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Plaid call for devolution of Wales’ natural resources

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Green power: Parties want energy devolution

Green power: Parties want energy devolution

PLAID CYMRU have called for full devolution of Wales’ natural resources. The Party has called for responsibility over energy and the Crown Estate to be taken away from Westminster and devolved to the National Assembly so that the Welsh Government could use Wales’ resources in the interests of the people of Wales. 

Plaid Shadow Energy Minister, Llyr Gruffydd said: “Wales is an energy rich nation. We already generate almost twice as much electricity as we use while other parts of the UK depend on imports and yet we pay more in Wales than any other nation in the UK. It cannot be right that while wages are lower in Wales than the rest of the UK, we are forbidden from benefiting from our resources which could drastically lower the cost of living. “While the UK Government has agreed to allow the Scottish Government to have full control over its resources, Wales’ resources are still under the full control of the UK Government, for whom the people of Wales did not vote. This is not power for the sake of power.

Over a thousand people died in Wales last winter primarily as a result of high energy costs. We cannot continue to allow this to happen.” Plaid go on to say that they have committed to setting up a publiclyowned energy company, similar to EDF in France and Vattenfall in Sweden, if it forms the Welsh Government in 2016, which could use profits to subsidise bills for consumers in Wales.

Agreeing with Plaid Cymru’s stance, Pippa Bartolotti, Wales Green Party leader said of the issue: “It is essential that Wales has complete ownership of its vast renewable energy supplies. Energy security, the elimination of fuel poverty, and a future based on the sound economic footing renewables will give us, should be reasons enough for us to hold sovereignty over our own clean energy.

Scotland now produces more electricity from renewables than any other source of energy, and is on target to produce 100% of all electricity from renewables by 2020. It is an outrage that Wales cannot perform on the same footing. “Greens want to see everyone in Wales benefiting from this cheaper, cleaner form of energy, and we would want to see many more local and community energy schemes.

We would like to see people everywhere freed from the shackles of the big dirty energy producers and their relentless price hikes”. She went on to criticise the socalled, UK austerity programme, saying: “Austerity is hurting our most vulnerable people most, and it is unforgivable that high fuel costs continue to force so many into poverty. Yet it need not be this way. Renewable energy is cheaper than dirty fossil energy.

The Welsh Government should make the harvesting of our own energy for home security and export a top priority.” A spokesperson for the Welsh Government told The Herald: “We have consistently called for the further devolution of energy powers to Wales. We are also acutely aware of the impact rising energy costs are having on households and businesses in Wales and have provided support to help reduce the ever-increasing costs of energy consumption.”

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‘Reach out to friends and family’ says Council Leader

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THIS week’s update from Cllr David Simpson, Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council:

‘Hello everyone, I hope you are all keeping well and safe.

‘I’d like to highlight that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week.

‘I’m very aware that the last 15 months has had a huge impact on our lives and, in some cases, our wellbeing.

‘Mental Health can be a hidden issue and we all need to be aware that some people may need some extra support.

‘On a personal level the lockdown restrictions have reminded me of the importance to talk to people and to ensure people are supported.

‘Supporting your friends and family can be as simple as a phone call to say hello. A quick hello can ensure people are ok and managing and can give someone a huge uplift.

“Our communities have done a fantastic job of supporting each other so please, Team Pembrokeshire, continue these efforts.

‘I urge you all to pick up the phone and say hello to your friends and family, as we all need to play our role in everyone’s wellbeing – talking about issues does make a difference.

‘If you are suffering from Mental Health or general wellbeing issues please reach out, do not struggle on your own, your friends and family can help and make a difference.

‘Please also take the opportunity to also view the website at https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week which has much more information and support.

‘I now want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in last week’s elections.

‘Elections take a phenomenal amount of organisation at the best of times but even more so in a pandemic situation.

‘To all those who ensured the smooth running of the elections process, thank you.

‘Congratulations to all the successful candidates and I look forward to working with them to further improve the lives of Pembrokeshire people.

‘We have now had further updates from Welsh Government and the next phase of the unlocking road map has been unveiled.

‘From Monday, 17th May, indoor hospitality can re-open.

‘Up to six people from six different households will be able to meet indoors in pubs, cafes and restaurants.

‘We have so many fantastic hospitality venues in Pembrokeshire who we know will be giving their customers a big welcome after so long away.

‘The opening of indoor hospitality will be a major landmark in our emergence from the pandemic and towards recovery.

‘While out and about please remember social distancing rules are still in pace, consider your actions on others, remember your footprint has an impact on our communities, so please tread lightly.

‘When you go home, leave with a smile – enjoy your days out, enjoy seeing your families and most importantly enjoy our beautiful county and please support us in keeping Pembrokeshire special – play your part and please be responsible.

‘I want to wish you all a lovely weekend and I look forward to talking to you all again next week through my update.

‘Thank you everyone.’

You can keep up to date with all the Council’s press releases here: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/newsroom

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Plan to rescue rare butterfly from extinction in Pembrokeshire

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THE PEMBROKESHIRE Coast National Park Authority is stepping up efforts to save the marsh fritillary butterfly, which was once widespread in Wales but is now close to extinction in Pembrokeshire.

Funded by the Pembrokeshire Nature Partnership, the new landscape scale strategy aims to improve the fortunes of the rare species, which relies on networks of flower rich marshy grasslands across the landscape.

Much of this habitat, which is home to the favourite food of its larva – the devil’s bit scabious (succisa pratensis), has been lost due to drainage, inappropriate tree planting and the neglect of traditional management of grasslands through light grazing with heavy animals such as cattle.

National Park AuthorityBiodiversity Officer, Sarah Mellor said: “The marsh fritillary in Pembrokeshire is now in a very precarious position. We think it has already become extinct in a number of areas in its former range and it has not been seen on the St Davids Peninsula since 2013. The population around Keeston and Tiers Cross is also now thought to be extinct.

“We must find a way to make space for wildlife in our landscape to ensure that nature can thrive for future generations. It is quite sobering to think this species could disappear from Pembrokeshire in my lifetime. We have a responsibility not to let this happen on our watch.

“Even in those areas where it remains we have seen dramatic declines, for example around Mychanchlogddu it used to be recorded from 32 sites, but since 2015 it has only been seen at seven sites.”

The National Park Authority has already stepped up its action to rescue the rare butterfly by assisting landowners to bring sites into suitable management through grant aid and providing suitable grazing animals through the Pembrokeshire Grazing Network and the Conserving the Park Scheme.

The new strategy will include mobilising Park Authority staff and volunteers to undertake targeted surveys at sites across the county, as well as helping landowners to manage their land in a sensitive way to help ensure the future of this rare butterfly.

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Santander turns away customers due to nationwide computer glitch

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CUSTOMERS of Santander in Haverfordwest were being turned away this morning by branch staff saying that they were unable to make transactions due to a computer glitch. It is understood that branches use the same computer systems which run the bank’s other systems.

Problems arouse last night when computer updates which the bank was implementing did not go to plan.

Some Herald readers contacted the news room to speak of their surprise that they were not able to access their funds.

One reader, who had gone to the bank to withdraw funds to pay rent on his home was told that there was nothing that could be done.

Website and App transactions are also being affected at the high street bank, and card transactions are being declined

The head of money at consumer magazine Which?, Gareth Shaw, said many customers will be stressed, “with people reporting that they have been unable to make online payments or in some cases purchase food in their local supermarket”.

“Customers can incur fines, penalties and fees when they’re not able to access their finances, so the bank must offer compensation to all those who have been impacted in this way”.

Santander told customers they can “access cash from other banks’ ATMs, at the Post Office and can get cashback where that’s available”.

A service status page on its website said planned maintenance was due to be performed on the Santander mobile banking app overnight on Friday. It is not known whether this prompted Saturday’s problems.

On Twitter, a Santander spokesperson said: “We’re sorry that a technical problem is affecting our services, our teams are working hard to fix it.

“You can access cash from other banks’ ATMs. Please check back here for further updates.”

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