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Moves to support hydropower in Wales

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wales hydropowerNEW GUIDANCE published this week will make it more straightforward for hydropower schemes to be developed in Wales whilst protecting rivers and the wildlife that lives there.

The guidance, which has been developed by Natural Resources Wales alongside the hydropower industry and fishing and wildlife groups, will advise how much water can be used for electricity generation without damaging the river.

A new assessment checklist has also been developed that will allow developers to consider at the very early stages of project development, how much water could be available on certain rivers before they consider applying for the necessary permissions.

There are also plans in the first half of 2014 to review Natural Resources Wales’ permitting process to look for ways to make it quicker for developers to get approval for sustainable hydropower schemes.

Hydropower schemes can cause lower water levels in rivers between the points where the water is taken out and where it is put back into the river after passing through the turbine.

River levels and day to day changes in the natural flow of the river are essential to protect important wildlife habitats for spawning fish and other species.

Natural Resources Wales has provided additional guidance to help hydropower developers to develop sustainable schemes in the right places, which are designed and operated in the right way.

A hydropower working group consisting of developers, community groups, angling groups and other environmental organisations has been established to work together to help the industry in Wales develop sustainably for the long term.

Ceri Davies from Natural Resources Wales said:

“Hydropower in Wales has the potential to make a real difference for farmers, landowners and community groups, to help their economic and environmental sustainability on a local level.

“We are in the process of making the whole process for hydropower developers simpler and faster and we are grateful for the involvement of the industry and fisheries and wildlife groups in our work.

“This guidance will enable the generation of energy from our natural water resources, whilst protecting our water environment and other water users.”

The new guidance will come into force in 12 weeks time to give the hydropower industry an opportunity to prepare.

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Independence Day sees Fishguard welcome 80 American visitors

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80 AMERICANS have arrived in Fishguard on their national holiday, Independence Day, as part of a month-long cruise from New York City to London.

The eight-deck Seven Seas Navigator docked in Fishguard today (Monday, July 4), allowing tourists to spend the day exploring Cardigan town and its castle.

They are currently embarking on a 30-day trip that began on June 7 in New York. They have  stopped in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, as well as Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Scotland, and Ireland.

A spokesperson from Rivers Seven Seas Cruises said: “The tour will explore the wonderfully historical Cardigan, starting at the remains of its namesake castle overlooking the River Teifi, parts of which date to the 12th century.

“An audio-visual display in the castle’s medieval north tower recounts the history of the fortification, the centuries of invasions and how the castle became the birthplace of Wales’ biggest cultural festival, the Eisteddfod.

“Be sure to browse the lovely Georgian house and gardens on the grounds before heading into downtown Cardigan to explore further on your own.

“The architectural highlights include the 19th-century Cardigan Guildhall Market, a two-story shopping venue constructed with locally quarried stone.

“The field gun at the front recognizes the 7th Earl of Cardigan, who was a commander in the ill-fated Charge of the Light Brigade.

“Inside the market, you will find dozens of shops with merchandise ranging from locally made clothing to traditional Welsh delicacies. There are also plenty of art galleries throughout town.”

Cardigan Councillor, Clive Davies, has said: “Cardigan Castle and the town will receive a visit of around 80 cruise passengers who have booked the Discover Cardigan tour as part of their New York to London cruise.

“I’ve provided Richard Bros Buses with Cardigan town maps, so they will have an idea of the towns layout on route to visit us as well as access to the Cardigan Town App.

“So to all our unique Cardigan shops, be sure to look out for our US visitors.”

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Charity

More than £100,000 available to local projects via Sustainable Development Fund

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Community groups are encouraged to apply for funding before the September 7 deadline.

A NEW round of grant support has opened for projects based in and around the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park that reduce local carbon emissions and respond to the climate emergency.

With a funding pot of more than £100,000, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority is calling on local non-profit groups to submit their applications for the Sustainable Development Fund before the September deadline.

Do you run a community building that would benefit from having solar panels or an air source heat pump? Do you want to encourage your members or visitors to use bikes and need to install a bike rack or electric bike charging point? Are you a sports club that would like to install a water fountain to reduce the need for single use plastic? Or perhaps you have an idea to minimise waste such as a community fridge or recycling initiative.

Jessica Morgan, Funding and Grants Officer for the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority said: “If you are seeking funding for a project in Pembrokeshire that contributes towards a reduction in carbon and helps respond to the climate emergency, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund may be for you.

“Organisations are welcome to reapply if they have completed a previous Sustainable Development Fund project and can demonstrate that the work has been completed and post project evaluation submitted.

“Unfortunately, we cannot accept applications from individuals, sole traders or businesses. Any organisation that applies must be based within Pembrokeshire.”

Information about the Fund and an application form can be found at https://www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/about-the-national-park-authority/sustainable-development-fund/ – or call 01646 624800.

The deadline for applications is 12:00pm on Wednesday, September 7, 2022.

The Sustainable Development Fund consists of money allocated from the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Landscapes Sustainable Places Fund.

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Warning of serious disruption on M4 and M5 today due to fuel prices protest

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POLICE have warned of “serious disruption” to drivers using the M4 and M5 on Monday 4 July due to a planned protest.

Protesters intend to block the Prince of Wales Bridge from 7am until 7pm as part of a nationwide campaign against rising fuel prices.

The protest is due to start at the M4 Magor services at junction 23A eastbound and the Clevedon Interchange at junction 20 of the M5 westbound.

It is also expected to cause disruption to the M48 Severn Bridge and the M32.

Drivers are being urged to avoid the area or plan alternative routes.

Bristol Airport has issued a warning urging travellers to allow extra time if heading to or from the airport.

Police said additional officers will be brought in to ensure the protest is carried out legally.

Drivers have been advised by Gwent Police to work from home where possible and avoid the area between 7am and 7pm, with protestors planning to block parts of the road between M4 Magor services, junction 23A eastbound, and Junction 20 of the M4 between those hours.

Chief Superintendent Tom Harding said: “Gwent Police, and Avon and Somerset Police, are working jointly with neighbouring police forces and partner agencies to ensure emergency and critical services continue and to reduce disruption to both road users and local communities, however we are preparing for serious disruption throughout the day.

“I would encourage drivers to reconsider their journey, consider working from home and avoid the area where possible.

“The right to protest under UK law must be balanced with the rights of the wider community who may be affected. We have additional officers and support in place on Monday to ensure the protest is carried out in accordance with the law.”

The planned protest is thought to have been organised by the Facebook group Fuel Price Stand Against Tax, and has attracted both criticism and support online.

The latest travel disruption comes following the closure of the Severn Bridge for a second consecutive weekend, as well as the Severn Tunnel rain line which will be out of use until July 10 due to essential work. Motorists will be unable to cross the M48 Severn Bridge until 6am on Monday as it is undergoing essential work for eight months.

The bridge was first shut last weekend as painstaking work to repair and replace corroded suspension cables began. Traffic on the bridge is likely to be very heavy on Monday due to the fuel protest.

Police have told protesters banners must be tightly secured to vehicles and nobody should be walking around on the bridge during the demonstration. Protesters will stay inside their vehicles or stand beside them.

An organiser said: “We will now only be doing it on the Prince of Wales Bridge. We have to keep in mind everyone’s safety and if we block the bridge totally and there is an emergency there would be hell. Yes it means only one bridge but [due to the amount of traffic caused] there will still be a massive impact.”

Two weeks ago one of the initial M4 bridge protest organisers Ashley Fowler said : “We’re all car enthusiasts and we have all been worried about fuel prices and when I saw the post about blocking the bridges we began talking about it. Then people started asking me to make an event so we could update each other.

“I made the event because I run a car club in Cardiff which I started on social media during the pandemic lockdowns to help people’s mental health. When we can we go out to car parks and just meet up and have a chat but during the pandemic we weren’t able to do it so I made the group.

“Now we can’t meet up so much again because of the cost of fuel. I know some of them can’t drive so much because they need to feed their kids. It’s serious. People are getting really depressed about it. One of the boys in the group has actually sold his car due to fuel price rises.”

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