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Important fencing work to start at Pembrey Burrows

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A MAJOR conservation project to revitalise sand dunes across Wales will kick start their summer work programme next week (w/c 22 June) by carrying out extensive fencing work at Pembrey Burrows.

Sands of LIFE, a project led by Natural Resources Wales (NRW), will restore over 2,400 hectares of sand dunes, across four Special Areas of Conservation, on 10 separate Welsh sites. The project will run until December 2022.

In total, Sands of LIFE have over 2km of chestnut fencing ready to be erected at Pembrey Burrows. This will help protect and control the cattle and ponies which perform the crucial task of grazing the dune grassland. This helps keep the sand dunes open, creating perfect conditions for specialist dune plants and other wildlife to thrive.

Over the last 80 years, open sand has disappeared from Wales’ dunes being replaced by dense grass and scrub. The dunes have become stable and fixed, and rare wildlife has disappeared. This change has been caused by factors such as the introduction of non-native plants, lack of traditional grazing, a declining rabbit population and air pollution.

The Sands of LIFE project will re-profile dunes to create movement in the sand; lower the surface of dried-out slacks to recreate wet habitat; promote sustainable grazing by livestock and rabbits; remove invasive species and scrub and mow dune grassland to encourage wild flowers.

Laura Bowen, Sands of LIFE Project and Monitoring Officer South, said:

“We are looking forward to completing the fencing at Pembrey Burrows which will allow the cattle to continue grazing on site. The work will also include replacing old stiles with new gates, providing easier and safer access for the public.

“The current COVID-19 pandemic is understandably a source of concern for us all. However, we remain hopeful in being able to push ahead with planned work over the coming months to provide our sand dunes with a much-needed boost. Whilst conducting work on our behalf, all contractors will be following the current social distancing guidelines.

“Once restrictions are lifted and these wonderful sand dunes are open to the public again, we also hope to host guided walks and take part in community events.”

Carmarthenshire County Council owns and looks after the Pembrey Burrows Local Nature Reserve.

Simeon Jones, Carmarthenshire Country Council Conservation Officer, said:

“We are very pleased to be part of this exciting project that will benefit these rare sand dune habitats.

The dunes at Pembrey Burrows LNR support many rare plants and invertebrates as well as being a great place to visit where people can enjoy wildlife and the natural world as well being able to spend time outdoors which is so good for our health and wellbeing.”

The project can be contacted at SoLIFE@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk 

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Search for Susan Smith continues

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THE search for missing Susan Smith is now in it’s third day. She was last seen on Saturday (Feb 27), walking in the Kidwelly area.

Speaking to The Herald, a police spokesperson said: “We are continuing to search for Susan Smith who has been reported missing.”

“The search is continuing today with specialist police officers making house to house enquiries in the Kidwelly, St Ishamels, Ferryside and surrounding areas.

Sergeant Fiona Phillips said: “It is important that we build a picture of Susan’s movements after she was last seen on Saturday and I would appeal to anyone who believes they may have seen her to contact police.”

Susan was last seen 1.30pm Saturday, February 27 2021, walking in the Carmarthen Bay Holiday Village, Kidwelly area. She is known to walk along the beach to St Ishmaels and Ferryside.

She is described as approximately 5ft2 inches tall, petite with shoulder length blonde hair and believed to be wearing black jeans, a black fleece type jacket and navy and grey walking boots.

Any who has seen Susan or anyone who may have information that could help the search is asked to contact Dyfed-Powys Police, quoting reference 285 of Saturday 27th February.

Police can be contacted either online at bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908

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Isla to read 20 books in 20 days for lifesaving charity

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A Bancyfelin bookworm has so-far raised over £300 for the Wales Air Ambulance in her first-ever fundraiser for charity.

Six-year-old Isla Wilson is taking part in the Charity’s My20 challenge and has chosen to read 20 books in 20 days during March.

The Wales Air Ambulance celebrates its 20th anniversary on March 1 and to acknowledge the milestone, the Charity has created a new fundraising event called My20. My20 allows the participant to set themselves a challenge, task or activity that relates to the number ’20’ which they will complete during March.

The Ysgol Bancyfelin pupil loves reading books to her younger sister, Ailish, 4 and has chosen a range of books to read in Welsh and English.

Some of the books that Isla has chosen to read include – The Elves and the Shoemaker, Peter Rabbit, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Chicken Lickin’ and Rapunzel.

Isla set herself the target of raising £50 and has already smashed that figure by raising £330 for the lifesaving Charity – even before her fundraiser has started.

Isla has received a lot of support from her friends, family and her school. The little bookworm has also been reading books virtually to family and friends in preparation.

Speaking about why she is raising money for the charity’s 24/7 service, Isla said: “I want to help keep the air ambulance awake all night. They help lots of people.”

Her dad, Tom Wilson, said: “We’re proud of Isla for wanting to raise money for the air ambulance. Isla and her sister have always enjoyed seeing the air ambulance in the air, but it wasn’t until recently that she understood the significance of the work the medics do. We’re are shocked she has raised over £300 already, especially as it’s her first fundraiser. We’re looking forward to listening to her reading throughout the challenge.”

Katie Macro, the Charity’s South West Wales Community Fundraiser, said: “It’s wonderful how Isla, at such a young age, understands the important work of the Wales Air Ambulance. It’s clear that she wants to take part in My20 because it helps those in need, showing her compassion and thought for others. We hope that people recognise this and donate to her fundraiser, which many already have.

“Thank you so much for supporting us, Isla. Every penny you raise will help people who need us. That makes you a lifesaver.”

You can show your support to Isla by sponsoring her via her Just Giving page – Isla’s Fy20 / My20 www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lisa-lewis51

For more information on the #MY20 challenge visit www.walesairambulance.com.

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Blocked rail plans a ‘kick in the teeth’

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POLITICIANS in Llanelli have vocalised their frustrations as plans for extra train services between west Wales and London have been ditched.

Grand Union Trains had been working on plans to run as many as seven daily returning rail services between Cardiff Central and Paddington from December 2021 and had been hoping to extend those services to both Llanelli and Carmarthen.

Those plans though, it seems, won’t be progressing any further as the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) have rejected the application. These rail plans have been rejected because of ORR concerns that it could have cost the UK Department of Transport millions of pounds.

An ORR spokesperson said: “After careful consideration we have decided not to approve Grand Union Trains’ application.

“At this time, and taking account of the pandemic’s impact on railway finances, we consider the passenger benefits would not outweigh the significant negative impact on public funds that this might have.”

Llanelli MS Lee Waters, Deputy Transport Minister in the Welsh Government, described the decision as “a real scandal”. 

Lee Waters said “A plan to get a direct rail service from places like Llanelli to London has been blocked because it’s feared the DfT may get a bill if it doesn’t go to plan.”

MP for Llanelli, Nia Griffith said: “This is a real kick in the teeth. 

“We in west Wales deserve to have as good connectivity as other parts of the country. 

“We need more direct trains because it is the long-time gap between trains and poor connections with on-going services that really puts people off using trains now.

“More frequent services and more direct trains would attract more passengers.”

Grand Union Trains will fight the decision, which they have said could jeopardise 135 new jobs, and described it as ‘poorly forecasted’. They are currently seeking legal advice.

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