How Wales is enjoying the summer sun

Roads, railways and airports are facing one of their biggest days of the year with the traditional start of the summer holiday season.

Live updates

Delays for holidaymakers continue at Passport Office

Problems with backlogs and delayed passports are still ongoing after the the highest demand for 12 years.

Yesterday, the PCS walked out over staff shortages saying poor staffing levels were partly responsible for the delays earlier in the year.

Last month the Home Office redeployed hundreds of staff to deal with a backlog of 30,000 applications, but some people are still experiencing delays putting holidays and trips abroad in jeopardy.

Passport Office

14-year-old Megan Richards from Newport is one of thousands of people affected by yesterday's strike.

Megan Richard

Megan's grandmother Christine Richards said they had to travel to Peterborough.

"This is the first appointment we could get. We couldn't get one in Newport at all. The people have a right to strike... but when it impacts on you personally it's sometimes a little bit difficult to be sympathetic."

A spokesperson for the Home Office said the strike was 'irresponsible' and will lead to further inconvenience for customers.

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Heart disease numbers falling in Wales

The number of people living with heart disease in Wales is falling, according to a new report out today.

Heart disease
Credit: PA Images

The report 'Together for Health' published by the Welsh Government, shows there were 125,567 people living with coronary heart disease in in 2012-2013.

That's 8,040 fewer than in 2006-07, which is a reduction of 6%.

Heart disease however remains an issue in Wales claiming the lives of more than 4,300 people a year.

Treating such diseases also remains a concern making up 8% of the overall NHS expenditure. Between 2011-12 on circulatory disease, which includes stroke and cardiac diseases, hospitals spent more than £442m.

"This report shows a drop in both the number of people living with heart disease and dying from it. Admissions to hospital have also fallen as a result of better care in community settings.

"However, we must continue to tackle heart disease which remains a major cause of death in Wales. We will continue to invest in services, improve early diagnosis and prevent the causes of the disease, including cutting smoking levels and encouraging people to adopt healthier lifestyles."

– Prof Mark Drakeford, Health Minister

Looking on the bright side today!

by Ruth Wignall

Tuesday: Some sunshine in eastern areas at first, but tending to cloud over in most places with some patchy rain developing across Anglesey, Gwynedd and Conwy. Feeling warm in any sunshine. Maximum Temperature 25C.

Outlook for Wednesday to Friday: Mostly dry on Wednesday and Thursday with variable amounts of cloud and occasional sunny spells. Feeling warm in light winds. Scattered showers on Friday with a freshening southwesterly breeze.

Wales and the Great War: Episode Three

This is the concluding episode in our series marking the centenary of the start of World War One.

Tonight's edition looks at the heroic efforts of the 1st Monmouths who - against all the odds - helped hold the line at the Second battle of Ypres.

It also features a tribute to Welsh air ace Ira Jones.

Click below to catch up with earlier programmes in the series

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Calm and quiet overnight!

by Ruth Wignall

Tonight: It will be a pleasantly warm and mostly sunny evening and it will stay dry with largely clear skies overnight. Patchy low cloud developing in places later in the night. Minimum Temperature 11C.

Tuesday: Some sunshine in eastern areas at first, but tending to cloud over in most places with some patchy rain developing across Anglesey, Gwynedd and Conwy. Feeling warm in any sunshine. Maximum Temperature 25C.

Outlook for Wednesday to Friday: Mostly dry on Wednesday and Thursday with variable amounts of cloud and occasional sunny spells. Feeling warm in light winds. Scattered showers on Friday with a freshening southwesterly breeze.

Hot and bothered? This may be the forecast for you!

by Ruth Wignall

Today: Often rather cloudy at first this morning with a scattering of showers and these may be locally heavy. Becoming drier this afternoon with any showers becoming isolated and increasing amounts of sunshine developing. Feeling warm in a light northwesterly breeze. Maximum Temperature 24C.

Tonight: It will be a pleasantly warm and mostly sunny evening and it will stay dry with largely clear skies overnight. Patchy low cloud developing in places later in the night. Minimum Temperature 11C.

Tuesday: Some sunshine in eastern areas at first, but tending to cloud over in most places with some patchy rain developing across Anglesey, Gwynedd and Conwy. Feeling warm in any sunshine. Maximum Temperature 25C.

Outlook for Wednesday to Friday: Mostly dry on Wednesday and Thursday with variable amounts of cloud and occasional sunny spells. Feeling warm in light winds. Scattered showers on Friday with a freshening southwesterly breeze.

All change on the weather front this week!

by Ruth Wignall
Clouds gathering!
Clouds gathering over Milford Haven! Credit: Jason Davies

Today: Often rather cloudy at first this morning with a scattering of showers and these may be locally heavy. Becoming drier this afternoon with any showers becoming isolated and increasing amounts of sunshine developing. Feeling warm in a light northwesterly breeze. Maximum Temperature 24C.

Tonight: It will be a pleasantly warm and mostly sunny evening and it will stay dry with largely clear skies overnight. Patchy low cloud developing in places later in the night. Minimum Temperature 11C.

Tuesday: Some sunshine in eastern areas at first, but tending to cloud over in most places with some patchy rain developing across Anglesey, Gwynedd and Conwy. Feeling warm in any sunshine. Maximum Temperature 25C.

Outlook for Wednesday to Friday: Mostly dry on Wednesday and Thursday with variable amounts of cloud and occasional sunny spells. Feeling warm in light winds. Scattered showers on Friday with a freshening southwesterly breeze.

E-cigarettes: A menace or a miracle?

by Bethan Muxworthy
E-cigarette
Credit: Tim Ireland / Press Association

Plans to ban the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public places would be broadly welcomed by a majority of Welsh people.

That's the conclusion of an exclusive ITV Wales poll, which found that 52% of respondents backed the proposal by Health Minister Mark Drakeford. The Welsh Government will decide whether to go ahead with the plan later this year. But, for many people, e-cigarettes seem to be a life saver. Rob Heyes from Cardigan has suffered serious health problems as a result of smoking tobacco for 33 years. He’s now given up with the help of e-cigarettes.

“I’m furious about it to be honest, that’s one of the reasons people start using these because they can use them indoors, once they've started then they can move onto eventually switching completely.”

– Rob Heyes, Cardigan

Dr Ruth Stone from Llandaff Surgery thinks e-cigarettes are a huge public health success:

“I think they are a very good substitute for ordinary cigarettes, they do provide nicotine which is often needed when one is giving up cigarettes. They don’t supply the tar and the smoke and the tobacco that are harmful to people. So they’re very useful as an adjunct treatment.”

– Dr Ruth Stone, Llandaff Surgery

Almost half of those who answered our opinion poll seem to agree with the doctor. 42% said they think e-cigarettes help reduce smoking and only 15% think they encourage people to take up the habit.

But despite the research suggesting e-cigarettes do help people quit cigarettes, the Health Minister is convinced they normalise the act of smoking. He also claims there is not enough evidence to assume they're completely safe.

“What we have to do is consider the emerging evidence in this field and I have to proceed on the precautionary principle, if there is evidence that e-cigarettes do no harm, but a pile of evidence that suggests that they may be harmful to people's health in the future. Then I cannot afford to take the risk with the Welsh population’s health.”

– Mark Drakeford AM, Minister for Health
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