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Green project cancellation could be an ‘opportunity’

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Years of protests: Powys locals did not want windfarm

Years of protests: Powys locals did not want windfarm

A CONTROVERSIAL plan for a multi-million pound wind farm in Powys has been scrapped by a power company in a move welcomed by anti-turbine campaigners. Scottish Power are ditching proposals for a £64m wind farm at Dyfnant Forest, at Lake Vyrnwy, after working on the proposals for six years. Company chiefs said the reasons were the length of time for the planning process and a need to modernise the grid, for pulling the plug on the project to build 35 x 600ft wind turbines there.

The company had said the scheme would have provided power for up to 65,000 homes. Campaigners had protested against the plans with concerns over the damage to tourism. Simon Christian, UK Managing Director of Scottish Power, told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “Unfortunately, with anticipated lengthy planning processes and major grid modernisation required, we are not confident the project can be delivered in a time frame that would make it financially viable for us. “We are currently seeking to replace our turbines at Llandinam in Mid Wales, and we await a planning decision following a lengthy Public Inquiry.

We have decided to focus our onshore wind efforts in Wales on this project. “We have been an active wind power developer in Wales since 1992, and we hope that our association with renewable energy in the country will continue for many years to come.” Concerns had been raised by residents it could have harmed the horse-riding tourism there, where there was a network of trails. Scottish Power had said the development of 35 turbines of up to 185m – costing around £2m per turbine – would have a generating capacity of up to 120 megawatts (MW).

Glyn Davies, Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire, has welcomed Scottish Power Renewables’ decision. He said: “It is a wonderful Christmas present for the people who live near Lake Vyrnwy and who share my love for the wider Dyfnant Forest area. Scottish Power Renewables’ plans were in my opinion ecologically and environmentally disastrous for a beautiful part of mid-Wales.” The scrapping of the scheme throws Pembrokeshire’s potential as a mecca for green energy projects into sharp relief. There has been a massive increase in the number of applications for wind turbine construction in Pembrokeshire in recent years.

There has also been increasing public opposition to wind turbine developments which disfigure previously unspoiled rural vistas. While smaller developments abound, larger developments that have been occasionally mooted have not progressed very far. A look at the number of proposals for wind turbine construction in Pembrokeshire reveals that until 2012 there were very few applications indeed. Between 2007 and the end of 2014 in excess of 450 developments have applied for planning consent from the local authority including wind turbine or wind farm provision, the vast majority of those made since the beginning of 2012.

Those developments have ranged from the controversial single turbine slated to provide energy to Prince’s Gate Water in Tavernspite, to the current wind farm proposal at Rhoscrowther that ties into extant infrastructure from the nearby refinery. The tension between the Council’s need to protect Pembrokeshire’s tourism offer and to obtain even short term jobs in an area of high unemployment is perhaps best demonstrated by reference to the conduct of one planning committee member from the local authority.

Herald readers will recall the tale of the proposed wind turbine development at Mathry that was opposed by everyone but Council planning officers. That planning committee member refused to inspect the location of a proposed development near Mathry, despite being transported to the site at public expense. His conduct suggests that some councillors take their planning duties lightly.

One member of the planning committee, Cllr Brian Hall, has even been alleged to have canvassed local support for a controversial scheme to burn oil waste on reclaimed land that needs to be raised above the level of an existing flood threat identified by Natural Resources Wales before construction can take place. Ambitious solar farm projects have received approval from the Council’s planning officers and Pembrokeshire’s importance to the Welsh Government’s green energy policy is highlighted by the Welsh Government’s endorsement of a plan to build a biomass power plant on the Blackbridge site.

Ambitious schemes to harness the power of the tide are also well underway. Invented by Pembrokeshire engineer Richard Ayre, the DeltaStream device is the first project to receive precautionary ‘deploy and monitor’ environmental consent in a designated Marine Special Area of Conservation’, having incorporated a number of design features to minimise any potential impact on the surrounding environment. An extensive suite of monitoring equipment will be installed on and around the device in Ramsey Sound. The £3.5m of public money announced to cushion the blow of the Murco takeover deal’s collapse, could be used to seed smaller enterprises focussed on supporting or developing the nascent green energy sector in our county.

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Permit applications open for Tenby pedestrianisation scheme

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL is now accepting applications for vehicle access during this year’s Pedestrianisation of Tenby.

The scheme, which is due to start on Monday, July 5 and conclude on Friday, September 10, will again see the walled town divided into three ‘zones’, each having varying degrees of vehicle access.

Whilst all necessary plans are being put in place for it to start and finish on the above dates, the scheme will remain under constant review in light of Government guidance relating to Covid-19, and the Council will provide any updates as necessary.

Possession of an ‘access permit’ does not provide any exemption from Government restrictions, and any regulations relating to travel and the occupation of holiday accommodation or second homes must be observed at all times.

Following the success of last year, the permit application process will continue online, with paper application forms and guidance notes no longer being delivered to residents and businesses.

The application form and guidance notes are available from pembrokeshire.gov.uk/tenby-pedestrianisation

Residents and business within Tenby are encouraged to complete the application process as soon as possible, to ensure that there is sufficient time for the application to be processed.

Permits will be issued approximately 7-10 days prior to the start of the scheme.

For enquiries, e-mail tenby.pedestrian@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

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Join the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Panel as an independent member

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THE Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Panel is looking for two members to join them in their work to support and challenge the Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner.

The Panel is made of up of members nominated by Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys county councils along with at least two independent members.

Opportunities have now arisen for two independent members to join the Panel and carry out key statutory roles that will support the Commissioner exercise his role effectively.

Members will be expected to attend and take part in regular meetings and take part in decision making, creating reports and making recommendations to the Commissioner.

They will review the Commissioner’s annual draft Police and Crime Plan and annual draft budget, review and scrutinise his decisions and actions, and if necessary review the proposed appointment or removal of the Chief Constable and other senior police force appointments.

Applicants will need to demonstrate that they can take a balanced and objective approach in supporting the Panel and the Commissioner, make strategic and well-informed decisions, and interpret and question financial, statistical and performance related information.

They will also need to be able to act as a ‘critical friend’, challenging views or proposals for change constructively.

Applications close on May 31, and appointments to the Panel will be made until October 31, 2024. 

For further information, visit www.dppoliceandcrimepanel.wales

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Successful Fire Service and Health Board partnership to enhance COVID-19 vaccine roll out comes to end

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TUESDAY 11 May 2021 marked the end of a hugely successful partnership between Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and Hywel Dda University Health Board, initiated to enhance the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine to the communities of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

Since February, Community Safety Staff from Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have transported 125 passengers over 9450 miles to ensure they were able to receive their COVID-19 vaccination.

Chris Davies, Chief Fire Officer for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “Recognising the configuration of our Service, the areas we cover and indeed the people we employee, this seemed an ideal opportunity for us to widen our response to the pandemic and support our partners in safeguarding our communities.

“Whilst we already collaborate with the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust, this opportunity enabled us to expand our assistance further within the health arena. This partnership with Hywel Dda University Health Board was the first of its kind for Fire and Rescue Services in Wales and paved the way for a number of similar partnerships for us and the other Fire and Rescue Services in Wales.

“I am extremely proud of our staff who have participated in this collaboration and have made a huge difference to the lives of so many people. Their contribution has without doubt had a positive impact on our response to this global pandemic”.

Mydrian Harries, Corporate Head of Prevention and Protection for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, coordinated the Service’s response to this call for assistance.

“Our communities are at the heart of our core business. Knowing we were in a position to make an impact, we put in place a robust solution in record time, to not only ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff, but to also safeguard those who were eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination, but may have had barriers preventing them from attending their appointments.

“Using this partnership as template within which we could expand, we have since been able to offer our assistance to other Health Boards across the Service area. Indeed, a group of 10 vaccine heroes from our Service have joined Powys Teaching Health Board’s vaccination team, playing their part in distributing vaccines at mass vaccination sites in Newtown and Builth Wells. This is another fantastic example of how working together has been vital in our ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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