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£3m to prop up Pembrokeshire

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murcoA MULTI-MILLION pound fund to create and protect jobs in Pembrokeshire has been announced following the loss of 340 jobs at the Murco oil refi nery . Economy and Science Minister for Wales Edwina Hart said the government would: “Focus on doing all we can,” to maximise opportunities for those workers from the site. As well as a £3m fi ghting fund, Mrs Hart also said she would explore ‘additional ways’ to improve the A40, ‘including the potential for dualling’. The Minister told The Herald: “I will be introducing a special round of the Welsh Economic Growth Fund that will be open to support businesses in creating and safeguarding employment in Pembrokeshire.

That £3m will sit alongside a £500,000 new round of the SME Growth Fund that I am committing to, aimed at supporting smaller and micro-sized companies to maximise the employment and growth opportunities in the region. We will of course be exploring the use of European monies to meet our goals and be working with the UK Government to consider the use of the EU’s Globalisation Adjustment Fund.  The energy sector is integral to the economic fabric of the local area and is a specific priority of the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone.” Paul Davies, Assembly Member for Preseli Pembrokeshire, said: “I have campaigned for the dualling of the A40 from St Clears to Fishguard for years and welcome moves to explore its potential.

You can travel along continuous dual carriageway from eastern Europe to Ireland apart from this stretch through Pembrokeshire, which is a barrier to investment and makes it more difficult for West Wales firms to compete. Consideration of dualling and other potential upgrades to the A40 must be concluded as swiftly as possible so work can begin to protect jobs and attract new ones. At this difficult time for Murco workers and their families, we welcome support available for them and hope regeneration funding will be made available to support the jobs dependent on the oil refinery’s supply chain.”

William Graham AM, Shadow Minister for Business, said: “I welcome the Welsh and UK Governments working together to support Murco workers and their families at this worrying time. We welcome consideration of ways to support employment in the West Wales communities affected by the loss of Murco. Workers at Murco and in the supply chain are highly experienced and will need every possible help in identifying new sources of employment to enable them to use their skills to contribute to Welsh industry.” Marc Tierney, South Pembrokeshire Labour Assembly Candidate said: “The Welsh Government Economy Minister has shown her strong support for Murco workers and the local economy this week in the Senedd.

The new appointment of Mr Stan McIlvenny OBE (current Chief Executive and Company Secretary of Port of Waterford Company) as the Chair of Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone reemphasises the focus on securing economic prosperity for Haven communities and the wider west Wales area. The undertaking to look at improving the A40 is an important step forward and it is right that the Welsh Government looks more closely at this now. As part of that process engagement must take place with local communities and organisations representing business, tourism and other local interests.”

William Powell, Welsh Liberal Democrat Regional Assembly Member for Mid & West Wales has told The Herald that he welcomes the £3m fund. The announcement by Economy Minister, Edwina Hart, follows the loss of 340 jobs at the Murco oil refinery in Milford Haven. William Powell has also welcomed the appointment of Stan McIllvenny OBE as Chair of the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone, who has high level international experience in the ports sector. William Powell stated: “We need to do everything possible to develop the local economy to provide high quality jobs to replace those being lost at Murco. That is why I am pleased to hear the Economy Minister’s emphasis on improving transport links including the long overdue dualling of the A40 into the county.

I’ve also urged the Minister to explore innovative sources of funding for infrastructure investment, including the European Investment Bank. This could include both port development and the potential electrifi cation of rail services into West Wales.” He added: “It is also excellent news that the current Murco apprenticeships will be built into the training programme at Valero. This helps to lessen the danger of a skills drain out of the local economy, which we can ill afford, especially in the energy sector.

I commend Valero for their vision and commitment to both Pembrokeshire and the wider Welsh economy.” Joyce Watson AM said: “We should not lose sight of the fact that Pembrokeshire retains a strong energy sector. We have the LNG terminal, the Valero refi nery and Pembroke B – the largest gas-fi red power station in Europe. I would imagine the immediate priority for staff will be to discuss whether there are job opportunities at these alternative sites – because we don’t want to lose these skills in West Wales.” The collapse of the Murco deal will lead to the loss of hundreds of wellpaid local jobs. Mrs Watson stressed the importance of ‘open lines of communication’ with employees: “The last thing they need is to feel they’re being kept in the dark. I have also asked my offi cials to conduct further, urgent work, to explore additional ways to improve the A40, including the potential for duelling. This work will be complete within 6 months,” she said.

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Launch of Haverfordwest Castle Conservation Management Plan

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MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help shape the future of Haverfordwest Castle as a draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is launched.

One of Pembrokeshire’s most important historical assets, the Castle is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, which has produced the CMP.

The plan:

▪ sets out the significance of the castle and describes how the building will be protected with any new use, alteration, repair or management; 

▪ will help with the planning of maintenance, conservation and repair work and adaptation of the site to meet new or changing uses; 

▪ will help promote understanding of the site and look at improving public access and activities for local people and visitors; 

▪ will support proposals to conserve the castle and adaptations of the site in response to climate change; 

▪ and underpin funding applications to support improvements

An engagement exercise has been launched alongside the Plan, giving members of the public with an interest in the historic and/or environmental significance of the castle an opportunity to comment on the document and share their views.

To take part in the engagement exercise, please click on the following link: 

https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/regeneration-communities

The deadline for responses is Sunday, March 28, 2021.

 

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Natural Resources Wales approves Ireland-UK interconnector licence

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GREENLINK INTERCONNECTOR LIMITED says it welcomes the decision by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to approve its application for a Marine Licence for the Greenlink electricity interconnector project, which will link the power markets of Great Britain and Ireland.

An important project for Pembrokeshire, and the UK as a whole, NRW’s go-ahead is one of several consents required for the construction of the project and covers installation of the marine cable in UK waters.

The approval is a major milestone for Greenlink and joins the onshore planning consents granted unanimously in July last year by Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Greenlink’s proposed 190km subsea and underground electricity cable will run beneath the Irish Sea to connect National Grid’s Pembroke Power Station in Wales and EirGrid’s Great Island substation in County Wexford, Ireland. It will have a nominal capacity of 500 MW.

The Wales-Ireland link is just one of four interconnectors being installed

Nigel Beresford, CEO for Greenlink Interconnector Limited, said: “We are delighted by Natural Resources Wales’s decision to grant this licence. This marks a significant milestone for Greenlink and another important step towards project construction, which we expect to commence later this year.

“The Greenlink team has worked constructively with Natural Resources Wales and Welsh marine stakeholders to find workable solutions to the many technical and environmental challenges facing a large infrastructure project like this, and this has been reflected in the quality of the final proposal.

“The thorough environmental and technical assessments we have undertaken, supported by the practical and value-adding feedback we have received from key marine stakeholders, have ensured that we move forward confident that we are delivering a well-designed project with the interests of the Welsh marine habitat at its core.”

The subsea section of the cable will be approximately 160km in length and uses high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology. The preferred route and installation methods were chosen following the conclusion of subsea surveys and consultation with key stakeholders.

In Ireland, a Foreshore Licence application was submitted to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Foreshore Unit) in 2019 and the onshore planning application was submitted to An Bord Pleanála in December 2020.

Greenlink is one of Europe’s most important energy infrastructure projects and brings benefits on both sides of the Irish Sea for energy security, regional investment, jobs and the cost-effective integration of low carbon energy. The project will offer important local supply chain opportunities and plans are being drawn up for ‘meet-the-buyer’ events in the local area prior to construction.

Once fully consented, Greenlink is expected to have a three-year construction programme, with commissioning planned by the end of 2023.

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Appeal from Fire and Rescue Service to install working smoke alarms

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AT 01:17am this morning, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, crews from Milford Haven were called to a property fire in the Hakin area of Milford Haven.

The fire was confined to a pan on a stove in the kitchen area and extinguished by firefighters using two breathing apparatus, a hose reel jet and a thermal imaging camera.

Crews also ventilated the property and fitted smoke alarms within the property.

The Fire Service left the incident at 02:00am.

Watch Manager Alun Griffiths, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said “This fire was the result of cooking left unattended. It is so important to remove all pots and pans from a heat source when you are called away from the cooker.

“Thankfully, the occupiers of the property managed to exit the property before our firefighters arrived, but it could have ended very differently as there were no smoke alarms fitted in the property.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of installing working smoke alarms in your homes and testing them regularly. In the dreadful event of a fire, they can alert you to the danger sooner and could mean the difference between life and death.

“As a Fire and Rescue Service, we provide Home Fire Safety advice which is free of charge. We also offer Safe and Well Visits which you can arrange by phoning us on 0800 169 1234 or by visiting the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website.”

For further Home Fire Safety advice or to talk about the possibility of a Safe and Well Visit by Fire and Rescue Service personnel, please phone us on 0800 169 1234.​​​ Alternatively please complete an online Request a Safe and Well Visit​ form on the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website: https://www.mawwfire.gov.uk/eng/your-safety/in-your-home/

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