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Protesters block access to Valero Refinery and Pembroke Power Station

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WORKERS making their way to Pembroke Power Station and Valero oil refinery were unable to get to work on Thursday morning (Sept 19) due to the actions of climate change protesters from Extinction Rebellion

Before dawn a handful of protesters laid on the only road to the sites, and joined themselves together with a ‘new design’ of concrete encased handcuffs.

As dawn broke the police arrived – as hundreds of vehicles, mostly belonging to refinery and power station workers, got caught up in a long tail back reaching nearly all the way back to Pembroke.

With a large banner saying “No future in fossil fuels” by their side, the protesters argued with police and security officers.

Once officer asked: “Who is going to pay for this shut down today, these workers just want to do their jobs to put clothes on their children’s backs.”

A protester replied: “Can I just remind you that we are not here for the refinery staff, ask yourself, who is going to pay for a second planet.”

On Facebook activist April Griefsong said: “Nonviolent direct action inspires some awkward and difficult dialogue.

“We are not here to have arguments or disrupt local lives – and it is still necessary and needed to take a stand for life.”

Another protester, Dan, from Llandeilo, said: “We take this action today because the government, big business and general populace are not moving away from fossil fuels fast enough.

“The government declared a climate emergency and has so far not committed beyond words. Everyone needs to act now before it is too late.

“We know that the future of the planet is at stake if we do not take action to stop the flow of oil. Tomorrow is a general strike to protest about the climate crisis and shutting down this refinery is part of that.

“It is time to work together to slow the tumorous growth of consumption. For the sake of all future generations and all life forms, we are acting now.”

Dan added: “We are ordinary people in Wales taking a stand, lying down. There is no future in fossil fuels.”

A police spokesman said: “Dyfed-Powys Police received a report of a group of people blocking entrances to the Valero Refinery in Pembroke at around 5.45am on Thursday, September 19.

“It has been established the group are Extinction Rebellion protesters.

“The protest is currently peaceful but is causing significant disruption to local traffic at the Valero site. No arrests have been made.

“Police officers are at the scene and working with partner agencies to minimise disruption to communities and ensure the safety of everyone involved.

“The right of free speech and protest is the right of everyone, however, officers will take necessary action against those who deliberately choose to act outside the law.

“For those who have to make journeys in the area, police advise you to avoid the area if possible or use alternative routes.”

A refinery spokesman played down the protest saying: “Valero can confirm that a peaceful protest is taking place on public roads on the approach to the refinery.

“The plant continues to operate in a safe and reliable manner without impact.”

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Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet endorses STEP Fusion application

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL’S Cabinet have today endorsed proposals from Cllr Paul Miller (Cabinet Member for Economic Development) to further progress the nomination of a Pembrokeshire site to host a Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) fusion power station in the county.

Working with the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), the proposed site is adjacent to the existing energy facilities on the South Shore of the Haven waterway.

If approved, the facility will initially host research with the ultimate aim of developing this technology which could offer a virtually limitless source of clean electricity by copying the processes that power the sun.

Cllr Paul Miller, Cabinet Member for Economic Development said: “I am pleased my Cabinet colleagues endorsed this important programme of work. The Haven Waterway has provided livelihoods, underpinned by fossil fuels, for thousands of Pembrokeshire families, mine included, for more than 50 years. It’s my job to help ensure the waterway continues to provide high skilled, engineering, science and technology jobs for the next generation of this county – and so linked to our focus on climate change (and in addition to our existing multi-million pound commitments to supporting wind, wave and tidal clean power generation) my team have been exploring whether we can also support the development of clean, green fusion technology.

“It’s very early days in the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s site selection process but we’ll provide regular updates as things progress.”

•       STEP is an ambitious programme to design and build a prototype fusion power plant;
•       It is a UKAEA programme, currently with £222m funding from the UK Government to produce a concept design by 2024: https://step.ukaea.uk/

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Re-opening of indoor hospitality and attractions at Milford Waterfront

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RESTAURANTS and indoor visitor attractions in Milford Waterfront are welcoming the return of indoor services from today.

The re-opening of indoor dining allows all restaurants at Milford Waterfront to seat customers indoors. As well as all restaurants on the Waterfront now being able to offer this service, the brand-new Foam Domes overlooking the Milford Haven Waterway are able to open, with bookings being taken from the 19th May.

Indoor visitor attractions are also allowed to re-open. This includes the Waterfront Gallery, which is open today and Phoenix Bowl & Pirate Pete’s Adventure Play which is making preparations to open from Wednesday 19th May. Also, Milford Museum, which has had a new rendered exterior finish, is preparing to open for the end of May.

Lucy Wonnacott, Marketing Manager for Milford Waterfront commented: “We are delighted to see the re-opening of indoor hospitality and visitor attractions here at Milford Waterfront. Each business has their own safety and social distancing measures in place and we kindly ask that you respect and adhere to these for your own safety, and that of others. We hope you enjoy your visit to Milford Waterfront and stay safe!”

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Newly elected Member of the Senedd completes first week in the role

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FOLLOWING on from the Welsh Parliamentary elections, the newly elected member for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, Samuel Kurtz MS, has reflected on his first week in his new role.

The election saw Samuel receive 11,240 votes from across the constituency, the largest number of votes for any Welsh Conservative candidate in the constituency for a Senedd election. It was a closely fought campaign which was conducted respecting Covid-19 restrictions.

Commenting after a busy first week, Sam said:

“It has certainly been a whirlwind. From the moment that the results were announced last Friday my feet haven’t touched the ground.

“After speaking with a number of local and national media outlets, I managed to spend some time with loved ones before heading up to the Senedd early on Monday morning to be sworn in.

“As a Welsh speaker, I was delighted to swear my oath bilingually and will ensure that I continue to do so when speaking in the chamber.

“I’m in the process of recruiting my staff and getting both my Senedd and Constituency office set up to ensure that I can continue the good work of my predecessor, Angela Burns, in standing up for the interest of all my constituents whether they voted for me or not.

“On Wednesday, we elected the Llywydd and Deputy Llywydd as well as confirming Mark Drakeford as the First Minister. As one of 19 new members across the chamber and nine Welsh Conservatives, the coming weeks will be spent learning the ropes and procedures in Cardiff Bay. Over the course of the campaign, I have picked up a several issues and pieces of  casework from across the constituency and will be ensuring that the constituency work is always my priority.

“As we emerge from the Covid restrictions and society begins to open back up I am looking forward to getting to every corner of the constituency, meeting more businesses and individuals.

“I am planning in making use of both modern and traditional methods of connecting with constituents, from email newsletters, social media platforms and virtual surgeries to doorstep surgeries and face to face meetings, to ensure I provide a strong voice in Cardiff Bay for this beautiful part of the country.”

Samuel is contactable via email on Samuel.kurtz@senedd.wales

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