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RNLI withdraws from talks with Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign

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THE long running dispute over the future of New Quay lifeboat has taken another turn with the RNLI announcing that it is cutting ties with the group campaigning for the retention of Ceredigion’s only all-weather lifeboat.

In a joint statement issued by the RNLI and the Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign (CLC) in December 2018, both parties had agreed that they would meet regularly to discuss the proposed reconfiguration of lifeboats in the New Quay area as a “platform to review concerns.” At the time, both parties welcomed the opportunity “to exchange views and data, and to work constructively towards ensuring the most appropriate future lifeboat configuration for the Ceredigion coast.”

However, that dialogue now seems to be over. In a recent letter to the CLC, the RNLI’s Operations Director, George Rawlinson, states “it has become increasingly apparent to us that the dialogue is not heading towards a positive or productive outcome for either party. We have therefore reached the conclusion that further liaison with the CLC is not appropriate.”

A spokesperson for the CLC cited “cultural differences” for the breakdown in dialogue, “The RNLI has consistently made it clear that it is not prepared to submit its decision to public or peer group scrutiny, whereas the CLC is an open organisation, encouraging two way dialogue with local stakeholders.

“It is vital that the CLC retains the trust and confidence of the people we represent. We would lose that trust if we were to engage with the RNLI behind a veil of secrecy. The decision to strip Ceredigion of all-weather search and rescue provision in 2020 is a serious matter of public interest and should be explored in the public domain.

“We have made it clear to the RNLI that we will continue to gather relevant data and informed opinion, that we will present the evidence-based case to maintain an all-weather lifeboat in New Quay to the RNLI for their consideration, and that our completed report will be available to the public.”

Meanwhile, the RNLI has announced that it will commence dialogue with local volunteers over its proposed reconfiguration of lifeboats in Cardigan Bay.

A CLC spokesperson commented, “Whilst long overdue, we applaud the RNLI’s decision to engage with the crew and volunteers at New Quay lifeboat station, and we wish the process well. We hope that the RNLI will listen closely to many years of accrued local knowledge and seamanship.”

Despite the breakdown of talks with the RNLI, the campaigners are undeterred. The CLC spokesperson added, “The CLC enjoys committed support from our local communities and we have been given a mandate by over 29,000 petition signatories to seek to reverse the RNLI’s decision to remove New Quay’s all-weather lifeboat. We remain committed to this objective.

“We have recently had productive meetings with the Welsh Fishermen’s Association and the Wales Fishing Safety Committee and we would like to thank them for their support. Our MP, Ben Lake, has met with ministers from the Department for Transport and the Wales Office, and has further meetings planned with them for the coming weeks. We have a number of events planned for the coming months and we continue to build support, with donations arriving from as far afield as the US and Japan.”

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

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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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