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An interview with…..Paul Davies

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an interviewLocal AM Highlights the Importance of “Vital” Local Hospital Services

AS part of our continued series of interviews with local high profile politicians, The Herald this week spoke to Assembly Member for Preseli Pembrokeshire, Paul Davies.

The Herald started by asking what a typical week is like for an Assembly Member.

“I am the Deputy Leader of the Welsh Conservative Assembly Group and the Shadow Minister for Finance, as well as the constituency Assembly Member for Preseli Pembrokeshire. Usually, I am based in my constituency office in Haverfordwest on Mondays and Fridays. This provides me with an opportunity to engage with my constituents on local issues such as health services, planning, education and housing. It also allows me to attend local events and set up meetings with local groups and organisations. I travel to Cardiff on a Monday evening, ready for plenary business which takes place on a Tuesday and a Wednesday. On Thursdays, I am usually in a Committee session. As the Welsh Conservative Spokesperson for Finance, I am a member of the Assembly’s Finance Committee. On this Committee, we scrutinise the use of resources by the Assembly Commission or Welsh Ministers”.

On the subject of local issues, Paul Davies had this to say, “The biggest issue that I have dealt with is the threat of downgrading services at Withybush hospital. This issue has been the largest in terms of correspondence from constituents. Maintaining access to hospital services based locally is vital to the safety and convenience of the people of Pembrokeshire. I have also been campaigning for the dualling of the A40 in Pembrokeshire. There are a number of economic benefits to dualling the A40 for businesses in the area. It would certainly provide job opportunities and it would help make travelling to Pembrokeshire much easier for residents and for the thousands of visitors who come to the area each year. I have also received a great deal of correspondence from constituents regarding the lack of Broadband provision in Pembrokeshire”.

Asked how an AM balances local and national duties within the job, Mr Davies said, “Each week brings different challenges and demands, and while I take my role as the Shadow Minister for Finance very seriously, it is far more important that I am working on behalf of the people of Preseli Pembrokeshire, raising local issues whenever the opportunity arises”.

He went on to discuss the nature in which the Conservatives can maintain an effective opposition, “As the perennial opposition, we are committed to holding the Welsh Government to account and to scrutinising Welsh Ministers’ policies. I believe that we are a constructive opposition, and that we make every effort to do our job as the people of Wales’ watchdog. That is why we, as a group, have put forward a number of policies throughout the Fourth Assembly to help serve the people of Wales. For example, last year, I launched our flagship Finance policy “Invest Wales” which looked to support small and medium sized enterprises and to stimulate the local economy, by establishing a system of geographically accountable Welsh regional investment ‘banks.’ Some weeks later, the Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband, himself recognised these challenges and said that Labour in England would seek to establish a network of regional banks, if elected, to help small business get access to finance. As a result, the Minister for Economy and Transport committed to reviewing Finance Wales’ financial products so that they are as attractive as possible to businesses, and that process is still ongoing”.

The Herald asked what it is like to be a part of the election process and what the best and worst parts of the job are,

“I’d like to think that I’m a realist and the risk of losing any election comes with the territory of the job. I will, of course, continue to work to the best of my ability for the people of Preseli Pembrokeshire, and they will have the opportunity in 2016 to have their say on my performance as their local Assembly Member. The best aspect of my job is the opportunity to meet so many people from so many different backgrounds. I don’t think that I would get this opportunity in any other job. The worst aspect of my job is the continual frustration of being in opposition”.

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Large emergency service mobilisation to assist driver who went over cliff near oil refinery

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POLICE, ambulance, coastguard, and RNLI and two helicopters were all involved in the extraction of a casualty from a vehicle which had gone over a cliff and landed on the beach at Popton Fort very near to Valero Oil Refinery on Thursday morning.

The emergency call came just after 6.30am, with a large number of rescuers arriving quickly to assist the driver of the vehicle.

Valero oil refinery confirmed that the incident did not involve their facility.

RNLI Angle posted on social media saying the following: “Our crew were paged at 6:37am to a vehicle over the cliff near Popton Fort.

“A vehicle had left the road and fallen onto the beach below.

“Police, ambulance, the fire service and St Govans and Tenby coastguard rescue teams were already on scene, however the lifeboat was requested to assist with evacuating the casualty due to the difficult location.

“Following assessment and stabilisation by paramedics, it was decided that the casualty’s injuries were potentially too severe for transfer by sea, but not ruled out completely due to the incoming tide.

“With this, a request was made for the air ambulance to attend.

“With the air ambulance paramedics now on scene, their assessment was that evacuation by helicopter would be the most appropriate, therefore a further request was made for the a coastguard rescue helicopter to attend and evacuate the casualty.

“With the option of evacuation by lifeboat still a possibility, the all-weather lifeboat stood off should it be required.

“With the coastguard helicopter now on scene, the casualty was handed over into the helicopter for onward transfer to hospital.

“The lifeboat was stood down to return to station, arriving back at 8:30am.”

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National Park Trust supporters take a walk on the wild side

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SUPPORTERS of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Trust were treated to a dazzling display of wildlife during a recent guided walk through Skrinkle Meadow.

The event, which took place against a backdrop of glorious summer weather, was arranged as a way of expressing thanks to Trust supporters and highlighting the importance of meadows and the Trust’s Make More Meadows campaign.

The Make More Meadows campaign has been running since April 2019, and seeks to reverse a dramatic national decline in wildflower meadows over the last 75 years. So far, it has raised enough money to support 13 meadow sites, covering a total of 132 hectares and providing vital habitats for pollinators and other wildlife.

Director of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Trust Jessica Morgan said: “The Walk and Talk event at Skrinkle was an excellent opportunity to showcase the colourful results of meadow restoration, and our thanks go to National Park Authority Ranger Service Manager Libby Taylor, whose expertise turned this into a thoroughly enjoyable visit. National Park Authority Wardens have worked for years to improve biodiversity at Skrinkle Meadow, and seeds from the meadow have been used to create other wildflower meadows in the Park.

“On this occasion, six-spot burnet moths stole the show, but in previous years Skrinkle Meadow has provided some of the best orchid displays and richest variety of wildflowers in the county.”

The meadow regeneration theme was of particular interest to many of the attendees, who either have meadows of their own, or are considering establishing new ones.

To learn about the work of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Trust and exclusive supporter events like this, sign up to the newsletter at https://pembrokeshirecoasttrust.wales/

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Paddleboarder with suspected wrist fracture assisted by Fishguard RNLI

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ON SATURDAY (Aug 13), a female paddleboarder, who decided to take a swim when located at Aber Bach, unfortunately fractured her wrist when diving from a nearby rock. Her female companion called for assistance which resulted in Fishguard RNLI’s inshore lifeboat being tasked to the scene, located between Fishguard and Dinas Head.

The inshore lifeboat, with three crew members, launched at 2.20pm and arrived on scene at 2.40pm. Her injury was assessed by a crew member, who is a practicing doctor, and she and her companion were transferred to Pwllgwaelod beach where their car was located and they drove to Withybush Hospital for further treatment.

The lifeboat then returned to base at 3.00pm.

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