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‘Secret talks’ to bring nukes to Milford Haven



Trident: Could nuclear weapons be heading to Pembrokeshire

Trident: Could nuclear weapons be heading to Pembrokeshire

MILFORD HAVEN PORT AUTHORITY says that it has not yet been approached regarding the relocation of the British nuclear submarine base NMNB Clyde, after rumours resurfaced in the newspapers this week.

The national press is reporting that defence officials have secretly started examining plans to move Britain’s nuclear-armed submarines from Faslane in Scotland to Wales, but the Chief Executive of the port, Alec Don, told The Herald on Wednesday (Jan 28): “We have not yet been approached by any authority in relation to this.”

Stephen Crabb MP said: “I’ve been to Faslane and seen for myself the thousands of high quality jobs provided at the base. At a time when Pembrokeshire has recently lost a major employer, stories like this will sound appealing to some. But the UK Government and the Ministry of Defence are absolutely clear that there are no plans to move the Trident base from Scotland. Such an operation would cost billions of pounds and is not on the table.”

The Scottish Daily Mail has reported on its front page that it’s ‘well-placed source’ said political leaders in Wales were keen for the Ministry of Defence to ‘look at Welsh sites’, including Milford Haven.

The national press is reporting that there are many obstacles to trident coming to Milford Haven aside from the cost, including safety with the LNG terminals. If moving Trident to Milford Haven becomes a necessity, and if the UK Government were to offer Cardiff a good funding package as a sweetener, then it could just be possible, it is being reported.

Scottish Daily Mail on Jan 28

Scottish Daily Mail on Jan 28

Plaid Cymru has responded to reports that the Ministry of Defence is exploring options for relocating Trident to Wales.

A Plaid spokesperson told The Herald: “Plaid Cymru’s opposition to Trident is longstanding and unconditional. Only last week we held a Commons debate calling for Trident renewal to be scrapped and for the estimated £100bn cost of the system over its lifetime to be diverted to fund vital public services.

The spokesman added: “Talk of the Ministry of Defence making plans to relocate Trident to Wales comes as extremely worrying news. Our nation is not a dumping ground for weapons of mass destruction. We will be taking immediate action to secure clarity on the matter and hope that all parties in Wales will join us in doing the same.”

Frances Bryant, Green Party candidate for Preseli Pembrokeshire told us: “I do not believe the people of Pembrokeshire, and especially Milford Haven, would welcome this dangerous technology in their midst, any more than the people of London or Westminster would welcome it on the Thames.

She added: “As far as the Green Party is concerned we would relocate it to the scrap heap. It is ridiculously expensive,and of no real military value . We think that the 100 billion pounds  that this system is projected to cost in its lifetime would be better spent on education, the NHS and other vital social infrastructure.
She concluded: “Jobs in Milford Haven could instead be created and sustained by the fabrication of renewable energy systems which require a well trained and skilled workforce already in place in that location.”

Green Party spokesperson Pippa Bartolotti said: “This is a missile system which costs the people of Britain £5707 a minute, which could kill 320 million people and the £100billion pounds it costs could fund our A and E services for 40 Years. If this money was invested in our green and social infrastructure it would create 2,000,000 jobs.”

She added: “No responsible government will ever use this weapon of mass destruction, but we must be minded that the Trident system is dependent on software, and cyber warfare is the new front line. There is a real and frightening possibility that this software could be hacked by small terrorist cells. No words can describe the anguish of a nuclear strike. Greens call for the abandonment of all nuclear weapons worldwide, and the nuclear power plants which feed them the weapons grade material. The cold war is over, and enough destruction is taking place in terms of pollution and species extinction without the added threat of nuclear warfare. Greens move forward in a more hopeful setting, where empty threats are replaced with solid policies which work for the common good of humanity.”

Cllr Paul Miller said: “Clearly if there were proposals on the table for Trident to be based in Milford Haven there would have be a conversation to be had with people of Pembrokeshire. Our community is desperate for jobs but that would clearly need to be balanced against whatever potential proposal might or might not come forward.”

The Labour candidate for Preseli Pembrokeshire added: “The SNP lost the Independence referendum and aren’t in a position to dictate to the rest of the UK. I’m not sure if this proposal will come to light. If it does, I’ll be on the frontline getting the best for the people of Pembrokeshire.”

A spokesman for Pembrokeshire County Council said: “We declared the county a nuclear-free zone in 1998 and this policy still stands. This decision was taken following an announcement by the then owners of the Royal Naval Armament Depot at Trecwn – Omega Pacific Limited – to utilise the site as a nuclear waste storage facility.”

“This sparked great consternation in Pembrokeshire and it was in the light of this concern that the Authority adopted its nuclear-free policy.”

This week, Comedian Russell Brand has been invited to face shipyard workers after saying the Trident replacement programme they are working on should be scrapped. He posted a video online saying too much money was spent on defence and it should go to the NHS instead. But Barrow Labour MP John Woodcock said he would rather be protected by a nuclear deterrent than an “eccentric comedian”.



What is Trident?

THE UK Trident Programme deals with the attaining, operating and developing British nuclear weapons. Trident itself is a structure of four submarines armed with ballistic missiles, which delivers multiple thermonuclear warheads, more commonly known as hydrogen bombs. It is currently the British military forces’ most powerful and expensive weapon.

Although patrols began in 1994, the Trident programme was first initiated in July 1980, during a period of immense tension in the Cold War. It was regarded that there was a threat coming from the Soviet Union and its allies in the Warsaw Pact. The tridents were built with a twenty-five-year life expectancy, but are expected to continue into 2042 following an upgrade.

Since 1998, Trident is the only nuclear service in Britain and is currently situated at the Clyde Naval Base in Scotland. At least one submarine is always on patrol as a preventative measure of nuclear war.

Trident has been said to be the best way of ensuring peace and deterring an aggressor. Every British government since 1945 has seen the necessity of nuclear weapons. Yet, it is a very expensive programme and nuclear weapons are seen to be immoral. Britain could set an example through disarmament. Countries such as Spain, Australia, Canada and Germany do not have nuclear weapons and they still have global influence.



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Welsh Guards sergeant shot dead during Castlemartin live-fire training exercise



A BRITISH ARMY sergeant was killed on Thursday night (Mar 4) in a shooting accident at Castlemartin Training Area, The Herald can confirm.

The solider was training with live ammunition, ahead of a planned deployment to Iraq this summer.

Five police cars and an ambulance were seen screaming through Pembroke towards the incident at approximately 10pm towards the incident.

A coastguard helicopter, CG187, was scrambled to the scene, and hovered near Bosherston for a while, but was stood down and returned to base.

The Herald has contacted the MOD for a comment, who said: “It is with great sadness we can confirm the death of a soldier on the 4th of March.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this tragic time.

“The circumstances surrounding this death are being investigated and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”


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Pembrokeshire County Council bills Home Office for Penally camp costs



THE COUNCIL has sent an invoice for more than £80,000 to the Home Office.

It is to cover some of the costs that the local authority has incurred in connection with the Penally Asylum Seeker Centre, near Tenby.

Following a question on the issue from Cllr Jonathan Preston at Full Council the Council have confirmed that a bill has been sent.

The Member for Penally ward asked: “Please can the relevant Cabinet Member provide a breakdown of all costs to this authority which have been incurred in providing staff, services and other associated resources to Penally camp since its re-purpose by the Home Office last September?”

Council leader Cllr. David Simpson confirmed that on February 22 Pembrokeshire County Council submitted an invoice for £83, 858 which includes £65,564 in staff costs, £12,799 of specialist support and £5,495 for works such as barriers.

Pembrokeshire County Council is currently awaiting payment, the Authority confirmed.

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Hospitality sector welcomes Budget boost



IT HAS been so long it seems since we could stand at a bar and enjoy a well-earned pint, but now we are on the road back to normality, the Herald has spoken to some of those in the hospitality sector who have been asked to close. We wanted to know what the owners in businesses in these sectors locally thought of the budget and if Rishi Sunak had done enough to help them.

We first spoke to a Milford Haven restaurant business. Owner of Martha’s Vineyard in Milford Haven, Dan Mills said that the budget was not a silver bullet to fix all problems but said that the budget had gone a fair way to delivering what many in the Pembrokeshire hospitality sector have been calling for in recent weeks.

Dan Mills said: “The biggest risk many of us were facing was the cliff edge of a VAT increase, the end of the Furlough Scheme and a return to full business rates, I’m pleased that the Chancellor has recognised this and taken action on all fronts.

“With talk of the Welsh Government restricting us to outside trading for an initial period, the flexibility that the Furlough Scheme brings will be a huge help to ensure staff retain their jobs.

“I was also delighted to see that the Chancellor has provided funding to Wales to ensure that we benefit from a further 12 months of Business Rate Relief here in Pembrokeshire, that’s money that many of us can instead invest into restarting our businesses.

“I hope that the conversation that unfortunately began due to Covid between politicians and the Pembrokeshire hospitality and tourism sector can continue long beyond this crisis, it seems that through some open and honest feedback we are making real progress.

Award winning gastro-pub The Griffin Inn is well known throughout Wales and has received many national reviews. Their reputation puts them in a strong position once they are allowed to re-open. We spoke to Sian and Simon Vickers about the budget.

Simon Vickers, co-owner is also a director of Visit Pembrokeshire. He told The Herald: “I think the budget was very positive for the hospitality industry with the reduction in VAT being the biggest help.

“Overall I feel the government have supported the industry amazingly

In regard to tax on alcohol, Simon said: “Duty has been frozen It would have been nice to have seen a cut in it. Whether there’s a cut or not the breweries always increase their prices so in all honesty it never affects us.”

The ongoing financial support has been welcomed by industry group CAMRA, The Campaign or Real Ale, but the organisation said that the Chancellor had missed the opportunity to lower beer duty to save our pubs.

Their national chairman Nik Antona issued a statement to The Pembrokeshire Herald saying: “Freezing alcohol duty is obviously better than a rise. However, CAMRA had hoped to see the Chancellor announce a cut in duty on beer served on tap in pubs and social clubs to benefit consumers and help the great British pub recover and thrive in the difficult months and years ahead by being able to compete with supermarket alcohol.

“The Government’s commitment to review alcohol duties in the coming months is welcome. CAMRA will continue to call for a lower rate of duty for beer served in pubs – an option available to the Government now we have left the European Union.

“Reducing tax on beer served in pubs and social clubs would encourage responsible drinking in a supervised, community setting – as well as boosting jobs and local economies, helping consumers and benefiting pubs and licensees.”

On financial support announced, Nik commented: “Cutting VAT as pubs begin to reopen, and reducing it until April next year, means they can now start benefiting from that cut – but CAMRA believes this VAT cut should be extended to alcohol so that traditional locals that don’t serve food can benefit too.

“The extension of furlough until September and new grants of up to £18,000 are very welcome. However, pubs are unlikely to be able to fully reopen at pre-COVID trading levels due to outside space and then table service only indoors. The beer and pubs sector will need further support over the coming months, over and above new loans, to help them get back on their feet until there is a full and proper re-opening and they can trade at full capacity.

“Extending the business rates holiday until the end of June will help keep the wolves from the door for many English pubs, with the two-thirds reduction for the rest of the financial year a welcome step. However, given how tough it will be for many pubs we believe the 100% cut in business rates needs to be extended for a full 12 months as has already happened in Scotland.”

Picture: Simon Vickers, Griffin Inn, Dale

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