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School nativity – danger in the manger?

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IT’S the time of year when every parent enjoys watching their little darlings perform in the school nativity play. It used to be that the show was documented by hundreds of proud parents snapping away on their cameras, but more recently school politics and privacy issues have come into play, with some schools ruling that it is unacceptable to take pictures or videos of the show.

But what is the legal position when it comes to videos and photographs of school events? Are schools able to impose a blanket ban? If you ignore the school’s photography policy, what legal action can they take against you? And if another parent shares a group shot featuring your child, without permission, can you force them to take it down.

Anthony Di Palma, Solicitor at DAS Law, looks at the photographic minefield that is the school nativity play for The Herald.

My child’s school has a photography policy which states that there is a blanket ban on taking photos at the nativity play. Is this legal?

Any owner of private property may restrict the use of photography or video equipment on the premises. If ignored, you may be asked to leave and may be deemed to be trespassing if you refuse.

I signed my child’s schools consent form stating I won’t take any photos. What legal ramifications will I face should I choose to ignore the policy?

The consent form is unlikely to be legally enforceable as a contract if there is no financial loss to the school, and there are no laws generally against taking photographs of your own or other people’s children as long as the photographs are not deemed ‘indecent’, or are likely to have the effect of harming or harassing the children.

Are there any laws against sharing group shots of my child’s nativity play photos online? 

As a best practice, it is advisable that parents should avoid sharing photographs of children without obtaining prior consent of that child’s parent or guardian. However, as long as the photographs are not deemed ‘indecent’, or are likely to have the effect of harming or harassing them, then there is nothing legally stopping you from doing so.

What legal action can I take against people that share group photos of the school nativity play on social media that include my child without my permission?

You can ask the person to remove the photograph, however if they refuse there is no realistic legal action you can take. Privacy laws under the Human Rights Act cannot be enforced against other private individuals and unless you own the copyright in the photograph, or the image is offensive or indecent, then the social media site has no obligation to remove that photo if it is reported to them.

If I blur out other children’s faces can I share school play photos online?

You don’t have to blur out children’s faces in order to share them online, as the Data Protection Act doesn’t apply to photographs taken for private use and which do not identify the child (i.e. name them). However, if you would be concerned about images of your own child appearing without your permission, blurring out other children’s faces may be a sensible step to take.

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Green Party call for free bus services

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COUNCILS and political parties in Ceredigion are being urged to unite in a radical initiative to help counter the climate emergency by making the county the first in Britain to offer completely free – and more frequent – bus services.

Backers of the Ceredigion Green Party plan say it would slash carbon emissions and cut air-pollution by drastically reducing the number of cars on Ceredigion’s roads, while stimulating efforts to create a greener economy by making it free, and easy, for workers – especially the lower-paid – to get to and from jobs.

The scheme would follow the example of Dunkirk in northern France, where, a year after public transport was made free, a study has found 85 per cent of residents now use the region’s ticketless buses. Car parks have emptied, and poorer residents say it’s now easier to socialise and take advantage of entertainment and cultural activities. The region has a fleet of environment-friendly express buses running every 10 minutes throughout the day.

Greens want the county council to coordinate efforts to investigate sources of funding for the scheme, which it believes could be a pilot project for other counties.

Green Party election candidate Chris Simpson said:

“Climate emergency declarations by governments and councils often don’t go much beyond words. But here’s a way to make a real difference, and at the same time show that we recognise that efforts to lessen the effects of climate-breakdown, and to stop damage to biodiversity, will mean big changes in the ways our society functions.

“However, the beauty of this scheme is that it doesn’t make things harder but improves our quality of life. The experience of the T-buses in Ceredigion, which are free at weekends, shows how well-used buses are when there’s no charge. Make them free all the time, and frequent, and their popularity will soar, bringing so many climatic, social and economic gains.”

Funding, the party suggests, would come from central and local government and perhaps a levy on other public bodies and companies with substantial numbers of employees.

Dunkirk took its inspiration from Tallinn, Estonia, where public transport is free, and Luxembourg, where bus, train and tram fares are being scrapped as part of an environmental push.

At the same time, Greens are demanding HS2 be abandoned in favour of “a local transport revolution”, warning the planned £88 billion rail line would destroy dozens of ancient woodlands and biodiversity and take, by HS2’s own admission, 120 years to become carbon-neutral. Instead, the party wants decarbonisation focused on electrification of existing lines.

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Conservative Candidate highlights concerns over large-scale wind farms

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EARLIER this year, the Welsh Government published its Draft National Development Framework (NDF) setting the direction for development in Wales. Within the NDF there is a section dedicated to ‘Energy’ development.

The Welsh Government are proposing “large scale wind and solar development to be directed towards Priority Areas for Wind and Solar Energy”.

Over a dozen areas have been identified throughout Wales and two of these priority areas cover large sections of Ceredigion.

According to the document, there will be a presumption in favour of “large scale on-shore wind and solar energy development in these areas, and an acceptance of landscape change.”

Amanda Jenner told The Ceredigion Herald: “Like many people, I’m passionate about protecting our environment and I fully recognise the importance of tackling climate change. However, I am seriously concerned about the huge pylons that could be needed to connect the electricity to the grid. These proposals do not consider the impact on the tourism sector!”

“Tourism is highly important to Ceredigion’s economy and it includes many agricultural businesses that have diversified into this sector, a trend that is likely to continue. The Labour run Welsh Government must consider how large-scale energy developments will impact Ceredigion’s tourism industry.”

Decisions on large-scale energy developments will not be made under the usual Local Authority Planning processes. Rather, Welsh Government Ministers in Cardiff will decide whether to approve such developments, under the Developments of National Significance process.

Amanda further added: “The top down nature of these proposals is worrying! The fact that tourism hasn’t been fully taken into account nor the disruption of large areas of peat, which may be hugely important to the ecology of an area, shows just how far removed the Labour run Welsh Government are from us.”

“The considerable additional powers which Welsh Labour Ministers are accruing for themselves, undermine local democracy. At the very least, despite being decided by Ministers in Cardiff, the Welsh Government must ensure thorough local community engagement and consultation. It is essential that there is a clear process and communities must be given ample notice of planning applications, in order to assess the wider implications and impacts on their communities.”

The Conservative Candidate has urged the Labour run Welsh Government to follow the example of the Conservative Government in Westminster and to launch a review in to the impact of wind farms.

Amanda said: “I urge the labour run Welsh Government in Cardiff to follow this sensible decision by the Conservative Government and to launch a similar review in Wales”.

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New plaque unveiled at Cardigan War Memorial to honour three fallen soldiers from Cardigan

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A NEW plaque was unveiled at Cardigan War Memorial to honour three fallen soldiers from Cardigan. The plaque was unveiled during a public Commemoration and Dedication Service on 12 October.

The plaque commemorates Michael J. Dunphy who gave his life in the 1982 Falklands War and Lee T. Davies and David M.E. Greenhalgh who gave their lives in the 2001-2015 conflict in Afghanistan. The plaque was unveiled by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sara Edwards.

Councillor Paul Hinge is Ceredigion County Council’s Armed Forces Champion. He said: “It was an honour and privilege to welcome everyone to the Service of Commemoration and Dedication, not only as a son of Cardigan, but as a veteran myself and Ceredigion County Council’s Armed Forces Champion.

“The three fallen soldiers of Cardigan, Michael Dunphy, Lee Davies and Dave Greenhalgh paid the ultimate sacrifice and their names are now immortalised on Cardigan War Memorial honouring their sacrifice.

“It was a privilege to work with all stakeholders involved in planning the day including the families, regiments, Cardigan Town Council and Ceredigion County Council officers. We were delighted with the strong attendance on Saturday which was a testament to how important this Commemoration is to all concerned. It was a fitting tribute to the fallen soldiers of Cardigan.”

 

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