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Petition calls for shooting ban

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screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-14-29-06LEADING animal protection group Animal Aid has launched an online petition calling on the Welsh Government to ban shooting on Welsh public land. 

The petition, which is hosted on Animal Aid’s new microsite (www.animalaid.org.uk/nrw), comes in response to growing public outrage about Wales’ environmental protection agency, Natural Resources Wales (NRW), leasing areas of public land for the ‘sport shooting’ of pheasants.

The petition reads:

‘We call on the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to ensure that Natural Resources Wales, as the Welsh Government-Sponsored Body responsible, stops leasing out public land to commercial shooting operations.

NRW’s key constitutional function is to act as an environmental steward of the land that it manages on behalf of the Welsh Government and citizens.

‘But leasing this land to shooting operations negatively impacts on conservation, biodiversity and animal welfare.

‘Shooting also pollutes the land with toxic lead shot which is responsible for poisoning and killing many animals.

‘NRW’s shooting leases facilitate an activity that is abhorrent to many Welsh citizens: the killing of animals for ‘sport’. The leases also mean that public access to land that is owned by Welsh citizens can be restricted.

In October 2015, a well-placed source informed Animal Aid that NRW intended to rent out some of its land in Myherin for the ‘sport shooting’ of pheasants.

As a result of several Freedom of Information requests, Animal Aid learned that at least five other parcels of land managed by NRW are already rented out for shooting.

While NRW did not initiate these shoot agreements – one or more predecessor bodies was responsible – NRW could have wound down the operations, rather than expanding them.

Media exposure of NRW’s shooting agreements, as well as public pressure on the agency and Welsh Assembly members, have resulted in NRW announcing it will conduct a review into whether it should continue to allow recreational shooting on its estate.

Animal Aid has insisted that it is vital that NRW allows independent experts, interested parties, and the public as stakeholders to participate in the review process.

Fiona Pereira, Animal Aid Campaign Manager, said: “Animal Aid’s petition calls for an end to ‘sport shooting’ on public land. That land belongs to the people of Wales and they have every right to determine how it is used.

“We are heartened that Natural Resources Wales is to conduct a review into this issue because we believe that a properly conducted, independent and stakeholder-inclusive review should come to the conclusion that shooting should be banned on Welsh public land. The majority of people abhor the killing of animals for pleasure and it is high time that NRW ceases leasing publicly-owned land for shooting and instead uses it for projects that are positive, educational and enhance the environment.”

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A glimpse at the first few weeks of Penweddig’s new Headteacher

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Penweddig Comprehensive School has appointed a new Headteacher to lead the school.

Dr Rhodri Thomas joins the school after a period as a Deputy Headteacher at Glantaf Welsh Comprehensive School and Cardigan Secondary School.

Originally from Carmarthen, he was educated at Bro Myrddin Welsh Comprehensive School. He studied Chemistry at Oxford University, before studying for a doctorate degree at Edinburgh. He continues to be an ambassador emphasizing the importance of the sciences, and he is the author of a number of A Level Welsh and English textbooks in Chemistry.

Dr Rhodri Thomas, Head of Penweddig Comprehensive School, said: “I started my career in higher education by working in universities in the UK, USA and Australia. I was inspired by the work of educating students, and in particular by the outreach work with pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. I saw the difference an individual can make to the lives of children and young people. I moved to work in secondary schools about twenty years ago, and I’ve spent my career in Welsh medium and bilingual schools – I strongly believe in the importance of our work to develop Welsh citizens. In my work at Penweddig, I will focus on nurturing ambition in all pupils and supporting them to develop the skills and qualities to achieve their aspirations. That’s the privilege of being a teacher – we work to help pupils fulfil their dreams.”

Meinir Ebbsworth, Ceredigion County Council Corporate Lead Officer for Schools and Culture, said: “We are delighted to welcome Dr Rhodri Thomas to Penweddig, and we look forward to continuing to work together for the benefit of all pupils and staff in the school.”

Ceredigion County Council would like to thank Rhian Morgan for her work as an Acting Headteacher, and wish Dr Rhodri Thomas well as he takes over.

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Businesses reminded to keep to the coronavirus rules

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Businesses in Ceredigion are reminded to keep to the coronavirus rules to avoid a rise in cases.

Businesses are reminded to be consistent with their COVID precautions. This includes social distancing, queuing and one-way systems, provision of hand sanitisers and PPE equipment for staff.

Ceredigion County Council shares the concerns raised by Councillor Andrew Morgan, the WLGA Leader, relating to an apparent and general ‘drop in standards’ in social distancing measures in some supermarket settings.

Complaints received by the Council’s Public Protection Service on this matter have been increasing and raise more general concerns associated with a wider range of premises including dining places, public houses and supermarkets. These complaints suggest that there has been a decline in compliance with social distancing guidelines in some of these businesses.

In Ceredigion, the Council will be re-focusing attention on these business sectors and conducting targeted inspections with a view to reminding businesses of the regulations that are in place and their legal responsibilities. Improvement Notices will be issued to premises where it is considered necessary and appropriate.

New regulations came into force on Monday, 14 September which has provided local authorities in Wales with new powers to control premises, events and public places in their areas to help control coronavirus. This includes closing premises and public places and stopping events.

The public are also reminded of the need to follow the rules when out and about in Ceredigion. Wearing masks in shops and other indoor public spaces is now compulsory.

Information on Ceredigion and the Coronavirus is available on the Council’s website: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/coronavirus

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Ceredigion MP welcomes High Court ruling on Covid-19 business interruption insurance

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HOLDERS of business interruption insurance have welcomed a victory in a High Court test case to determine whether the Covid-19 pandemic should trigger payouts under their policies.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) brought a test case earlier this year over the wording of business interruption (BI) insurance policies, which some insurers argue do not cover pandemics.

The FCA previously said it was bringing the legal action following widespread concern over the lack of clarity and certainty for businesses seeking to cover substantial losses incurred by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent national lockdown.

The FCA selected a representative sample of 17 policy wordings used by 16 insurers, which were considered at an eight-day hearing in July.

Eight insurers agreed to assist the FCA by taking part in the test case, which the regulator has said it hopes will provide clarity and certainty for everyone involved in these BI disputes, policyholder and insurer alike.

The High Court judges ruled that pay-outs should put businesses back in the position they would have been in had Covid-19 never occurred.

According to FCA estimates, the findings could affect as many as 370,000 policyholders one way or another — and each successful claim could potentially run to tens of thousands of pounds.

Ben Lake MP has been following this case closely after raising the matter with the UK Chancellor on behalf of many Ceredigion businesses. In response to today’s ruling, Ben Lake MP said:

“This is a significant judgement. Covid-19 has caused substantial disruption to businesses across the county, and many are under immense financial strain as a result. By making existing insurance policies effectively worthless during this crisis, many insurance companies have left businesses out of pocket and have damaged trust both in the market and in the Government containment measures.

“I therefore welcome the actions taken by the Financial Conduct Authority, and I hope that following today’s High Court ruling the UK Government will do its utmost to ensure that the insurance industry takes effective, fair and immediate action to assist businesses that fell foul of their original interpretation of these policies.”

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