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Storm clean-up priority for National Park Authority

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storm cleanPEMBROKESHIRE COAST NATIONAL PARK AUTHORITY is continuing to prioritise storm clean-up work following the continued extreme weather as it attempts to keep access open wherever possible.

A total of 35 locations around the National Park experienced damage in the early January storms, ranging from the accumulation of debris to the loss of coastal land and dunes. Inland, flooding and high winds resulted in severe gully erosion to some bridleways and brought trees down across paths.

Although the majority of repairs or diversions had been completed at these locations, some suffered further damage during the early February storms and some work will have to be repeated.

National Park Authority Access and Rights of Way Manager Anthony Richards said: “Repairing the storm damage is a priority in order to make sites and paths as safe and accessible as possible. Some repairs will be temporary and more permanent work will take place after the late February high tides.

“The emphasis on repair work on car parks, beach access paths and the Coast Path in readiness for the main visitor season is in the interest of all users, local communities and not least, the local economy.

“Public safety is our primary concern and the Authority is advising people to stay away from dune areas as erosion from the high tides has resulted in many dunes becoming unstable and in danger of collapse.”

Following an update to the National Park Authority on February 5th, Chairman Cllr Mike James and Authority Members thanked officers for their prompt response to the damage and for their continued hard work.

Cllr James added: “I would also like to extend a thank you to members of the local community who have volunteered to help with the clean-up effort, including Coleg Ceredigion students who cleared debris at Newport Parrog and Newport Sands and pupils from Cardigan School who helped at Poppit Sands.”

While every effort is being made to keep access open, more complex issues at two popular locations at opposite ends of the county have resulted in a prolonged closure as further investigations and expert advice is taken in order to find the best possible long-term solution.

As a result, the access path down to Caerfai beach near St Davids remains closed as a landslide has undermined the beach access footpath midway down the slope.

On the Coast Path at the Penally end of Tenby South Beach, the viewing platform and beach access steps were severely damaged by the January storm and a further three metres of Coast Path were lost due to dune erosion. An alternative route is in place and, until the dune system has stabilised, it is not possible to fully assess the options or develop a long-term solution.

Sites and paths considered dangerous or out of repair for their intended use such as wheelchair suitable paths have been temporarily removed from the Park’s website until they can be repaired. In each case an explanation is provided for this interruption via on-site signage.

National Park Rangers are working with Keep Wales Tidy, the National Trust and Pembrokeshire County Council to coordinate a series of volunteer clean ups of beaches and public land on beach heads. Residents of local communities and voluntary wardens have also been turning out to help with this task.

A funding bid has been awarded by the Welsh Government to help cover the costs of the clean-up to the Wales Coast Path, while all other avenues of funding are being explored to limit the cost to the Authority.

For up to date information and advice following the storm damage please visit www.pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk.

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Lecture considers the future of war

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INTERNATIONALLY renowned war scholar and military conflict expert, Professor Christopher Coker delivered this year’s Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture on Thursday (Nov 16).

Christopher Coker, Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, is a prolific author on all aspects of war. He is a former NATO Fellow, a former twice serving member of the Council of the Royal United Services Institute, and a regular lecturer at Defence Colleges in the UK, US, Rome, Singapore, and Tokyo.

In his lecture entitled ‘Still ‘The Human Thing’? Thucydides, Waltz & the Future of War”, Professor Coker discussed war as a feature of what we call ‘human nature’ or ‘humanity’ in general, while focusing on urgent contemporary issues such as possible changes in the nature of war by the blurring of the distinction between humans and machines.

He also considered how, as Artificial Intelligence becomes ever more a fact of life, the traditional functions and forms of war could change, discussing such questions as: will we still need war and will war still need us?

Talking ahead of the the event, Professor Ken Booth of Aberystwyth University said: “Chris Coker is a very imaginative, interesting, and controversial thinker. Intellectually ambitious, he always addresses the biggest questions. The titles of some of his most recent books attest to this: Future War, Can War be Eliminated?, Warrior Geeks: how 21st Century Technology is Changing the Way We Fight and Think about War, The Improbable War: China, the US, and the Logic of Great Power Conflict and Men at War: what Fiction tells us about Conflict. We can be sure of a fascinating and challenging lecture about a supremely important area of human behaviour.”

The Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture brings distinguished scholars to Aberystwyth to talk about issues that were central to the concerns of the late Ken Waltz, the leading theorist of international relations over many decades.
Hosted by the David Davies Memorial Institute and the Department of International Politics, this year’s lecture was held in the Main Hall in the International Politics Building on the Penglais Campus.

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Youth Service invited to international training event

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TWO Youth Workers from Ceredigion Youth Service have been selected to represent the UK on a week’s training opportunity in Horažd’ovice in the Czech Republic.

‘The danger of a Single Story’ is a training course funded by Erasmus+, that combines stories, media, global education and active citizenship to empower trainers, educators and youth workers with the tools to educate young people on issues such as cyberbullying, hate speech, and online harassment.

Elen James, Head of Youth Engagement and Continuing Education​,​ said​:​ “We are extremely proud of both Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton, 270 people had applied, for 24 places, 2 were allocated for the UK and both places have been assigned to Ceredigion Youth Service staff.

“This is an excellent training opportunity for them, which will inform them and encourage them to reflect on the evolution of media and the consequences that it has on the formation of stereotypes and prejudices. We wish them all the best in Prague!​”​

Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton will join 22 other Youth Workers from Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey. The week will be hosted at the PROUD Environmental Centre approximately 120km from Prague, from ​Sunday (Nov 19) for a week.

Rebeca Davies, School Based Youth Worker said​:​ “I’m really looking forward to visiting Prague, and meeting other Youth Workers from across the World. It will be a fantastic opportunity to learn new tools and techniques to encourage and empower young people back here in Ceredigion.”

Guto Crompton, School Based Youth Worker ​added​:​ “I’m looking forward to learning more about different Youth Work methods and approaches. I’m also eager to develop a greater awareness around education, active citizenship and democracy.”

Cabinet member for Learning Services, Children and Young People’s Partnership, Councillor Catrin Miles, ​commented: “As a Council, we are very proud of the hard work of our Youth Service to the young people of the county. This will be a very important and worthwhile opportunity for Rebeca and Guto to represent Ceredigion and Wales and we wish them all the best at the event.”

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Pot Noodles bought with theft proceeds

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ON WEDNESDAY (Nov 15), Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court heard that a 23-year-old man stole an HDMI cable from a store and sold it for a tenner to buy ten Pot Noodles.

Joel Alexander Owens, of Portland Street in Aberystwyth, pleaded guilty to stealing alcohol to the value of £24.96 belonging to his hometown’s B&M Bargains on June 29. He also admitted stealing an HDMI cable to the value of £14 belonging to Tesco in Aberystwyth on September 24.

Prosecuting, Helen Tench said a staff member at B&M was notified by a member of the public about a male who left the store without paying for items.

CCTV footage was checked, which showed Owens select a number of alcoholic items and leaving the store without making any payments.

Police officers later viewed the footage and identified the defendant.

On October 14, a member of staff at Tesco was informed of the incident at B&M. The Tesco CCTV footage was viewed as a result and the defendant was seen removing an HDMI cable from its box on September 24 and leaving without paying.

Ms Tench said Owens was interviewed on October 19, where he admitted committing the offences in his personal statement.

The defendant also admitted he sold the HDMI cable for £10 in order to buy ten Pot Noodles.

Defending, Katy Hanson said Owens pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and admitted to stealing beer and cider from B&M.

Probation officer Julian Davies stated that the defendant was currently serving a 12-month community order for two previous offences of theft and a breach of a conditional discharge.

Aberystwyth magistrates revoked Owens community order and imposed a 12-month community order with 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a four-week curfew.

Owens was told to pay prosecution costs of £85, compensation of £14 to Tesco and compensation of £24.96 to B&M Bargains.

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