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Japan gifts 100 cherry trees to two Swansea parks

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Visitors to two Swansea parks are enjoying the spectacular sight of 100 new cherry blossom trees.

They are gifts to the city from a project linked with the 2019-20 Japan-UK Seasons of Culture which is being celebrated here and in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Half have been planted by Swansea Council tree specialists in Cwmdonkin Park, Uplands; the other 50 have been planted in Jersey Park, St Thomas.

The trees will be particularly attractive when they blossom each spring.

Ceremonies were held at each park to celebrate the initiative. Both took place safely and in line with government guidelines.

Mark Child, Lord Mayor of Swansea, said: “Swansea is a green city and it’s getting greener. The beautiful new cherry blossoms emphasise that.

“We thank those who run and support the Sakura Cherry Tree Project for their exceptional gift; these trees will provide many years of enjoyment for this and future generations.

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“The trees will bloom well into the 22nd century and will offer a legacy of friendship between the UK and Japan.”

Mark Thomas, the council’s cabinet member for environment enhancement and infrastructure management, “Our city’s £1bn regeneration programme involves exciting new buildings and also a determination to increase the number of trees and the area’s biodiversity.

“Our cabinet’s vision is for the city to be net carbon zero by 2050. The council has already set itself the target of being a net carbon zero council by 2030.

“We want to fight climate change – and richer biodiversity such as that encouraged by the cherry trees will play a big part.”

In Japan, businesses are funding the Sakura Cherry Tree Project through the Japan-British Society. Cherry blossom (sakura) is the national flower of Japan.

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In the UK, the roll-out of the project is being coordinated by the Japan Matsuri charity.

Keisaku Sandy Sano, Founder and Joint Chairman of the Sakura Cherry Tree Project Team, said: “The response we have had from all across Wales, has been amazing. 

“It is testament to the strong relationship between our countries, and we hope the trees will be a lasting tribute to that.  Many Japanese corporations have decided to, through the Japan-British Society, generously donate to this project.

“I am deeply grateful for all the efforts and support given by people and corporations both in Japan and UK to this project.”

Keith Dunn, OBE, Honorary Consul for Japan in Wales, said: “Wales and Japan have a strong relationship developed over more than 100 years. At the heart of the relationship is a desire for mutual understanding and to learn from each other’s way of life, culture and history.

“These trees are a strong symbol of our friendship that can be supported and enjoyed by future generations and I hope these plantings, particularly at this current time, will be embraced by our communities for the future.”

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The Sakura Cherry Tree Project’s mission is to create a legacy for future generations. It is planting cherry trees in parks and public spaces across the UK.

First Minister Mark Drakeford joined Yasumasa Nagamine, Japan’s Ambassador to the UK, at the St Fagans National Museum of History on December 4 for the first formal planting in Wales of the 1,000 cherry trees gifted to public parks and schools across Wales.

The Sakura Cherry Trees will be distributed to more than 65 schools and colleges across Wales and to the cities of Cardiff, Bangor, St Asaph, Swansea and Newport.

Swansea schools set to receive them include St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Clydach, Trallwn Primary School, Llansamlet, and Ysgol Pen-y-Bryn, Clase.

Ambassador Mr Nagamine said: “We hope that people all over Wales will join with us in embracing this chance to deepen mutual understanding, thus helping to create an enduring legacy.

“Yet the Sakura Cherry Tree Project will not just represent the lasting impact of the Japan-UK Season of Culture but will be a wider celebration of the cordial ties between Japan, the UK and Wales.

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“Just like our relationship, these trees will grow stronger as they mature and, each year when they blossom, I hope they bring joy to people across Wales and remind them of the deep friendship between our two nations and peoples.”

Sakura Cherry Tree Project –https://japanuksakura.org/

(Lead image: Celebrating the planting of new cherry blossom trees at Jersey Park, St Thomas. From left: David and Cynthia Lloyd, of the Jersey Park Pavilion and directors of the GSP (Grenfell Park, St Thomas and Port Tennant) Community Regeneration Partnership; Keith Dunn, OBE, Honorary Consul for Japan in Wales; Mark Child, Lord Mayor of Swansea; and Mark Thomas, Swansea Council cabinet member). (All Images – Swansea Council)


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Environment

Cadle Heath is alive with the sound of critters

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From endangered bats to moths, beetles and unusual critters, a Swansea suburb is giving locals an opportunity to discover exactly what’s living on their doorstep.

The Cadle Heath BioBlitz event funded by the Swansea Nature Partnership on Saturday, May 14, is a day packed with scavenger hunts, guided walks, opportunities to learn about the wildflowers, bugs birds, reptiles and mammals and help to gather important nature data by recording the unusual species living in this urban heath.

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This nature reserve is one of Swansea’s best kept secrets and stretches from behind Swansea Community Farm on Carmarthen Road, to popular shopping-destination, Pontarddulais Road Retail Park.

The event, which is organised by Swansea Community Farm, South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre and Penderi Green Regeneration project, will take place between 10am and 3pm at the farm. Followed by a bat walk at 8.30pm, giving people the chance to listen for the elusive, red-listed, Lesser Horseshoe Bat in its natural habitat.

Kate McCabe from Pobl, leading on the Penderi Green Regeneration Project, said: “This is an exciting event for us. Cadle Heath is one of the best examples of urban heathland in the country and we are proud to have such a rich, exciting space for nature in the heart of Swansea’s Penderi region. The fact that the heath is home to a red-listed bat species is something we should be really proud of and something we should protect and celebrate.”

“Cadle is in such a highly populated part of Swansea that it is often overlooked, and people don’t often realise the hidden haven that exists for local wildlife. This family-friendly event will really bring the area to life, giving people a unique opportunity to really explore the area with the guidance of passionate scientists and nature experts.”

Katharine Aylett, from Swansea Community Farm, said: “We are proud to be hosting such an important and exciting event for the area, and to be partners of Pobl’s Penderi Green Regeneration Project. At Swansea Community Farm, we know the positive effect activities like this have on the community and local wildlife; it’s about raising awareness of the natural world and bringing people together, outdoors. 

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“The Penderi Green Regeneration Project itself, is vital to the area and is already having a clear impact on this part of Swansea. We’re looking forward to working with them on future events and initiatives.”

The Penderi Green Regeneration Project is an initiative to support local people in their desire to improve green spaces in their area which will help boost health and wellbeing. Through a series of physical and educational opportunities, the initiative will bring the wider neighbourhood together to regenerate green spaces in the Penderi area of Swansea.

Funded by UK Government, under the Community Renewal Fund (CRF), Pobl Group is able to deliver the Project with the help of key partners, Swansea Environment Centre, Room To Grow and the Conservation Team at Swansea Council.

For more information on the free event, visit: www.swanseacommunityfarm.org.uk

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Environment

First Minister celebrates 10 years of the Wales Coast Path

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The First Minister will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Wales Coast Path with a visit to meet volunteers and walkers.

A year long programme of events and activities celebrating the Wales Coast Path will take place throughout 2022, including walking festivals, virtual challenges and art installations.

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Since its opening in 2012, the Wales Coast Path has established itself as a beacon of our nation’s natural beauty.

The 870 mile path guides walkers along Wales’ picturesque coastline, weaving its way past a hundred beaches and sixteen castles.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The coastal path is one of the crowning glories of Wales and one of the proudest achievements of devolution.

“I would like to thank all those involved in the management of the path. Particularly the staff and volunteers, who are out in all weathers, working hard to maintain the path to such high standards.

“If I had to choose my favourite stretch of the path, the portion between Pendine and Amroth would be a candidate: starting in my own home county of Carmarthenshire, and ending in Pembrokeshire. It may not be the most well-known part of the path, but it offers huge variety: some challenging climbs, outstanding variety of flowers, secret coves and plenty of historical interest”.

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The Welsh Government will build on the successes of the first ten years so that more people are able to enjoy the path, from more backgrounds, more easily, and with more benefits for local communities, businesses and the environment.

The Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters MS, asked Huw Irranca-Davies, MS for Ogmore to undertake a review of the Wales Coast Path.

A small group, drawn from academia and the public, private and voluntary sectors was established to undertake the review.

The Group reflected on the key achievements over the last decade and identified how to maximise opportunities for the future.

Their report has been published on the Welsh Government website today (11 May).

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The review recognises the potential value and challenges of the Wales Coast Path. It contains 19 recommendations for the Welsh Government to consider when developing its future strategic approach to the path.

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Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

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A man from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to the River Loughor, near Llanelli to fish using a barbaric and illegal method, has been banned from driving for 12 months as part of his sentence.

Vu Quang Tien pleaded guilty to an illegal fishing charge and also to a charge of obstruction of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Fisheries Enforcement Officer on 26 April at Swansea Magistrates Court.

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Mr Tien and two other anglers were witnessed by NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers deliberately using the illegal foul hooking method of fishing – also known as snatching – at the river Loughor on 15 August 2021. NRW officers attended the site after several reports of illegal fishing were made to NRW’s 24/7 incident call centre by concerned members of the community.

When approached and questioned by NRW officers, Mr Tien and his accomplices showed significant hostility and reluctance to share identification documents which eventually had to be extracted by use of reasonable force.

All of Mr Tien’s fishing tackle and fish, along with his associates’ fishing tackle was seized by NRW Officers at the time of the incident. The district judge on the day at Swansea Magistrates Court gave permission to NRW to confiscate these items permanently from each of them.

The District Judge disqualified Mr Tien from driving for 12 months due to seriousness of the incident, and the premeditated and deliberate action of travelling such a distance to commit the offence.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,334 in fines, NRW costs and a victim surcharge.

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Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “We would like to again thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.

“Foul hooking is a truly barbaric form of fishing carried out by a small minority of anglers in Wales, who have no regard for fish welfare.

“NRW and the Police take these incidents seriously as do the courts.

“Hopefully, the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines and driving ban in this case issued by the courts.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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