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National Assembly approval of Final Budget 2015-16

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jane_huttFINANCE and Government Business Minister Jane Hutt has welcomed the National Assembly’s approval of the Welsh Government’s ‘Priorities for Wales’ Final Budget 2015-16.

The Final Budget 2015-16 will safeguard key public services and boost the economy via investment in infrastructure despite year on year cuts to the Welsh Government Budget by the UK Government. It includes:

• £425m of extra funding over two years to the Welsh NHS in order to deliver high quality, sustainable health services. Together with the £70m revenue funding allocated to health as a result of the Autumn Statement, this means:

• Increased investment in our Welsh NHS by more than half a billion pounds over two years; • Protecting schools funding by 1% above changes to the Welsh budget overall, meaning an additional £106m will have been provided to schools over this Spending Review period;

• Supporting children, families and deprived communities, including protecting funding for Flying Start, doubling the number of children benefi tting to 36,000; • Continued investment in a range of employment programmes, including funding through Jobs Growth Wales. Jobs Growth Wales is exceeding its targets. The programme has now created almost 16,500 job opportunities with almost 13,500 young people fi lling these jobs.

• Signifi cant capital investment for infrastructure with over £100m to support the priorities in the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan, including £11m for immediate investment in 2014-15.

• A focus on preventive measures and early intervention – directing resources to measures that help avoid problems occurring in the fi rst place, interventions which will address the pressures on public services and achieving a better quality of life for current and future generations. Faced with reducing budgets the Welsh Government has also used innovative approaches to support vital infrastructure investment across Wales, including the recently announced £500m fund for the next stage of the 21st Century Schools Programme and £150m for fl ood and coastal risk management.

Welcoming the vote, Jane Hutt told The Herald:“Our Final Budget has been shaped by our Priorities for Wales and refl ects the increasingly tough decisions we have had to take due to reducing budgets. Despite a real terms reduction in our budget of about 9% over this Assembly term, we have done everything we can to mitigate the impact on public services and communities and to provide a ‘safety net’ for the most vulnerable and hardest hit and to boost investment in our infrastructure vital for a balanced economic recovery.

“We are confi dent that our spending plans will support us to deliver our priorities within the funding available and have published a responsible and sustainable budget, which is also underpinned by our principles of social justice and fairness. It supports key investment in health and young people, protecting services that people the length and breadth of Wales rely on.”

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Blue Gem Wind begins digital aerial surveys for 300MW Valorous floating wind project

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BLUE GEM WIND, the joint venture between TotalEnergies, one of the world’s largest energy companies, and Simply Blue Energy, has begun offshore digital aerial surveys for a proposed 300MW floating wind project.

APEM Ltd have been chosen by Blue Gem Wind to deliver 24 consecutive monthly bird and marine mammal surveys of the early-commercial scale Valorous site. The high resolution data obtained will support baseline environmental characterisation of the site and environmental impact assessments for key ecological receptors.

The survey programme commenced in March 2021 and four of the 24 monthly surveys have been completed
to date.

Sean Evans, Environmental Specialist at Blue Gem Wind said, “It is important for us to begin long-lead in items
such as bird and marine mammal surveys as early as possible. These surveys will provide crucial species specific
data on the number, spatial distribution and activity of individuals across the Valorous site. This enables us to
undertake robust environmental impact assessments ahead of our planned consent application submission in
2023.”

Matt Rohner, Senior Consultant at APEM, “APEM Ltd are delighted to be able to support Blue Gem Wind’s
proposed Valorous offshore wind farm with our best-in-class survey design approach. Imagery captured using
state-of-the-art cameras is of ultra-high (1.6cm) resolution, providing industry leading image quality that is
essential for species level identification.”

The Celtic Sea is poised to play a key role in Net Zero, the Committee on Climate Change’s 100GW offshore
wind target, and crucially, the UK Government’s target of 1 GW of floating wind by 2030. The ORE Catapult also
estimated that the first GW of floating wind in the Celtic Sea could potentially deliver over 3,000 jobs and
£682m in supply chain opportunities for Wales and Cornwall by 2030.

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Three arrests as suspected cocaine worth £12,000 seized in Milford Haven

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POLICE in Milford Haven have disrupted the supply of cocaine in the town in a major operation which saw people detained and a large quantity of drugs found.

Three people were arrested and suspected cocaine worth up to £12,200 was seized, police said.

Dyfed-Powys Police carried out a warrant at a house in Hubberston on the evening of Friday, June 11, “where 122g of what is believed to be cocaine was found.”

This is estimated to have a street value of between £9,760 and £12,200 depending on its purity.

The occupant of the address – a 59-year-old man – was not present at the time, however he was later arrested on suspicion of possessing class A drugs with intent to supply.

He has been released under investigation pending the result of forensic, digital and financial enquiries.

As enquiries progressed, officers made two further arrests over the weekend.

A 33-year-old man from Manchester, was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of cocaine and possession of an offensive weapon after police stopped the car he was driving.

A quantity of white powder was seized by Greater Manchester Police during a warrant at the address he gave officers in custody.

A 27-year-old woman from the Stockport area was also arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.

Both have been released on bail with the condition not to enter Pembrokeshire.

Detective Constable Phillip Jones said: “This was a significant drugs seizure, and we will continue our enquiries with the view to securing a swift outcome.

“I would like to thank all officers involved over the weekend for their dedication and diligence.”

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Major blaze destroys well known Tenby chip shop

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EMERGENCY services have sealed off part of Tenby following a major fire at a chip shop.

Fire fighters rushed to Park Road Fish & Chip Shop after a blaze broke out late on Tuesday morning (Jun 15).

Emergency services are still at the scene. Police are asking people to avoid the area.

Diversions for traffic are in place.

Four fire appliances responded to the blaze at the Tenby chip shop (Image G Davies Photography)
Fire fighters take off BA kits after the blaze was put out (Image G Davies Photography)

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