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Ceredigion joins lights-out event

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IN SUPPORT of WWF’s Earth Hour, Ceredigion County Council is joining the global celebration of our brilliant home planet. Earth Hour will see a spectacular and symbolic lights-out event in a bid to focus the world’s attention on our planet and the need to protect it.

On Saturday (Mar 19) at 8.30pm-9.30pm local time, the Council will be joining forces with thousands of iconic landmarks across the world, from The Sydney Harbour Bridge to Times Square in New York, as the partake in the blackout to show their support for the cause.

Councillor Alun Williams, Cabinet Member for Transport, Waste and Carbon Management said: “Ceredigion County Council has taken an active part in Earth Hour for several years now and was amongst the first local authorities in Wales to do so.

“We think it’s important that councils set an example and taking part fits well with our continued commitment to saving energy and investing in renewable energy which, as well as reducing carbon emissions by 13.3% in the last three and a half years, has also saved the council £846,500 a year in cumulative savings.”

Earth Hour’s unique display of an natural/unnatural darkness has in itself become a global spectacle, with hundreds of millions of individuals coming together for the ‘switch off’ each year.

In Wales last year, an estimated 500,000 people took part in the worldwide black-out, sending out a united message of support.

Welsh landmarks which participated in Earth Hour included the Senedd in Cardiff Bay, Caernarfon Castle and The National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.

235 different Welsh schools signed up to the event last year, and Assembly Members from all parties showed their support and enthusiasm. More Welsh local authorities supported Earth Hour than ever before last year, and the WWF are hoping that this year will be even bigger.

Anne Meikle, Head of WWF Cymru, added: “We’re delighted that Ceredigion County Council will be supporting Earth Hour this year and hope that they’ll inspire many others to get involved.

“Climate change will have a massive impact on people, wildlife and habitats across the world, and we need to take action to protect them. By taking one simple step to switch off, you’ll be joining millions of people from around the world in this special celebration.”

To celebrate Earth Hour 2016, wherever possible, all of Ceredigion County Council’s lighting will be turned off during the hours of darkness.

However, a select few Ceredigion sites such as Constitution Hill in Aberystwyth and Minaeron in Aberaeron will be illuminated for the rest of the night following Earth Hour.

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Further delay to Universal Credit in Ceredigion

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BEN LAKE MP for Ceredigion has expressed his concerns following a recent announcement by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that the roll-out of the government’s controversial benefit payment, Universal Credit, will be fully rolled-out across Ceredigion in December 2018.

The payment, which is set to replace longstanding benefits such as Income Support, ESA and Working Tax Credits, had initially been set to become active in Ceredigion in September 2018, however recent documentation shows the date has now been moved back to December 2018.

Ben Lake MP has expressed his concern that a roll-out in December 2018 will hit families and vulnerable people at the most difficult time of year.

Ben Lake MP said: “I welcome the news that the UK Government have decided to delay the roll-out of Universal Credit in Ceredigion, I hope that this will allow the Government an opportunity to address and resolve many of the well-publicised issues associated with the payment. There have already been significant problems with the roll-out of the new regime in other areas, however, the proposed timing of December for its roll-out in Ceredigion is particularly problematic.

“With the Christmas celebrations, cold weather, and lengthy holiday periods, December can often be a difficult month financially for many families and individuals. I have significant concerns therefore that the full introduction of Universal Credit in Ceredigion will not only see claimants put under additional financial strain, but that it will coincide with a period when many of the support services available will be disrupted due to the festive holidays.”

“I have since written to the Department of Work and Pensions expressing such concerns.”

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Share experiences of sexual harassment to help police

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PEOPLE who have been subject to sexual harassment are encouraged to share their experiences to help understand the scale of the problem in communities across Wales.

Dyfed-Powys Police is taking part in a country-wide campaign, which urges anyone who has been subject to sexual harassment to say when and where the incident took place, as well as how it made them feel, anonymously through an online survey.

The results will be used to challenge and change the culture of misogyny and sexual harassment, so people can feel safe to live their lives without fear of harassment.

Dyfed-Powys Police Assistant Chief Constable Richard Lewis said: “Sexual harassment is simply unacceptable – it doesn’t matter who it comes from or where it happens, it should not be tolerated by anyone in society.

“We are committed to making sure everybody feels safe in their community, and has the freedom to make life choices without fear of sexual harassment. We want people to be able to access every area of society with confidence, from sports facilities and workplaces, to public transport or pubs and clubs.

“By taking part in this survey, you will help us to understand the scale of the problem in communities across Dyfed-Powys Police, which will enable us to listen to those affected by sexual harassment and to make a real difference in the future.”

To take part in the survey, visit https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SWPCOM

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Proposed salmon byelaws to be postponed until 2019

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NEW fishing byelaws have been proposed which will make it mandatory for fishermen to release all salmon caught in Welsh rivers.

The procedures for introducing new byelaws are protracted and Natural Resources Wales wishes to avoid uncertainty for fishermen by delaying implementation of approved new measures until the 2019 fishing season.

The proposed all Wales byelaws, which include restrictions on fishing methods to help the survival of released fish and reduced net fishing seasons, are currently being considered by Welsh Government.

Dave Mee, Senior Fisheries Advisor for NRW, said: “At the moment timescales for a decision are uncertain, so we are proposing that introduction of any new measures should be postponed until the beginning of the 2019 rod and net seasons.

“We hope this will help clarify the situation for anglers, netsmen, fishery owners and clubs and associations.”

Welsh salmon stocks remain in a perilous condition. Although the mandatory catch and release proposals have proved unpopular with anglers, NRW firmly believes that they, along with other measures such as tackling agricultural pollution, improving water quality and managing the potential threats from predators are vital for the future survival of these iconic fish.

Peter Gough, Principal Fisheries Advisor for NRW added: “This delay is a pragmatic solution to resolving current uncertainty.

“However, it is important to note that this does not mean there will be further debate on the subject as NRW has concluded its position and the case for further controls has been made and presented to Welsh Government and it remains unchanged.

“Protection of the breeding resources of these wonderful fish is a fundamental part of our work to manage this important natural resource sustainably.”

This season, fishermen are again being asked by NRW to practice full restraint and ensure conservation of fish stocks by voluntarily releasing all the salmon they catch in 2018.

Dave explained: “Our salmon stocks are in serious trouble and have fallen to historically low levels and the same is true of about half of our sea trout stocks.

“Neither species can sustain uncontrolled killing of fish and so we are again asking all anglers to release all of their salmon.

“Most anglers are already voluntarily releasing the fish they catch, but some are not. We feel the situation is now so serious for salmon that we must ask all anglers to help preserve as many fish as possible by returning all their salmon.

“It’s also very important to take great care of returned fish. Fishing methods and tackle should be used that ensure fish have a high probability of survival, they should always be kept in the water while unhooking to ensure they can swim away strongly.”

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