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FUW welcomes Pembrokeshire council’s sky lantern ban

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lantern banTHE FARMERS UNION OF WALES today welcomed Pembrokeshire County Council’s decision to back the union’s campaign to persuade Welsh local authorities to ban the release of sky lanterns on all the land they own.

The union has also urged other local authorities, other landowning bodies and retailers around Wales to follow suit.

“We welcome the county council’s decision to ban sky lanterns and we regard it as an opportunity to repeat the union’s long-standing campaign for a total ban on them,” said FUW Pembrokeshire county chairman Hywel Vaughan.

“We would also make a similar plea to hotels and other wedding venues to introduce such a ban at their premises.”

The council’s cabinet recommended the introduction of a voluntary ban on the release of sky lanterns and helium balloons from council owned or controlled land and called for a communication exercise to make consumers and charity organisations aware of the associated risks.

“Cabinet members were told the FUW was among a wide range of organisations, including the Marine Conservation Society, RNLI, RSPCA and various fire and rescue services, concerned about the possible impact of sky lanterns and helium balloons on livestock and the environment,” added Mr Vaughan.

“Those concerns include risks to animal welfare through ingestion of debris left by them in the countryside, the sea and on the coastline. As sky lanterns contain a naked flame, there were additional concerns about the fire risk to buildings, property and crops from uncontrolled landings,” Mr Vaughan added.

Last year the Welsh Government and Defra jointly commissioned an independent research project on the impact on livestock, plants and the environment of sky lantern and helium balloon releases but their report concluded any impact on the environment and risk of widespread injury or death to livestock was low.

However, it found the risk from sky lanterns to buildings, agricultural crops and moorland was significant and the Welsh Government is now encouraging local authorities to introduce a voluntary ban on the release of sky lanterns and helium balloons from council owned or controlled land and discourage their use and release wherever possible.

In evidence to the joint report, the FUW stated that after consulting its members throughout Wales it received numerous reports of lanterns found in fields being grazed, about to be grazed, or cut for silage or hay.

Other more serious reports received included a lantern found smouldering in a barn containing hay and straw and a cow injured following a stampede started by lanterns floating over fields containing livestock.

“The materials used in the construction of these lanterns pose a danger to livestock, particularly if the wire or bamboo from the frame of the lantern is chopped up during the silage making process and contaminates feedstocks,” said Mr Vaughan.

“We have also repeatedly warned that sky lanterns pose a considerable fire risk and this latest incident demonstrates why there should be an outright ban on the manufacture and sale of sky lanterns, and that their release should be made illegal in the UK.”

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News

New mobile visitor centre ready to help visitors gear up for the Pembrokeshire Coast

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Park Authority Ranger Richard Vaughan and Summer Ranger Megan Holt with the new information van at Poppit Sands.

PEOPLE visiting some of Pembrokeshire’s top beaches and events may soon encounter a new mobile information centre, with a specially converted van ready to hit the road and help people enjoy their visit.

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s new information van will be set up at seaside locations and popular local events, with Rangers on hand to give advice to those who need help and suggest free activities for those looking to discover the area’s wildlife.

National Park Authority Ranger Service Manager, Libby Taylor said: “This new vehicle will help our staff provide a range of information at locations where we know many people head to enjoy the National Park.

“As well as helping people learn more about the area and the different ways they can make the most of their visit, people can also find out how they can make the least impact on the Park during their stay.

“As well as having an awning to provide shelter, the van also includes space for magnetic panels that can be changed so the information that’s most relevant to the location or event can be provided.”

The vehicle, which has been converted by local company Poppit Campers, also includes a solar panel, which will help to power two iPads, which will give members of the public a chance to find further information on subjects such as nearby walks and wildlife identification.

The purchase and conversion of the vehicle was made possible through the support of the Welsh Government.

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Community

Deadline approaching for £500 payment to unpaid carers

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THE DEADLINE to apply for a one-off £500 payment to eligible unpaid carers in Wales is rapidly approaching.

The Welsh Government scheme, administered by Pembrokeshire County Council, is open to all unpaid carers in Wales who were in receipt of Carers Allowance on 31 March 2022.

The deadline to apply is 5pm on 15th July 2022 and those who believe they are eligible are urged not to miss out.

The Council is also sending out 400 letters this week to those they believe may be eligible and who have not yet applied.

The payment is in recognition of the increased financial pressures many unpaid carers experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic and to help with some of the additional costs they have incurred. 

The payment is targeted towards those individuals who care for someone for at least 35 hours a week and have low incomes.

You will not be eligible for the payment if:

  • You have an underlying entitlement to Carers Allowance but do not receive a payment because you are in receipt of another benefit at the same or higher rate; or
  • You only receive the carer premium  

If you have already applied please be assured the Council is working its way through the applications as quickly as possible.

How to apply

Applicants (this should be the person in receipt of carer’s allowance)

are required to complete the online form at: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/grants/unpaid-carers-500-pound-payment

Required information is:

  • Your name, address, telephone number and email address
  • Date of Birth
  • National Insurance Number
  • Post code
  • A bank statement showing your name, address, account number and sort code

If you are having problems completing the on-line application form please email: UnpaidCarers@pembrokeshire.gov.uk alternatively call 01437 764551 for assistance.

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Crime

Lola James: Two people have denied charges in connection of the death of 2-year-old

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TWO people who have been charged in connection with the death of a Haverfordwest toddler have denied charges.

30-year-old Kyle Bevan of Aberystwyth, denied a charge of murder at Swansea Crown Court.

Lola’s mum Sinead James, 29, denied a charge of causing or allowing the death of a child.

Lola died in Hospital on July 21, 2020, four days after sustaining a severe head injury at her home address in Princess Royal Way, Haverfordwest.

Bevan was remanded into custody.

James was released on conditional bail.

The trial will take place in 2023 and Judge Thomas said it is expected to last four weeks.

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