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£10.3m EU funding boost for Welsh Marine technology sector

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FINANCE SECRETARY Mark Drakeford has announced £10.3m of EU funding for the marine technology sector on a visit to Pembroke Dock.

The EU funding will support the design and testing of a fully-submerged membrane-style wave energy convertor capable of generating large amounts of electricity – paving the way for the developers, Bombora Wave Power Europe, to construct and commercialise the technology from its Pembrokeshire base.

The £15m project is expected to create up to 20 skilled jobs in South West Wales, supporting the local economy and creating opportunities for communities in Pembrokeshire.

This latest EU funding allocation follows substantial EU and Welsh Government investment in Wales’ marine energy industry, including demonstration zones in Pembrokeshire and Anglesey and support for technology developers based in Wales.

Professor Drakeford said: “We want Wales to be at the forefront of research and innovation in the marine energy field and I am delighted to announce more than £10m of EU funding to help develop technology that creates large amounts of renewable electricity.

“Developers from across the globe are showing an active interest in developing projects in Welsh waters, recognising Wales has one of the best marine energy resources and support structures to be found anywhere.

“It’s a very exciting time for marine energy in Wales and this initiative is another major step in building a thriving industry in Pembrokeshire and Wales”

Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said: “This investment is excellent news for the local economy and the wider marine technology industry. Clean energy will play an important role in the development of our prosperous, low carbon economy and help us deliver our aim of reducing emissions by at least 80% by 2050.”

Bombora Wave Power Europe’s Managing Director, Sam Leighton said: “Bombora is very grateful to secure the £10.3m EU support package for our exciting 1.5MW trial project. Since setting up our European headquarters in Pembrokeshire last year we have been working with local suppliers and have quickly grown our talented team to work on this exciting new project.”

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MP calls on Welsh Government to explain broadband delays

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STEPHEN CRABB has called on the Welsh Government to come clean over broadband rollout delays.

Minister Julie James AM, whose responsibilities include digital infrastructure and inclusion, has been urged to explain the reasons for delays to the rollout of superfast broadband to rural properties across Wales.

Last year, the Superfast Cymru scheme saw BT receive £425m in return for connecting the vast majority of premises in Wales to next-generation broadband.

When the contract ended, 90,000 mainly rural properties still had not been connected. Further details of another scheme to complete the work were due to be announced in July, but at the start of August, Julie James AM suddenly announced that ‘unforeseen issues’ were causing delays which could not be further discussed because of ‘commercial confidentiality’.

Stephen Crabb, MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, said: “It’s simply unacceptable for the Minister responsible to announce delays to the next stage of Broadband rollout but refuse to explain why. Access to reliable, fast broadband is of increasing importance to businesses, large and small, in Pembrokeshire and I have worked with many across the constituency to improve their broadband access.

“However, the digital divide continues to exist with rural communities in Pembrokeshire suffering again. It is an inescapable fact that delivery of broadband infrastructure is devolved to the Welsh Government and Julie James AM should now come forward and explain the reasons for these delays.”

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Air ambulance lands at ‘serious’ crash scene

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THE WALES AIR AMBULANCE has landed at the scene of a serious crash this morning (Sept 25) between the Sentry Cross and Honeyborough roundabouts on the A477.

Posts on Facebook from witnesses at the scene say a man is being treated by paramedics.

Police have said one car was involved in the incident.

In addition to the helicopter, Dyfed-Powys Police, the Welsh Ambulance Service and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service are at the scene.

The road is currently closed with diversions in place.

A police spokesperson said:  “Dyfed-Powys Police is at the scene of a serious RTC between the Sentry Cross and Honeyborough roundabouts, Pembrokeshire.

“The A477 stretch between those roundabouts is currently closed while emergency services deal with the incident. One car is involved; the driver has received serious injuries.

“No further information is available at this time.”

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Drone guide to limit wildlife disturbance

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THE PEMBROKESHIRE COAST NATIONAL PARK AUTHORITY has released new drone guidance for recreational users that seeks to limit the disturbance the aerial devices can cause to protected wildlife.

As well as reiterating general safety advice from the Civil Aviation Authority’s Drone Code, the guidance will help recreational users of drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to understand the impact their use could have on rare species and on other people’s enjoyment.

National Park Authority Biodiversity Officer, Sarah Mellor said: “While the Drone Code focuses on safety, we have produced this simple guide to help protect the array of wonderful wildlife that attracts many people to Pembrokeshire.

“Species such as seabirds and seals are particularly vulnerable when they are breeding or nurturing their young and even low levels of disturbance can impact on them and can lead to reductions in populations.

“The guidance also highlights how livestock can be easily startled by drones, including the sheep, cows and horses that graze the coastal slopes alongside the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

“We want everyone to enjoy their visit to Pembrokeshire, so being aware of the impact drones can have on other people and the area’s peace and tranquillity is also important.”

The guidance has been prepared in collaboration with partners including commercial drone operators, Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum, National Trust, Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, Natural Resources Wales and Pembrokeshire County Council.

The information will be updated as more rules and research findings are released. The document, which is available from the National Park Authority’s website, can also be printed as a reference guide.

You can download the guidance by visiting www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/filming.

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