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Thousands of Welsh drivers fined due to ‘misleading’ bus gate signage

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A DETAILED investigation into the signage of bus gates in Cardiff has revealed significant issues leading to an exorbitant number of Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) being issued, totalling over £500,000 annually. The Kingsway bus gate, in particular, has become a notorious hotspot for fines, averaging one £70 PCN every 20 minutes during its operational hours.

The root of the problem appears to be the inadequate and misleading signage that fails to meet the legal standards set out in the Traffic Signs and General Directions 2016 and the Traffic Signs Manual. According to the reports, many of the drivers fined were likely unfamiliar with the area, relying on the insufficient signage to guide them. This issue is not unique to Cardiff, with similar complaints being echoed across various UK towns and cities.

The reports highlight that the signage at Kingsway does not comply with the necessary legal requirements. Common problems include signs that are too small, poorly placed, and lacking necessary supplementary plates such as “and authorised vehicles” for Private Hire Vehicles. This oversight questions the legality of the bus lane and gate enforcement in Cardiff and other regions.

An extensive review of bus gate penalties across the UK shows a troubling pattern of inadequate signage and excessive PCNs. Cities such as Leeds, Bristol, Brighton, and Aberdeen have similarly high rates of fines, with some councils issuing up to 132,000 PCNs annually. These penalties generate millions of pounds in revenue but have sparked widespread criticism regarding their fairness and the adequacy of the signage.

Traffic experts and campaigners, including Matt Sanders who authored a comprehensive 150-page report on Bristol’s bus gates, urge immediate corrective measures. Recommendations include halting the issuance of PCNs until signage is corrected, refunding unjustly fined drivers, and ensuring that all traffic signs meet current legal standards and are conspicuously placed.

Local authorities, such as Cardiff City Council, maintain that their signage complies with legislation. However, this has been disputed by adjudicators at the Traffic Penalty Tribunal who have frequently upheld appeals based on inadequate signage. The reports call into question the competence of the officers responsible for installing and maintaining these signs, suggesting a lack of up-to-date knowledge and training.

For Cardiff and other affected cities, the path forward involves a comprehensive review and overhaul of bus gate signage to ensure legal compliance and clarity for drivers. Authorities are urged to adopt the Institute of Highway Engineers’ recommendations and ensure all signage is designed and checked by qualified professionals.

The current state of bus gate signage in Cardiff and across the UK is leading to an unreasonable number of fines, disproportionately affecting unfamiliar drivers. This issue necessitates urgent national attention and reform to ensure fairness and legal compliance in traffic enforcement.

Community

Sumatran tiger cub named Zaza is first ever born in a Welsh zoo

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MANOR WILDLIFE PARK said this week that it is thrilled to announce the birth of a Sumatran tiger cub, named Zaza, marking a momentous occasion as the first tiger cub to be born in a zoo in Wales. Born on the May 25, Zaza is a symbol of hope and a critical addition to the global effort to conserve this critically endangered species.

The birth of Zaza represents a significant milestone not only for Manor Wildlife Park but also for wildlife conservation in Wales. The Sumatran tiger, one of the world’s most endangered tiger subspecies, faces severe threats from habitat loss and poaching. Zaza’s arrival brings renewed focus to the importance of protecting these majestic creatures and their natural habitats.

Rick Newton, the Animal Manager, expressed his excitement and pride, saying, “We are overjoyed to welcome Zaza to our family. This birth is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our team, who have worked tirelessly to create an environment where these magnificent animals can thrive. Zaza’s arrival is a beacon of hope for the conservation of Sumatran tigers, and we are committed to ensuring she grows up healthy and strong.”

The birth was monitored closely by the park’s veterinary and animal care teams to ensure both mother and cub received the best possible care. Zaza has been thriving under the watchful eye of her mother, Terima, and the two have been bonding beautifully since the birth.

Visitors to Manor Wildlife Park will now have the opportunity to see Zaza as she begins to venture out of her den and explore her surroundings. The cub will be viewable to the public during regular park hours, allowing visitors to witness this historic moment and learn more about the park’s ongoing conservation efforts to protect Sumatran tigers.

The park’s conservation programme is dedicated to supporting global efforts to preserve endangered species through breeding initiatives, habitat conservation, and public education. Zaza’s birth is a hopeful reminder of the impact that dedicated conservation work can have on preserving our planet’s wildlife.

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Tenby Town Council demands urgent action from Welsh Water

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TENBY TOWN COUNCIL says its members were horrified at the pollution caused by failures of the sewage infrastructure which recently caused pollution warnings to be issued to the public.

They have called for Dwr Cymru to take urgent action to replace the rising main (pipe) that keeps failing.

The Mayor, Cllr. Dai Morgan , has written to the Chief Executive of Dwr Cymru outlining concerns and asking for action to be taken. A copy of the letter together with a statement from the Mayor is in the comments.

Tenby Town Council said on social media: “We are not new to this issue, We are not just reacting to events. 18 months ago we formed a Safe Seas Working Group led by Cllr Whitehurst. This group has brought together Dwr Cymru, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and PCC to examine all aspects of sewage management in and around Tenby. Detailed analysis has shown when there has been spillages or releases and looked into the reasons why. It is in this group that, following

“Tenby Town Council raised the issue, that it was acknowledged that this pipe needed to be replaced.

“Cllr Whitehurst has formed a formidable working relationship with all parties and we hope this relationship will help to bring the timescale forward to replace the rising main.

“We will continue to press all agencies to fulfil their responsibilities and will soon be meeting with all parties. In the meantime we are saying loud and clear that this pipe needs replacing quickly.

“Our wonderful clean seas, our blue flag beaches and our precious environment are too important to those who live here, those that visit and to the economy of not only Pembrokeshire but the whole of Wales.”

Tenby’s Mayor Cllr Morgan released a statement on Friday (Jul 12). Cllr Morgan said: “The recent fracture of the rising main to Tenby Wastewater Treatment Works (WwTW) has once again brought to light the critical nature of infrastructure maintenance and the dire consequences of its failure. This incident, marking the second such occurrence in as many years, has not only resulted in environmental pollution but has also cast a shadow over the safety of local recreational waters, with advisories against swimming in the sea—a blow to the community’s spirit and its tourism-driven economy.

“Tenby Town Council’s meeting with representatives from Dŵr Cymru, Natural Resources Wales (NRW), and Pembrokeshire County Council earlier this year had concluded with assurances that the rising main was on the radar as a high-risk site. The commitment to include it in the programme of works, was a step in the right direction. However, the recent pollution incident underscores the need for a more immediate response.

“The council’s call for Dŵr Cymru to expedite the replacement of the rising main is a testament to the urgency of the situation. The potential for future bursts poses a significant threat not only to the environment but also to the economic vitality of Tenby, a jewel in Wales’ tourism crown. The council’s proactive stance and its appeal for decisive action reflect a broader understanding that environmental issues require prompt and effective management.

“The relationship fostered over the years, mainly because of the hard work of Cllr Duncan Whitehurst, between the council and Dŵr Cymru has been pivotal in ongoing efforts to safeguard and enhance water quality. This partnership is now being leaned upon to navigate this issue efficiently. The council’s request is clear: immediate commencement of the replacement works, with a definitive completion date, is imperative.

“Tenby’s case serves as a reminder of the interconnectedness of our ecosystems, economies, and communities. It highlights the importance of maintaining robust infrastructure, the need for vigilance in environmental monitoring, and the power of collaborative relationships resolution. As the situation unfolds, the actions taken today will resonate far into the future, shaping the legacy of Tenby’s environmental stewardship and its commitment to the well-being of its residents and visitors alike.”

Pictured above with North beach newly awarded blue flag are, Cllr Duncan Whitehurst, Mayor Cllr Dai Morgan and,.Town and County Cllr Sam Skryme Blackhall.

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Community

Neyland Carnival 2024: A resounding success

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THIS year’s carnival dazzled spectators and participants alike today, marking one of the most memorable events in recent years. Thousands flocked to the streets to witness an extraordinary procession of floats and walkers, showcasing the community’s creativity and unity.

Pembrokeshire County Councillor Simon Hancock was present to award the prizes, expressing his admiration for the event. “What a privilege to present the prizes at Neyland Carnival 2024,” Hancock said. “The ingenuity and creativity on show in the floats and walkers were truly extraordinary. Thousands saw the procession which must have been the biggest seen in Pembrokeshire these days. My congratulations to the hardworking committee which made everything possible. Well done! A wonderful day all round.”

The celebration extended to local venues, including The Legionnaire Neyland, a popular pub that joined in the festivities with enthusiasm. In a heartfelt message on social media, the pub’s team shared their gratitude and joy: “What an awesome carnival! I’d like to thank the staff and customers, and extend huge congratulations to Rebecca Charlton for making the Best Pub win happen. A huge thank you to Roy and Jane for providing awesome food at a reasonable rate. Thank you to Pembrokeshire Metal Recycling for the use of their lorry and Mike Otterbein for driving the route for us once again. Also, congratulations to the committee for their success—they nailed it. I hope the local businesses who sponsored the carnival benefited as much as we did today, as the after-party is going strong. Thanks to Upton Farm for donating 100 bottles of water to keep everyone hydrated at no charge. The Neyland community stands strong!”

The event highlighted the community spirit, with local businesses playing a crucial role in supporting the carnival. Their contributions, from providing essential resources to sponsoring various aspects of the event, ensured its success and demonstrated the strong bond within Neyland.

As the sun set on this vibrant day, the after-party continued, cementing Neyland Carnival 2024 as a cherished memory for all who participated and attended. The celebration underscored the strength and unity of the Neyland community, promising even greater events in the future.

Thank you everyone who sent their photos in from the event!

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