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Forest patrols ramped up to prevent illegal off-roading in south west Wales

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NATURAL Resources Wales (NRW) has ramped up patrols in south west Wales to stop illegal off-roaders from damaging forests and putting people’s lives in danger.

There has been an increase in the number of reports of motorcycles and 4x4s entering Afan Valley and Brechfa forests without permission in recent weeks, despite the coronavirus lockdown.

This, coupled with the increasing issue of forest fires across Wales, has led to increased patrols from NRW officers and the police to carry out inspections for signs of damage or arson and to prevent off-roaders from entering the forests.

Huwel Manley, South West Land and Assets Manager for NRW, said:

“Illegal off-roading poses a serious danger to people visiting our forests for their daily exercise during the coronavirus lockdown.

“It can also have far reaching consequences for the environment, damaging tree roots and disturbing sensitive habitats for our wildlife.

“It can have far reaching consequences for the environment, damaging tree roots and disturbing sensitive habitats for our wildlife.

“We have also experienced a number of wildfires in recent days given the prolonged period of dry weather, and the devastating effects a simple spark on dry land can have.

“I would urge anyone living nearby who sees people driving illegally on our sites, or starting deliberate fires to report it to police by calling 101.”
As well as a blight on the environment, off-road drivers can cause annoyance to surrounding communities and put their safety at risk.
Police are urging anyone who sees off-roaders driving recklessly to report it immediately.

Chief Inspector Helen Coulthard, Operational Support Unit, for South Wales Police, said:

“Anti-social use of off-road bikes is not only against road traffic regulations but is also extremely dangerous.

“We are concerned that somebody could be hurt by these bikes, which are being ridden at high speed. The noise is also damaging quality of life for local residents.

“We’d also urge parents to be aware of their responsibilities in relation to their children using off-road bikes.

“The last thing anyone wants is for us to be called to the scene of a collision where someone has been hurt or worse. Protecting everyone’s safety is our over-riding priority and why we are determined to clamp down on this practice.”

Superintendent Robyn Mason, for Dyfed-Powys Police, said:

“Off-roading driving in an anti-social manner causes distress to our communities, distress to wildlife, damage to footpaths, bridleways and tracks, and green lanes in forestry areas and common land.

“It is wholly unacceptable given the current guidelines around essential travel in Wales – where emergency services, in particular the NHS, are already heavily committed – and we are working with our colleagues in Natural Resources Wales, local authorities and other agencies to police this issue.”
To report illegal off-roading call police on 101.

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Judith Rhead murder investigation – Detectives given more time to question suspect

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POLICE have been given more time to question a 43-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder.

The man has been in police custody since Saturday night, after being arrested over the death 68-year-old Judith Rhead.

She was found in a residential property in Market Street.

The police now have until Thursday afternoon (Feb 25) to question the suspect.

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All people eligible for vaccination will get theirs by end of July

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PEOPLE eligible for the coronavirus vaccine will get theirs by the end of July, the Health Minister has said.

Wales achieved its target of getting everyone in the first four priority groups vaccinated by the middle of February and is now working on offering the vaccine to those in groups 5 to 9.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has set out that people with severe or profound learning disabilities or with a mental illness will be among priority group 6.

Mr Gething said that they were would make sure that no one is left behind.

The latest figures from Public Health Wales show that 878,506 people had received their first dose of the vaccine.

59,279 people have received both doses of the vaccine.

Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services, said: “We have achieved our first milestone of offering everyone in the first four priority groups vaccination by mid-February.

“We are now making progress in achieving our next milestone, which is to offer the vaccine to all individuals in priority groups 5 to 9.

“The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has set out that people with a severe/profound learning disability and individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, or any mental illness that causes severe functional impairment, should be invited for vaccination as part of priority group 6.

“There are challenges with identifying individuals within these groups, particularly given the JCVI language is not generally in use in Wales, and we are working hard to make sure that no one is left behind. Today we have published guidance on identifying eligible individuals in these groups and on how to support them to take up their vaccine offers.

“The JCVI has also said that some of our invaluable unpaid carers should be included in priority group 6.

“Today we have also published guidance on identifying those unpaid carers eligible for vaccine prioritisation and the process around this. I am grateful to the national carers’ organisations for their support with this work.”

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Council want your help to keep Pembrokeshire active

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL is asking residents to give their views on local walking and cycling routes.

The Council aims to make journeys on foot and by bicycle easier, safer and more enjoyable for everyone.

In order to design a network that works for all, the Council would like to get the views of as many people as possible, particularly those who don’t currently walk or cycle. This will help ensure the routes built for walking and cycling work for the whole community.

The consultation focuses on the main towns and villages in Pembrokeshire which have been selected by Welsh Government as the designated localities in the County. These are:

  • Fishguard & Goodwick
  • Haverfordwest
  • Johnston
  • Milford Haven
  • Neyland
  • Pembroke Dock
  • Pembroke
  • Tenby
  • Saundersfoot
  • Narberth

Pembrokeshire Council is currently undertaking an Active Travel Network Map consultation (ATNM) which will run in 3 stages

Consultation 1: Residents can take part in the consultation exercise online, hosted by Commonplace at https://Pembrokeshire.commonplace.is/

The interactive map allows participants to flag issues, problems and successes on a plan of the active travel settlement and add comments. Such points could be for example, a pavement that is too narrow or a newly built cycle route that is regarded as a success.

The first stage of the consultation will close on 31 st March 2021.

Consultation 2: Following this, the second step of the consultation will see the Council share the initial findings and ask people what they think of the plans
proposed as a result of the feedback received.

Consultation 3: The third stage of the consultation will give members of the public a final say on the Active Travel Network Maps before they are sent to Welsh Government for approval. These maps will have been produced taking into account public feedback and ideas from consultations 1 and 2.

By upgrading facilities and creating new walking and cycling routes, the Council plans to make Active Travel the popular choice for local journeys, to increase the attractiveness of local communities as places to live and work, improve health and well-being, and help tackle air pollution.

Cllr Phil Baker, Pembrokeshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, said: “This consultation exercise will produce an Active Travel Network Map which will be a plan of routes the Council will use to inform where improvements to walking and cycling should be made in Pembrokeshire.

“It will help to make journeys on foot or by bicycle easier and safer for everyone, particularly those who don’t currently walk or cycle often and people who use mobility aids and will build on the increased level of walking and cycling that we have seen over the last 12 months during the pandemic.”

See more information on Active Travel at: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/fitness-and-well-being/active-travel

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