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Marine partners warmly welcome £60m deal for Pembrokeshire

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Photo credit: J Abbott

LAST week’s Swansea Bay City Deal announcement is welcomed by Pembroke Dock Marine’s partners, the Port of Milford Haven, Marine Energy Wales, ORE Catapult, and Wave Hub Limited, and is also supported by Pembrokeshire County Council. It secures £60m for Pembrokeshire with £28m from Swansea Bay City Deal and the remainder part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and private sector investment.

The funding will be used to establish a world-class marine energy and engineering centre of excellence for the design, test, build and deployment of marine energy devices, as well as having application across other blue and green industries. From its home on the Milford Haven Waterway, Pembroke Dock Marine will bring together access to energy source, a high-skill supply chain and a new array of services and spaces that will help developers drive down the cost of marine sourced energy through maximised innovation and operational efficiency.

The four partners will each deliver a different project element. The Port of Milford Haven will deliver modernised port facilities to support the industrial growth. ORE Catapult will deliver a Marine Energy and Engineering Centre of Excellence (MEECE) to drive research and innovation, Marine Energy Wales will create pre-consented Marine Energy Test Areas (META) within the Waterway for testing component and scale devices, and Wave Hub Ltd will deliver the Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone (PDZ) a consented and grid connected offshore test site.

Pembroke Dock Marine’s immediate focus will be to support the growth of the floating wind, wave and tidal technologies exploring opportunities off the Welsh coastline. With net zero targets in sight and the potential to drive a new export industry, Pembroke Dock Marine will add value to the UK economic and environmental goals. It will position the region to capture a significant share of this global market.

Jess Hooper, Marine Energy Programme Manager for Marine Energy Wales, said “META is well on its way to becoming Wales’ national test centre and will ultimately consist of a series of eight pre-consented, non-grid connected test areas in the Milford Haven Waterway. With Phase 1 test areas already providing a haven for marine energy, META enables marine renewable energy device developers to deploy, de-risk and develop from their components to their devices in a relatively sheltered yet still representative ocean environment. As part of the broader PDM project, META looks forward to contributing to the blue economy opportunities this exciting project brings to Pembrokeshire and the continued development of Pembrokeshire as a world class centre for marine energy.”

Dr Stephen Wyatt, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s Research & Innovation Director, said “This approval is extremely welcome, enabling us to go full steam ahead with the work of our Marine Energy Engineering Centre of Excellence and establish our longer term presence in the region. We are now formally engaging with our academic partners – the universities of Swansea, Cardiff, Bangor and Cardiff Metropolitan. The breadth and depth of their research activity perfectly complements the industrial sector expertise and market knowledge of ORE Catapult. Working with Welsh innovators and supply chain companies, MEECE will demonstrate and validate new products, technologies and processes in marine energy, providing ongoing innovation support to reduce costs and risks as these products mature towards commercialisation, something which, drawing on the Catapult’s existing
expertise and those of our partners, MEECE is well-placed to provide.”

Steve Jermy, Executive Chair of Wave Hub Ltd said “This is a significant milestone in the
Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone project, which will catalyse the establishment of a Welsh centre for low carbon, offshore, energy production. We are excited to be working with our partners to develop strategically enabling infrastructure to accelerate the development of Welsh offshore renewable energy, to support future energy generating technologies and generate green electricity from the sea. Moving forward, we are very much looking forward to welcoming new staff, based in Pembroke Dock, into the Wave Hub project development team.”

Andy Jones, Chief Executive at the Port of Milford Haven, said “This is a landmark decision for Pembrokeshire, made possible by the Swansea Bay City Region and the European Regional Development Fund. Alongside a significant investment by the Port, the Swansea Bay City Deal will support the modernisation of our port infrastructure to ensure developers can operate with maximum efficiency allowing them to drive down the cost of energy and help reach net zero targets.

We also recognise the value to other industries and the role this project will play in encouraging further collaborations and innovations within the region. We see this as a significant step forward and we look forward to working with developers as they explore the benefits of this new base. And, in turn, we welcome the positive impact this new and exciting industry will have on Pembrokeshire’s economy and employment opportunities.”

Cllr David Simpson, Leader of Pembrokeshire Council, said: “The impact of Covid-19 has further heightened the importance of Pembroke Dock Marine, so the project’s approval is very welcome news for Pembrokeshire’s residents and businesses. Worth £73.5 million a year, Pembroke Dock Marine will also make our economy more resilient in future by transforming Pembrokeshire and the City Region as a whole into a global example of best practice for zero carbon, marine energy innovation. This project will place Pembrokeshire and the City Region at the heart of a growing global industry, helping further raise the region’s profile as a place to do business and invest in.”

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Herald refreshes look after lockdown

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THIS WEEK, to mark our seventh anniversary, we’ve made some big changes to The Pembrokeshire Herald. Apart from it being an eighty-page bumper edition, that is.

We’d begun thinking about how we wanted The Herald to look before lockdown began and in the months since then, our design team kept plugging away at one key question:

How could we make reading The Herald a better experience for our readers?

It was more than the proverbial seven-year-itch. Our designers wanted to refresh our style to keep The Herald a relevant must-read weekly community newspaper. It’s been like waiting for the hairdresser to reopen for a much-needed haircut before you end up looking like the lead singer of a 1980s metal band.

After much head-scratching and soul-searching, our design team came up with a concept which we think will make The Pembrokeshire Herald more attractive to our readers.

We’ve changed our layout and masthead to reflect a new and dynamic style on the pages inside. The changes make the paper easier to read and allow us more scope to adapt our paper instead of relying on templates and inflexible layouts into which stories are placed willy-nilly ‘to fill the gap’.

We’ll still keep producing the biggest and best cross-section of Pembrokeshire news around and keep our commitment to providing Pembrokeshire’s readers with a local perspective on the news which affects our County.

Not all news which matters to Pembrokeshire happens in Pembrokeshire, so this week you’ll find analysis of the Chancellor’s summer statement with analysis of how it affects Wales and Pembrokeshire. You’ll also find out how a Pembrokeshire couple’s court battle with their landlord has changed the law in Wales about tenancies and evictions. And you can laugh at the story about how an online parody duped its unwary readers.
It’s the sort of news in the sort of depth you won’t find anywhere else.

We’ve kept our favourite columnists and are adding a few more into our mix to give you the widest choice of unique, challenging, and satirical commentary on what’s happening locally and in the wider world.

Our sections are now colour-coded to help you find the content which interests you most. Whether it’’s Politics, Farming, Entertainment, or Newyddion Cymraeg which tickle your fancy, each section has its own fresh look. In our Politics section this week, we have what one prominent Brexit supporter thinks about the UK’s negotiations with EU. In Entertainment, we have part one of a two-part piece about the future of our local arts sector.

Whatever you’re interested in, just look at the colour key and our page guide will lead you to what interests you most. As we begin to crawl collectively out of the lockdown, it’s time for a new start. A new look. And a new Herald. We hope you enjoy it. Once you’ve read it, let us know what you think by contacting editor@herald.email

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Education Minister announces ‘back to school’ plans for September

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DECISION backed with £29 million to recruit, recover and raise standards

The Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, has today confirmed that all pupils will be able to return to school in September.

“plan to open in September with 100% of pupils physically present on school sites, subject to a continuing, steady decline in the presence of COVID-19 in the community.”

The Minister announced that:

  • Schools will return to full capacity, with only limited social distancing within
    contact groups.
  • At full operations, a contact group should consist of around 30 children. Some direct or indirect mixing between children in different contact groups will also be unavoidable, such as on transport, receiving specialist teaching or due to staffing constraints.
  • Social distancing for adults should remain in line with regulations and guidance.
    Schools will be required to minimise the risk of transmission by taking other mitigating measures using the hierarchy of risk controls.
  • Every school should continue to be “Covid Protected” – having carried out risk assessments and mitigated them with a combination of controls such as hand and surface hygiene, one-way systems and so forth.
  • If early warning information shows a local incident or outbreak then nearby schools should implement appropriate restriction measures.
  • Each school will be provided with a supply of home testing kits.

The Minister confirmed that the autumn term will start on 1 st  September and schools that can accommodate all pupils from the start of the term should do so.

The Minister outlined plans just hours after confirming the Welsh Government would make £29m available to ‘recruit, recover and raise standards’ in Welsh schools in response to the impact still felt from the pandemic.

Commenting on the additional funding announced, the Minister added: “We will recruit, recover and continue to raise standards.”

It is thought that there will be around 800 newly qualified teachers in September and around 800 supply staff currently working within Wales.

“With this funding, we will recruit the equivalent of 600 extra teachers and 300 teaching assistants throughout the next school year.

“We will target extra support at Years 11, 12 and 13, as well as disadvantaged and vulnerable learners of all ages.

“The support package, provided at a school level, could include extra coaching support, personalised learning programmes and additional time and resources for exam year pupils.

“We must never lower our expectations for any of our young people, no matter their background.

“Together, we will continue to raise standards for all, reduce the attainment gap and ensure we have a system that is a source of pride and public confidence.”

Councillor Ian Roberts, WLGA Spokesperson for Education, said: “Since schools closed at the start of the crisis, many children and young people have felt anxious about loss of learning and not being able to see their friends.

The Minister’s plan today will enable schools to safely reopen classrooms from September. Local authorities will work closely with their schools to make sure that necessary arrangements are in place to abide by Welsh Government guidance.

“Our schools have been hit by severe disruption during this pandemic, and we welcome the £29m pledged by the Minister for targeted support to minimise the effects of the past few months on pupils.

We will continue to work together in partnership the safest and best possible learning experiences for our children and young people, especially in such challenging circumstances.”

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Latest ‘Life in Lockdown’ winner

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'Life in Lockdown' winner Jo Campbell

AN atmospheric black and white print of a padlocked gate and an inviting grassy area beyond is the latest winner in round five of the ‘Life in Lockdown’ photography competition.

The photograph was taken by Jo Campbell of Milford Haven who entitled it ‘Locked Out Lockdown’.

Submitting her portfolio, Jo observed: “These represent my lockdown and I hope people see theirs in these too.”

Jo was a runner-up in the last round.

Runner-up Albany Milton

The competition invites young people between the ages of 16 and 25 to submit pictures of life under the Covid-19 restrictions and is run by Pembrokeshire County Council’s Youth Outreach team.

The two runners-up were Albany Milton from Ludchurch – which showed her having a socially distanced catch-up with her gran – and Ethan Sky from Wiston who captured a peaceful countryside scene.

Ethan Sky also runner-up

Guest judge was youth worker, Fiona John.

For an application form contact either Chris Barrie at chris.barrie@pembrokeshire.gov.uk or phone 07717 345935 or Mel Lear at melissa.lear@pembrokeshire.gov.uk or 07818 012254.

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