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New owner to safeguard iconic wall

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WALES’s most famous Welsh-language graffiti became the subject of a national campaign earlier this year after the ‘Cofiwch Dryweryn’ (Trans: Remember Tryweryn) mural in Ceredigion was almost destroyed on two separate occasions.

But after several months of uncertainty and worry, it has been announced in a special programme on S4C this week, ‘Huw Stephens: Cofiwch Dryweryn’, that the wall displaying the passionate message has been sold to a new owner, who intends to protect it for the future.

The wall’s new owner, Dilys Davies, said: “I, like so many others, felt angry and hurt when the symbolic ‘Cofiwch Dryweryn’ wall was damaged twice earlier this year. It led me to think of what I could do. For certain I could not run up to Llanrhystud late at night, climb over fences and repaint the wall, so I contacted Elin Jones to ask how I could help.”

Within a few days of Dilys Davies contacting Elin Jones, the Assembly Member for Ceredigion and Welsh Assembly President, the owners of the wall had also contacted Elin and expressed their interest in selling the land where the wall stands to safeguard it.

Elin Jones AC said: “Through an amazing coincidence I received a message from the farmers who owned the wall and Dilys who wanted to buy the wall within a few days of each other. I arranged for us all to meet by the Tryweryn wall, and within 10 minutes Dilys and the farmers had agreed on a price.

“My thanks go to the farmers who have looked after the wall for 50 years before transferring it to Dilys Davies who will now ensure its safety and how it is interpreted in the future. The Tryweryn wall is a message to spur us on to demand respect and freedom for our country.”

Although Dilys Davies has bought the wall, she explains in the S4C programme that a charity will be set up to look after it.

“The wall will be transferred to a charity called Tro’r Trai whose purpose is to promote our Welsh language and culture. This will ensure a secure future for the wall, and the monument will be preserved by the charity for good,” explained Dilys.

“In terms of the future of the wall, I didn’t want to make that decision myself, because there are many ways of preserving it. You could put a fence around it, but on the other hand, there is something nice about the street art element and that it has been re-done after the original was done (by Meic Stephens). I would like to think that, although I own the wall, it belongs to all of us.”

The message was originally painted in the 1960s by young nationalist Meic Stephens, who was determined that the people of Wales would never forget the decision by the UK Government to drown the village of Capel Celyn near Bala in 1965 to create a reservoir for Liverpool City Council.

Huw Stephens said: “The ‘Cofiwch Dryweryn’ wall is an important part of our history, and for everybody in Wales. As a family we are very pleased that – thanks to Dilys – the wall is being put into the hands of a charity, to preserve it, so that what happened in Tryweryn will never be forgotten.”

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River benefits after polluter pays

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A MAJOR river pollution incident in Mid Wales has cost a company £40,000.

Pencefn Feeds Ltd, near Tregaron has paid the sum after a detailed investigation by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) into the incident in December 2016.

Around 18,000 fish are thought to have been killed on a five-mile stretch of the Teifi when approximately 44,000 gallons of pollutant leaked from an anaerobic digestion plant.

The West Wales Rivers Trust will receive £15,000 to restore fish habitat in the area.

And a further £5,000 will go to the Countryside Alliance Foundation to fund education activities about fish and the local environment for children in the Tregaron area.

The payments are consistent with a potential fine and have been made as an “enforcement undertaking”. This means that the money directly benefits the local environment.
The final £20,000 is being paid to recover all investigation and legal costs relating to the case.

Ann Weedy, Mid Wales operations manager for Natural Resources Wales, said: “This has been a very complex and time-consuming investigation and we are pleased to see the financial penalty being used directly to repair some of the damage caused by this incident.

“This will make the Teifi a better place for fish and other wildlife by fencing river banks and developing riverside vegetation.

“We hope these payments serve as a reminder to businesses that we will take enforcement action if they pollute Wales’ environment and don’t operate responsibly.”

As well as investigating the incident and overseeing the clean-up operation, NRW also investigated the roles of all companies involved in the incident.

However, the sub-contractor mainly responsible for the incident, Hallmark Power Ltd, went into liquidation so no prosecution could be taken against them. And the main contractor, ComBigaS UK, also no longer exists, so no action could be taken against them either.

ComBigaS Denmark had links to the project but has no legal basis in the UK and is therefore not covered by UK law.

Site owner, Pencefn Feeds Ltd, had raised concerns with the companies about the quality of work, but this had not been acted upon. This would have provided significant mitigation if the matter had gone to court, so NRW concluded that accepting an enforcement undertaking was the best option in this case.

Dr Stephen Marsh-Smith OBE, Director of Afonydd Cymru, the umbrella body that represents Wales’ six Rivers Trusts commented: “This was a tragic case that was bad for the river Teifi and its fisheries.

“Nonetheless, we commend the use of an Enforcement Undertaking to resolve the regulatory aspect of the case as some funding will now be put towards restoration within the catchment itself.
“The resolution of longer term damage remains a separate issue.”

Rachel Evans, Countryside Alliance Director for Wales, said: “Fishing for Schools is always grateful to receive funding to help us reach out to more young people who benefit from our unique approach to education through angling.

“Funding coming from a pollution incident and resultant settlement whilst sad, will highlight the ever-present need to align conservation and the environment with our school work.

“Tregaron has always been a bedrock of angling within the Welsh community and heritage. We fully intend to enhance and extend that rich legacy by putting this award to good use.”

NRW has been monitoring the Teifi since the incident and confirms there has been minimal effect on invertebrates.

Salmon fry have been found in the affected area, so it is likely that at least some eggs did survive.

However, juvenile and adult salmon were killed. Large numbers of brown trout were also killed, and this species will take some time to recover.

Ann Weedy continued: “The Teifi is one of the most iconic and important recreational and net fisheries in Wales and an internationally important Special Area of Conservation for endangered fish such as lampreys, salmon and bullhead.

“We all need to work together to do all we can to restore the river and reduce the number of pollution incidents damaging our precious environment in Wales.”
NRW has carried out more than 100 pollution prevention visits to farms in Ceredigion and the Teifi catchment in the past year and these have helped reduce the risk of pollution from farm slurry.

It has also inspected the other three anaerobic digestion plants in Ceredigion to ensure that their pollution prevention measures are suitable.

Pencefn Feeds Ltd has now applied for an environmental permit so they can continue to operate (see additional information for more details).

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Overall ‘excellent’ performance at Mynach Primary School

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A RECENT Estyn report on the primary school in Mynach has given the ‘Excellent’ status to each of the five inspection areas.

It was noted in the report that the school had attained ‘Excellent’ status in standards; wellbeing and attitudes to learning; teaching and learning experiences; care, support and guidance; and leadership and management.

The report notes, ‘A particular feature is the opportunities for Key Stage 2 pupils to plan and deliver lessons for the rest of the class, focusing on specific skills.’

Joyce George is headteacher at Ysgol y Mynach. She is also headteacher at Pontrhydfendigaid Primary School and Sir John Rhys Primary School. She said, “As a headteacher, I am extremely proud of the results of the survey and very grateful to the staff, governors and those who work effectively together as a team to ensure a first class education for all pupils. I am proud of the fact that the inspectors identified pupils’ literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology skills as excellent.

It was also noted that a pioneering feature of Ysgol Mynach is the way in which teachers adapt and develop the curriculum in order to raise pupils’ independence. Working together as a wider partnership with Ysgol Pontrhydfendigaid and Ysgol Sir John Rhys, Ponterwyd is a great advantage and an opportunity to share expertise, co-design and share ideas which extend and widen the experiences of pupils across the schools.”

Councillor Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member for Learning services. She said: “The Estyn report shows that Ysgol Gynradd Mynach has achieved exceptionally high standards. The hard work and dedication of the headteacher, staff, governors and of course the children is very evident. The school shows that a way of working together with neighbouring schools in a progressive way can produce excellent results. Everyone in the school deserves congratulations.”

The report notes that the school is an extremely close community. It also notes that the head teacher has a progressive vision that is continually focused on maintaining and raising standards of pupils’ achievement and wellbeing.

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Person cut free from car after it flips on busy Ceredigion road

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One person has been cut free from a car that flipped onto its side during torrential rain in Ceredigion .

The single-vehicle crash happened on the A487 between Aberaeron and Aberystwyth at around 8.15am on Sunday morning, August 18.

Police officers, paramedics and fire crews all attended the scene, and the road was closed for around an hour and a half.

One person inside the car was cut free by firefighters, but it’s understood that they escaped the incident without serious injuries.

A spokeswoman for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “We were called to a single-car road traffic collision at 8.21am (Aug 18) this morning around two miles north of Aberaeron.

“Fire crews from Aberaeron and Aberystwyth extricated one casualty from the vehicle.

“Police and ambulance personnel were also in attendance.”

Officers from Ceredigion’s Road Policing Unit said it was the second crash they had dealt with on Sunday morning, and warned people of poor driving conditions due to the weather.

The road was reopened at around 10am.

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