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Study 'reveals north/south genetic divide in Welsh red kite'

A study of the modern red kite population in Wales has revealed a north/south genetic divide that runs along the Towy Valley.

In the 1930s only one breeding pair remained in Wales. Credit: Stephen Wilson/ PA Wire

This is one of the findings of a study of the genetic status of the red kite in Wales by Aberystwyth University postgraduate student Ilze Skujina.

The research was undertaken as part of a project to provide guidance on the long-term conservation of the red kite.

DNA was collected from feathers cast off by the birds.

The molecule acts like a bar-code and provides geneticists with information about the relations between populations and individuals.

I was not only able to reconfirm that the modern Welsh kite population still fall into a Northern and Southern groups (as had been detected in the 1980s using the single genetic fingerprint probe available at the time) but also detect a genetic difference between the older Central-Welsh and the relatively new Red kite population in Shropshire and Herefordshire

– Ilze Skujina, Postgraduate Student, Aberystwyth University


Protestors meet former Japanese prime minister

Credit: ITV News/Ian Lang

Protestors against the Wylfa Newydd power station have met with the former Prime Minister of Japan this morning.

Naoto Kan is in Llangefni to meet councillors and attend a public meeting about the nuclear plant. Protestors hope his visit will help highlight their campaign to stop the new plant being built on the island.


Nuclear plant on Anglesey will be 'delivered safely'

The company behind plans to build a nuclear power plant on Anglesey has said it will be "delivered safely".

Horizon Nuclear Power has sent an open letter to the former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who's on Anglesey campaigning to stop the plans.

In the letter, CEO at Horizon Alan Raymant, highlighted the safety record of the nuclear industry in the UK and globally. He also said nuclear power has played a key role in Anglesey’s recent history.

Mr Raymant also said an incident like that of Fukushima is not possible as there is no risk of a Tsunami on the island.

Naoto Kan was prime minister of Japan at the time of the Fukushima accident, which resulted in large radiation leaks.

It led to his resignation and he's since campaigned against nuclear power.

A repeat on Anglesey of the natural conditions that led to the Fukushima accident is not a credible possibility due to the absence of major seismic or tsunami risk. But we, and the UK regulators, are taking valuable lessons from that event to enhance safety even further.

We are privileged to enjoy support from Governments and elected representatives in Anglesey and in Wales more widely, from the local community and from the future workforce. But we are in no doubt that this support relies on clearly demonstrating that safety and security are at the core of what we do. We will not flinch from honest debate about nuclear power, but we remain determined to deliver Wylfa Newydd safely and to the benefit of the community.

– Alan Raymant, CEO Horizon Nuclear Power

Horizon Nuclear Power was formed in 2009 to develop new nuclear power stations in the UK. It was bought by Hitachi Ltd of Japan in November 2012.

The company is developing plans to build at least 5,400MW of new nuclear power generation plant at Wylfa on the Isle of Anglesey.

Consultation begins on how to spend devolved landfill tax

A consultation is to begin on how the Welsh Government should use funds generated by a new landfill tax.

It will allow Wales to design and shape the new 'Landfill Disposals Tax' to reflect Welsh priorities and needs.

Its estimated Wales generates around £50m from landfill tax Credit: PA

Community projects are expected to be one area to benefit from the new tax.

This would be similar to the The Landfill Communities Fund, which is a tax credit scheme enabling operators of landfill sites to contribute money to organisations who are enrolled.

The Landfill Disposals Tax will replace the UK Landfill Tax in Wales from April 2018.

The tax would cover the following areas:

  • Tax Rates and Taxable Disposals
  • Compliance and Enforcement
  • Administration and Community Wellbeing
The Landfill Disposals Tax will replace the UK Landfill Tax in Wales from April 2018 Credit: PA

The current Landfill Tax is a significant driver of environmental behaviour, encouraging greater prevention, re-use, recycling and recovery of waste. Its devolution therefore provides us with a useful additional lever to support Welsh Government policies, including the pursuit of our ambitious goal of zero waste.

An important aspect of the tax development work covers compliance. I want to ensure that all those who have waste to dispose of comply with the tax fully and properly. Avoidance and evasion deprive our valued public services. It also gives tax evaders an unfair advantage over those law-abiding businesses and individuals who pay their fair share. This is unacceptable and we will consider all the available tools to deter and take action against those who are seeking to avoid or evade tax.

Landfill Disposals Tax will affect a broad range of interests - businesses, regulators, communities and the Third Sector. That is why we want to hear a wide range of views to help us design and ensure that this tax works well for Wales.

– Jane Hutt, Minister for Finance and Government Business
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