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Concerns over plan for managing Welsh seas

The Welsh Marine Plan area covers around 32,000 km² of sea and 2,120 km of coastline.
Charities worried plan might have consequences for wildlife

Wildlife organisations have raised concerns over a new plan for managing Welsh seas.

The Draft Welsh National Marine Plan, which is currently under consultation, aims to guide the sustainable development of Welsh Marine areas. It is the first marine plan of its kind and sets out the Welsh government’s vision for clean, healthy and biologically diverse seas.

But Clare Reed from the Marine Conservation Society told BBC News that the plan needed to do more to show how it intends to protect wildlife.

"We are concerned that the current inclusions of strategic resource areas - mapped areas for growth of marine industry - may have significant negative consequences for marine wildlife and the habitats on which they depend,” she said.

RSPB Cymru director Katie Jo Luxton added that some of the policies set out in the plan undermine the Welsh government’s commitments to sustainable development. She said that support for a number of tidal lagoon energy schemes was the worst example.

The WWF welcomed the plan but said that it had concerns about the emphasis placed on "extracting maximum economic benefit from Welsh seas, without sufficiently assessing how that will affect the resilience of our marine ecosystems."

The Welsh Marine Plan area covers around 32,000 km² of sea and 2,120 km of coastline. It outlines strategic objectives and presents both general and sector-specific policies in areas such as coastal tourism, aquaculture and renewable energy.

“In Wales, tourism, transport, marine energy, fisheries, aquaculture, telecommunications, and aggregates industries amongst many others are vitally important for our maritime economy,” said Lesley Griffiths, cabinet secretary for energy, planning and rural affairs.

“The plan supports these industries and our coastal communities, by providing an enabling framework for the sustainable use of Wales’ marine resources.”

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Nominations for 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards now open

News Story 1
 People across the UK are being urged to nominate a standout animal champion for the 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards.

The awards recognise those who have worked tirelessly to improve animal welfare, campaigned on behalf of animals, or shown true bravery. Previous winners include comedian John Bishop, who was awarded Celebrity Animal Champion of the Year, and 11-year-old Lobby Cantwell, who raised more than £1,000 for the charity through mountain climbs and bike rides.

To submit a nomination or find out more about the awards visit the RSPCA website. Nominations will remain open until 4 pm on Friday, March 15.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New £1m project to investigate dairy cow lameness

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is leading a new £1 million research project to investigate the causes of lameness in dairy cows.

One in three dairy cows are affected by lameness every day in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £250 milion annually.

The project will take three years to complete and is due to finish by November 2021.

Professor Georgios Banos of SRUC commented: “In addition to pain and discomfort to the animal, lameness is associated with decreased milk production and inflated farm costs.

“Among cows raised in the same environment, some become lame while others do not. Understanding the reasons behind this will help us develop targeted preventive practices contributing to enhanced animal welfare and farm profitability.”