BEN LAKE MP has worked with cross-party MPs in recent months on a campaign calling for a Shared Rural Network to extend mobile rural coverage to hard-to-reach areas.
On Friday, 25 October, a £1bn plan between the UK’s four main mobile phone companies and the UK Government was unveiled with the aim of banishing these signal dead zones. The proposed deal – which includes EE, O2, Three and Vodafone – promises to get 4G coverage to 95% of the UK by 2025.
The new plans for all operators to share phone masts to improve UK coverage is a world first. It will mean EE, O2, Three and Vodafone will invest £530 million in a network of new and existing phone masts they would all share and which any mobile user can access, and which would be supported by £500 million investment from the UK Government.
72 cross party MPs, including Ben Lake, wrote to the then Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright MP asking him to support a Shared Rural Network which would significantly improve rural coverage and enhance economic, educational and leisure opportunities in rural areas.
Mr Lake said “This is fantastic news. It will make a huge difference to so many people in my constituency where, in some areas, there is no mobile coverage at all. It will put an end to the frustration felt by thousands of people who currently feel cut off and mean people will get good mobile signal on the go wherever they live, work or travel and it will have a big impact on the local economy.
“I was glad to have the opportunity to meet with the Secretary of State to press the case for allowing newly constructed Home Office masts to be utilised as part of this new programme, something that would expedite progress in areas such as Ceredigion.”
The current Digital Secretary, Nicky Morgan said “We are determined to make sure no part of the country is left behind when it comes to mobile connectivity. We are closing in on a deal with the mobile network operators so those living in rural areas will be able to get the fast and reliable mobile coverage they need and deserve. Brokering an agreement for mast sharing between networks alongside new investment in mobile infrastructure will mean people get good 4G signal no matter where they are or which provider they’re with.”
A final agreement between UK Government and the mobile industry is expected early next year.
Wizardry night a success at Aberystwyth Library
The fourth Harry Potter Book Night was held at Aberystwyth Library on Friday, 07 February.
After dark, it was a time for fans to celebrate the iconic series of books with events all around the World.
Ceredigion Library Service held the event at Aberystwyth Town Library, which was decorated with all things Harry Potter.
Emyr Lloyd and Delyth Huws, both Assistant Librarians organised the night. They were very pleased with the success and turnout. Emyr Lloyd said, “We enjoy putting on the Harry Potter Book night. The fourth one was no different with 86 children attending the free event and very positive feedback. We hope events such as these spark a joy of reading in the young and old.”
Three Owls from New Quay Birds of Prey came by and Luke the close-up magician entertained the audience. The children were also entertained with a reading from one of the books and also a crafts and activities area.
Follow the events of the Ceredigion Library Service on Facebook @llyfrgellceredigionlibrary. The next event will be a sale of stock on 22 February between 10am and 4pm at the Bandstand in Aberystwyth.
Noson hudolus yn Llyfrgell Aberystwyth
Cynhaliwyd Noson Llyfrau Harry Potter yn Llyfrgell Aberystwyth ddydd Gwener, 07 Chwefror. Hon oedd y bedwaredd noson o’r fath.
Ar ôl iddi nosi, roedd hi’n amser i edmygwyr y llyfrau ddathlu’r gyfres eiconig gyda digwyddiadau ledled y byd.
Cynhaliodd Gwasanaeth Llyfrgell Ceredigion y digwyddiad yn Llyfrgell Tref Aberystwyth, ac addurnwyd y llyfrgell gyda phob math o bethau sy’n gysylltiedig â Harry Potter.
Trefnwyd y noson gan Emyr Lloyd a Delyth Huws, Llyfrgellwyr Cynorthwyol. Roeddent yn falch iawn â llwyddiant y noson a’r nifer oedd yn bresennol yn y digwyddiad. Dywedodd Emyr Lloyd, “Rydym yn mwynhau cynnal nosweithiau Llyfrau Harry Potter. Nid oedd y bedwaredd noson o’r fath yn eithriad; mynychodd 86 o blant y digwyddiad am ddim, a derbyniwyd adborth cadarnhaol iawn. Rydym yn gobeithio y bydd digwyddiadau fel y rhain yn swyno’r hen a’r ifanc i fwynhau darllen.”
Daeth tair tylluan o Adar Ysglyfaethus Cei Newydd i’r digwyddiad, a bu Luke yn diddanu’r gynulleidfa gyda’i hud a’i ledrith. Diddanwyd y plant hefyd gyda darlleniad o un o’r llyfrau ac ardal gweithgareddau a chrefftau.
Dilynwch ddigwyddiadau Gwasanaeth Llyfrgell Ceredigion ar Facebook @llyfrgellceredigionlibrary. Y digwyddiad nesaf yw arwerthiant stoc ar 22 Chwefror rhwng 10am a 4pm yn y Bandstand yn Aberystwyth.
Warnings issued as Storm Ciara predicted to hit west Wales
NATURAL RESOURCES WALES (NRW) is urging people living near the Welsh coast to be prepared for possible flooding this weekend as Storm Ciara reaches the UK.
Current forecasts indicate that strong winds could cause a tidal surge and large waves hitting the coast.
Combined with heavy rainfall which is likely to see rivers rise quickly, NRW expects to issue flood alerts and possibly warnings across the country from Saturday afternoon through to Monday.
With the worst of the conditions expected on Sunday, NRW advises people to keep a safe distance from coastal paths, promenades, piers, and from river banks.
Emergency response workers from NRW are already making preparations ahead of the storm, checking defences are in good working order and making sure any drainage grids and screens are clear, to reduce the risk to people and their homes.
Richard Preece, from Natural Resources Wales said: “Our teams are keeping a close eye on forecasts and predicted river and sea levels this weekend, and if necessary, will issue flood warnings to registered properties in those areas at risk.
“We have already been speaking with our partners from the emergency services and the local authorities so they can put their plans into action.
“We are also warning people to avoid visiting the sea front due to the risk of being swept away by large waves or hit by wave and wind-blown debris.
“Flood water can also be extremely dangerous, and people should not attempt to walk or drive through it unless instructed by the emergency services.”
Network Rail and Transport for Wales have issued joint information ahead of Storm Ciara, which is expected to bring strong winds and heavy rain to the Wales and Borders route this weekend.
The Met Office has issued a yellow wind warning for the whole of the UK and two yellow rain warnings on Sunday.
Transport for Wales Operations Director Martyn Brennan and Amanda Newton, Senior Incident Officer at Network Rail said: “With Storm Ciara set to bring gale force winds of up to 90mph on Sunday, Transport for Wales and Network Rail wish to urge all customers to check their journeys prior to travel.
“We’re expecting very stormy conditions, high tides and winds that have the potential to uproot trees and damage infrastructure.
“The safety of our customers and colleagues is our absolute priority and as such there are likely to be a number of speed restrictions in place around our network, while some other lines may be forced to close entirely. We are working closely together to minimise any disruption and will do all we can to keep our customers moving and informed.”