Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

Carmarthenshire’s water voles threatened say The Wildlife Trusts

Published

on

A NEW analysis of data collected over ten years by a network of experts led by The Wildlife Trusts has revealed that water vole distribution has declined dramatically across the UK. There has been a 30% decline in the places where these river mammals once lived across England and Wales during this time.
While the new analysis reveals a slight expansion of range in certain areas – thanks to some successful conservation efforts by The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, Natural Resources Wales and others in Wales, for example – the full data covering the whole ten years paints a bleak picture.
Dr Lizzie Wilberforce, Conservation Manager for the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, says: “Water voles have declined so rapidly that the change is highly visible to those of us who have witnessed its disappearance from the landscape within our lifetimes. They are now completely absent from large areas of south west Wales, but with strongholds still in the Cambrian Mountains, and around the Llanelli and Laugharne and Pendine areas. It’s incredibly important that we understand more about our critical upland populations so that we can protect them from the fate of lowland populations, as well as do everything we can to reverse their decline and secure the Llanelli and Pendine populations for the future.”
Water voles are a much-loved British mammal which used to be regularly seen and heard along every ditch, stream and river in the UK. A creature which burrows in banks and feeds on reeds and grass, the water vole was a lead character – known as ‘Ratty’ – in Kenneth Grahame’s children’s classic Wind in the Willows.
Huge conservation efforts have been made to ensure a future for this charismatic mammal. In Wales, The Wildlife Trusts and Natural Resources Wales are increasingly focussing survey and conservation efforts in our upland areas, where water voles have managed to persist relatively unnoticed in marshy grasslands and other wet habitats. Work is also continuing with habitat restoration, and reintroductions of this species across the UK by the Wildlife Trusts and many partner organisations. At a local level, these projects appear to have been highly successful, however, these successes are not big enough to reverse the national distribution trends.
Habitat loss, and fragmentation due to agricultural intensification and massive building development have led to declines in the voles since the 1960s; exacerbated by predation by North American mink. The water vole is the UK’s most rapidly declining mammal and has been lost from 94% of places where they were once prevalent.
The latest data revealing a ten year decline of 30% shows an ever-worsening situation: their range is continuing to contract.
The Wildlife Trusts are calling for:
• Government to provide better funding for water vole conservation projects and to initiate landscape-scale restoration schemes
• Government and Local Authorities to use their legislative and policy levers to protect, connect and create areas of natural habitat to help wildlife move through the landscape, benefitting not just water voles but a range of other wildlife.
• Landowners to manage river bank habitat positively to help water voles, e.g. providing generous buffer strips to provide shelter and feeding, opening up sections of the bank to the sun to prevent over-shading, and creating soft edges to river banks for water voles to create burrows in
• People to volunteer as water vole surveyors with their local Wildlife Trust and/or donate to charities to help support water vole recovery work.
The Wildlife Trusts are at the forefront of reintroducing water voles and caring for the wild places that they need to survive. In 2014 and 2015.
The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales worked in partnership with Natural Resources Wales to reintroduce around 400 water voles bred from Carmarthenshire stock to Ffrwd Farm Mire, a Wildlife Trust reedbed nature reserve in Pembrey. Following on from several years work by NRW and the Trust to make the site and surrounding landscape as suitable for water voles as possible, this successful partnership continues and water voles on the reserve and in the surrounding areas are thriving.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

News

Aberglasney Gardens delighted to win 2022 Trip advisor Travellers’ Choice Award

Published

on

ABERGLASNEY Gardens is thrilled to have been recognised by Tripadvisor as a 2022 Travellers’ Choice Award winner for being in the top 10% of attractions worldwide.

The Award recognises businesses that consistently deliver great service with the Gardens being rated ‘Excellent’ by 342 visitors.

The award celebrates businesses that have received great traveller reviews from around the globe on Tripadvisor over the last 12 months. As challenging as the past year has been, Aberglasney stood out by consistently delivering positive experiences to visitors.

Aberglasney’s Director of Operations Jim Stribling said: “We are delighted to have once again won an award from Tripadvisor. It is fantastic recognition for the team’s hard work and dedication. To rank among the top ten percent of those listed on Trip Advisor as one of the best places to visit is outstanding.

“We are grateful to all those who take the time to leave us a review after visiting. It is no cliché when I say all the team, be it in the gift shop, the gardeners, the tearooms and the administrative team, all take the reviews on board to help make a visit to Aberglasney the best possible experience for everyone.”

Tripadvisor, the world’s largest travel guidance platform, helps hundreds of millions of people each month become better travellers, from planning, to booking, to taking a trip. Travelers across the globe use the Tripadvisor site and app to discover where to stay, what to do and where to eat based on guidance from those who have been there before.

With more than 988 million reviews and opinions of nearly eight million businesses, travellers turn to Tripadvisor to find deals on accommodation, book experiences, reserve tables at restaurants and discover great places nearby.

As a travel guidance company available in 43 markets and 22 languages, Tripadvisor makes planning easy no matter the trip type.

“Congratulations to the 2022 Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Winners,” said Kanika Soni, Chief Commercial Officer at Tripadvisor. “The Travellers’ Choice Awards recognise the best in tourism and hospitality, according to those who matter most: your guests.

“Ranking among the Travellers’ Choice winners is always tough – but never more so than this year as we emerge from the pandemic. Whether it’s using new technology, implementing safety measures, or hiring outstanding staff, I’m impressed by the steps you’ve taken to meet travellers’ new demands. You’ve adapted brilliantly in the face of adversity.”

Continue Reading

Education

Council’s plan to expand bilingual education will be a gradual journey over 10 years

Published

on

Carmarthenshire County Council

CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council’s vision to increase bilingual education in Carmarthenshire will be a gradual journey over 10 years.

The Cabinet met yesterday (Monday, July 4) to discuss the Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP), and emphasised that it was important to give all children and young people the opportunity to develop their Welsh language skills.

However, members stressed that families will still have a choice on the language in which their children will be taught over the next decade and after 2032.

The plan sets out how the council will develop Welsh language provision in schools based on the outcomes and targets set by the Welsh Government.

All councils across Wales have to submit 10-year Welsh language education plans to the Welsh Government in order to meet its target of one million Welsh speakers by 2050.

The outcomes include more nursery and reception children being taught through the medium of Welsh; more young people studying for qualifications in Welsh as a subject, and subjects through the medium of Welsh; increasing provision for learners with Additional Learning Needs; and increasing the number of teachers able to teach Welsh and through the medium of Welsh – with continuing support to develop staff through a comprehensive and flexible training programme.

The Cabinet said it was important for the council to provide more opportunities to be bilingual and referred to the various benefits it brings – from educational attainment to employability and health.

Cabinet Member for Education and Welsh Language, Cllr Glynog Davies said the aim was to meet and exceed the target set by Welsh Government on the percentage of Carmarthenshire pupils receiving their education through the medium of Welsh by 3032 (10-14%).

It included changing the language provision at 10 schools over the next 10 years creating an opportunity for a further 300 learners to be educated in Welsh.

He said: “We want to build on the progress made in early years education provision, and my ambition is clear – equal opportunities across the county.

“It is worth noting that we have the largest percentage 57.5 percent of nursery age children taught through the medium of Welsh. Immersion education is key to the strategy, and it is important that we continue to see an increase in the percentage of children transferring from the Meithrin groups to Welsh-medium education in the Foundation Phase.

“These early years are so important, the children are like sponges, absorbing information and absorbing a new language.

“We must then continue to see an increase in numbers in our reception classes, we say this even though we are the authority with the largest percentage (62.5 percent) of children receiving their education through the medium of Welsh.

“Children must continue to improve their Welsh when going from one school phase to another, and we need to make sure all children have the opportunity to pursue their secondary education through the medium of Welsh.

“At the same time, we need to give children and young people the confidence to use Welsh, in school and in the community. That’s what we want to see isn’t it, more and more using Welsh, hearing Welsh on the street. We need to develop and build on skills and confidence.”

Cabinet Member for Rural Affairs and Planning Policy, Cllr Ann Davies said: “I am extremely pleased to see this document and have a pleasure in supporting it. Working with young children, that is children under three-years-old, I can say that children pick up language very quickly, they absorb it, and the process is very different to learning a language. As they get older the process in the brain is completely different. I am pleased to see that there is an emphasis on early years, that is when we need to start.”

Cabinet Member for Resources, Cllr Alun Lenny said: “It is very important to state that there are many advantages to learning a language, obviously for careers, especially in health and social care where patients and clients must have a choice of language, it’s important particularly for older people, and young children, and people with dementia.

“The Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police has stated he is keen for all his staff to speak a certain level of Welsh, so we have a duty here to support that.

“The advantages of being bilingual are multiple, socially and in the world of work, and this strategy is very much welcomed.”

The WESP has come back to the cabinet for discussion following feedback from the Welsh Government, mainly to include some additional data and detail. It will now be submitted to the Welsh Government for final approval. A public consultation was held last year.

Continue Reading

News

Warning of serious disruption on M4 and M5 today due to fuel prices protest

Published

on

POLICE have warned of “serious disruption” to drivers using the M4 and M5 on Monday 4 July due to a planned protest.

Protesters intend to block the Prince of Wales Bridge from 7am until 7pm as part of a nationwide campaign against rising fuel prices.

The protest is due to start at the M4 Magor services at junction 23A eastbound and the Clevedon Interchange at junction 20 of the M5 westbound.

It is also expected to cause disruption to the M48 Severn Bridge and the M32.

Drivers are being urged to avoid the area or plan alternative routes.

Bristol Airport has issued a warning urging travellers to allow extra time if heading to or from the airport.

Police said additional officers will be brought in to ensure the protest is carried out legally.

Drivers have been advised by Gwent Police to work from home where possible and avoid the area between 7am and 7pm, with protestors planning to block parts of the road between M4 Magor services, junction 23A eastbound, and Junction 20 of the M4 between those hours.

Chief Superintendent Tom Harding said: “Gwent Police, and Avon and Somerset Police, are working jointly with neighbouring police forces and partner agencies to ensure emergency and critical services continue and to reduce disruption to both road users and local communities, however we are preparing for serious disruption throughout the day.

“I would encourage drivers to reconsider their journey, consider working from home and avoid the area where possible.

“The right to protest under UK law must be balanced with the rights of the wider community who may be affected. We have additional officers and support in place on Monday to ensure the protest is carried out in accordance with the law.”

The planned protest is thought to have been organised by the Facebook group Fuel Price Stand Against Tax, and has attracted both criticism and support online.

The latest travel disruption comes following the closure of the Severn Bridge for a second consecutive weekend, as well as the Severn Tunnel rain line which will be out of use until July 10 due to essential work. Motorists will be unable to cross the M48 Severn Bridge until 6am on Monday as it is undergoing essential work for eight months.

The bridge was first shut last weekend as painstaking work to repair and replace corroded suspension cables began. Traffic on the bridge is likely to be very heavy on Monday due to the fuel protest.

Police have told protesters banners must be tightly secured to vehicles and nobody should be walking around on the bridge during the demonstration. Protesters will stay inside their vehicles or stand beside them.

An organiser said: “We will now only be doing it on the Prince of Wales Bridge. We have to keep in mind everyone’s safety and if we block the bridge totally and there is an emergency there would be hell. Yes it means only one bridge but [due to the amount of traffic caused] there will still be a massive impact.”

Two weeks ago one of the initial M4 bridge protest organisers Ashley Fowler said : “We’re all car enthusiasts and we have all been worried about fuel prices and when I saw the post about blocking the bridges we began talking about it. Then people started asking me to make an event so we could update each other.

“I made the event because I run a car club in Cardiff which I started on social media during the pandemic lockdowns to help people’s mental health. When we can we go out to car parks and just meet up and have a chat but during the pandemic we weren’t able to do it so I made the group.

“Now we can’t meet up so much again because of the cost of fuel. I know some of them can’t drive so much because they need to feed their kids. It’s serious. People are getting really depressed about it. One of the boys in the group has actually sold his car due to fuel price rises.”

Continue Reading

Trending

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK