James Bond - an invitation from Ceredigion

This week's argument over the Welsh Government’s po-faced banning of the filming of the next James Bond film in the Senedd in Cardiff Bay brings to mind a similar debate in Ceredigion Council.

When the first series of Hinterland/Y Gwyll was being planned in 2012, the programme's producers asked if they could use Aberystwyth’s ‘Swyddfa’r Sir’, still known by many as the old Queens Hotel,  a prominent large building then owned by the Council next to the Promenade. The department responsible gave the then default answer of ‘No’, presumably stemming from a similar mindset to that of the Welsh Government officials. 

However this was just after the local government elections and Plaid Cymru’s Ellen ap Gwynn had become Council Leader only a week or two before. A long-time champion of the arts, on hearing about the refusal she quickly called a meeting and had the decision reversed. 

The result is that the building has now been seen around the world as the police station base for DCI Tom Mathias and his colleagues as they puzzle over the murderous secrets lurking in the brooding landscapes of North Ceredigion.

This provides the kind of advertising for the area and economic boost that no amount of money can buy, not to mention the big feel-good factor of having the cast and crew becoming a part of the town. In Ceredigion’s case this boost came about because of political leadership. With Plaid Cymru still leading the Council, I'm sure Ceredigion would be happy to come to a similar arrangement with James Bond...


Ceredigion commits to sustainable timber pledge

Last week I attended a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reception in the House of Commons. Ceredigion Council was invited because we're one of only three local authorities in Wales that have committed to the WWF Silver Pledge on timber procurement. The Pledge means that the Council agrees to help support the market in legally and sustainably sourced timber by only purchasing carefully selected products.

The reason some forms of non-sustainable wood (i.e. wood from sources that are running out and not being replaced) is used for many projects elsewhere is its ability to resists decay and attack from organisms, along with its all round strength compared to most other woods. This is especially relevant for the kinds of marine projects that Ceredigion, as a coastal authority, is involved in. 

However, with much of this wood coming from Guyana in the Northern Amazon area, the problem with this is obvious - it means the continued depletion of the Amazon rainforest that is vital for the carbon management of the planet.

Ceredigion therefore now sources its wood, including that used for coastal projects, from sources that are certified as sustainable by the WWF.

In the case of the most recent coastal defence work at Borth (below), the Council has gone a step further and recycled the old groynes that were removed at the start of the project.