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Council approves ‘ill-conceived’ rise

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Ill-conceived: A single fare rate has been agreed on

Ill-conceived: A single fare rate has been agreed on

THE COUNCIL’s Licensing Committee has agreed to adopt a single fare rate across the board for all taxis in the county. The decision was taken at Thursday’s Licensing Committee despite objections from a number of cab drivers with one objector describing the rise in fares as ‘illconceived’. Representatives of taxis firms from Haverfordwest, Tenby, Saundersfoot, Pembroke and Milford Haven attended the meeting. Following a complaint from a disabled person who had been charged with additional fares it was considered that the council was in breach of the equalities act.

The committee therefore made the decision to reduce the number of rates from eight to four and adopt a rate table to similar rate to other authorities in Wales. The Council’s Director of Development added that the change would help them comply with the Equality Act 2010. The tariff for 4-person vehicles will be charged at £4.10 for the first mile with an additional 20p for each 118 yards covered after. Tariffs for vehicles with five to eight passengers will also see a rise. For eight passengers in one car the tariff 1 charge currently stands at £3.50 but the new tariff will be double to £7.00. Tariff 2 for the same amount of passengers will rise from £4.60 for the first mile to £10.00, an increase of 117.39%.

Gary Slack, from Gary’s Taxis, spoke on behalf of objectors saying: “The ramifications will be spread wide across all areas. Contracts such as school runs will now be seen as overcharging. There is a very real chance that if costs aren’t met there is a real concern that some of these vehicles will be forced off the road. How can you charge £10 for one mile? This is an ill-conceived table of fares. This is ludicrous, we don’t want to charge that much. There will be no end of complaints. With these new proposals it would be cheaper to have two cars rather than one, the whole set up is ridiculous.

All this is to do with one complaint.” Cllr Wynne Evans said: “I am quite concerned about some of this; some of this is a little bit worrying.” Cllr Reg Owens added: “One incident was reported and this is very much an over-reaction to it. We wouldn’t have access throughout the county if it wasn’t for these people. It could be about, going round on an area basis educating taxi drivers and put everyone straight to make them more comfortable. It is a much needed service and I would urge common sense.” Cllr Peter Stock said: “I have great concerns about this.

This is an important issue and I want it to be a fair balance for the whole of Pembrokeshire.” The meeting then went into private session where members discussed the proposed charges in greater detail. After the meeting had reconvened, Cllr Jon Davies said: “We need to be as fair as we can. We should comply and after twelve months we will review this decision.” Cllr Daphne Bush added: “This is the safest route and we are trying to do things fairly at the moment.” Cllr Reg Owens then moved that they implement the proposals set forward by the taxi drivers and review it in twelve months’ time. That was supported by Cllr Stock but when it came to the vote no one else gave their support and the motion was dismissed.

Cllr Owens went on to say: “The DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) is enforced now. Everybody should adhere to it. We’ve got to comply with the DDA and a bit of education wouldn’t go amiss; a lot of people are ignorant of it.” Cllr Davies’ motion was then voted on with six supporting and three voting against. Speaking after the meeting, Gary Slack said they would hope to go to the Ombudsman about the decision and added that they would be seeking compensation from the council. The new tariffs will take effect from October 20.

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Launch of Haverfordwest Castle Conservation Management Plan

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MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help shape the future of Haverfordwest Castle as a draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is launched.

One of Pembrokeshire’s most important historical assets, the Castle is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, which has produced the CMP.

The plan:

▪ sets out the significance of the castle and describes how the building will be protected with any new use, alteration, repair or management; 

▪ will help with the planning of maintenance, conservation and repair work and adaptation of the site to meet new or changing uses; 

▪ will help promote understanding of the site and look at improving public access and activities for local people and visitors; 

▪ will support proposals to conserve the castle and adaptations of the site in response to climate change; 

▪ and underpin funding applications to support improvements

An engagement exercise has been launched alongside the Plan, giving members of the public with an interest in the historic and/or environmental significance of the castle an opportunity to comment on the document and share their views.

To take part in the engagement exercise, please click on the following link: 

https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/regeneration-communities

The deadline for responses is Sunday, March 28, 2021.

 

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Business

Natural Resources Wales approves Ireland-UK interconnector licence

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GREENLINK INTERCONNECTOR LIMITED says it welcomes the decision by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to approve its application for a Marine Licence for the Greenlink electricity interconnector project, which will link the power markets of Great Britain and Ireland.

An important project for Pembrokeshire, and the UK as a whole, NRW’s go-ahead is one of several consents required for the construction of the project and covers installation of the marine cable in UK waters.

The approval is a major milestone for Greenlink and joins the onshore planning consents granted unanimously in July last year by Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Greenlink’s proposed 190km subsea and underground electricity cable will run beneath the Irish Sea to connect National Grid’s Pembroke Power Station in Wales and EirGrid’s Great Island substation in County Wexford, Ireland. It will have a nominal capacity of 500 MW.

The Wales-Ireland link is just one of four interconnectors being installed

Nigel Beresford, CEO for Greenlink Interconnector Limited, said: “We are delighted by Natural Resources Wales’s decision to grant this licence. This marks a significant milestone for Greenlink and another important step towards project construction, which we expect to commence later this year.

“The Greenlink team has worked constructively with Natural Resources Wales and Welsh marine stakeholders to find workable solutions to the many technical and environmental challenges facing a large infrastructure project like this, and this has been reflected in the quality of the final proposal.

“The thorough environmental and technical assessments we have undertaken, supported by the practical and value-adding feedback we have received from key marine stakeholders, have ensured that we move forward confident that we are delivering a well-designed project with the interests of the Welsh marine habitat at its core.”

The subsea section of the cable will be approximately 160km in length and uses high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology. The preferred route and installation methods were chosen following the conclusion of subsea surveys and consultation with key stakeholders.

In Ireland, a Foreshore Licence application was submitted to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Foreshore Unit) in 2019 and the onshore planning application was submitted to An Bord Pleanála in December 2020.

Greenlink is one of Europe’s most important energy infrastructure projects and brings benefits on both sides of the Irish Sea for energy security, regional investment, jobs and the cost-effective integration of low carbon energy. The project will offer important local supply chain opportunities and plans are being drawn up for ‘meet-the-buyer’ events in the local area prior to construction.

Once fully consented, Greenlink is expected to have a three-year construction programme, with commissioning planned by the end of 2023.

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Appeal from Fire and Rescue Service to install working smoke alarms

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AT 01:17am this morning, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, crews from Milford Haven were called to a property fire in the Hakin area of Milford Haven.

The fire was confined to a pan on a stove in the kitchen area and extinguished by firefighters using two breathing apparatus, a hose reel jet and a thermal imaging camera.

Crews also ventilated the property and fitted smoke alarms within the property.

The Fire Service left the incident at 02:00am.

Watch Manager Alun Griffiths, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said “This fire was the result of cooking left unattended. It is so important to remove all pots and pans from a heat source when you are called away from the cooker.

“Thankfully, the occupiers of the property managed to exit the property before our firefighters arrived, but it could have ended very differently as there were no smoke alarms fitted in the property.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of installing working smoke alarms in your homes and testing them regularly. In the dreadful event of a fire, they can alert you to the danger sooner and could mean the difference between life and death.

“As a Fire and Rescue Service, we provide Home Fire Safety advice which is free of charge. We also offer Safe and Well Visits which you can arrange by phoning us on 0800 169 1234 or by visiting the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website.”

For further Home Fire Safety advice or to talk about the possibility of a Safe and Well Visit by Fire and Rescue Service personnel, please phone us on 0800 169 1234.​​​ Alternatively please complete an online Request a Safe and Well Visit​ form on the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website: https://www.mawwfire.gov.uk/eng/your-safety/in-your-home/

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