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Scrub removal at Pembrey will improve dunes for biodiversity say environment body

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Scrub provides a splash of greenery in our sandy spaces, but too much scrub smothers the sand dunes and has a devastating effect on the specialist plants and invertebrates which live there according to Natural Resources Wales

This winter the Welsh environment body will be removing non-native, invasive plant species from areas of dune at Pembrey to help wildlife thrive.

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The coast around Pembrey is home to 20% of all the plants in Wales and features a large sand dune system. Sand dunes are listed as the habitat type most at risk of biodiversity loss in Europe.

The Dynamic Dunescapes project, funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund and delivered in Wales by Natural Resources Wales (NRW), is working at Pembrey with Carmarthenshire County Council’s Outdoor Recreation Service to improve the condition of these dunes for wildlife.

Some non-native plant species, like the dense scrub plant sea buckthorn, are invasive and they are growing quickly in this dune system – spreading further across large areas of dune each year. Many of the dunes’ rare and specialist wildlife needs bare sand or low grassland habitat to survive and gets lost under or outcompeted by scrub. If scrub growth is not controlled, it will cause species like lizards, orchids and dune pansies to suffer and disappear from our sand dunes.

Scrub removal in specifically chosen locations will help to restore the habitat types that these species need, and this work will play a part in ensuring the dunes at Pembrey have a healthy, biodiverse future. Improving the ecological condition here will increase this coastal landscape’s resilience to other threats, such as extreme weather events and changing conditions brought on by climate change in the future.

The first phase of this work is to take place in Pembrey Country Park around Car Park 8 and the second will take place on the foredunes in front of the Welsh Government Woodland Estate which is managed by NRW. It is scheduled to begin in the last week of November and will last for two weeks. There will be a temporary closure of Factory Road outside the Country Park for one week – reopening on 5th December.

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Ruth Harding, Senior Environment Officer at Natural Resources Wales, said: “Sea Buckthorn control is important to improve the dune grassland habitats at Pembrey. Carmarthenshire County Council and Natural Resources Wales have carried out this type of habitat management over a number of years which has resulted in restoring the area to a dune grassland rich with different species of plants. You can best enjoy this during the summer months within the Pembrey Burrows and Saltings Local Nature Reserve. As part of Dynamic Dunescapes, we are now continuing this work, which will result in an overall increase in dune grassland habitat.”

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for leisure, Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths said: “Whilst scrub is a valuable habitat it does need management to maintain it in good condition for wildlife. Cutting back the scrub will ensure it does not spread into areas where is not wanted and or where it can destroy other habitat.”

Dynamic Dunescapes is not the only project working to restore Pembrey’s important sand dunes. The EU LIFE-funded Sands of LIFE project, managed by (NRW), has also been undertaking sand dune management to improve conditions for wildlife in recent years. The two projects work closely to build on and support each other’s work.

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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Carmarthenshire

PCSO works to bring end to unscrupulous cockle pickers in Kidwelly, Ferryside, Llansteffan and Laugharne

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PCSO Helen Fender has been recognised at Dyfed Powys Police’s awards for her efforts in tackling anti-social behaviour associated with unscrupulous cockle pickers descending on the communities of St Ishmael, Kidwelly, Llanybri, Llansteffan and Laugharne.

To effect change, PCSO Fender looked at the issue and its cause – pinpointing an old by-law that allowed anyone to get a free permit to pick cockles in the Three Rivers Fishery cockle beds.

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PCSO Helen Fender (Image: Dyfed Powys Police)

In 2017 there were more than 1,000 permit holders and the only regulation for obtaining a permit is to give a name, address, contact details and a photograph for ID.

“I noticed that something had to be done, it couldn’t go on this way as it was causing no end of issues for the community and the genuine fishermen who relied on picking cockles for a living,” she said.

“On the Bury Inlet there was no issue as it was much harder to get a permit.”

PCSO Fender set about working with the Welsh Government to try and make the Three Rivers Fishery regulated as other cockle beds are.

A three-month consultation is being launched with the aim to bring in tougher legislation for permits to be issued – with requirements to include training, minimum kit standards, their employment status for HMRC and an annual fee of £800.

“I’ve worked with the communities and with the local fishermen on this, and they are supportive,” said PCSO Fender.

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“When you’ve got 1,000 permits handed out to people from all over the country, there is going to be problems for the community and it impacts the local gatherers who depend on this industry to make a living.

“It was having a really detrimental effect on the lives of people in the area and it was proving dangerous, with numerous quads on the beaches and villages, even crossing railway lines.”

The issue has caused problems over the years with the Welsh Government Marine and Fisheries Division closing the Three Rivers Fishery cockle beds from 2012 to 2017 due to serious reports of anti-social behaviour, including people sleeping rough, litter not disposed of properly, no toilet facilities, and large articulated lorries trying to access small village roads.     

Sgt Gemma Davies said: “Helen has conducted a thorough and detailed enquiry into the underlying issues at the location, has sourced expert opinion and discussed numerous options to try and implement change for the better for the cockling community and the people living near to the cockle beds.

“We’re hopeful to achieving a regulated permit system which can be monitored and ‘policed’ by the fisheries more effectively.”

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Lead image: File photo of cockle picking in the Burry Inlet (Image: Natural Resources Wales)

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Carmarthenshire

Kaiser Chiefs to headline at Ffos Las Racecourse in Carmarthenshire

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Kaiser Chiefs are set to headline at Ffos Las Racecourse near Kidwelly in Carmarthenshire on Thursday 2 June 2022.

The special ‘Live After Racing’ show will invite audiences to enjoy an entire day of horse racing, with the added bonus of a full live set by the indie titans late into the evening.

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Established as one of the best loved guitar bands to emerge this century, the Kaiser Chiefs will be heading to the races with a winning set-list of bona fide indie belters in their arsenal.

Over the last 15 years the Kaisers have become a real household name, from their seven critically acclaimed and Top 10 charting albums selling multi-millions worldwide, to making memorable performances at some of the biggest events in recent history including Live 8 and the 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony, and winning innumerable awards including ‘Best Live Act’ at both the Brit Awards and Q Awards. 

With top 10 hits like ‘I Predict A Riot’, ‘Ruby’, ‘Oh My God’, ‘Never Miss A Beat’, and ‘Everyday I Love You Less & Less’ all cementing the band’s penchant for penning contemporary pop classics like few of their peers, the many highlights to be found on their acclaimed #3 charting 2019 album ‘Duck’, illustrate a band that have no intention of slowing down soon.

With a reputation as one of the best live acts in the biz, if there’s one safe bet to place all day, put it on a hit-packed set from the Kaisers…

The event, rescheduled from 27 August last year, is priced at £35 advance, £25 for under 18s, with under 5s admitted free of charge.

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Tickets are available from Ticketmaster.

(Lead image: Kaiser Chiefs)

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Carmarthen

Save the Cinema Film make scenery at UWTSD Set & Design Production Workshop

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The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) Set Design Production Scenery Workshop has revealed its involvement in the newly released ‘Save the Cinema film for Sky.

The film ‘Save the Cinema’ is a true story looking back at Liz Evans’s campaign to save the Lyric Theatre from closing in Carmarthen. Stars such as Jonathan Pryce, Samantha Morton, Tom Felton, Adeel Akhtar and Susan Wokoma feature in the film.

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As the production started, art director Gwyn Eiddior visited UWTSD’s Carmarthen Campus to see if there were any props or scenery he could possibly use for the film as it was being filmed in Carmarthen. After requesting on social media later that day for use of a workshop to build sets for the film in Carmarthen, Lecturer Dave Atkinson suggested for them to use the facilities at UWTSD.

As a result of this, the film’s construction team were based at UWTSD’s Set Design Production Scenery Workshop, meaning that all of the construction work and scenic art created for the film was made on campus. Along with Dave who was employed as the workshop manager, two graduates from the BA Set Design & Production course, Mari Hullett and Ashley Phillips were fortunate to gain work from this project in the scenic art and graphics departments.

They worked alongside the experienced production designer Jonathan Houlding who has  worked on high-end screen productions such as ‘Love Actually’, ‘Band of Brothers’ and ‘The Martian.’ Dave adds,

“We created a variety of scenery for the film. Largely dressing for the Lyric Theatre, and the theatre scenery they were filming on. The hairdresser’s salon was the largest build which was an empty shop. We had to reinstall a whole salon in there. One fun element to make was the Big Breakfast set – we made the bedroom where they interviewed people.”

UWTSD Lecturer Dave Atkinson at the University’s set design workshop (Image: UWTSD)

Graduate Mari Hullett said, “Working on ‘Save The Cinema’ as a scenic artist was an amazing opportunity and I will always value my time being involved in the production as an experience to take further into my career.

“I am extremely grateful for the chance of working alongside the friendly and highly skilled scenic and construction team as I was able to learn so much from them. I was also able to work on different roles within the art department such as graphic props, which I greatly appreciated as I got to experience a broader spectrum of skills involved on a film set.

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“As a whole, it was a really heart-warming experience to be a part of a project that involved my university town and the wider community.

“This was also my first professional role on a film project which has opened my eyes to the growing opportunities within the film industry in Wales. I am very excited to see this on-screen!”

An experience like this has been a fantastic opportunity, and a chance for the students to have an insight into the industry.

Dave Atkinson adds: “Welcoming Sky Cinema onto campus has given UWTSD Carmarthen the opportunity to not only showcase the high-quality practitioners that graduate from the Set Design & Production course, but to also exhibit the facilities we have, such as the scenery workshop which is equipped with top of the range tools and machinery.”

(Lead image: UWTSD)

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