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‘Time to focus on employment’ says minister

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edwina hartEDWINA HART MBE made a statement on behalf of the Welsh Government regarding Murco Refinery: The minister said: “I am today, as agreed, updating Members on Murco Refi nery following my statement last week. This is a diffi cult time for the employees of the company, their families and the wider community in Pembrokeshire. We now need to focus on doing all we can maximise the opportunities for employment at the site, and ensure the employment and skills are retained for the future prosperity of the region.

Yesterday I chaired a meeting of the Murco task force. We discussed a range of issues, including support for the Murco employees and contractors, business support, the role of Enterprise Zones, and issues with connectivity and transport. In terms of support for the employees, we will of course provide support for those facing redundancy through our React programmes. I have been asked by the task force to consider the use of the ProAct scheme which has been used to great effect in the past, and I have instructed offi cials to consider the proposal and provide me with further advice.

We will also be working with the CBI and other business leaders to on opportunities across the sector to bring employers together with prospective employees. We will therefore be holding a series of events, starting with a “Jobs fayre” event on December 10 at the Bridge Innovation Centre. We have taken immediate measures to ensure that the Apprentices on site can continue their learning pathway.

I am very grateful to Valero for agreeing to offer placements to all of the Murco apprentices onto their excellent apprenticeship programme so they can maintain their studies. The task force will also be taking forward a work programme that maximises the skills and training activities on site to support both the employers and the wider contractor workforce with opportunities to up-skill so that that they are able to transfer their skills and enter new sectors. I will be working the Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology to take this work forward. We will also continue to support business growth in the area. Business Wales will offer an enhanced service from their Pembroke Dock offi ces and will be providing an additional presence on the high-street to ensure that we provide advice and support to local businesses to explore new markets and for those wishing to set up in business.

I will be introducing a special round of the Welsh Economic Growth Fund that will be open to support businesses in creating and safeguarding employment in Pembrokeshire. That £3 million fund will sit alongside a £500,000 new round of the SME Growth Fund that I am committing to, aimed at supporting smaller and microsized companies to maximise the employment and growth opportunities in the region. We will of course be exploring the use of European monies to meet our goals and be working with the UK Government to consider the use of the EU’s Globalisation Adjustment Fund. The energy sector is integral to the economic fabric of the local area and is a specifi c priority of the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone.

Today I am announcing the appointment of Mr Stan McIlvenny OBE as the new Chair of Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone. Mr McIlvenny is the current Chief Executive and Company Secretary of Port of Waterford Company, and brings a wealth of experience and expertise in the port sector across shipping, logistics, warehousing, rail and fl eet transport. Mr McIlvenny will take up this position with immediate effect and will Chair tomorrow’s meeting of the Enterprise Zone Board.I know Mr McIIvenny will be keen to give early consideration to the boundaries of the Zone and the opportunities it can deliver in light of the Murco announcement.

I am also keen that we look at how we enhance connectivity within the area to promote business opportunities. I have specifi cally accelerated the Superfast Cymru project to bring early benefi ts to the Haven Enterprise Zone. Good progress is already being made with nearly 23,000 premises in the area already able to receive superfast broadband services. We are also fi nalising the details of how we can provide additional telecommunications support to businesses in Enterprise Zones, and the Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology will be making an announcement on this later in the month. In terms of transport links, I have been asked by the task force to consider the issue of the duallling of the A40.

I have instructed my offi cials to accelerate, to the full extent possible, the programme for delivering improvements at Llandewi Velfrey. I have also asked my offi cials to conduct further, urgent work, to explore additional ways to improve the A40, including the potential for dualling. This work will be complete within 6 months. As a government we are determined to do everything in our power to support the workforce and the local economy of Pembrokeshire and will explore every avenue with the company and partners to maximise the economic opportunities for the region. As part of this, I have decided to enhance the Memberships of the task force to bring in additional expertise.

I have asked Roger Evans MBE to Chair the task force. Roger is Managing Director and Plant Director at Schaeffl er and is a member of the St Athan and Cardiff Airport Enterprise Zone Board. I am grateful to Roger for agreeing to take up this challenge. I know his years of experience in the sector and personal commitment will provide to drive this agenda forward at pace. I have also asked Emma Watkins, Director of CBI Wales to join the group. Emma’s background and expertise will help us link in with anchor companies across Wales. Roger and Emma will work alongside the existing membership of the task force, which includes representatives from Murphy Oil Corporation, Murco, Pembrokeshire County Council, Pembrokeshire College, Unite the Union, and the Welsh and UK Governments.

I am grateful for their work to date. The task force will focus on delivery: delivery of a package of support and assistance for those affected and delivery of interventions to support the economic growth of the area. We will continue to provide advice and support for the workforce through our delivery partners and I have asked the task force to extend that support mechanism to the contractor network. We must ensure that all of those affected have the right information and skills to make the diffi cult choices ahead of them. The wider Murco workforce is highly skilled and has an excellent reputation and we will work with businesses partners in Wales and further to identify new employment opportunities for those affected by redundancy.”

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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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