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Politicians view operations at the UK’s largest energy port

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PARLIAMENTARY Under-Secretary of State for Wales Kevin Foster MP was joined by Stephen Crabb MP and Paul Davies AM recently as he visited the Port of Milford Haven to view operations at the UK’s largest energy Port.

The party were taken on a tour of the Waterway onboard a pilot vessel, hosted by the Port’s Chief Executive Andy Jones, Chairman Chris Martin and Harbourmaster Mike Ryan, where they were able to discuss the Port’s vital role as an important hub of regionally and nationally significant economic activity and employment.  Naturally this included topics such as Brexit preparedness and the potential opportunity, post-Brexit, for the Port of Milford Haven to be designated as a Freeport.

As supporters of Pembroke Dock Marine which aims to anchor wave, tidal and floating wind renewable energy developers in Pembrokeshire, the Minister, Stephen and Paul were also keen to hear how that project was progressing as part of the Swansea Bay City Deal.

Andy Jones, Chief Executive at the Port of Milford Haven, discussed the potential impact that 0% import tariffs on petrol will have on UK refineries with the Minister.  

“Not only is Valero a national asset,” said Andy, “in Pembrokeshire it plays a critical role in supporting an otherwise rural economy and is one of Pembrokeshire’s largest employers. Post Brexit, providing the necessary conditions for continued business investment of businesses like Valero in the face of global competition will be essential in order to secure the viability of the energy cluster here”.

“We welcomed the opportunity to share our thoughts on the idea of Milford Haven being designated as a Freeport and expanded on that idea to develop the concept of a Port Zone” continued Andy.  “Port Zones would include accelerated regulatory processes. Prioritising Port Zones would also help reduce investment risk and uncertainty and make the Port a more attractive proposition for potential global investors.”

 “The UK Government has a vision for Freeports to boost investment, drive innovation, attract high skill jobs, support free enterprise and drive growth in left-behind areas across the UK,” continued Andy “and while Freeports tend to be associated with general purpose manufacturing and logistics, the Port of Milford Haven’s internationally significant energy sector offers a unique opportunity.”

“As the UK’s leading energy port with its cluster of anchor businesses, excellent grid connectivity and world-class supply chain, the Port of Milford Haven would have a strong competitive advantage attracting relevant investment opportunities were it to be a Freeport.  A Freeport designation, aligned with the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone, would seek to support UK oil and gas refining and processing capacity as it competes for global foreign direct investment, restore fish processing capability and support tidal and wave energy development to name a few of the potential opportunities.”  

UK Government Minister for Wales Kevin Foster said: “It is fantastic to see the Port of Milford Haven developing plans for a world class centre for marine energy, attracting inward investment and creating more highly skilled jobs. I look forward to working closely with the Port and Welsh Government to develop this project as part of the Swansea Bay City Deal, generating transformational growth across the region.” 

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Union wants council investigation into Councillor Paul Dowson’s conduct

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PEMBROKESHIRE County Councillor Paul Dowson’s public statements criticising the Black Lives Matter movement should be formally investigated by the council, according to UNISON.

The trade union said Mr Dowson’s use of a phrase adopted by the racist Klu Klux Klan was deeply offensive when people around the world were united in protest at police brutality and the murder of George Floyd.

UNISON questioned whether the councillor is fit to hold public office.

Mr Dowson used his Facebook page to attack Labour councillor Josh Beynon’s suggestion Pembrokeshire County Hall could be lit up in support of Black Lives Matter’s commemoration of Mr Floyd’s death.

Cllr Dowson posted that “White lives matter” a White supremacist phrase which originated in 2015 as a racist response to protests against police brutality against Black-Americans in the USA. Councillor Beynon received an online torrent of racist and homophobic abuse.

Manuela Hughes, UNISON Pembrokeshire branch chair said: “The Black Lives Matter movement has shown everyone that racism is rife in society. Black people are more likely to have been subjected to police brutality, more likely to live in poverty and more likely to be unemployed as a result of systemic racism. Their contribution is often written out of the history of this country.

Black workers have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19 and in the NHS, care and transport sectors, Black people have paid with their lives for caring for the whole community.

“This is the climate in which Councillor Dowson made his comments. He has brought Pembrokeshire County Council into disrepute. It is important that everyone stands together against racism and the council must formally investigate his behaviour.”

Mr Dowson was criticised for his Facebook comments in April last year that former Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, should commit suicide.

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Advice for businesses re-opening

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AS LOCKDOWN restrictions are expected to ease, businesses and building owners are reminded to check the maintenance of their premises as they re-open.

People who manage or own buildings are being asked to follow the latest advice from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and the Health and Safety Executive (CIEH).

Particular attention should be paid to water systems not used during the lockdown to help minimise the risk from Legionella bacteria as they prepare to reopen following the lockdown period.

Legionnaires’ disease can be contracted by breathing in small droplets of water suspended in the air which contain Legionella bacteria. Symptoms include fever, a non-productive cough and pneumonia.

Prevention work includes flushing through cold water systems with fresh mains water as well as increasing the temperature of hot water systems to above 60°C if possible to achieve thermal disinfection of the hot water system.

This should be undertaken as part of a thorough risk assessment and may require other works to be done.

More information is also available from the Health and Safety Executive website.

The Food Standards Agency also has guidance for food businesses re-opening their operations. It includes information relating to food safety issues as well as COVID-19 expectations. The link is: https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/reopening-checklist-for-food-businesses-during-covid-19

To confirm your business has taken the necessary measures and is operating in line with the Government guidelines click on:

https://goodtogo.visitbritain.com/your-business-good-to-go-wales

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Man charged with two robberies a day apart

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A MAN has been charged with two attempt robberies in Pembroke Dock a day apart.

Jamie Rawlinson, of Colley Court in Monkton, is alleged to have committed the second offence just three hours after being released from police custody.

Dyfed-Powys Police arrested the 28-year-old on June 26 on suspicion of attempted robbery after receiving a report he had demanded a man give him money. It was reported that he held a sharp object against his chest. Searches were carried out, but no weapon was found.

Rawlinson was bailed with conditions for the offence, but less than three hours later, police were approached by a vulnerable man who said he had tried to rob him.

He was arrested and charged with two counts of attempted robbery. He has been remanded to appear at Swansea Crown Court on July 31.

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