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‘ Tougher action needed on littering and fly tipping ’

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Llyr Gruffydd AM: Shadow Minister for Sustainable Communities, Energy and Food

Llyr Gruffydd AM: Shadow Minister for Sustainable Communities,
Energy and Food

PLAID CYMRU is urging a crackdown on fly tipping, littering and dog fouling following a Freedom of Information request.

The request found a very mixed picture among Welsh local authorities when it came to dealing with local environmental offences.

Llyr Gruffydd, whose Shadow Cabinet portfolio includes the environment, said: “Reduced budgets may make it difficult for local authorities to put resources into tackling issues, such as prosecuting and fining culprits for dropping litter or fly-tipping.

“However, cracking down on environmental crimes can lead to short term benefits with cleaner and tidier streets and the longer term benefits of improving the local economy and environment.

“Most tax-payers want to see action against those who are not prepared to take their litter home or just dump unwanted items without any regard for the local environment.

“At the same time it is important to educate people about the importance of caring for the environmental, leading to cleaner and green streets.”

Information obtained by Plaid Cymru discovered the extent to which these powers are used varies a lot by council and by offence with very few fixed penalty notices issued for fly-tipping by local authorities. Flintshire used its legal powers the most to tackle fly-tipping at 194 fixed penalty notices/prosecutions in 2014- 15.

Of the councils that responded to the request for information, Swansea issued the most fixed penalty notices for littering at 4,892 2012/13- 2014/15. It also carried out 347 prosecutions in that year.

The Vale of Glamorgan used its legal powers to deal with litter 1,322 times in 2012-13, mainly through fixed penalty notices but that dropped to 64 the following year.

Powys and Pembrokeshire have not used their legal powers to tackle littering over the last five years and few have been issued by other authorities including Monmouthshire and Merthyr Tydfil.

Pembrokeshire has also not issued any fixed penalty notices or carried out any prosecutions for dog-fouling and fly-tipping over the last five years.

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Deputy chief whip made ‘massive misjudgements’, says cabinet minister

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A PEMBROKESHIRE MP has said that Tory deputy chief whip Chris Pincher appears to have made “massive misjudgements”.

Simon Hart, Secretary of State for Wales, told GB News: “…my first reaction with all of this is always one of sadness rather than anger because so many people are affected by this.

“Clearly massive misjudgements appear on the face of it to have been made and and I think our first priority, rather than turning this into a sort of part of political discussion, with which it sounded almost dangerously like it was about to be, that we look after the interests of people who have been adversely affected by this.

“They must be and will remain our absolute first priority so that anybody in Parliament for any party who feels that they have ended up in one of the very unfortunate positions has an independent grievance procedure they can go to.

“They can expect to be heard, as I say, anonymously, and independently and I, that for me seems to be the priority that we should be addressing, rather than so try to use this as an opportunity to say notch up a couple of political goals that seems sort of sounds and feels to me a bit unedifying, in a very difficult situation.”

Speaking during an interview on Breakfast with Stephen Dixon and Anne Diamond, he was asked what he could say that will restore people’s faith in MPs.

Mr Hart said: “Me standing here alone, I probably, there isn’t a sentence or a word that I can use which is instantly going to change all of this and suddenly make everybody feel better about it.”

He added: “There isn’t a workplace in the land, which could say with absolute certainty that these sorts of things never happened.

“We want to minimise the risk and above all, we want to make people, we will make people proud to work here, people love working in this place, it is fantastic that most MPs do a really good job and take their standards incredibly seriously as do most of the staff who work here too.

“So yes, there are some really sad and unfortunate, very stark examples of where this goes wrong.

“Nine times out of 10 it doesn’t go wrong but when it does, I hope that there are measures in place…it’s still in its infancy. I hope it protects people’s interests as well, best we can.

“Nobody likes hearing these things. I mean, I’d much rather come on here and talk about other stuff but we have to confront these things when they come off.”

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RWE welcomes Vaughan Gething MS to Pembroke site to discuss decarbonisation ambitions

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WALES’ largest power producer and number one renewable energy generator, RWE, welcomed Minister for Economy Vaughan Gething MS to the Pembroke site for a site tour and discussion on how the company is supporting Wales’ net zero ambition.

The company recently launched the ‘Pembroke Net Zero Centre’ (PNZC) as the hub for RWE’s decarbonisation projects and development activities in the Celtic Sea. PNZC is made up of three distinct pillars:

Decarbonisation of Pembroke Power Station via blending and combustion of clean hydrogen and carbon capture and storage, including feasibility studies on retrofitting the existing power plant;

Green Hydrogen production, including Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) studies for an initial 100-200MW ‘pathfinder’ electrolyser project to supply green hydrogen to local industry and transport, with GW-scale opportunities in the longer-term;

Floating Offshore Wind development in the Celtic Sea. RWE is seeking to build Giga-Watt scale floating wind in the Celtic Sea and has signed MoU’s with ABP Port Talbot and the Port of Milford Haven to support this initiative.

To complement these decarbonisation ambitions RWE is also exploring large scale deployment of battery storage technology at the Pembroke site.

The Minister was taken on a tour of the site and shown the existing power station and the location of potential future infrastructure including a hydrogen electrolyser and battery storage. Skilled staff from the site were on hand to explain how the existing power plant, which generates enough power for 3.5m homes, operates.

The team also discussed with the Minister how the deployment of net zero technology at Pembroke Net Zero Centre will help unlock the route to Net Zero in South Wales, and help support the future of existing industries, businesses and jobs. This initiative, as part of the South Wales Industrial Cluster, will attract new industries and businesses, further developing the production and use of hydrogen for industrial usage, power generation and transport across the region. At the same time, in close collaboration with its partners, this initiative supports the development of infrastructure to transport hydrogen and carbon (CO2), e.g., by pipeline or by ship, necessary to decarbonise the UK’s 2nd largest industrial cluster.

Tom Glover said, ”We are delighted that the Minister for Economy, Vaughan Gething had the opportunity to meet our team at Pembroke. The site is unique with all elements to become a hub for decarbonisation, including floating offshore wind accessibility, land for the development of large-scale electrolysers, electricity and gas grid connections and a gas-fired power station providing firm and flexible power. RWE’s investment in decarbonisation has the potential to see our company maintain its position as the green power leader in Wales.”

Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething said: “The Welsh Government wants to see Wales become a global leader in new offshore renewable energy generation. It is not only great for our climate but has the potential to be a gamechanger for our economy, bring quality, skilled jobs to our communities.

“RWE is a leader in the growing renewable energy sector and it will have a crucial role to play in helping us meet our ambitious decarbonisation aspirations. I was delighted to meet the team here at the Pembroke site and hear more about RWE’s plans to use green hydrogen to decarbonise its existing assets.”

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We need to ‘mobilise for war’ says head of British Army – ‘this is our 1937 moment’

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THE NEW head of the British Army has said it must ‘mobilise’ in response to the threat posed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, invoking memories the Allies’ struggle against Nazi Germany in the 1940’s.

Patrick Sanders, a general who became the army’s top officer this month, said Moscow’s attack on its neighbor represented “a clear and present danger” to Western “principles of sovereignty and democracy.”

In a wide-ranging speech to mark taking over the role, he argued Britain’s armed forces must react by accelerating modernization plans and immediately increasing battle readiness alongside NATO allies.

“This is our 1937 moment,” Sanders told an audience at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) military think-tank, referring to Western allies’’ struggle to subdue Nazi Germany’s aggression in the run-up to World War II.

“We’re not at war. We must act rapidly so that we aren’t drawn into one through a failure to contain territorial expansion.”

Adding it is “dangerous” to assume Russian aggression will end with Ukraine, he predicted Moscow will pose “an even greater threat to European security after Ukraine than it has before.”

“The Russian invasion has reminded us of that time-honored maxim that if you want to avert conflict, you better be prepared to fight,” Sanders said.

His comments come as NATO members begin to meet in Madrid Tuesday for a summit, and follow the military alliance announcing it will boost its high-readiness force from 40,000 to 300,000 troops.

Its chief Jens Stoltenberg has called the move “the biggest overhaul of our collective defense and deterrence since the Cold War.”

Sanders said the gathering in the Spanish capital was an opportunity for Britain to demonstrate its “enduring commitment to our allies” and “lead by example” in mobilizing the army.

He noted mobilisation would now be the army’s “main effort” over the coming years, “to help prevent war in Europe by being ready to fight and win alongside our NATO allies.”

“It will be hard work, a generational effort and I expect all ranks to get ready, train hard and engage,” he added.

The army head also backed the US and UK governments’ stance of aggressively arming Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

“This is the moment to defend the democratic values that define us,” Sanders said.

“This is the moment to help our brave Ukrainian allies in their gallant struggle. This is the moment we stand with our friends and partners to maintain peace throughout the rest of Europe.”

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