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Preseli MP kicks off The Great British Spring Clean with roadside litter pick

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PRESELI Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb has called for action to halt the growing quantity of litter discarded on roadside verges across Pembrokeshire. “Litter plaguing county could jeopardise Pembrokeshire’s tourism reputation”, he said.

The MP has used the start of The Great British Spring Clean 2023, which runs from 17th March to 2nd April, to draw attention to the state of the County’s green verges and hedgerows, some of which are now strewn with drink cans, coffee cups and fast-food cartons. As well as damaging the environment, the volume of litter risks undermining Pembrokeshire’s reputation as a wonderful place for tourists to visit.

Hearing direct from Pembrokeshire residents concerned about the increase in litter, Stephen Crabb MP has called on Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority to step up and take action ahead of the busy tourism season.

Stephen and his team, together with Johnston County Councillor Aled Thomas, gathered for a litter pick around Johnston on the first day of the British Spring Clean on Friday 17th March.

Commenting during the litter picking session, Stephen Crabb said, “I’m really concerned right now about the amount of litter that I am seeing. It’s the worst it’s ever been. Today, we have been picking up lots of fast-food wrappers, cigarette packets, energy drink cans and coffee cups scattered along the roadsides – it’s a real disgrace.”

He commended local efforts by groups such as the Newgale Beach Wombles and Eco Dewi and others who regularly volunteer their time to help keep our beaches and County clear of rubbish. He urged residents to think about how they are disposing their litter and encouraged people consider becoming a Litter Champion – part of the Keep Wales Tidy campaign.

He added, “Locals are raising it with me all the time at the moment and it’s a wide-spread problem across the County. People are really fed up of it. I am also concerned about the impression that it provides to tourists who visit our County for its outstanding natural beauty.”

The MP used equipment provided by one of the six Caru Cymru‘s Keep Wales Tidy community litter picking hubs across Pembrokeshire. They provide equipment free of charge to members of the community. This includes litter pickers, hoops, hi-vis vests and bin bags. The kit also contains all necessary health and safety guidance and support on competing a Litter Picking Loan Agreement and a Risk Assessment.

Stephen Crabb has also called on Welsh Government Education Minister, Jeremy Miles, to use the new Welsh curriculum to educate and help influence behaviour in young people in primary and secondary education on litter prevention.

County Councillor Aled Thomas said, “We all have a responsibility to keep our communities as clean as possible and to show our natural environment at its best. We have to be pro-active and do our bit and stop turning a blind eye to the problem that we have here in Pembrokeshire.”

In his letter to the Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, he wrote “I appreciate there is considerable pressure on the maintenance team covering Pembrokeshire but there is enormous strength of public feeling about this issue locally. Local people are being asked again to pay large increases in Council Tax; they want to see core functions delivered well.”

Community

Police launch urgent search for missing 16-year-old in west Wales

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POLICE are actively searching for a missing 16-year-old boy, known only as Kobi, who has not been seen since last week. The teenager has connections across various towns in west Wales, including Llandeilo, Carmarthen, and Cardigan.

Kobi, described as tall with shaved black hair featuring a purple tint, was last spotted in Llanelli. Authorities have urged the public to remain vigilant and report any sightings of the boy immediately.

A spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys Police issued a public appeal, stating: “Can you help find Kobi, who has been reported missing? Kobi is 16 years old, and described as tall with shaved black hair which has a purple tint.”

Anyone with information on Kobi’s whereabouts is encouraged to contact Dyfed-Powys Police without delay, as concerns for his welfare continue to grow.

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Feedback wanted on regional transport vision

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VIEWS are wanted on the future of transport in South West Wales.

Covering Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea, a case for change that’s been developed for a regional transport plan is now open for public feedback until Monday August 26.

The case for change shows how the plan is essential to support the ongoing economic development of the region, while recognising its diverse communities and varying transport needs.

Aims of the plan include improving walking and cycling routes to local services, as well as achieving a shift away from private car usage to more sustainable forms of transport. Affordability will be at the centre of the plan to ensure access to transport is available to all.

Comments on the case for change will help inform a draft regional transport plan that will also be consulted on when it’s ready for feedback.  

Swansea Bay and West Wales Metro plans for an integrated bus and rail network will continue to be developed alongside the regional transport plan’s delivery in future. 

The rail metro elements are projected to add over a million journeys to the rail network, helping move more people out of cars and onto public transport than any other scheme in Wales.
Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader and Chairman of the Corporate Joint Committee (CJC) for South West Wales, said: “Adding to an outstanding tourism offer, South West Wales is undergoing a time of unprecedented investment, thanks to developments like the Celtic Freeport and £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal.
“These schemes – in combination with many others – will help create thousands of jobs for local people and attract even more investment to South West Wales in future, but we’ve also identified that our current transport network needs significant improvement to keep pace with these developments, while also better meeting the needs of local people in all the region’s communities – both urban and rural.
“The case for change – which also highlights the importance of affordability, climate change considerations and low-carbon transport – is intended as a guide to help inform the emerging regional transport plan.”
Cllr Darren Price, Carmarthenshire Council’s Leader and Chairman of the CJC’s transport sub-group, said: “The transport network is at the heart or our region. It takes us to work, education, healthcare and leisure and social activities both throughout South West Wales and further afield.
“It affects everyone, which is why we’re opening up our case for change for the regional transport plan for public feedback.
“With the population of the region also expected to increase in the coming decades, we need a transport system that accommodates existing and future developments in a way that supports sustainable travel choices, economic activity and social inclusion across the region.”
Head to www.cjcsouthwest.wales/consultation for more information and the opportunity to give feedback.
Email [email protected] if you have any queries.
Paper copies of the feedback form and consultation materials are available at:
Carmarthenshire: Ammanford Customer Services Hwb on Quay Street, Carmarthen Customer Services Hwb on St Catherine’s Walk or Llanelli Customer Services Hwb on Stepney Street.
Neath Port Talbot: Neath Civic Centre, Port Talbot Civic Centre or The Quays on Brunel Way in Baglan Energy Park.
Pembrokeshire: County Hall in Haverfordwest.
Swansea: The Civic Centre on Oystermouth Road.

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Community

Freshwater West named The Times newspaper Beach of the Year

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FRESHWATER WEST has been named Wales’s Beach of the Year, according to the annual best beaches guide by The Times and Sunday Times. The comprehensive guide, now in its 16th edition, lists the top 50 beaches in the UK and will be available in print on 21st July.

Chris Haslam, the award-winning chief travel writer for The Times and Sunday Times, described Freshwater West as “a wilderness of dunes, sand and rocks that draws surfers from across the world to ride its winter waves.” Haslam has personally inspected all 50 beaches on the list over the past eight weeks.

The guide evaluates the stunning beauty of the UK coastline using a meticulous 11-point checklist. This includes water quality, cleanliness, accessibility, parking facilities, lifeguard presence, hygiene standards at restrooms and showers, and dog-friendliness. For 2024, only beaches rated as “excellent” for water quality by national environment agencies have been included, and the guide exclusively covers mainland beaches.

Here are the best beaches in Wales according to the guide:

  • Wales’s Beach of the Year: Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire
  • Llanddwyn, Anglesey
  • Porth Iago, Gwynedd
  • Penbryn, Ceredigion
  • Mwnt, Ceredigion
  • Manorbier, Pembrokeshire
  • Pendine Sands, Pembrokeshire
  • Mewslade, Vale of Glamorgan
  • Oxwich, Vale of Glamorgan
  • Monknash, Vale of Glamorgan

Chris Haslam reflected on his travels, saying, “My Jack Russell, Dave T Dog, and I have journeyed 5,583 miles and explored 543 beaches. The 50 beaches that made our list are graced with outstanding natural beauty, superb infrastructure, and a clear sense of pride from those who live, work, and play there. I’m still in awe of the beauty of the UK coast. From Kynance to Caithness, and Brancaster to Benone, the beaches of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are the most magnificent on earth.”

For more details, visit The Times and Sunday Times Best UK Beaches.

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