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New ballot papers being issued to postal voters after printing error

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ballotboxPOSTAL BALLOT PAPERS delivered to voters in three counties are being reprinted after the original papers provided misleading information to voters.

The error arose in respect of the ballots for the regional Assembly election, where voters vote for a party as opposed to a candidate and affects Ceredigion, Preseli Pembrokeshire and Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire.

Local returning officers have been ordered by Mark James CBE, the Regional Returning Officer, to reprint all postal ballots delivered thus far.

No other constituencies in the Region are affected.

In a letter to electoral agents for candidates, Mr James states that he discussed the situation with the Electoral Commission ‘at length’ and engaged the services of ‘the leading QC in the country’ to confirm that reissuing the ballot papers was necessary.

Mr James has blamed the mess up on ‘a most unfortunate error by the printers’

There is a clear expectation that voters who have already cast their postal ballots will return a second ballot paper or their votes will not be counted.

Bearing in mind the number of postal votes involved, the capacity for electoral chaos is significant, especially as those casting postal votes tend to be the more vulnerable members of society.

We spoke with William Powell, who is standing as both a constituency and list candidate, spoke with The Herald to express his concern at the effect of effectively scrapping thousands of ballot papers already delivered.

The incorrect grey paper currently reads:

Etholiad Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru

Papur pleidleisio i ethol Aelod Cynulliad ar

gyfer rhanbarth Canolfan a Gorllewin Cymru

National Assembly for Wales Election

Ballot paper to elect the Assembly Member

for the Mid & West Wales Region

Pleidleisiwch ar gyfer un ymgeisydd yn unig

trwy roi [X] yn y blwch ochr eich dewis

Vote for only one candidate by putting a

cross [X] in the box next to your choice

The correct wording for the statement, printed on the new ‘tan’ ballot papers, reads:

Etholiad Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru

Papur pleidleisio i ethol Aelod Cynulliad ar

gyfer rhanbarth Canolbarth a Gorllewin Cymru

National Assembly for Wales Election

Ballot paper to elect the Assembly Member

for the Mid & West Wales Region

Pleidleisiwch unwaith yn unig trwy roi croes [X]yn y blwch wrth ochr  eich dewis Vote only once by putting a cross [X] in the box next to your choice

The Herald contacted the Press Office at Carmarthenshire County Council but nobody was available to comment.

A statement from the Electoral Commission is expected shortly.

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News

Man arrested for assault following disturbance in Haverfordwest

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A 23-YEAR-OLD man has been arrested on suspicion of assault following a significant police operation in Haverfordwest yesterday, Wednesday, 22 May.

Police received reports of an incident on Market Street at approximately 11:50am.

The road was closed at around 6:40pm, and drivers were advised to find an alternative route.

Dyfed-Powys Police confirmed the arrest on suspicion of assault as a result of yesterday’s operation.

The man remains in police custody today, Thursday, 23 May.

“Dyfed-Powys Police received a report of an alleged assault at around 11:50am on Wednesday, 22 May,” said a force spokesperson.

“Officers attended an address on Market Street, Haverfordwest, as part of their enquiries. One man, aged 23, was arrested on suspicion of assault and remains in police custody.

“The incident was reported at 11:50am, and enquiries were carried out throughout the day.”

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Chris Walters ‘honoured’ to be Narberth mayor once again

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CLLR CHRIS WALTERS has been reinstalled as the Mayor of Narberth for the forthcoming year. At the Town Council’s Annual General Meeting this month, outgoing Mayor Councillor Elizabeth Rogers nominated Councillor Walters for the position, with Councillor Rigby seconding the proposal, and all council members expressing unanimous support.

A native of Narberth, Councillor Walters, who joined the council in early 2017, expressed that he was ‘honoured’ to take on the mayoral role once more. However, he noted the bittersweet nature of his appointment, due to the passing of Deputy Mayor Councillor Sue Rees earlier this year.

Councillor Rees was a significant figure in the community and was poised to become Mayor for the 2024/25 term. She was widely recognised for her efforts in preserving numerous community facilities within the town.

In his address, Councillor Walters also paid tribute to all the councillors who have passed away since he joined the council in the last five years.

During his term, Mrs Bron Walters will serve as Mayoress. Councillor Walters signed two copies of the Acceptance of Office as Mayor in the presence of the Town Clerk to formalise his appointment.

For the forthcoming year, Councillor C Meredydd will serve as Deputy Mayor. The proposal was seconded by Councillor Rigby and received unanimous approval from all council members.

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Business

The Crown Estate in boost to UK offshore wind investment

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THE UK’s offshore wind industry is poised to receive a significant boost in early-stage investment through the launch of The Crown Estate’s innovative Supply Chain Accelerator, aimed at catalysing the growth of the UK’s domestic supply chain for offshore wind.

The Accelerator, a new £50 million fund, has been established to expedite and de-risk the initial stages of projects linked to offshore wind, fostering the development of the UK’s supply chain capabilities.

An initial £10 million funding round is now open for Expressions of Interest from businesses aiming to develop UK projects that support the nascent supply chain for floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea.

Earlier this year, The Crown Estate’s research, The Celtic Sea Blueprint, forecasted the creation of 5,300 jobs and a £1.4 billion economic boost from deploying the first floating offshore wind capacity off South Wales and South-West England, stemming from the ongoing Leasing Round 5 process.

This research identified several critical supply chain opportunities essential for these floating wind farms, including floating platform components, dynamic cables and connections, wet storage infrastructure, operations and management facilities, and skills transition facilities.

The first £10 million funding round will target projects addressing these opportunities, providing matched funding of up to £1 million for early-stage development. The Crown Estate will also consider participating in the capital investment phase.

Formal applications open in mid-June and close at the end of July, with successful projects announced from October 2024. Grant Thornton, a leading professional services firm, will support The Crown Estate in this endeavour.

The Crown Estate’s mission is to create long-term value for the country, focusing on using its managed land and seabed to catalyse net zero, restore nature, create thriving communities, and drive economic growth. Developing the offshore wind industry’s domestic supply chain through collaboration with industry and government partners is a key part of these ambitions.

Following the deployment of the first £10 million, an additional £40 million has been earmarked to support UK projects aligned with the Industrial Growth Plan. This plan, launched by RenewableUK and industry partners including The Crown Estate last month, outlines actions required to triple offshore wind manufacturing capacity over the next decade.

The UK is already a global leader in offshore wind, with the sector producing 49TWh of electricity last year and a pipeline growing by 10GW in 2023 to 93GW, according to The Crown Estate’s UK Offshore Wind Report 2023.

Government estimates suggest that 125GW of offshore wind capacity may be needed by 2050 to achieve net zero, underscoring the importance of investment in the UK’s supply chain to maintain competitiveness amidst global decarbonisation efforts.

Will Apps, Offshore Wind Strategy Director at The Crown Estate, remarked, “We’re delighted to launch our Supply Chain Accelerator to catalyse early-stage project development and maximise opportunities identified in the Celtic Sea Blueprint. Investing in our domestic supply chain will enable the UK to remain a world leader in offshore wind while creating jobs and economic growth in local communities.”

Gus Jaspert, Managing Director, Marine at The Crown Estate, added, “Offshore wind is crucial to our energy transition and local and national regeneration with new jobs, skills, and industry. Our world-leading offshore wind industry plays a pivotal role in the UK’s energy transition, and demand will only increase as we move towards a net zero economy by 2050. We must invest in and develop the UK’s supply chain to accelerate growth and make our offshore wind sector the most attractive globally.”

“The Supply Chain Accelerator will enable investment in priority capabilities and skills to deliver the opportunities within the Celtic Sea Blueprint, driving regional economic growth and ensuring value onshore through offshore activities.”

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