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Milford Dock lock gates opened

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Alec Don and Stephen Crabb officially open the new lock gates

Alec Don and Stephen Crabb officially open the new lock gates

THE new Milford Dock lock gates were declared open at a ceremony this morning (Friday, June 26).

Many representatives from the Port Authority, Pembrokeshire County Council, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and Milford Haven Town Council were also in attendance.

The Secretary of State for Wales, Stephen Crabb, also attended and along with Alec Don, to officially open the new gates.

Milford Haven Port Authority Chief Executive, Alec Don said: “It’s a real pleasure to welcome you here for the opening of the lock gates. This project has involved many people, engineers, our own engineering department, our former engineering director Andrew Brown, Atkins who played a very important role in steering the completion.

“This is an important day for us as Milford Haven, these lock gates are a very substantial investment by the port to basically set up the Milford dock area to be the hub for marine leisure in the sheltered waterway in the heart of Pembrokeshire.

“The project was part funded through the Visit Wales coastal tourism project and we are hugely grateful for their support to help make this project possible.

“Overall we have spent in excess of £6-7million developing these lock gates and it really sets up the port for the next 100 years to be easy to access and a great location to come to and spend time in your boats.

“The Marina is the only 4-gold anchor accredited marina in Wales, we are hoping for five gold anchors and that will be a part of the masterplan project that we are pursuing and so the lock gates really represents, only the first part of what will be a continuous investment into Milford Dock.

“Whether you are talking about fishing, yachting, whether you are simply talking about people coming to Milford Dock as a great place to work, eat, relax and shop, that is the vision for the future that we have for Milford Dock.”

The Secretary of State for Wales, Stephen Crabb added: “An awful lot of people have been working incredibly hard over a number of years to make this big, really significant infrastructure project happen for Milford Haven.

“It is of significance, not only for the port and for the town but for the whole of Pembrokeshire when you think that Pembrokeshire is a leading tourist destination for the whole of Wales. Anything that adds to the quality of the offer that Pembrokeshire makes is the quality of infrastructure here, particularly for tourists and leisure users in the Haven, then that has to be a really good thing.

“It is a challenging project at times but we need that kind of investment in Pembrokeshire and this is the biggest investment in the port for more than 50 years.

“I really commend Alec and his team at the Port Authority for their strategic vision. The port is changing and new investment is needed to meet the challenges of the future. The master plan, that this investment represents part of, it has to be a good thing for the long term future of Pembrokeshire.”

The Mayor of Milford Haven, Cllr Stephen Joseph said: “It is a vote of confidence in some ways, that there is a future for Milford Haven and Pembrokeshire. It’s good for tourism, tourism has been there for many years and this can service industry as well as tourism, it’s absolutely super.”

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Business

West Wales firm fined £75,000 after man killed by escaped cow

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A WEST WALES company has been fined £75,000 following the death of a 75-year-old man, Huw Evans, who was killed by a cow that had escaped from a livestock market. The incident occurred on November 19, 2022, at Whitland Livestock Market in Carmarthenshire, operated by J.J. Morris Limited.

Father-of-two Mr Evans was crossing the junction at North Road and West Street in Whitland when the cow, which was being auctioned, escaped from the market pen. The animal attacked Mr Evans, knocking him down and trampling him. He suffered multiple injuries and was airlifted to the University Hospital of Wales, where he succumbed to his injuries six days later.

A worker from J.J. Morris Limited was also injured during an unsuccessful attempt to recapture the cow. The cow eventually made its way towards Whitland Rugby Club and a railway line before being subdued and put down by Dyfed-Powys Police.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation into the incident and found that J.J. Morris Limited had failed to implement essential physical control measures to prevent cattle from escaping. The HSE concluded that the company’s risk assessment was inadequate, referencing control measures that were not in place at the market.

J.J. Morris Limited, based in Haverfordwest, admitted to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £5,047.55 in costs by Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, June 20.

In court, Mr Evans’ son, Dafydd, expressed his grief, saying: “Dad was my best friend, and I miss him terribly. He was taken from us too soon. Losing dad has had a tremendous effect on both myself and my brother. Because of this incident, dad’s grandsons will never fully know him personally, and he will not see them grow up.”

Following the hearing, HSE inspector Rhys Hughes remarked, “This tragic incident was foreseeable and preventable. The risk posed by cattle escaping from the livestock mart should have been identified, and effective control measures implemented. The case highlights the importance of following industry guidance, which is readily accessible and outlines the requirements to safely manage cattle.”

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Wales international Johnny Williams signs new Scarlets contract

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THE SCARLETS said this week that they are delighted to announce that Wales international centre Johnny Williams has signed a new contract with the club.

The 27-year-old joined the Scarlets from Newcastle Falcons in 2020 and after just four appearances earned his first Wales cap, against Georgia in Llanelli.

A powerful-carrying presence in the Scarlets midfield, he has since made 46 appearances, scoring six tries, including a memorable interception in last season’s Challenge Cup quarter-final win over Clermont Auvergne.

He has won seven caps for Wales, featuring at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said: “Johnny has been a key member of the side in recent years. He’s a player who is a dynamic carrier, is physical with and without the ball, has a good skill set and has an impact on every game he’s involved in.

“He is an important cog in how we look to play and it’s fantastic that he has agreed a new contract with the club. I know the fans will be thrilled with this news and, along with the likes of Eddie James, Joe Roberts and with Macs Page coming through, we have a lot of talent in that midfield pool for the coming years.”

Johnny Williams said: “I am delighted to have signed a new contract. It has been a frustrating season in terms of results, but I am excited by the potential of the squad we are putting together.

“A lot of young boys have put their hands up and we showed during the final few games of the season the kind of rugby we can produce.

“Pre-season will be around before we know it and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in, ready for a big start to next season.”

Johnny is the latest player to recommit to the Scarlets ahead of the 2024-25 campaign, following Tonga lock Sam Lousi, Wales internationals Tom Rogers and Harri O’Connor and back-rowers Dan Davis and Ben Williams.

Scarlets have also strengthened their squad with the addition of hooker Marnus van der Merwe (Toyota Cheetahs), prop Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs), full-back Ellis Mee (Nottingham), lock Max Douglas (Toyota Canon Eagles), Wales international prop Henry Thomas (Castres Olympique) and back-three player Blair Murray (Canterbury).

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Business

Tata workers call first strikes in 40 years to stop steel destruction

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HISTORIC strikes in Port Talbot as Labour vows emergency talks with Tata after general election

Around 1,500 Tata workers based in Port Talbot and Llanwern will begin all-out indefinite strike action over the company’s plans to cut 2,800 jobs and close its blast furnaces.

The strike action, which begins on 8 July, will severely impact Tata’s UK operations. It is the first time in over 40 years that steel workers in the UK have taken strike action.

The escalation in industrial action comes after the workers, who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, began working to rule and an overtime ban on Tuesday (June 17).

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Tata’s workers are not just fighting for their jobs – they are fighting for the future of their communities and the future of steel in Wales.

“Our members will not standby while this immensely wealthy conglomerate tries to throw Port Talbot and Llanwern on the scrapheap so it can boost its operations abroad. They know South Wales is ideally placed to take advantage of the coming boom in green steel – if the right choices are made.

“The strikes will go on until Tata halts its disastrous plans. Unite is backing Tata’s workers to the hilt in their historic battle to save the Welsh steel industry and give it the bright future it deserves.”

Labour has called for Tata to halt its plans and wait until after the general election to engage in talks with the government, saying there is a ‘better deal to do’. Labour has pledged £3 billion for UK steel if elected next month, a commitment secured by Unite. Labour has also made emergency talks with Tata a priority if it wins the election.

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