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New powers to tackle waste crime

Credit: Welsh Government

New powers to tackle waste crime and persistent poor performers in the waste industry come into force today.

The Welsh Government says untrustworthy operators are often responsible for polluting the environment, endangering human health and causing odour and nuisance problems for the neighbouring community.

It says legitimate businesses are also being affected, who are often being undercut by such operators.

Around 94% of waste management operators in Wales are good, honest performers so there is only a small fraction of these poor performers and waste criminals that needs to be dealt with.

We have made it a priority to sort out these unscrupulous operators to ensure that waste crime doesn’t pay. The Welsh Government, together with Natural Resources Wales (NRW), Defra and the Environment Agency has worked together to identify ways to strengthen our existing enforcement powers.

– Carl Sergeant AM, Minister for Natural Resources

Flood warnings and alerts ahead of high tides

The River Wye at Brockwier near Tintern. Credit: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

There are five flood warnings and nine flood alerts in force for coastal areas around Wales.

They stretch from Gwynedd to Monmouthshire.

A high spring tide is expected tonight.

Flood Warnings:

  • Monmouthshire: Wye Estuary at Tintern
  • Monmouthshire: Wye Estuary at Chepstow
  • Carmarthenshire: Carmarthen Bay Holiday Park Tidal
  • Swansea: Crofty Tidal

Flood alerts:

  • Carmarthenshire: Carmarthenshire coast
  • Ceredigion: Ceredigion coast
  • Flintshire, Denbighshire, Conwy, Anglesey, Gwynedd: North Wales Coast
  • Monmouthshire: Wye Estuary in Monmouthshire
  • Monmouthshire, Newport: Usk Estuary
  • Pembrokeshire: Pembrokeshire coast
  • Swansea: Tidal Area at Crofty
  • Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Bridgend, Vale of Glamorgan: Swansea Bay and the Gower coast
  • Vale of Glamorgan, Cardiff, Newport, Monmouthshire, Torfaen: Coast from Aberthaw to Severn Bridge


'Sewage' reports on Welsh beaches

A natural form of algae is being mistaken for sewage by concerned holidaymakers, a conservation body reports.

Not sewage: this algae is oily in appearance but harmless Credit: NRW

Natural Resources Wales says it has received reports from people concerned about sewage or slurry on the beach or in the water in places like Aberystwyth, West Angle and Pendine.

These have been investigated and found to be caused by nothing more than tiny, naturally occurring algae, called phytoplankton, that thrive in warm summer weather.

Holidaymakers and locals have been reporting Credit: NRW

Around this time of year we do get some reports of what appears to be sewage slicks on the coast.

We treat each one seriously and whenever possible carry out tests to find out what it is.

But almost always, despite its unpleasant appearance, the 'sewage' turns out to be this common algae which isn’t harmful.

– Steve Morgans, Natural Resources Wales

To find out more about the water quality in any of Wales’s beaches visit the Natural Resources Wales website.

Crayfish released to replace those hit by pesticide spill

White-clawed crayfish released into the River Ennig, near Brecon Credit: NRW

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) says nearly 600 juvenile crayfish have been released into a Powys river to replace the original population which fell victim to a pollution incident in 2012.

It says the white-clawed crayfish have been raised in the Cynrig Hatchery to replace the fish which were killed when a pesticide release affected a 2km stretch of the River Ennig at Talgarth, near Brecon.

Other species such as bullheads were also found dead in the river but it was the crayfish deaths which caused particular concern.

The white claw, Britain’s only native crayfish, was already under threat from disease, climate change, habitat degradation and competition from the more aggressive American crayfish which were introduced for food in the late 1970s and 1980s.

We’ve released 570 juvenile crayfish into a tributary of the Ennig and a further 1,000 juveniles will be released next year to replace those killed in 2012.

The fish were reared at the Cynrig Fish Culture Unit, where a crayfish conservation strategy has been in place since 2009 which aims to protect existing crayfish populations and establish safe havens for the species.

– Oliver Brown, NRW Fish Culture Officer

Work underway to restore dunes

Credit: Natural Resources Wales

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) says work has begun to restore one of Wales' finest sand dune systems.

It says, over the last 60 years, Newborough Warren on Anglesey has lost 94% of open, mobile sand dunes as they became over-grown with grass and trees.

This destroyed the unique pioneer dune slacks necessary for the specialist and rare wildlife of the dunes to flourish.

NRW has already removed dead or stunted trees from two small areas behind the dunes.

Now it will begin the second phase of the project by removing vegetation from some dunes and cutting notches in the frontal dunes so that the sand can move about naturally in the wind. It says this will help rare plants and insects such as petalwort, sand wasps, mining bees and rare beetles that have been driven to the brink of extinction in the area.

The site needs help because the stabilised dunes are not providing the right habitat for the species that live there.

This work will allow the rare insects and plants to re-colonise the dunes and return them to naturally diverse and balanced habitats over the next couple of years.

Naturally mobile sand dunes aren’t just good for nature, they provide a more dynamic coastal defence system which can adapt to storms and sea level change. They are also fantastic natural landscapes and great places for everyone to enjoy.

– Graham Williams, Senior Reserve Manager at Natural Resources Wales


Rare fungus found

The Fen Puffball was discovered in Powys. Credit: Natural Resources Wales

Natural Resources Wales says it's uncovered a type of rare fungus previously unknown in Wales during a survey of 200 of the country’s most important bog and fen sites.

The detailed surveys of peatlands in Wales often reveal rare and unusual species and it was during one of these the team found the Fen Puffball (or Bovista paludosa).

The National Peatland Survey has been looking at the benefits of good quality peatlands to people, the economy and wildlife.

Peatland is an important habitat for nature, stores millions of gallons of water to help reduce flooding and stores carbon which helps to combat climate change.

Finding this puffball in Mynydd Epynt in Powys was an added bonus as it's the first time this fungus has been found in Wales, it is extremely rare and only five examples have ever been recorded in the UK.

Such is its rarity that that the Fen Puffball is named on the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) list as a UK priority conservation species

Water released to help migrating fish

The water release will last for five days. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) says it's taking steps to encourage salmon and sewin (sea trout) to reach their spawning grounds and improve stocks.

It says the dry September weather has been a welcome treat for most but for Wales’ fish populations the lack of rain is hindering their annual migration.

To combat this, NRW has worked with Dwr Cymru Welsh Water to release water from reservoirs into the rivers Tywi and Cleddau to encourage adult salmon and sewin to enter the rivers from Carmarthen Bay.

“The River Tywi and its population of salmon and sea trout is worth an estimated £10.2 million to the Welsh economy and the release will benefit anglers as well as boost fish numbers.........

The release of additional water from the reservoirs will not affect the public water supply and people who use the river have been alerted to take care as the flow will increase to four times its current level.

– Dave Mee, Fisheries Team Leader for NRW

1,000 native crayfish released at Builth Wells

The native crayfish is under threat from a non-native species. Credit: Natural Resources Wales

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) says more than 1,000 native white-clawed crayfish have been released into a Welsh river as part of continued efforts to save the species from extinction.

It's the third year NRW officers have captive reared and released the juvenile crayfish working in conjunction with the Wye and Usk Foundation.

The one-year-old crayfish were reared at Natural Resources Wales Cynrig Fish Culture Unit and have been released into specially selected ‘ark’ sites on a tributary of the River Irfon, near Builth Wells.

Releases sites are free from a lethal fungus. Credit: Natural Resources Wales

NRW says to date more than 2,700 captive reared crayfish have been released into the wild in a bid to offset the damage caused by the non-native American signal crayfish, climate change and the impact of pollution on habitat and water quality to the native crayfish population.

Flood work to begin in St Asaph

The Roe Parc and Spring Gardens areas were hit by flooding. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Natural Resources Wales will today start work to improve flood defences in St Asaph.

It'll mean temporary barriers can be installed when there's potential flooding.

In November 2012 one person died after 400 homes were inundated.

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