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Welsh Government announce plans to make Wales litter and fly-tipping free

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A Deposit Return Scheme, reviewing enforcement arrangements and incentives for businesses to produce more environmentally-friendly packaging are some of the proposals in a new report.

Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths MS called on everyone to “play their part” in eliminating litter and fly-tipping from Wales’ cities, seas and countryside.

The Minister today (Thursday, January 28) launched her new plan: ‘A Litter and Fly-tipping Free Wales’, which outlines how the Welsh Government intends to crack down on the issue, while inviting anyone in Wales to submit their own ideas on how to tackle the problem.

Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said: “There are no excuses for littering and fly-tipping. I want to see an end to these antisocial behaviours which are a blight on our streets, beaches and countryside, with the cost of clearing often borne by the public.

“As well as being unsightly and spoiling our enjoyment of our towns and countryside, litter – particularly plastic litter and fly-tipping –impacts our health and well-being, and threatens Wales’ wildlife and habitats alike, risking their loss not just for future generations, but for those alive in Wales today.  

“The goals set out within the plan are far-sighted ambitions, and enforcement will play a key role – but enforcement alone isn’t enough to tackle these issues, and we will need everyone to play their part at every level of production, use and disposal to not only reduce litter, but to stop items from becoming litter in the first place.

The Minister added: “Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people have taken the opportunity posed by lockdown to explore their local areas, and green spaces close to their homes – but sadly, we have also seen single-use masks discarded on the ground, and pleas from the National Trust and National Park Authorities for people not to discard their rubbish in beauty spots.

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“Such sights are evidence of why new arrangements have to be introduced to help tackle these twin issues, and to encourage people not only to dispose of their rubbish properly, but to consider alternatives to single-use and disposable items.”

A number of strategies are already underway to help drive down the improper and illegal disposal of waste items in Wales, and moving towards the use of more sustainable produce, including ambitious plans to stop the use of single-use plastics in Wales.

Plans to stop the use of single use plastics are included in the report

Some of the actions outlined in the new plan include:

  • Incentivising businesses to produce more environmentally-friendly packaging;
  • Introducing a Deposit Return Scheme to help cut down on the littering of drinks containers;
  • Improving the monitoring and reporting of incidents of fly-tipping, on both private and public land;
  • Launching a national anti-litter awareness raising campaign
  • Reviewing current enforcement arrangements for litter and fly-tipping, potentially increasing penalties if needed; including exploring how Wales could introduce legislation to crack down on littering from moving vehicles;

The consultation runs until March 25.

Lesley Jones, Chief Executive of Keep Wales Tidy, said: “Litter and fly-tipping have significant and far-reaching social, environmental, and economic impacts on communities. We strongly believe that a prevention-based approach is needed if we are to effectively tackle these issues and welcome the launch of this important Welsh Government consultation.

“It is an exciting development that we hope will lead to bold policy decisions and joint working across sectors to reduce, reuse and recycle waste. We will be playing our part with Caru Cymru – an ambitious new partnership project with Local Authorities and Welsh Government, aimed at encouraging communities to take action to eliminate litter from our landscape.”

Neil Harrison, Team Leader at Fly-tipping Action Wales, said: “Fly-tipping Action Wales welcome this renewed commitment from Welsh Government to tackle fly-tipping in Wales through a combined Litter & Fly-tipping Prevention Plan.

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“Fly-tipping has wide-ranging negative impacts on the environment, the economy and local communities in Wales. A collaborative approach is essential in tackling fly-tipping and we encourage members of the public and all relevant businesses and organisations to share their views by responding to this consultation.

“The Litter & Fly-tipping Prevention Plan provides opportunities for us to build on the progress made to date in combatting fly-tipping in Wales and we look forward to working collaboratively with our partners towards achieving its aims.”


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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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