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Severn Bridge tolls to be axed by Christmas

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FOLLOWING up the commitment made by the Prime Minister Theresa May, Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns has confirmed that all tolls will be scrapped with free flow traffic on the Prince of Wales bridge and the original Severn Crossing between Wales and England ahead of schedule on December 17, 2018.

After 50 years of tolls of up to £20 per vehicle, Theresa May’s Conservatives chose to scrap tolls for the 25m vehicles per year using the crossings that support the key route between South Wales and the West of England.

The Secretary of State for Wales confirmed that, ahead of the great festive getaway, tolls will be abolished completely and permanently to make way for a new economic powerhouse between South Wales and the West of England.

The decision will, for the first time, combine the economic might of a growing Welsh economy and the West of England to further spread prosperity across the United Kingdom.

Regular commuters will enjoy free flow journeys and save over £1,400 per year in toll charges from mid-December – transforming the economic opportunities on both sides of the Severn. It is estimated that scrapping tolls will provide an immediate benefit of over £100m per year for Wales, over a billion pounds of economic benefit to Wales over the next decade.

Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, said: “My number one aim when I became Secretary of State for Wales, was to do away with tolling that for half a century has restricted and distorted the growth and connections of the Welsh economy. Wales will be more open for business than ever after the Conservatives deliver on this commitment. Scrapping tolls before the festive period is an early Christmas present for hard-working commuters who will be £1,400 per year better off.

“This is just the start of my plan to pursue yet more growth for a stronger and a better-connected Wales. Scrapping the Severn tolls is an example of the Conservatives ensuring that all four nations of the UK thrive after Brexit, in doing so, transforming the joint economic prospects of South Wales and the West of England.

“This direct intervention will guarantee that links are strengthened and enhanced between the natural economic areas of South Wales and the West of England.”

Prime Minister, Theresa May, said: “By abolishing tolls for 25million annual journeys between two nations, the Conservatives are sending a positive, open-for-business message. Toll-free, free flow journeys between both communities will drive further economic benefits to all areas surrounding the crossings and the key economic centres in Cardiff, Bath, Bristol, Newport and across to Swansea and West Wales.

“By removing a major added cost of doing business between Wales and England, the Conservatives continue to deliver on improving the economic prospects of working people. With this major step, we are encouraging a close bond between two nations as part of the United Kingdom, whilst driving economic growth right across the country.”

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European Parliamentary Election Guide

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ON THURSDAY next week, May 23, voters will elect 73 MEPs to represent the UK in the European Parliament.

At the 2014 European Parliamentary elections in the UK, turnout was 35.6%.

The deadline to register to vote for the elections was Tuesday, May, 7.

If you were already on the electoral register in your county of residence, you do not need to have re-registered and – in most cases – will already have your polling cards.

How you vote is up to you.

Most people vote at a polling station.

The UK elects 73 MEPs.

Of those 73, Wales elects 4.

In Wales, votes are cast on a closed list system. This means you vote for the party and not the candidate.

The political parties put their candidates in order from 1 to 4. This means that if a party gets enough votes, it can return more than one MEP from the list. While that seldom happens in Wales, the UK’s political crisis could mean there is a significant shift in voting patterns for this election.

Voters put one cross against the party or independent candidate they wish to vote for.

Polling Stations are open between 7:00 am and 10:00 pm.

In Pembrokeshire, there are 112 Polling Stations for the European Elections. The list of Polling stations is available from the County Council’s website.

The link is here: http://bit.ly/PembsPolling

In Carmarthenshire, there are 184 Polling Stations for the European Elections. The list of Polling Stations is available from the County Council’s website.

The link is here: http://bit.ly/CarmsPolling

In Ceredigion, there are 97 Polling Stations for the European Elections. The list of Polling Stations is available from the County Council’s website.

The link is here: http://bit.ly/CeredPolls

Counting can only begin after 10 pm on Sunday 26 May when polls across the EU have closed.

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Sheep take centre stage at Ceredigion Museum

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Icelandic film, Rams (2015)

ON 14 and 28 June, Ceredigion Museum will be screening three films centred on Wales’ most iconic animal, the sheep. Screened alongside the Museum’s current art exhibition simply entitled Sheep, this tryptic of films explore the intricacies of our relationship with these woolly creatures and the communities and lives that we have built around them.

The exhibition, which is open daily until 29 June, looks at the history, heritage and culture of sheep farming communities within Wales and offers an exciting opportunity to see Welsh artists exhibit their work alongside internationally significant works of art as well as Ceredigion’s own collection.

Ceredigion Museum’s Curator Carrie Canham said, “This exhibition and the events surrounding it bring our relationship with the Welsh uplands to the forefront of discussion, exploring how our traditional farming landscape has changed and how it might look in the future.”

The film series reaches out of Wales to shine a light on other sheep farming communities around the world, from two brothers battling the weather and the authorities in the Icelandic film, Rams (2015) on 14 June, 7pm – to the gruelling world of competitive sheep shearing in international documentary, She Shears (2018) on 28 June, 7pm. The tryptic concludes with a late night screening of New Zealand’s sheep zombie horror film, Black Sheep (2006) on 28 June at 9pm.

The exhibition and the surrounding events have been funded by the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund; created by the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund, the Weston Loan Programme is the first ever UK-wide funding scheme to enable smaller and local authority museums to borrow works of art and artefacts from national collections. Further funding has been provided by Arts Council of Wales, The Ferryman Project: Sharing Works of Art which is supported by National Lottery players through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the John Ellerman Foundation and Art Fund.

Alice Briggs, Assistant Curator at Ceredigion Museum said, “The funding for Sheep from the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund and others will have a lasting legacy beyond just the exhibition. Its support of the necessary upgrades and accompanying programmes will enable the museum to borrow other important artefacts and treasures to display in the future.”

For more information, visit www.ceredigionmuseum.wales.

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Coastal Awards for Ceredigion beaches

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Aberystwyth Beach

CEREDIGION COUNTY COUNCIL will pick up five Blue Flags at the Wales 2019 Coastal Awards ceremony on Wednesday 15 May 2019.

Five beaches across Ceredigion have each been awarded the internationally recognised Blue Flag this year in recognition of the quality of their bathing water, safety, cleanliness and standard of services and facilities. In order to achieve a Blue Flag award, bathing water must meet the Excellent standard and a total of 32 land-based criteria.

Three beaches have each been awarded the Green Coast award. For this award, beaches must meet the highest water quality standard and are judged by the provision of facilities for beach users along with demonstrating good management and safety provision.

Also, 13 beaches received the Seaside Award – awarded to those beaches who reach the national standard beaches across the UK. This award ensures visitors that they are guaranteed to find a clean, attractive and well-managed beach.

Aberporth Beach

Arwyn Davies, Corporate Manager for Growth and Enterprise said, “Tourism is a major contributor to the Ceredigion economy bringing in over £310 million to the local economy every year. Ceredigion’s coastline, our coast path and superb beaches are amongst the county’s greatest assets in terms of attracting visitors.

The coastal awards, be they Blue Flags, Green Coast and Seaside Awards, provide an indication of the quality of our beaches and the council is committed to working with our partners and coastal communities to ensure that the high standards required to achieve award status are met.”

The following beaches have been awarded 2019 coastal awards:

Blue Flag
Borth, Aberystwyth North, New Quay Harbour, Llangrannog and Tresaith

Green Coast
Llanrhystud, Mwnt and Cilborth

Seaside Award
Borth, Clarach, Aberystwyth North and South, Llanrhystud, New Quay Harbour and Dolau beaches, Llangrannog, Cilborth, Tresaith, Aberporth, Penbryn and Mwnt

Wales’s coastal awards are administered by Keep Wales Tidy.

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