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Parking trial at Freshwater West to keep campers away

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YELLOW lines and overnight parking fines are just some of the measures to be introduced at Freshwater West this summer in a bid to deal with soaring visitor numbers at the Pembrokeshire beach.

In figures provided by the RNLI, the numbers of sunseekers and surfers heading west has increased year on year, with more than 32,000 visitors alone during the summer period in 2018.

Once a haven for skilled surfers, Freshwater West has become famous around the world as the set for blockbuster movies and is one of the prized coastal locations in Pembrokeshire that is relatively unspoilt.

To deal with increasing visitors, camp-fires in the dunes and traffic concerns due to the numbers of camper vans parking along the narrow access route, local organisations including the Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum, Pembrokeshire County Council, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and the National Trust have been consulting with the community over steps to make getting to and from the beach safer.

Marc Tierney, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire attended the consultation event in Castlemartin earlier this week, he said:

“From a tourism perspective, the success of Freshwater West is a real achievement for Pembrokeshire. But added visitor numbers without adequate infrastructure is causing difficulties for traffic and impacting on the local environment. Nearby residents attending the drop-in session raised concerns about camp-fires and camper vans parking overnight.

“In response, Pembrokeshire County Council and the National Trust will tighten up parking restrictions as a trial arrangement this summer, that means more double yellow lines along the road and other parking restrictions at the car parks with enforcement officers ready to hand out £100 fines to those caught flouting the new rules.”

“I was pleased to hear that there will be continued consultation with visitors over the summer months, it is important we balance the needs of local residents with visitors and to ensure that we think creatively about protecting our environment whilst also supporting our economy.”

The news comes as The National Trust needs to do more to protect a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) near Pendine from illegal campers as well.

Despite a locked barrier and a traffic ban, a number of caravans spent Easter weekend at Morfa Bychan.
“It was very sad to see a large number of people setting up camp at the cove, rubbish left behind, excrement in the bushes and a quad bike driven over the fragile ecosystem,” said Simon Hart MP.

Mr Hart has been working with a number of different organisations to try to solve the problem of fly camping and littering at the beauty spot.

The land is owned by the National Trust, but a lane down to the beach is classified by Carmarthenshire County Council as a Byway Open to All Traffic (BOAT) which Welsh Water uses daily to access a pumping station.
“I appreciate that the National Trust and Carmarthenshire County Council have taken some steps to try to prevent this from happening but it’s had very little effect so far,” added Mr Hart.
“There is a couple of National Trust Coastodians who have been litter picking and monitoring the site for months and have done a wonderful job, it must be heartbreaking for them to see the site abused like this.
“I appreciate that the National Trust does not have bottomless pockets but it owns this special site and has a duty of care to protect it.
“Perhaps they could look at installing a lot more boulders to make access difficult for campers. Or even motion sensitive cameras to capture those who are damaging their gates?”

Business

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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Milford Haven: Apocalyptic scenes as work truck catches fire in Meyler Crescent

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A MILFORD HAVEN businessman says that he is “absolutely gutted”, after he lost his tipper truck in a dramatic fire overnight.

Callum Hicks, of Meyler Crescent, was woken just after 1am on Monday morning (Mar 1) to see his vehicle in flames, with fuel running down the street on fire.

The apocalyptic scenes brought neighbours out of their homes and the fire brigade was quickly called and put out the blaze.

At this time the police and fire brigade are not suspecting foul play, but in a telephone call to a Herald reporter Callum Hicks said that he thought it was impossible that the vehicle would just spontaneously combust.

Work van: Callum Hicks with his truck, which he says was his “pride and joy”

Explaining that he thought his truck had been set on fire deliberately, he said: “There was CCTV of the fire, but its a football pitch length away, with a white van parked blocking the view of the camera. There was not a clear uninterrupted view.”

“I parked the truck at 2pm on Sunday afternoon so it was 11 hours before the fire started. The vehicle was therefore cold, and locked up.”

Firefighters at the scene

The Herald has asked two mechanics, one of whom has worked on Transit vans for decades. The first said: “It is very unlikely that a vehicle like this would catch fire on it’s own – its impossible – I am 99.9% sure that this was arson.”

The second, a specialist in vehicle electronics said: “There are so many fuses and fail safes its highly unlikely for diesel vans to burst into flames like this without some kind of catalyst.”

Burned out shell: The vehicle after the fire

“There have been issues regarding Transits in the past, even a product recall involving a fire risk from a towing module. But, the chances are a million to one of it catching fire after being parked up for almost twelve hours. It just doesn’t happen.”

The Herald asked Callum Hicks if he could think of anyone who may want to torch his truck. He said that he could not think of anyone who would do such a thing.

Commenting on the police handling of the matter, he said: “They told my missus, Rhianna Pearce, that they were not taking matters further because it was just an accident – its not!”

“I have been in trouble with the police before, and they know I am a bit of a boy, but I think this is the reason that the police are not looking into this properly.

“At the end of the day this was a large fire in a residential area, lives could have been in danger. I have lost thousands because I was insured third-party only and I do not have cover for fire.

Dyfed-Powys Police and Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have been asked for a comment.

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