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Llanfyrnach: Community wind turbine was more than a decade in the making

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AFTER a long and bumpy journey, a community group from North Pembrokeshire are finally about to install a 700kW wind turbine on Trefawr Farm in Llanfyrnach.

Cwm Arian Renewable Energy – a community benefit society run by local residents and based in Hermon Community Resource Centre near Crymych – will be very relieved to see the community wind turbine installed by the beginning of October.

The project received planning permission from the Welsh Government in 2016 for the 61 meter high wind turbine, which is set to generate over 2,000 MWh every year – that’s enough electricity to power around 500 homes each year. Although the electricity grid technology doesn’t allow the wind turbine to power local homes directly, all the profits gained from selling the electricity will be paid into a community fund, which will be distributed to local community projects, businesses and individuals for activities which benefit local people and the environment.

“We’ve worked really hard for over a decade to make this project happen” said Cwm Arian director Holly Cross, “and it hasn’t been easy, but we’ve been determined to see it through because it’s just such a good idea to make money for the community from clean energy!”

The group has been supported with advice and development funding from the Welsh Government Energy Service, and in May this year were offered a low interest loan from Development Bank of Wales to enable them to buy and install the wind turbine. It is due to be delivered and installed on the 9th October, and after a few weeks of tests and checks, will start generating electricity (and money)!

Daniel Blackburn, who is also a director of Cwm Arian and part of the small team of locals working hard to realise the project, is hoping for a windy winter – “We’ve heard from the pioneers of Welsh community renewable projects like Transition Bro Gwaun and Awel Aman Tawe that their community wind turbines have generated quite a lot more income than they had expected, so we’re hoping it’ll be the same for our community”.

The project will be opening a community share offer in 2020, and is benefitting from the chairman Cris Tomos’ experience of setting up successful community share offers that have helped people take ownership of their assets across the county – “We’re looking forward to inviting local people to become members of Cwm Arian and invest in the renewable energy scheme. Even a small investment will earn them a better interest rate on their savings than if they keep their money in the bank, and will also help Cwm Arian pay back the bank loan sooner so the community fund will grow quicker – it’s a win-win situation for everyone!”.

With climate change and environmental problems in the news almost every day, Cwm Arian Renewable Energy is showing what a small group of determined individuals can do to find solutions for a greener future for their community.

To find out more about Cwm Arian Renewable Energy’s wind turbine project, and keep up to date about the community share offer and the other sustainability projects they are running in North Pembrokeshire, visit their Facebook page or their website.

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Conservatives hold on to Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire seat

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THE CONSERVATIVES have held on to their Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire seat despite Labour closing the gap.

Sam Kurtz will take over the seat from the outgoing Angela Burns who held a majority of 3,400 at the last election.

This time, the gap was just 936 to Labour’s Hassan Riaz who picked up 10,304 votes.

Plaid Cymru’s Cefin Campbell picked up 6,615 votes.

The turnout in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire was slightly up to 52.12% from 51.2% in 2016.

However, with a larger electorate thanks to votes for 16/17-year-olds, the number of votes cast went up by almost 3,000.

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Paul Davies re-elected as Conservatives hold Preseli Pembrokeshire

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PAUL DAVIES has been re-elected to represent the Preseli Pembrokeshire constituency.

He won with 12,295 votes, while there were 10,895 votes for Labour’s Jackie Jones.

Plaid Cymru candidate Cris Tomos gained just over 6,000 votes and there were also 1,239 for Reform UK candidate Alan Dennison.

There were over 3000 more votes cast in 2016, down largely in part to the fact that 16 and 17 year olds were able to vote in this election.

Both the Conservatives and Labour received more votes than before while the gap to Labour closed to just 1,400.

After being elected, Paul Davies said he would continue to ‘fight for Pembrokeshire’ and thanked those who had been involved in his campaign.

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Former Cardigan Castle director sentencing delayed

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THE SENTENCING of a former director of Cardigan Castle who has pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and theft totalling over £40,000 has been delayed.

Former director, Jac Davies, pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and theft was due to be sentenced on Wednesday (May 4) at Swansea Crown Court – but has now been delayed.

Davies who held the £40,000 a year post fraudulently obtained £33,098.75 and stole a further £7,932.97 from the award winning restoration project..

Davies held his position at Cardigan Castle from September 2017 to November 2019.

The defendant has pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining £4,143.20 from the castle on December 21, 2017.

Again Davies admitted to fraudulently obtaining £28,955.55 between February 4, 2019 and November 3, 2019.

Two further charges of theft were also admitted – one charge of  theft from the castle of £1,908.18 between May 2, 2018 and May 24, 2019 and a further charge of theft from Cardigan Castle Enterprises to the sum of £6,024.79.

Dyfed-Powys Police conducted a year long investigation after being contacted by the castle board of directors.

Financial discrepancies were identified during financial monitoring.

An internal investigation was launched and Davies left his position within the castle in October 2019 following a disciplinary process.

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