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‘Downgrading Lifeboat will leave communities vulnerable’

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Elin Jones AM has called on the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Communities, to join the campaign to stop the downgrading of the RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat, to a much smaller in-shore vessel.

The volunteers at the station have been leading a campaign to halt the downgrading of their current Mersey class all-weather lifeboat to an Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat (B class).

Elin Jones also called for the minister to make representations to the RNLI and to the UK Government Minister for Transport, whose department includes the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Ceredigion’s Assembly Member, Elin Jones, told the Minister​: “Over the last few months, I have met several times with volunteers of the RNLI in New Quay, Ceredigion, along with Ben Lake MP.

“The volunteers feel that this vessel would not be appropriate for the coast of Ceredigion, which would be left without an adaptable and highly responsive rescue ship. The current lifeboat at New Quay has a range of 240 nautical miles (440 km), it carries a crew of six people, an additional inflatable lifeboat which it can deploy at sea and has a survivor compartment that can carry forty-three people.

“The RNLI are proposing that it is replaced with an Atlantic 85 is an inshore lifeboat, which has almost half the capacity of crew and rescue survivors. The proposed lifeboat is not suitable for use in all weathers, it is a much smaller ship than that which is currently deployed in New Quay, and it will vastly restrict the capability of rescuing people at sea from the station.

“The RNLI volunteers have showed me evidence of the effect that this downgrading will have on Ceredigion’s coast, and have raised concerns that people at sea would be left at considerable risk.

“Along with Ceredigion’s MP, Ben Lake, I recently met with George Rawlinson, Operations Manager for the RNLI, and I feel that many of the concerns raised by the volunteers, related organisations and general public, are not being met.

“As this decision will leave communities vulnerable, I would like to ask that you support the campaign, and that the Welsh Government urges the RNLI to reconsider the downgrading of this lifeboat.”

Ben Lake MP, who has been gathering support in Westminster for the campaign, said:​ “The RNLI Lifeboat Station at New Quay has delivered an excellent service for the past 153 years, and its crew needs to be given the correct equipment to continue their lifesaving work. The RNLI’s decision, as it stands, will not only affect New Quay but the whole of Cardigan Bay.

“Constituents are understandably concerned that there will be a gap, under the current proposals, in the all-weather rescue capability of Ceredigion’s coastline after 2020. This is not satisfactory, and I urge everyone in Ceredigion and further afield to join the campaign, in order to get this decision reconsidered.”

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Parents saving on average £350 on childcare per month

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Parents in Ceredigion have saved an average of £350 a month on childcare costs after the introduction of the Childcare Offer in September 2018.

Parents and guardians of three and four-year-old children living in Ceredigion can be eligible for the offer if they work the equivalent of 16 hours per week. This includes self-employed parents and seasonal workers.

The Cabinet member responsible for Learning Services, Councillor Catrin Miles said, “It’s great to see that the Childcare Offer is having such an impact across Ceredigion in the first few months. The savings will only increase as more parents register for the scheme. This will have a real positive effect on the lives of many parents. I urge anyone who thinks they are eligible to find out.”

Ceredigion County Council manages the scheme in the county, and will manage the scheme in neighbouring counties as the scheme is rolled out in 2019. The Welsh Government fund the Childcare Offer.

Parents and guardians who want to see if they are eligible can visit the Childcare Offer page on the Council’s website: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/ChildcareOffer.

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Police manhunt now extending beyond Dyfed-Powys region

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POLICE looking for a man who attacked a police officer on Saturday afternoon have evidence to suggest he has now left the Dyfed-Powys force area.

The investigation team is now working with other forces as the operation to find him continues.

The man has been wanted by Dyfed-Powys Police since Saturday, when he attacked a police officer who stopped the car he was travelling in. The officer stopped the car based on information that he was connected with criminal activity in other areas.

Extensive searches have been carried out in Ceredigion, using the armed response unit, dog unit and NPAS helicopter, and officers now have evidence to suggest he is in another area.

A second man who was arrested following the incident has now been charged.

Wayne Dobson, aged 29, has been charged with assault causing actual bodily harm, criminal damage, aggravated vehicle taking and vehicle damage, and two counts of taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

Chief Superintendent Peter Roderick said: “This has, and continues to be, a long and intense investigation, which now involves colleagues from other forces as efforts are focussed on locations outside Dyfed-Powys.

“We understand that there has been a high level of concern in our communities since Saturday afternoon, and we would like to thank the public for their patience as operations have been carried out across Ceredigion.

“Due to the nature of the enquiry, and information we have been working from, the level of detail about the wanted man that we have been able to release has been limited, but we have endeavoured to keep our communities updated as best we can.”

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CCTV to return to Aberystwyth

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ABERYSTWYTH is set to have it’s CCTV returned to the town.

The CCTV was scrapped in the town five years ago following a cost-cutting move by Ceredigion council.

Work is due to start this month with 10 state-of-the-art cameras, Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn have confirmed. The system was removed in 2014, despite strong opposition.

Rising crime rates and falling conviction rates, has seen a call for the reinstatement of the system ever since its removal.

Ceredig Davies, Aberystwyth Councillor has said: “Switching off the town’s CCTV cameras was a retrograde step, and as the councillor in whose ward all the cameras are located I looked forward to them being reinstated.

“I have had numerous conversations with the Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn, on the matter and on behalf of residents and visitors to the town I applaud him on keeping his election pledge.”

When Dafydd Llewelyn took over from Christopher Salmon as Police and Crime Commissioner, he mad a key campaign pledge to return the CCTV to the town. Speaking on the reinstatement he said he was “very pleased” to stick to his promise.

He added “Aberystwyth is a busy town within the Dyfed Powys Police force area where CCTV is required to safeguard communities and assist in investigations.

“Crime mapping analysis has identified 10 locations for cameras for the town that I am delighted that work is to begin there very soon.

“A project of this nature is very intricate and complex. The CCTV project team is working team is working hard to keep the project moving along as swiftly as possible.

“Work starting in Aberystwyth marks the halfway point of the project.”

The removal of the old CCTV system is said to have saved Ceredigion council £150,000 a year.

The new CCTV system set to start in Aberystwyth is part of a larger project, which will see 120 cameras in 17 towns across the region by completion.

The images will be fed directly to a monitoring room at Dyfed Powys Police headquarters Llangunnor, Carmarthenshire where they will be monitored by dedicated staff.

Marie McAvoy, project manager said: “I am grateful to the team I work with for their continued determination to ensure this project is delivered for the benefit of the communities we serve.

“I am also grateful to Ceredigion County Council and North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency for their assistance and support in ensuring that this reinvestment in CCTV in Aberystwyth is delivered.”

Mark Collins, Chief Constable said: “I’m confident the system will prove to be an invaluable asset in preventing crime and responding to emerging incidents swiftly before they escalate.

“Evidence from the CCTV cameras will also no doubt prove an important investigative tool for officers.”

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