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Lifeboat campaign gains cross-party support in Westminster

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AN EARLY DAY MOTION opposing the RNLI’s decision to downgrade search and rescue provision in Ceredigion was tabled by Ben Lake MP in the House of Commons last Wednesday (Feb 7). The motion tabled by the Ceredigion MP voices the concerns of nearly 20,000 people who have signed the Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign’s petition opposing the RNLI’s plan to remove New Quay’s all-weather lifeboat in 2020.

The motion was sponsored by a cross-party group of Welsh MPs, including Liz Saville Roberts MP, Jonathan Edwards MP, Hywel Williams MP, David Davies MP and Tonia Antoniazzi MP, and has received the support of MPs of all parties, from as far afield as Coventry, Glasgow and Strangford in Northern Ireland.

The motion states: “That this House commends the staff and volunteers of the RNLI for their life-saving work around the coat and at sea; is disappointed by the decision to downgrade the all-weather lifeboat provision at New Quay; is concerned that this decision is contrary to the RNLI’s core objective and principles, and put commercial vessels, visitors, and the local RNLI crew at increased risk; reaffirms its respect for the RNLI and its indispensable work; and calls on its Trust Board Members and Senior Management Team to review decision that would deprive Ceredigion coastline of effective all-weather lifeboat provision.”

Speaking after tabling the motion, Mr Lake commented: “Given the widespread concern surrounding the proposals to downgrade Ceredigion’s all-weather lifeboat provision, it was important that this was raised in this motion so that decision makers understood that there is a great deal of agreement at Westminster that this decision needs to be reconsidered.

“The motion tabled commends the incredible work of RNLI staff and volunteers, and expresses concern that the decision to downgrade the all-weather lifeboat provision at New Quay would place commercial vessels, visitors, and the local crew at increased risk.

“As a supporter of the campaign to keep the all-weather lifeboat at New Quay, I am glad that other MPs from across the political spectrum – and indeed the UK – have not only recognised the incredible work of the RNLI, but also the importance of maintaining effective all-weather lifeboat provision for the entirety of Cardigan Bay. I hope that Board Members and Senior Management will now acknowledge the valid concerns raised by communities along the Ceredigion coast, and review their decision accordingly.”

Richard Taylor, Chair of the Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign, added: “This is exciting news from Westminster, and it is heartening to know that our MP Ben Lake who, together with Elin Jones AM, has supported the Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign from the outset, has gained cross-party support for this Early Day Motion in the House of Commons.

“An earlier question raised by Ben gained the personal support of Andrea Leadsom MP, Leader of the House.  It is vital that our campaign has a voice in powerful places.

“It is a particularly fruitful time for us. Ben’s intervention follows hard on the heels of the Charity Commission writing to the RNLI Trustees asking them to overturn their decision to keep secret all the data relating to their ill-considered decision to strip Ceredigion of its only all-weather lifeboat.

“This is a good time to acknowledge and thank the campaign action group members and all our supporters, close to home and far and wide, for the effort that has been put in so far. Many people consider this a reckless decision that will put the lives and well-being of future lifeboat crews and other seafarers in our area at avoidable risk and we will not rest until the top management of the RNLI reverse this decision.”

There has been an all-weather lifeboat in New Quay for over one hundred and fifty years but, while the RNLI are rolling out state-of-the-art Shannon class all-weather lifeboats around the coast of the UK and Ireland, New Quay has been chosen as one of the first stations to lose all-weather lifeboat capability in the RNLI’s recent Coast Review. The RNLI claims that it will save around £8 million by not having an all-weather lifeboat in New Quay

To find out more about the campaign to save New Quay’s all-weather lifeboat, visit www.ceredigionlifeboatcampaign.org.uk.

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‘Horrendous suffering’ at local farm where 58 cows were found dead

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TWO Llandysul brothers have appeared in court to admit to a string of animal welfare charges.

David Davies, aged 60 and Evan Meirion Davies, aged 49, both of Penffynnon Farm, Bangor Teifi, Llandysul, appeared before magistrates to plead guilty to 13 charges brought by Ceredigion County Council under the Animal Welfare Act and Animal By-Products (Enforcement) (Wales) Regulations.

Among the charges they admitted were on or before April 16, 2018, causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, namely four bovines, by failing to provide adequate care; a similar charge relating to seven bulls housed in a shed; causing unnecessary suffering to 26 dead bovines; failing to comply with article 21 of the Community Regulations (EC) in collecting, identifying and transporting the animal by-products without delay, namely the carcasses found on the farm.

The case followed an investigation by Ceredigion County Council animal health officers.

When officers visited the farm, they discovered a large number of cattle carcasses in varying states of decay in several locations. The remaining cattle were also found to be kept in poor conditions.

The remaining cattle have since been subject to regular surveillance.

A sentencing hearing was held at Aberystwth Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, February 14.

Magistrates acknowledged the evidence of “horrendous suffering, inadequate care and poor animal husbandry displayed by both defendants to the animals”.

Both brothers were sentenced to 16 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.

They were also banned from keeping animals of any description for five years, and ordered to pay costs to Ceredigion Council totalling £3,000.

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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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