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School to benefit from ‘Pupil Offer’

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Huw Lewis

Huw Lewis

A CONTROVERSIAL plan for a multi-million pound wind farm in Powys has been scrapped by a power company in a move welcomed by anti-turbine campaigners. Scottish Power are ditching proposals for a £64m wind farm at Dyfnant Forest, at Lake Vyrnwy, after working on the proposals for six years. Company chiefs said the reasons were the length of time for the planning process and a need to modernise the grid, for pulling the plug on the project to build 35 x 600ft wind turbines there. The company had said the scheme would have provided power for up to 65,000 homes. Campaigners had protested against the plans with concerns over the damage to tourism.

Simon Christian, UK Managing Director of Scottish Power, told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “Unfortunately, with anticipated lengthy planning processes and major grid modernisation required, we are not confident the project can be delivered in a time frame that would make it financially viable for us. “We are currently seeking to replace our turbines at Llandinam in Mid Wales, and we await a planning decision following a lengthy Public Inquiry. We have decided to focus our onshore wind efforts in Wales on this project.

“We have been an active wind power developer in Wales since 1992, and we hope that our association with renewable energy in the country will continue for many years to come.” Concerns had been raised by residents it could have harmed the horse-riding tourism there, where there was a network of trails. Scottish Power had said the development of 35 turbines of up to 185m – costing around £2m per turbine – would have a generating capacity of up to 120 megawatts (MW). Glyn Davies, Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire, has welcomed Scottish Power Renewables’ decision.

He said: “It is a wonderful Christmas present for the people who live near Lake Vyrnwy and who share my love for the wider Dyfnant Forest area. Scottish Power Renewables’ plans were in my opinion ecologically and environmentally disastrous for a beautiful part of mid-Wales.” The scrapping of the scheme throws Pembrokeshire’s potential as a mecca for green energy projects into sharp relief.

There has been a massive increase in the number of applications for wind turbine construction in Pembrokeshire in recent years. There has also been increasing public opposition to wind turbine developments which disfigure previously unspoiled rural vistas. While smaller developments abound, larger developments that have been occasionally mooted have not progressed very far.

A look at the number of proposals for wind turbine construction in Pembrokeshire reveals that until 2012 there were very few applications indeed. Between 2007 and the end of 2014 in excess of 450 developments have applied for planning consent from the local authority including wind turbine or wind farm provision, the vast majority of those made since the beginning of 2012.

Those developments have ranged from the controversial single turbine slated to provide energy to Prince’s Gate Water in Tavernspite, to the current wind farm proposal at Rhoscrowther that ties into extant infrastructure from the nearby refinery. The tension between the Council’s need to protect Pembrokeshire’s tourism offer and to obtain even short term jobs in an area of high unemployment is perhaps best demonstrated by reference to the conduct of one planning committee member from the local authority.

Herald readers will recall the tale of the proposed wind turbine development at Mathry that was opposed by everyone but Council planning officers. That planning committee member refused to inspect the location of a proposed development near Mathry, despite being transported to the site at public expense. His conduct suggests that some councillors take their planning duties lightly.

One member of the planning committee, Cllr Brian Hall, has even been alleged to have canvassed local support for a controversial scheme to burn oil waste on reclaimed land that needs to be raised above the level of an existing flood threat identified by Natural Resources Wales before construction can take place. Ambitious solar farm projects have received approval from the Council’s planning officers and Pembrokeshire’s importance to the Welsh Government’s green energy policy is highlighted by the Welsh Government’s endorsement of a plan to build a biomass power plant on the Blackbridge site.

Ambitious schemes to harness the power of the tide are also well underway. Invented by Pembrokeshire engineer Richard Ayre, the DeltaStream device is the first project to receive precautionary ‘deploy and monitor’ environmental consent in a designated Marine Special Area of Conservation’, having incorporated a number of design features to minimise any potential impact on the surrounding environment. An extensive suite of monitoring equipment will be installed on and around the device in Ramsey Sound. The £3.5m of public money announced to cushion the blow of the Murco takeover deal’s collapse, could be used to seed smaller enterprises focussed on supporting or developing the nascent green energy sector in our county.

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Crime Commissioner continues to secure funding for organisations that support victims of domestic and sexual violence

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THE POLICE and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys Police is again making the offer for organisations that support victims of domestic and sexual abuse to bid for additional funds.

Funding was made available last year, in light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on organisations supporting victims of domestic and sexual violence.

It was part of a £76 million package of support made available by the UK Government.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “Thanks to this additional funding, we can ensure that victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence in Dyfed-Powys can access specialist services for support, at a time when they are needed the most.

“Unfortunately, we have seen a rise in domestic violence during the pandemic and victims need help now more than ever and I am grateful for the work of all the service providers across the Force area that help these men, women and families who are most in need.

“I want to reassure anyone who is in an abusive situation or relationship that you do not need to suffer in silence, and I urge anyone to report abuse to the Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

“This funding is open both to providers whom I currently commission and those that I do not currently fund. However, unlike the extraordinary Covid-19 funding provided in 2020/21, organisations do not need to be a registered charity, a charitable incorporated organisation, or a social enterprise to be eligible for this funding. They must, however, provide support services which have the purpose of helping victims of sexual violence or domestic abuse cope with the impacts of crime and, as far as possible, recover from the harm they have experienced. We would also encourage applications from small specialist organisations that support groups with protected characteristics.

“If you wish to submit a request for this funding, further guidance is available on my website, and can be requested via the office e-mail address.”

Closing date for submissions is close of play on Friday, March 12, 2021.

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Covid alert level lowered for whole of UK

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THE COVID alert level for all four nations of the United Kingdom has been lowered to alert level 4.

The decision comes following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in light of the most recent data.

In recent weeks, the R-rate and the number of covid cases has been on the decline.

Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton said: “Following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in the light of the most recent data, the four UK Chief Medical Officers and NHS England National Medical Director agree that the UK alert level should move from level 5 to level 4 in all four nations.

“The health services across the four nations remain under significant pressure with a high number of patients in hospital, however thanks to the efforts of public we are now seeing numbers consistently declining, and the threat of the NHS and other health services being overwhelmed within 21 days has receded.

“We should be under no illusions – transmission rates, hospital pressures and deaths are still very high. In time, the vaccines will have a major impact and we encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they receive the offer. However for the time being it is really important that we all – vaccinated or not – remain vigilant and continue to follow the guidelines.

“We know how difficult the situation has been and remains to be for healthcare workers, we thank them for their immense effort, skill and professionalism throughout the pandemic.”

Under the Welsh Government’s Alert level 4 restrictions, schools and colleges, places of worship, community centres, playgrounds and public parks are among those that can be opened.

Theatres, entertainment venues, leisure facilities and outdoor visitors attractions are among the places that must remain close while the country is in Alert Level 4.

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Postmaster and politicians welcome Goodwick cash machine U-turn

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GOODWICK post office will now be keeping its ATM, after a U-turn by Post Office Ltd.

The machine was due to be removed within months with the post master, Jon Moverley saying that it would be a disaster for the village.

If the ATM had been removed, there would have been just two 24-hour ATMs serving the whole of Fishguard and Goodwick in the short term and three when the Co-op renovations are completed.

Both politicians and local residents then got behind the campaign to keep the ATM

Pembrokeshire politicians Paul Davies and Stephen Crabb have welcomed the news that Goodwick post office is now set to keep its ATM facility. Following representations made by both politicians to the Post Office, it’s now been confirmed that Goodwick Post Office will be included in the rollout of ATM machines across the post office network.

Mr Davies said “This is really welcome news. I’m pleased that the Post Office has listened to the representations made by the local community and decided to retain the ATM at Goodwick post office. The facility is so important for local people and businesses and it’s great that that’s been recognised and the Post Office has committed to keeping it.”

Following the Post Office’s decision to invest in Goodwick’s ATM rather than remove it, Stephen Crabb MP, who campaigned for the ATM to stay, commented: “It’s great news that the Post Office has overturned its own decision and will be keeping an ATM machine in Goodwick.

“Access to cash continues to be incredibly important for a number of people and businesses and I’m pleased to have played my part in working with John from the Post Office in Goodwick, Paul Davies MS and the wider community to highlight the ATMs importance to the area. It shows what can be achieved when we work together.”

The postmaster described the news as ‘brilliant’. Mr Moverley thanked supporters.

He said “Many thanks to all of you who have used the machine and complained to POL about the removal. We were also supported by our MP, MS and mayor, the National Federation of Sub-postmasters and our Chamber of Trade.

“Everyone did their bit, and it says an enormous amount about the strength of the community.

“We are delighted that locals and so many other people have come together to save this essential facility in the village.”

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