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Rowlands criticises ‘negativity’ about council

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Ambitions for Johnston: Ken Rowlands.

Ambitions for Johnston: Ken Rowlands.

AN OUTSPOKEN email from Johnston Councillor Ken Rowlands to other County Councillors, in which he engaged in wide ranging criticism of perceived bias on the part of this newspaper and the negative’ approach of several councillors, was recently sent to The Herald. In a noisy member’s room at County Hall, our Assistant Editor Jon Coles met with Ken Rowlands.

Their conversation was wide-ranging and, in its course, Cllr Rowlands made a number of observations and trenchant criticisms both of media coverage of the scandals that have engulfed County Hall and his fellow councillors: “In local politics, I would say that national parties are redundant. Constituency parties have to be ‘on message’, and that message might have little to do with local communities. In 2008, I had been assured by the Labour Welsh Government that a new road, which was desperately needed, would be built. When it became clear that promise was to be broken I could not remain. My critics say I joined the Independent Group that I once criticised. That is wrong. When I joined the council, I had little time for the then executive group.

But that group changed, there was a real sense of working together across parties. The executive became much more inclusive and there was more camaraderie here. I was able to speak to people and get things done. What has happened since then, especially since 2012, is that things have been more confrontational. Nobody could really disagree that the executive should be held to account, but to be negative, negative, negative and not also say what is right is just wrong. The people have been wound up to feel that the Council is not representing them properly.

I honestly think that the whole picture is not being put before the people of Pembrokeshire. Some councillors are following a national political agenda and not serving Pembrokeshire. I am afraid that local issues are being used to further national political ends.” We put it to Cllr Rowlands that he had to accept that criticisms were justified, both in the light of events that had been brought to light and other issues that arose in the course of the last eighteen months: “I think what is tending to happen is that there has been a concerted effort among certain people who are rather negative and that those who have only the interests of Pembrokeshire and its people at heart have not responded to those criticisms as they should have done.

You are not arguing not only with another a member, but with another member and his blog followers and other members with their relationship to other media. Add all those together and it becomes bias. I am not making excuses, there were problems that had to be addressed. But if you look across Wales and the UK, there are other places where matters have been really unacceptable but they have not been criticised in the same way.

I am not saying there was not any reason for these criticisms, there have been some positive results. But there has no regard been given to the efforts of staff across Pembrokeshire to address these issues.” His departure from the Education brief in April has been the cause of a great deal of comment on social media and around County Hall. One version of events has Cllr Rowlands fuming at being removed from the Cabinet. His take on events is somewhat different: “When I left the Cabinet, we had been under a great deal of pressure during a period of upheaval in the County’s education and a corner had been turned.

The whole of our authority – officers, staff, and members – had worked closely together to change the situation. It had been a heavy period of time and when I came to the time I stood down, both Jamie and I felt I was unwell and we agreed I should take a back seat for a while. That does not mean that I will take a back seat forever!” We concluded by speaking about his own ward: “The Community Council and I are hoping to have meetings with Johnston Sports Association and other Village Stakeholders in the near future. The Community Council, with other organisations within the village, work closely together in order to enhance village amenities and we would be pleased to show the press that we have worked well together during this period of austerity. We have bucked the trend during difficult times.”

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Carbon capture option Pembroke Power Station

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RWE, who operates Pembroke Power Station, has signed a contract with Fluor – a global  engineering and construction firm that specialises in carbon capture projects.  The project will investigate the feasibility of retrofitting post-combustion capture of carbon at Pembroke Power Station. The study is expected to take six months, completing in early 2023.

This feasibility study is part of RWE’s ambitious decarbonisation plans centred around the Pembroke Net Zero Centre, which brings together knowledge and expertise from across RWE’s offshore wind, gas-fired generation and hydrogen businesses to develop green energy solutions for both Pembrokeshire and the South Wales region. This is the second project to come out of RWE’s Pembroke NetZero Centre (PNZC), which launched earlier this year.

This report will form part of the analysis required for RWE to participate in the UK Government’s carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) cluster sequencing process. This was a commitment to deploy CCUS in a minimum of two industrial clusters by the mid-2020s, and four by 2030 at the latest in support of the UK’s transition to net zero.

RWE is developing options for the decarbonisation of its 2.2 gigawatt gas-fired Power Station in Pembroke, among them post-combustion carbon capture and the introduction of hydrogen as a clean fuel. Pembroke’s South Wales location provides it with the unique advantages of being within an industrial hub and creating collaboration opportunities with partners from within the South Wales Industrial Cluster (SWIC) who together cover the full low carbon value chain, including – from the necessary ship transport and storage of CO2 to the supply of clean hydrogen.

Richard Little, Director of the Pembroke Net Zero Centre , said: “RWE is committed to decarbonising its business by 2040, a date that in the UK fits nicely alongside the Government’s ambition for a net zero power sector by 2035. Through our PNZC we will create a hub for our green energy projects, including the development of floating wind in the Celtic Sea, the development of a hydrogen electrolyser and decarbonisation of Pembroke Power station through a mixture of carbon capture and hydrogen fuel. We are already working with South Wales businesses to help them meet their decarbonisation targets, while supporting the Welsh Government to achieve its ambitions for Net Zero.”

Julian Marschewski from RWE Generation’s Strategic Development department , said: “Kicking off this technical feasibility study with Fluor is an important step towards creating tangible options for our lighthouse decarbonisation project at Pembroke. The experience gained will also give us a better understanding on how to decarbonise RWE’s wider fleet of gas-fired assets.”

RWE is at the forefront of green innovation and is aiming to invest £15 billion in the UK in green energy projects by 2030. The company has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the development of hydrogen projects across Europe, and at the same time creating skilled green jobs.

The feasibility study has been partly funded by South Wales Industrial Cluster; a consortium of Wales’s major industry, energy, infrastructure, law, academic and engineering organisations of which RWE is a key member. The cluster was successful in securing support from the public and private sector to develop a range of partner decarbonisation deployment projects for the region.

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Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre welcomes manager of Lucasfilm

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THE NEW Millennium Falcon exhibition at Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre welcomed a very special visitor recently, one whose major support and contributions made the unique project possible.

Lynwen Brennan, Executive Vice-President and General Manager of Lucasfilm Ltd – who was brought up in Pembrokeshire – had a first hand insight into the Pembroke Dock Falcon exhibition, which opened earlier this year.

Detailing the construction of the first complete version of the iconic Millennium Falcon for use in the Oscar winning ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, the exhibition has been an amazing success over the summer, attracting thousands of Star Wars fans to West Wales.

The spaceship was constructed in a Pembroke Dock aircraft hangar over 40 years ago.

Brennan was welcomed by Trust Chairman Graham Clarkson and Exhibition Project Manager Mark Williams along with Trustees Rik Saldanha, Gareth Mills and Martin Cavaney.

When viewing the many images on display, most of which had been kindly supplied by the Lucasfilm Archives, Brennan paid special attention to the photos that had been taken by some of the workers at the time of the construction. 

She remarked: “This is such a wonderful personal story to the people of Pembroke Dock; I am so

happy that this has finally been made possible.”

She also praised the scale model of the Falcon that takes centre stage in the exhibition, demonstrating the stages of construction, “This is a very clever way to show exactly how the Falcon was put together,” she added.

Brennan was given a special preview of the centre’s plans to develop and expand the exhibition by integrating both virtual and augmented reality experiences. Her son particularly enjoyed playing with the virtual Falcon model.

Project Manager Mark Williams commented: “This visit means so much to us all at the centre. After all of the hard work put in by everybody, it was a pleasure to show the results to the person who effectively made the whole project possible. We look forward to when we can welcome Lynwen and her family back to her home county again.”

Remember to vote for the Pembroke Dock Falcon exhibit in the National Lottery Awards Project of the Year competition.

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Education

MHS Big Picture on tour

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DID you know that being creative can reduce stress, anxiety and help reduce symptoms of depression? 

Milford Haven School Art Club does, and that is why they want to invite our community to join them in creating a Big Picture together for World Mental Health Day.

Charities and organisations such as 2Wish, Samaritans and Liss Listens will be teaming up with Milford Haven School to help paint our Big Picture. 

Our Big Picture will go on to be donated to the community and be displayed in Milford Haven to spread joy and positivity.

Join them on Friday, October 14 between 10am and 2pm at Pill Social Centre. No experience is needed, everyone is welcome and all equipment and refreshments will be provided on the day.

They can’t wait to see you all

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