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Concerns over salmon fishing ban dismissed

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screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-16-38-10A SENIOR member of the Teifi Trout Association (TTA) has raised concerns over ‘restrictions’ that he fears may be put in place by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) regarding salmon fishing in the River Teifi and throughout Wales.

Secretary of the TTA Gwyn Morris has said that NRW is looking to introduce a ban on salmon fishing and introduce restrictions on fishing methods such as bait fishing.

The TTA currently has around 200 members and owns a n approximate 20 mile stretch of water in the Teifi. The fishing strip has received considerable investment in its time, some of which has been sourced through grant funding.

In the late 1980s, Gwyn said that the TTA had initially purchased a strip (which spanned several miles), in part, by using funds that involved a £50k grant from Ceredigion Council. The area also received National Lottery funding for several disabled platforms which can be found along the river.

Gwyn said: “They [NRW] can’t tell us when this ban is coming in. They’re trying to fetch this legislation in, but they’ve got to go through Welsh Government. We’re opposing it being passed if we can.”

Gwyn also raised concerns about the TTA’s disabled members, most of whom rely on bait fishing, something Gwyn expects to be banned.

He said: “With our members now, most of them are getting older, you’ve got more disabled every year, and that’s what we have to try and hit them with now, they’re depriving the disabled.”

With reference to statistical evidence he had received at a meeting at University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Gwyn also argued that there had been a 23% increase in salmon numbers in the Teifi.

Having spoken to Gwyn, the Herald contacted the NRW where we got through to Principal Communications Officer, Martyn Gough. While Martyn acknowledged that numbers of adult salmon may well have increased (he could not confirm this either way), he did point out that NRW was currently more concerned with salmon fry numbers which have been declining across the country.

Martyn said: “We’re still very much at the stage where we are investigating the reason for this decline in the numbers and we will take steps eventually, but what they are we don’t know at the moment.”

Martyn went on to dismiss claims of a potential ban, adding: “It’s a problem that we need to address but it is something that we’re still investigating and because of that, we haven’t made any decisions on restrictions or any sort of ban that may or may not take place; that’s a discussion for once we’ve collated all the evidence.

“As you can image, there’s an awful lot of rumours and gossip around the situation. At the moment, there is nothing of that nature in the pipeline.”

When discussing the cause of decreasing salmon fry numbers, Martyn was quick to dismiss over-fishing as a major cause, and instead pointed to something else. He said: “We think that it may be related to last years wet and warm winter, we don’t think this is a case of overfishing. The evidence, and again we’re still investigating this, but the evidence points to something to do with climate change. “

The only scheme that NRW currently promotes is a voluntary catch and release scheme.

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Proposed work on dangerous Dorglwyd Junction set to be delayed

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ELIN JONES AM and Ben Lake MP have expressed their frustration following a recent statement from the Welsh Government noting that work on the A487 Dorglwyd junction from Comins Coch, would be delayed.

The junction has witnessed several crashes and close-calls over recent years, with local residents calling for the development of a roundabout or similar traffic-calming measures.

The Welsh Government announced in September 2016 that a feasibility study would be undertaken by the following Summer as to consider potential options to improve the junction.

However, a recent letter from Ken Skates AM, Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport to Elin Jones AM and Ben Lake MP noted: “We are aware of the issues at the junction and an improvement scheme has been within our upgrades programme for some time. Unfortunately, due to limited financial resources and competing priorities, it has progressed slowly.”

“We are currently reviewing the scope of a possible improvement and considering solutions which are affordable and minimise environmental impact. When we are in a position to present outline solutions, a workshop with local stakeholders will be held. This is likely to be in early 2019.”

Elin Jones AM said: “Whilst I do welcome such clarification from the Cabinet Secretary on the next steps for Dorglwyd junction, it is disappointing to read that no major works for the transformation will happen due to the expense of the project. It is positive however to see that a smaller scale improvement is now to be pursued, with consultation likely to be undertaken in early 2019.”

John Roberts, local Ceredigion County Councillor for Faenor ward, added: “I share both Elin Jones’ and Ben Lake’s disappointment at the response from Ken Skates AM. The original plan was to encapsulate a more global project including the Llanbadarn bypass therefore we need to be more realistic in our aspirations for Dorglwyd corner. Having discussed the project on site with both Elin Jones AM and Ben Lake MP last week we were of the opinion that a much smaller project which could solve the Dorglwyd issue was feasible and be much cheaper than the present scheme. We will wait for the consultation period in 2019.”

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Museum lights up the past

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CEREDIGION MUSEUM has had a full refurbishment of its lighting thanks to £116,558 of grants from Welsh Governments Museums Archives and Libraries Division and the Rural Community Development Fund.

Museum Curator, Carrie Canham, said: “Lighting has been a problem for us for some time; the system was so old that we couldn’t get new bulbs for some of the fittings. Also, we love to put on theatrical and musical performances at the museum but we couldn’t create an atmosphere with just strip lights and footlights. We’ve now got great stage and display lighting and it’s transformed the whole experience for our audiences.

“The new lighting system is all LED, so not only does it look much better it is also more suitable for the more delicate exhibits and it saves us money on our lighting bill.”

The lighting was designed and installed by DBNAudile, who specialise in museum lighting.

The team managed to install the system with minimal disruption to visitors.

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KeolisAmey awarded Wales and Borders Rail contract

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KEOLISAMEY is pleased that the Welsh Government has announced its intention to award the contract to operate the Wales and Borders rail service and the South Wales Metro to KeolisAmey.

Upon successful completion of a 10-day standstill period, the contract will run from June 4, 2018, to October 14, 2033, with rail services transferring on October 14, 2018.

This standstill period is normal procurement practice.

KeolisAmey is a joint venture partnership of international public transport operator Keolis, and infrastructure asset management specialist Amey.

KeolisAmey currently runs the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) in London, which has one of the best records in UK rail – consistently better than 99% reliability. Additionally, we operate and maintain Greater Manchester’s Metrolink – the largest tram network in the UK.

Alistair Gordon, Chief Executive of Keolis UK, said: “This will be a transformative new rail service for Wales and its borders which will see Keolis once more combine its worldwide expertise in passenger operations with Amey’s engineering excellence.

“We look forward to the successful completion of the procurement process – this exciting contract will deliver for all of Wales. The procurement process was rigorous, resulting in transformative solutions for the benefit of all in Wales, and indeed, future generations.

“While the proposed changes won’t happen overnight, the railway will be unrecognisable in five years thanks to the vision of the Welsh Government.”

Andy Milner, Amey’s Chief Executive, said: “Building on our successful partnership with Keolis, which already sees us deliver two high performing services – the Greater Manchester Metrolink and London’s DLR – we are honoured to be asked to operate the Wales and Borders service.

“This is a great opportunity for us to use our joint capabilities to deliver a first-rate service for Wales. We will be focused on working with Transport for Wales to transform the existing infrastructure and introduce new trains to significantly improve the passenger experience, as well as creating hundreds of new jobs and apprenticeship opportunities.”

KeolisAmey is unable to make any further comment until the procurement process has concluded and the contract has been awarded.

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