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Charges for Welsh river water

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THE RENEWABLE energy sector in Wales is set to benefit as Natural Resources Wales (NRW) introduce a new tiered charging system for 

welshriverhydropower licence applications this week. This will mean that licence application fees for the smallest hydropower schemes will start at £375 per application with the larger, commercial schemes, paying £1,500.

The new scheme has been developed as part of NRW’s wider Fees and Charges Scheme following an extensive consultation with stakeholders including those from the hydropower industry, farming unions and conservation bodies. Ceri Davies, Director for Knowledge, Strategy and Planning, Natural Resources Wales, said: “Hydropower schemes can help farmers, landowners and community groups be more economically and environmentally sustainable. We make sure that these schemes can be developed without damaging rivers, the wildlife that lives there or from aff ecting others who rely on the water. By keeping our charges as low as we can, especially for the smaller schemes, this should encourage more people and groups to see if harnessing the power of nature can work for them.”

As well as the changes to charges for hydropower, other changes include: • 2.5% rise to permitting charges for waste sites and installations like power stations • 10.4% reduction to the standard unit charge for water abstractions • a new £350 charge for reassessment of waste recovery plans • a capped permit subsistence charge of £3190 for sites in preconstruction • New annual charge of £2,065 for recycling facilities. Natural Resources Wales has reviewed the fees it has to charge for environmental permits and is duty bound to recover the costs of regulation from business and industry rather than the taxpayer footing the bill. Welsh Government is providing fi nancial support that reduces the impact on Wales’ growing hydropower industry.

Minister for Natural Resources, Carl Sargeant said:“We need to ensure that we use our natural resources in ways that protect them in order so they can provide for future generations, and investing in hydropower generation is a great example of this. I am pleased we have been able to support Natural Resources Wales to implement these changes in the charging regime, and hope this can lead to more schemes, particularly those smaller in scale, harnessing the power of Welsh waterways.” Ceri Davies added:“Applications for hydropower schemes are on the rise in Wales. We have seen a 10- fold increase in the last 5 years with water abstraction licences for 87 new schemes issued last year.

The efficiencies and improvements we have made to the application system has halved the amount of time we take to assess a licence and we will continue to work with the industry to improve this further.” This is NRW’s fi rst Fees and Charges Scheme and it will be in place for the next financial year. Future changes will be determined by NRW continuing to drive efficiencies throughout the business and by the wider fi nancial picture.

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Antisocial behaviour falls as police operation continues

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POLICE said that they saw a reduction in antisocial behaviour involving young people in Carmarthenshire over the weekend, following weeks of increased activity.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers proactively patrolled areas which have recently become hot spots for teenagers to gather and drink alcohol as part of an ongoing operation.

A police presence was also maintained on trains between Llanelli and Carmarthen to identify how many youngsters were travelling in the area and where they were getting off.

Sergeant Gemma Davies said: “Over the weekend we continued our work to target, deter and deal with antisocial behaviour and underage drinking in hot spots identified primarily in Llanelli and Burry Port.

“Section 34 dispersal orders had been put in place ahead of the weekend, meaning we could move on anyone likely to cause antisocial behaviour, but thankfully they were not required. This is an improvement on previous weekends when we have had to exercise these powers.

“A significant number of young people were spoken to, with the vast majority being pleasant, not under the influence of alcohol, and not causing any trouble.

“Members of the public acknowledged the high police presence, as did the young people, and this might have deterred underage drinking.

“We are very pleased to have seen the change in attitudes and behaviour this weekend.”

The force received just one call reporting youngsters gathering at Burry Port harbour, with no offences or antisocial behaviour identified by attending officers.

Of the young people spoken two over the weekend, two were found with alcohol which was seized. Follow-up antisocial behaviour letters will be issued, and home visits will take place shortly.

Groups were also reminded of the dangers of swimming near the harbour and were encouraged to take their rubbish home.

Officers on the rail network removed one drunk adult from a train.

Sgt Davies said: “I would like to thank all officers involved in the operation over the weekend, as well as the young people who made sure they stayed within the law while enjoying the weather.

“We will be out and about again next weekend and throughout the summer, making sure the area is enjoyable for all who visit.”

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Lord Lieutenant visits Mass Vaccination Centre

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Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sarah Edwards, has paid tribute to all those involved in the COVID-19 vaccination programme during a visit to the Y Ffwrness Mass Vaccination Centre in Llanelli.

During the visit on Wednesday 9th June she was joined by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Lt Col David Mathias, and the High Sheriff of Dyfed, Mr.Jonathan Gravell. They met and spoke to the centre’s vaccinators, NHS staff, security staff and volunteers.

To date, the collective efforts of mass vaccination centres, GP practices and community pharmacies in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, have resulted in the Hywel Dda University Health Board delivering over 431,850 vaccinations. This means 266,785 of the eligible population have now received a first vaccine, and 165,056 have received both doses.

The Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed said: “It was wonderful to see first-hand the incredible work being undertaken by the vaccinators, NHS staff and volunteers. They have played a crucial role in the success of the vaccine rollout programme. I would also pay tribute to the public for their overwhelmingly positive response to getting vaccinated.”

Maria Battle, Chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board, added: “On behalf of the health board, I was delighted to welcome Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sara Edwards, the Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Lt Col David Mathias, and the High Sheriff of Dyfed, Mr Jonathan Gravell. I am deeply proud of everyone involved in the vaccination programme and I’m glad they got to see for themselves the incredibly work being undertaken to help get us through this pandemic.”

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Alcohol seized and teenager arrested as police deal with antisocial behaviour

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POLICE seized large amounts of alcohol and arrested a teenager as they continued to deal with antisocial behaviour over the weekend.

Dyfed-Powys Police had proactive plans in place to deal with ongoing issues of groups of youngsters gathering in Carmarthenshire following rising reports of alcohol-related antisocial behaviour over the past two months.

Dispersal orders were in place across Llanelli and Burry Port, giving police the powers to move anyone believed to be causing a nuisance, harassment or distress out of the area.

Officers patrolling the rail network in Carmarthenshire on Saturday noticed a large amount of young people getting off the train at Ferryside, where an additional dispersal order was put in place and alcohol was seized.

Officers were also required to deal with children trespassing on the railway tracks.

Sergeant Gemma Davies said: “We had received reports of children with alcohol running across the tracks, which posed a huge danger to themselves and others, and had to be stopped as a priority.

“One boy who was detained became abusive towards officers and could not be reasoned with. Officers had no choice but to arrest him for his own safety and to prevent further offences from being committed.

“This incident goes to show that the kind of behaviour we are dealing with goes beyond groups of young people meeting to have a good time, and is putting people in highly dangerous situations.”

A 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of trespassing on the railway and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

He has been released under investigation pending further enquiries by British Transport Police.

Early intervention was taken in the Trostre area of Llanelli, where officers noticed groups of children meeting on Saturday.

Sgt Davies said: “More than 60 young people were moved on from both locations and a large amount of alcohol was seized.

“Out of these groups, four notices were issued to those causing the most trouble in the Trostre area which prevented them from returning, and each of these youngsters were taken home.

“This swift action was a deterrent to other young people who were planning on joining the groups and were still travelling to the area.”

“We will continue to put plans in place each weekend and over the summer holidays to deal with antisocial behaviour, using all powers available to us to put a stop to it.”

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