unwell. However, they caution against blocking windows or vents completely, as these are crucial for ventilation and controlling dampness. Once the outdoor smell subsides, opening windows and doors can help eliminate any remaining odours inside.

Work to cap the landfill site has been completed, and PHW has welcomed plans to install static air monitoring equipment around the site to capture more detailed data. Dr. Sarah Jones, a consultant in environmental public health for PHW, acknowledged the stress and anxiety local residents are experiencing due to the odours. She emphasised the importance of resolving the issue swiftly and assured that the health risk assessment would be updated as new data becomes available.

Gaynor Toft, Chair of the Air Quality Group for the Multi-Agency Incident Management team, noted that the risk assessment from PHW is being used to refine and develop the air quality monitoring programme. Suitable locations for static monitoring equipment are being identified to ensure robust data collection for future assessments.

Huwel Manley of Natural Resources Wales (NRW) confirmed that NRW would continue to use its regulatory powers to drive improvements at the site and address the causes of the odour affecting the community. NRW had given RML, the company operating the landfill, until mid-May to undertake several remedial actions to control gas emissions.

The Pembrokeshire Herald has reached out to NRW for a detailed update on the current situation at the site. The community remains hopeful for a swift resolution to these ongoing health and environmental concerns.

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Community

Local projects benefit from Sustainable Development Fund grants

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SEVEN local projects have benefited from over £70,000 of funding through the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund (SDF).

The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund supports community-led projects in and around the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park that contribute towards a reduction in carbon and help respond to the climate emergency.

In the latest round of funding, grants were awarded to Southern Roots Organics, Narberth Museum, and the Crymych Arms Community Pub to install Solar PV systems. Additionally, the Narberth and District Community and Sports Association received funding to upgrade their existing Solar PV system and improve the energy efficiency of their squash court lighting. As well as generating new low-carbon electricity and offsetting higher carbon grid electricity consumption, these projects will reduce ongoing electricity costs for these organisations.

Cosheston Community Hall was another beneficiary, receiving support from the Fund to construct a bike shed. This project aims to encourage more people to cycle to the Hall, promoting sustainable travel within the community.

In Marloes, SDF funding has paved the way for the village clock to be retrofitted with low-energy and Dark-Skies-friendly illumination, which will reduce both energy consumption and light pollution in the area.

The VC Gallery also received funding to upgrade to more energy-efficient windows and doors, which will create a warmer community space and contribute to lower carbon emissions.

Jamie Leatham from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority said: “These grants represent our continued commitment to addressing the Climate Emergency, supporting community-led projects that improve sustainability and reduce carbon emissions.”

“By funding initiatives like Solar PV installations, energy-efficiency upgrades, and sustainable transportation solutions, we are helping our communities to reduce emissions, generate their own low-carbon energy, and raise awareness to promote a greener, more resilient future for the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.”

The Sustainable Development Fund consists of money allocated from the Welsh Government Sustainable Landscapes Sustainable Places Fund.

Further information can be found at www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/sustainable-development-fund.

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Community

Teenage town crier rings in a new era for Tenby

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TENBY has ushered in a new era with the appointment of its first female town crier, Erin Morgan. At just 17, Erin is not only making history in the resort town but is also carrying on a family tradition, standing beside her father, Dai Morgan, who serves as the town mayor.

Erin, a student at Pembrokeshire College, is fulfilling a vision long held by the late John ‘Yobbler’ Thomas, one of Tenby’s most esteemed town criers, who believed that a young person should take up the iconic bell.

Erin’s inaugural engagement as town crier was a poignant one, accompanying her father to Tenby’s D-Day procession to Castle Hill. There, she opened the beacon lighting ceremony by reading the official D-Day International Tribute, marking a proud and memorable start to her tenure.

Adding to the occasion, former Yeoman of the Guard Spike Abbott made his debut as Sergeant at Arms, joining the mayoral party for the first time.

Erin’s appointment was confirmed at the recent town council meeting, where she spoke passionately about her love for Tenby and the significance of the town crier role in preserving local traditions.

Erin, who is also a young leader with Tenby Guides, expressed her desire to see greater youth involvement in the town’s activities. She hopes that her position will help foster a stronger sense of community and bring people together through the town council’s initiatives.

(Image: Gareth Davies Photography)

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