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Local MP backs call to stop oil and gas survey off west Wales coast

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OPPOSITION by Pembrokeshire Friends of the Earth to plans to explore for oil and gas in the seas off the West Wales coast has been backed by Stephen Crabb MP.

Energy company, Eni UK Ltd, has applied to the UK government to carry out a geological survey, which involves firing loud shock waves out of a submerged gun, between 1st June and 30th September.

Pembrokeshire Friends of the Earth has written to local MPs, Assembly Members and Government Ministers urging them to oppose the plan because of its harmful impact on marine wildlife, local tourism and fishing, and climate change.

Stephen Crabb MP informed the group that he would not support any activities that threatened the marine wildlife in Cardigan Bay and would pass his concerns onto the relevant government ministers.

The environmental group has also received an encouraging response from Eluned Morgan AM who points out that Welsh Government policy is to oppose oil exploration in Wales

Pembrokeshire Friends of the Earth campaigner, Gordon James, told The Herald: “The survey area would impact on Special Areas of Conservation that are rich in wildlife and meant to be protected.

“These areas are internationally renowned for their populations of shellfish, seabirds, dolphins, porpoises and whales, all of which could be harmed by seismic activity. As if this threat was not bad enough, the company intends to begin surveying during the breeding period of certain cetaceans, leading to a significantly increased risk of injury or death to these protected species.

“In addition to ecological damage, the proposal would also inevitably disrupt fishing and tourism, which rely on a healthy marine environment and are important for local businesses and employment.

“It is indefensible that the UK government should approve of an activity that aims to extract fossil fuels from one of Britain’s most valuable marine wildlife areas just when scientists are warning of the threats of global climate catastrophe and species extinction. It would make a complete mockery of the recent declaration of a climate emergency by both the Welsh Government and the House of Commons.

“In view of the global climate and biodiversity emergencies that we face, allowing this to go ahead would be comparable to throwing petrol on a fire that is already going out of control.”

Pembrokeshire Friends of the Earth is also organising a petition to the Minister of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy calling on him to refuse the application from Eni UK Ltd to survey for oil and gas off the West Wales coast.

PLAID CYMRU AGAINST

Meanwhile Elin Jones has called on the Welsh Government to urgently intervene.

Writing to the Welsh Government, Elin Jones has asked the Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Minister to urgently make representations to the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, who will either allow the project to go ahead, or not. Natural Resources Wales will also need to provide Eni with certain licences, which are devolved to Wales.

Elin Jones also met with campaigners from Extinction Rebellion this week who had raised concerns, and the issue has been raised in Westminster by Ceredigion MP, Ben Lake.

Elin Jones AM, said: “I’ve asked the Welsh Government minister to urgently intervene and make representation to the UK Government and reject the application for an exploration licence.

“Fossil fuel exploration in Cardigan Bay should not be allowed due to its likely impact on important wildlife and biodiversity, and also our priorities for energy Investment should now be into renewable forms of energy only.

“Plaid Cymru would want all decisions regarding our seas, inshore and offshore, to be devolved to the National Assembly so that there is greater accountability and decision making by a Government and Assembly that have declared a Climate Emergency.”

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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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