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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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Aberystwyth: Driver on drugs hits lorry and causes ‘road chaos’

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A DRIVER high on drugs caused 15 miles of chaos as he approached Aberystwyth on the A44.

Brian Pitts hit an oncoming lorry and road signs as he drove on the wrong side of the road.

A car passenger filmed him because she was sure a serious accident was about to happen.

Pitts, aged 57, of Delmont Close, Tipton, west Midlands, admitted dangerous driving and driving while unfit through drugs he had taken.

Dean Pulling, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that on June 16 last year Pitts had been driving his Rover MGZR, towing a trailer full of wooden fencing posts, towards Aberystwyth from his home.

Richard Brooks followed the car through Llangurig and became so concerned he telephoned the police while his wife Victoria filmed Pitts on her mobile.

The Rover collided with a 13 tonne lorry driven by Andrew Paxton but failed to stop.

Pitts failed to take a roundabout and hit road signs and an embankment but still carried on.

During the 15 miles, said Mr Pulling, oncoming traffic had to swerve off the carriageway to avoid a collision.

Several motorists telephoned the police to report what they were witnessing, he added.

Pitts came to a stop in the middle of the road and another motorist snatched the keys out of the ignition–and noticed that Pitts had been driving with a dog on his lap.

Mr Pulling said police officers could tell there was something wrong with Pitts, but an alcohol text showed he was below the limit.

“He was clearly unfit,” said Mr Pulling, although it was still unclear what drugs he had taken.

Pitts was taken to Aberystwyth police station and then to Bronglais hospital, where he appeared to recover after treatment. But he soon deteriorated and had to be taken back to the hospital.

Pitts developed pneumonia and had to be kept in for nine days.

His barrister, Tom Scapens, said when Pitts had been shown the mobile telephone footage he felt physically sick.

Judge T Mervyn Hughes jailed Pitts for 10 months and banned him from driving for four years.

He told him, “If you had not been stopped I am quite sure you would have caused serious injury if not death.”

Pitts was told to pass an extended driving test before getting his licence back.

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Motion to support the reduction of plastic use in Ceredigion approved

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In a Full Council meeting on 22 February 2018, the Council unanimously supported a motion to reduce the use of plastic and to support plastic reduction initiatives in Ceredigion.

The motion was proposed by Councillor Mark Strong and was seconded by Councillor Gethin Davies. The motion calls on Ceredigion County Council to support the various ‘Plastic Free’ campaigns throughout the county by reducing single-use plastics within Council facilities and offices and to promote the use of sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics at all Council supported events.

Councillor Mark Strong said, “I’m delighted that the Council unanimously supported the motion. This is an important step for the Council but we must carry on to reduce plastic use. Everyone has a responsibility to reduce the environmental damage caused by plastic. Carrying out small acts such as buying milk from your local milkman supports the local economy but in turn also supports our environment by using reusable glass bottles.”

The motion also calls on the Council to encourage local businesses, organisations, schools and communities to move away from single-use plastics and use sustainable alternatives as well as to support beach cleans and other events which aim to raise awareness of the issues of single-use plastics under the “Plastic Free”, Caru Ceredigion, Tidy Towns or any similar initiative.

The motion was amended in the meeting to include the establishment of a Members’ Task and Finish group to support measures to reduce the Council’s use of plastic and to support initiatives in the county that reduce plastic use.

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Richards-Keegan cleared of sending underage girl nude pictures

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A BOW STREET man has been cleared of charges that he sent an underage girl photographs of his penis.

Paul Robert Morgan Richards-Keegan, aged 21, had denied two allegations of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Richards-Keegan, of Tregerddan, said the only messages he sent her via the internet were in response to approaches from her and did not include photographs of his private parts.

Catherine Richards, prosecuting, had told a jury at Swansea Crown Court that the 14-year-old girl had shared messages with Richards-Keegan via Snapchat.

At one stage police issued to him a child abduction notice, which he signed, instructing him not to contact the girl

In 2016 she told her mother that he was again sending her unwanted photographs of his penis attached to messages.

Richards-Keegan was arrested, and told police he had obeyed the order apart from messages he had sent after being contacted by the complainant.

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