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Environment

New cycle and walking route planned between Neath and Tonna

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Neath Port Talbot Council has appointed a contractor to start work on the creation of a new Active Travel route between Neath and Tonna.

The route will take users alongside the towpath from Bridge Street in Neath to a point next to the Calor Gas centre in Tonna.

Work on the new Active Travel route by contractors Jones Brothers (Henllan) Ltd, begins today, Monday January 18th . The route will be closed temporarily while the Welsh Government funded work goes ahead.

By upgrading and creating new walking and cycling routes, the council plans to make Active Travel the “normal” way to make local journeys, improving air quality, promoting healthier lifestyles and increasing the attractiveness of local communities as places to live and work.

Cllr Annette Wingrave, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Sustainable Development, said: “Active Travel journeys provide a large number of benefits from improving people’s health and wellbeing to helping to reduce carbon and improving our air quality.

“This new route will be a further expansion of Neath Port Talbot’s growing Active Travel network and will help make journeys between Neath and Tonna on foot or by bicycle easier and safer for everyone, particularly for those who don’t currently walk or cycle often and for people who use mobility aids.”


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Business

Energy intensive industries could get further relief under new Government proposals

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High electricity using businesses like steel and paper mills could see further relief under new proposals to help subsidise their electricity costs.

The UK Government is consulting on the option to increase the level of exemption for certain environmental and policy costs from 85% of costs up to 100%.

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This reflects higher UK industrial electricity prices than those of other countries including in Europe, which could hamper investment, competition and commercial viability for hundreds of businesses in industries including steel, paper, glass, ceramics, and cement, and risk them relocating from the UK.

The proposal would help around 300 businesses supporting 60,000 jobs in the UK’s industrial heartlands. Looking at ways to reduce the cost of doing business for key industries would help secure the future of domestic manufacturing and maintain a competitive business environment in the UK, ensuring economic growth and protecting thousands of jobs across the country.

The Energy Intensive Industries Exemption Scheme provides businesses with relief for the costs of renewable levies, including Contracts for Difference, the Renewable Obligation and Feed in Tariffs, in their energy bills.

UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “British manufacturers are the lifeblood of our economy and central to our plans to overcome this period of economic uncertainty.

“With global energy prices at record highs, it is essential we explore what more we can do to deliver a competitive future for those strategic industries so we can cut production costs and protect jobs across the UK.”

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Director General of UK Steel Gareth Stace said: “The publication of this consultation is a significant step forward in delivering competitive electricity prices for the UK steel sector and should provide some much-needed relief in the face of extremely challenging circumstances at the current time. While there remain difficulties, this announcement demonstrates that UK Government understands the challenges of British industry and continues to support steelmakers and steel communities across the country.”

(Lead image: Gareth James / Geograph / Creative Commons 2.0)

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Environment

Cadle Heath Local Nature Reserve receives first prestigious Green Flag award

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One of Swansea’s hidden rural gems has received its first coveted Green Flag Community Award thanks to the “unwavering dedication and commitment” of its selfless volunteers.

Cadle Heath Local Nature Reserve in the Penderi area, has been awarded the prestigious accolade from Welsh environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy, after being maintained by its volunteers for a number of years.

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The 11.5 hectare heathland received Green Flag status in recognition of its excellent visitor facilities, high environmental standards, and commitment to delivering great quality green space.

Cadle Heath, which is owned and maintained by Swansea Council in partnership with volunteers from Swansea Community Farm, sits on the edge of the Penderi regeneration area and is a key green space for nature and the surrounding community. 

As one of the country’s exemplary urban heathlands, it is protected as a local nature reserve and is home to species including butterflies and dragonflies, frogs, skylarks, heather, southern marsh orchids and whorled caraway. 

Katharine Aylett, wellbeing officer at Swansea Community Farm, which is situated next to the heath, said: “Cadle Heath is an absolute gift on the farm’s doorstep, a free to access green space with diverse wildlife and lots of areas to explore.

“For the farm volunteers, the Heath offers huge benefits for their wellbeing, it feels like a wildlife haven in the city, giving them the time and space to slow down their day and take notice of nature.

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“We’re so glad that all of their hard work in keeping the heath well-maintained and beneficial to wildlife has been recognised by the Green Flag Award.”

The Green Flag Award programme is delivered in Wales by environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy, with support from the Welsh Government. Cadle Heath is one of six Local Nature Reserves in Swansea owned and managed by Swansea Council.

Councillor David Hopkins, Cabinet Member for Biodiversity, said: “We are delighted that Cadle Heath has achieved this much-deserved Green Flag Award, and would like to thank the Community Farm volunteers for all their support in helping the council to look after this very special wildlife site, which provides opportunities for local people to connect with and enjoy the nature on their doorstep.”

The heathland falls within the Penderi regeneration area, which is part of housing association Pobl’s Penderi Green Regeneration Project. The project aims to support local people in Penderi to connect with their green spaces to boost wellbeing, develop skills and support nature to thrive.

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, Swansea Community Farm and the Nature Conservation Team at Swansea Council.

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Carmarthenshire

Residents encouraged to have say on Teifi Valley flooding schemes

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Consultation on flood prevention schemes by Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion councils in the Teifi Valley has been extended to August 31 to give more residents an opportunity to have their say.

Face-to-face events in Llandysul and Llynybydder have been added to the previous online only consultation.

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Residents can visit the powerhouse in Llandysul on Wednesday 24 August between 10am and 1pm, or between 3pm and 6pm. There’s also an event at Llanybydder RFC on Thursday 25 August between 10am and 1pm, and also between 3pm and 6pm.

Officers from Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion County Councils and Natural Resources Wales will be in attendance to answer any queries along with a representative from the consultants appointed by both authorities.

The council’s say that all partners involved want to understand the impact that flooding has on communities, how the flooding happens and to assess different flood measures that will reduce the impact during increasingly stormy weather in the future.

People will be able to submit feedback in person by writing their comments down and putting them in the box located at the venues. This will be in addition to the comments and suggestions submitted during the online consultation process.

The councils say that feedback from the consultation and these events will feed into the next stage of work and form part of any decision making that Natural Resources Wales and Welsh Government will undertake to design and implement any flood risk reduction scheme.

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Carmarthenshire County Council’s  Cabinet Member for Transport, Waste and Infrastructure Services Cllr Edward Thomas said: “We want as much feedback as possible from residents so that together we can look further into the options available to us to manage flood risk in these communities. The drop-in events will provide an opportunity for residents to speak to officers about the different options available and the next steps.”

Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Environmental Services and Carbon Management Keith Henson said: “We encourage the residents of Llandysul, Pont-Tyweli and Llanybydder to have their say in this consultation, either by attending the in-person events at the said locations or by visiting the online link on the council’s website. The responses from this consultation will enable us and our partners to explore what options we have to manage flood risk in the Teifi Valley.”

Lead image: Humphrey Bolton / Geograph)

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