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Natural Resources Wales

Tywi Valley communities asked for views to shape new commemorative woodland

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Natural Resources Wales (NRW) are asking communities surrounding the Tywi Valley in Carmarthenshire for their views to help inform the next steps in shaping the design for the commemorative woodland at Brownhill.

NRW has launched a second consultation to seek people’s feedback on how they will achieve the proposed objectives for the site.

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The next round follows on from the feedback received from the first round of public consultation which ran from 1 March – 26 April earlier this year.

NRW say that having listened to the responses from first round of public consultation, the Welsh environmental body has set out a proposal for the site. This includes three distinct areas that will prioritise different objectives: a conservation space for wildlife to flourish, a woodland space for commemoration that is fully accessible, and a growing space to deliver sustainable opportunities for food, trees, and nature.

The new woodland will form part of the Welsh Government Woodland Estate which is managed by NRW on behalf of Welsh Government, and the National Forest for Wales.

Residents will also have an opportunity to join staff from NRW at a drop in event 14 of July at Llansadwrn village hall in Carmarthenshire, to share their feedback.

Miriam Jones-Walters, Specialist Advisor Land Stewardship at Natural Resources Wales said: “We were pleased to be able to engage with so many residents through our initial on-line consultation and community drop-in session at Llangadog in March earlier this year and have the opportunity to listen to people’s views and ideas on the proposals for Brownhill.

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“It’s crucial for us to provide people living and working in this area with every opportunity to share their views on plans for this site. We have already received some fantastic suggestions about what people would like to see from the site. As a result we have been able to divide it in to three main areas, setting out objectives for each.

“We think this is an exciting opportunity to work in partnership (with, for example, a community group, a young farmer or someone else) to test out and demonstrate land use proposals to tackle the climate and nature emergency, integrated with productive agriculture.

“We’re keen to hear people’s feedback on the objectives and would encourage people to come along on the 14 July and talk to us or take part in our online consultation and have their say.”

The consultation opens on 23 June and closes on 28 July. 

The community drop-in event will be held 12:00 – 7:00pm on 14 of July at Llansadwrn reading room, SA19 8HH in Carmarthenshire,

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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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Carmarthenshire

Ringleader of 20-year Teifi poaching operation to pay just £1 as he ‘cannot afford’ fine

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Judge orders the ringleader of a long-running illegal poaching operation on the Afon Teifi to have £61,791.50 confiscated due to the financial gains he made from his crimes.

In a sentencing hearing at Swansea Crown Court on 8 July, the Judge also ordered that Emlyn Rees, of Dan y Graig, Cenarth in Ceredigion will pay a fine of £1,600 and costs of £1,000. Mr Rees will also have his fishing and netting equipment seized from him.

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As Mr Rees was unable to pay the sum for confiscation, he was made to pay a nominal sum of £1. If he comes into money or assets in the future, the remaining debt will be confiscated.

Mr Rees had previously pleaded guilty to illegal fishing charges brought forward by Natural Resources Wales (NRW). NRW had also made an application under the Proceeds of Crime Act to confiscate ill-gotten financial gains.

Mr Rees kept a detailed ledger of his illegal catches. Over a seven-year period, 373 dated entries of fish capture were made detailing the number and weights of the fish caught, which included 989 sea trout and 302 salmon.

The illegal fishing undertaken by Mr Rees and his associates between 2013 to 2020 has led to the loss of an estimated 686,534 salmon eggs and an estimated loss of 2,285,164 sea trout eggs.

The investigation was triggered after NRW Enforcement Officers were patrolling a stretch of the River Teifi near Cenarth and found that a gill net was illegally set in the river.

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While monitoring the area overnight, a person wearing dark clothing was seen retrieving the net at 5am and was identified as Emlyn Rees, a person known to the enforcement officers and who has three previous convictions for illegal fishing offences.

Although he fled the scene by jumping into the river, he was later arrested with the support of Dyfed Powys Police officers, and his home was searched. The outcome of the search was the basis for the rest of the investigation and the implication of his co-defendants.

Ann Weedy, Mid Wales Operations Manager at Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said: “The impact of this illegal operation is staggering. The sheer scale of the number of fish caught has undoubtedly resulted in a significant and unsustainable loss of breeding potential.

“Since 2020 all salmon and large sea trout caught in Wales have to be returned alive to the river to help protect these vulnerable stocks.

“This case should stand as a warning to would-be offenders that we will pursue every case where there is evidence of wrongdoing, and if we can demonstrate that a significant financial gain has been made, we will look to confiscate that gain.

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“I would like to thank our legal team for pursuing the illegal gains made from Mr Rees’ crimes.

“I would also like to thank our dedicated team of Enforcement Officers, whose detailed and dogged investigation exposed an astounding scale of criminality.

“We are also very grateful to our colleagues at Dyfed Powys Police for their support and to members of local angling associations who provided victim impact statements which greatly helped our case.”

Sergeant Esther Davies, Dyfed-Powys Police said: “This is an excellent example of joint partnership working between the police and NRW. In 2020 Dyfed-Powys Police’s Rural Crime Team arrested Mr Rees for offences under the Salmon and Freshwater fisheries Act, which then led to joint searches of his address and a vast amount of evidence being recovered.

“Subsequently Dyfed-Powys Police and NRW executed seven warrants as part of the investigation into an illegal fishing operation on the River Teifi.

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“The operation involved 25 police officers from the force and nine NRW enforcement officers, and targeted seven properties in the Cardigan area, linked to people believed to be involved in illegally catching and obtaining salmon and sea trout, or sewin, on an unprecedented scale.

“Poaching has been a real issue on the River Teifi for many years, and I hope this investigation and the sentence handed down today strongly demonstrates our commitment to investigating wildlife crime and reassures our fishing and angling communities.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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Environment

Welsh environment body issues warning over illegal waste collectors

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Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is asking the public to be aware of individuals and businesses advertising illegal waste collection services on social media.

The Welsh environment body is warning that people who want to dispose of waste are frequently targeted by criminals who then go on to fly tip their waste.

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The negative impacts of fly-tipping can be serious, adversely affecting the quality of the local environment and wildlife and the well-being of those living in the local community.

NRW said that everyone has a legal duty to check that the person taking the waste is a registered waste carrier. If you give your waste to someone else, you must check the person or business is registered with NRW’s public register.

It also warns that if you fail to meet your duty of care towards your waste, you could receive a fine if prosecuted.

David Powell, NRW Operations Manager North East, said: “As a waste producer, you are responsible for your waste, and you have a duty of care to ensure that it is disposed of lawfully.

“On average a legitimate waste carrier charges around £52 to remove a car boot sized bundle of waste while a van load would cost £166 and an average skip load around £230. If your waste carrier is charging less, ask to see their waste carrier’s licence and check NRW’s public register.

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“Otherwise, these illegal waste carriers might dump your waste in areas that harm the local community, the environment and risk you a hefty fine.”

Anybody who suspects illegal waste activity in their area or sees suspicious adverts online should report it via NRW’s incident hotline on 0300 065 3000.

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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