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Green light for wave energy technology off the coast of Pembrokeshire

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BOMBORA has received the green light for both its on-shore and off-shore licence applications for the deployment and testing of their mWave™ wave energy technology off the coast of Pembrokeshire. This is the first Marine Licence to be granted for a wave energy device in Wales.
Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs said,
“I am pleased Bombora has received a marine licence to deploy and operate the first wave device in Welsh waters. This is a significant step forward for the industry and our journey towards a low carbon future for Wales. Renewable energy is an integral part of our vision for a more sustainable future. Following our declaration of a climate change emergency, it is more important than ever projects such as Bombora’s wave energy converter are realised.
“The First Minister and I have met with Natural Resources Wales to ensure we maximise opportunities to improve the planning process helping us to realise our potential to lead the way on marine energy.
“I hope we can learn from this project and how it interacts with the marine environment to further develop our understanding and the renewable industry in Wales for the benefit of all.”
Bombora is currently mid-way through its project to design, build, deploy, test and validate a 1.5MW mWave wave energy converter. In 2018 Bombora secured a £10.3 million European Regional Development Fund grant through the Welsh Government to support its Pembrokeshire mWave Demonstration Project.
Securing the required consents in a reasonable timeframe is a critical requirement for all marine energy projects.

Project Manager, Madeline Cowley commented, “Devices need to be tested in open ocean environments to validate their performance and offshore operations processes. We are very pleased with the thorough and timely approach adopted by Natural Resources Wales in processing our consent applications. This reflects Wales’ strong commitment to the marine energy sector and will attract other developers to the region”.

Rhian Jardine, Head of the Development Planning and Marine in Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said:
“NRW is committed to doing all we can to tackle the climate emergency including supporting the deployment of renewable energy projects while ensuring the sustainable management of the marine environment.
“We have been working with Bombora Wave Power Europe Limited on their Wave Energy Converter proposal in East Pickard Bay, Pembrokeshire.
The marine licence and EIA Consent decision has now been successfully granted for the project by NRW’s Permitting Service, determined within 5 months of formal submission.”
Collaborating closely with the “Marine Energy Test Area” (META) through Marine Energy Wales and the Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum has enabled Bombora to navigate and expedite the consents.
“This is another important milestone in Bombora’s plans to deploy their innovative low carbon wave energy technology. It is great to see continued progress with their project plans and we are delighted to have supported the company since the decision to set-up their European headquarters in Wales” said David Jones, Director of Marine Energy Wales.
Bombora is pressing ahead with plans for wave parks across Europe. The first of these is a 2MW project in Lanzarote, Spain.

The mWave deployment in Pembrokeshire will be carefully monitored to confirm the environmental footprint of the wave energy converter. This information will form a critical element of Bombora’s future wave park project consenting applications.

mWave is fully submerged under the sea and is non-disruptive to ocean users and marine life. These design elements, in addition to its innovative cell membrane technology, set mWave apart from other wave energy devices by delivering minimal visual and environmental impact.

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Haverfordwest: Pupils collected by parents after feeling unwell in school following Italy ski trip

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THREE PUPILS from Haverfordwest High School have been collected by parents after feeling unwell today (Feb 25). It is understood that all the pupils involved were on a half term skiing trip to Italy.

This has been confirmed by a Pembrokeshire County Council spokesperson.

No case of COVID-19 has been confirmed.

The Pembrokeshire pupils were in the resort of Fanano, the council said.

In a letter to all staff, head teacher Jane Harries said: “The ski trip which returned from Italy on the weekend did not travel to the two areas of lock-down in Italy affected by the corona-virus. Advice is for staff or pupils who have returned from Italy (not the quarantined areas of Lombardy and Veneto) should they develop symptoms of cough or fever or shortness of breath, they should immediately please follow this advice: stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would the flu, and call NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the country.
“They do not need to follow this advice if they have no symptoms.
“Staff who have any symptoms have been sent home and we are in the process of contacting all parents and pupils on the trip…”

A school statement released at 14:31 HRS on Tuesday reads: “We do have two pupils who were on family holidays in these areas and they have gone home.

“Three staff have been sent home as a precaution and we are in the process of contacting all parents of pupils on the trip. If they then feel that their son/daughter has any of the above symptoms they can come to collect them and follow the advice above.

“At the time of making this statement 15 parents have collected pupils although many of these are parents who are collecting pupils due to concern over messages on social media.  There are no confirmed cases of corona-virus at Haverfordwest High VC School.

“Over the border in England, one school has closed, and another has shut its sixth form today after students returned from half-term ski trips in Italy. The two schools, both in Cheshire, made the decision on Tuesday and comes as Italian authorities struggle to control an outbreak of COVID-19.

“A message to parents from Richard Pollock, the headteacher of Cransley School in Northwich, said the closure would remain in place for the rest of the week in order to “completely minimise” the risk of infection. Sky News reported that this comes after a number of students and staff at the school had visited Bormio – 350km from where the Pembrokeshire pupils were skiing – and had since been advised to self-isolate.

“Regardless of the current Public Health England advice (that the school should remain open to all other pupils) I have decided… to completely minimise possible spread of infection and close the school for the remainder of the week,” he wrote.

“During this time, the school will be able to conduct a deep clean and monitor the results of tests amongst those pupils who are currently showing flu-like symptoms.”

Meanwhile, Brine Leas Academy in Nantwich said on Twitter that is had decided to close its sixth form “due to staff shortages.”

 

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Folly Farm’s giving away 5,000 free places to primary school pupils

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IN CELEBRATION of the birth of a critically endangered Eastern black rhino in January, Folly Farm is offering primary school pupils in Wales the opportunity to visit for free to learn more about its conservation work.

The free school visits week will take place between Monday 01 June and Friday 05 June 2020 to coincide with World Environment Day on Friday 05 June. Folly Farm’s zoo keeping team will be running activities each day to highlight conservation work, breeding programmes and sustainable initiatives at the attraction to educate and inspire school children.

Tim Morphew, zoo curator at Folly Farm, said; “The birth of our critically endangered Eastern black rhino, the first rhino to be born in Wales, is such a significant event, not just for us here at Folly Farm but also for the breeding programme and the species. We wanted to use this amazing opportunity as a catalyst to highlight our conservation work and motivate the next generation to act.
“We’re delighted to be offering free school visits to primary schools across Wales for a week of organised activities designed to educate and provide school children with some key takeaways about how they can make better decisions for the environment.”

5,000 free places will be provided for the week, up to a maximum of 1,000 visits on each day. The successful schools will be chosen on a first come first served basis and notified by the 27 March 2020.

Primary schools in Wales need to apply for the free places by filling in an application form on Folly Farm’s website indicating their 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice of day and total number of pupils.

The application form can be found here: https://www.folly-farm.co.uk/news/free-school-visits/

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Stephen Crabb MP calls for an end to Cawdor closure plans  

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THE IMPORTANCE of Cawdor Barracks will be debated this week in Parliament thanks to Preseli MP Stephen Crabb.

In a Westminster Hall debate on Wednesday (Feb 26), the local MP will discuss the importance to Pembrokeshire of the army base at Brawdy before urging the Minister for Defence to reconsider its closure.

The facility was first opened as RAF Brawdy in 1944 and, over the years, has provided a base for all three branches of the armed forces. During the Cold War, the US Navy also resided at Brawdy, to monitor underwater listening devices in the Atlantic Ocean. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, large-scale changes to NATO armed forces resulted in both the US Navy and the RAF leaving Brawdy.

The British Army’s 14 Signal Regiment, specialists in Electronic Warfare, took up residence in 1995. It is the only British Army Regiment capable of conducting sustainable electronic warfare in support of national operations worldwide.

Intended as a temporary base for the Regiment, Brawdy has proved a popular location for the soldiers and their families with many putting down deep roots in the County.  With the Regiment used heavily on operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and many other overseas locations, Pembrokeshire people have turned out in their hundreds for local Homecoming parades. The Regiment has been awarded the Freedom of both St Davids and Haverfordwest.

With nearly 600 troops at Brawdy and over 120 children from forces families in Pembrokeshire’s schools, the barracks play an important role in the County. Economic analysis of the closure of Cawdor Barracks estimated the effect at £26-£30 million.

However, for more than 10 years there has been uncertainty over the future of Cawdor Barracks with plans for full closure put forward and then changed. The year 2024 is the current date for closure of the base.

In the lead up to the debate, Stephen Crabb said: “For over 75 years, Brawdy has played a hugely important role in our national security, and those who have been based there have become an important part of the Pembrokeshire community.

“The uncertainty surrounding its future, with its closure date being pushed back time and time again is unsettling for those soldiers and their families who have made Pembrokeshire their home.

“In securing this debate, I hope to highlight the importance of Cawdor Barracks to Pembrokeshire and I’ll be calling on the Government to end the uncertainty over the base, putting an end to the on-off closure plans that have caused so much confusion for the soldiers and for the local community.

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