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‘I am sympathetic to Lib Dems’ says Simon Hart

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Simon Hart MP

Simon Hart MP

CONTINUING our interview with Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire MP, this week we look forward to May’s General Election and Simon Hart’s ambitions for the next Parliament.

We asked Mr Hart whether the fixed term of this Parliament had led to its last year being wasted on campaigning for a General Election that everyone knows is coming at a fixed point in time.

He disagreed: “I wouldn’t go that far. Every Parliament comes to an end and those are, more or less, predictable, whether a government goes to the country after three or four years. In the final period before an election, very little legislation can get on the statute books because it falls when the election comes along. That period might seem pretty dreary, but that has always been the case. Our country needed certainty in May 2010 and the fixed term of this Parliament helped to provide that.”

The plight of Liberal Democrats, who are widely anticipated to face heavy losses in May, was something with which Simon Hart empathised: “I am probably more sympathetic than some of my colleagues would be. I have a good working relationship in the House with my LibDem colleagues, LibDems in Wales, and with – I think – LibDem voters in my constituency.

“We should remember that it would have been simple for the LibDems to sit back in 2010 and watch the Conservatives try to deal with the economic mess we were in. They could have watched a minority government wallow and be unable to achieve anything or tackle the economic problems it faced. They could have sat back and done nothing, but they did not. The Liberal Democrats made a big, unpopular decision to go into a coalition when they could have acted expediently in the own self-interest. But they did not. That decision has come at a price; I think, however, that history will judge the LibDems’ decision to go into a coalition far more kindly than current commentators.”

Apart from being a member of it, we then asked Mr Hart what his ambitions were for the next Parliament:

“I want to continue as an MP, of course. I love what I do. There are times when you have to fight many frustrations, days when you wonder ‘what’s the point?’, but what I do as an MP is deeply satisfying. That satisfaction comes in a number of ways: I like sticking up for the little guy against a big bureaucracy or the sort of big organisation that can dominate people’s lives; I enjoy the satisfaction of helping a constituent – even if it is in a small way – to sort out a problem.

“I look at my constituency: I enjoy visiting new business and I am delighted to see the children of friends find jobs that could last a lifetime. Everything I care about in life is within thirty minutes or so of where we are now sitting. In terms of a specific fight: I want to continue to fight the battle for local health care.”

He continued: “I am a small cog in the big wheel of an administration that has fought hard to make the UK a growing economy and I want the next Parliament to see the job through that the current government has started.”

About the General Election, Simon finally added: “Party apart, people in this day and age – when it comes to casting a vote – will, I think, look at the individuals who are their candidates as well as their party badges.”

The interview ended and Simon left the office, hurrying off to his next engagement. The purpose of the interview had been to look at his experiences as an MP representing his constituency. The extent and scope of his ambition seemed reassuringly modest and constituency-focused.

There are a few who would have liked him to be probed more fiercely about his links with the Countryside Alliance, about his voting record in this Parliament, about the UK government’s record on welfare. But that was not this interview’s goal. Mr Hart’s is the first of a number of interviews we want to have with General Election candidates before the starting whistle is blown and so-called ‘election-purdah’ begins.

Closer to the election, the questions will change to focus on the specific, as opposed to the general. It is at that time – when we put the same questions to all candidates on health, welfare and their ambitions for the next Parliament – that people can judge the candidates both on their policies and their personalities.

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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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