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Marine partners warmly welcome £60m deal for Pembrokeshire

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Photo credit: J Abbott

LAST week’s Swansea Bay City Deal announcement is welcomed by Pembroke Dock Marine’s partners, the Port of Milford Haven, Marine Energy Wales, ORE Catapult, and Wave Hub Limited, and is also supported by Pembrokeshire County Council. It secures £60m for Pembrokeshire with £28m from Swansea Bay City Deal and the remainder part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and private sector investment.

The funding will be used to establish a world-class marine energy and engineering centre of excellence for the design, test, build and deployment of marine energy devices, as well as having application across other blue and green industries. From its home on the Milford Haven Waterway, Pembroke Dock Marine will bring together access to energy source, a high-skill supply chain and a new array of services and spaces that will help developers drive down the cost of marine sourced energy through maximised innovation and operational efficiency.

The four partners will each deliver a different project element. The Port of Milford Haven will deliver modernised port facilities to support the industrial growth. ORE Catapult will deliver a Marine Energy and Engineering Centre of Excellence (MEECE) to drive research and innovation, Marine Energy Wales will create pre-consented Marine Energy Test Areas (META) within the Waterway for testing component and scale devices, and Wave Hub Ltd will deliver the Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone (PDZ) a consented and grid connected offshore test site.

Pembroke Dock Marine’s immediate focus will be to support the growth of the floating wind, wave and tidal technologies exploring opportunities off the Welsh coastline. With net zero targets in sight and the potential to drive a new export industry, Pembroke Dock Marine will add value to the UK economic and environmental goals. It will position the region to capture a significant share of this global market.

Jess Hooper, Marine Energy Programme Manager for Marine Energy Wales, said “META is well on its way to becoming Wales’ national test centre and will ultimately consist of a series of eight pre-consented, non-grid connected test areas in the Milford Haven Waterway. With Phase 1 test areas already providing a haven for marine energy, META enables marine renewable energy device developers to deploy, de-risk and develop from their components to their devices in a relatively sheltered yet still representative ocean environment. As part of the broader PDM project, META looks forward to contributing to the blue economy opportunities this exciting project brings to Pembrokeshire and the continued development of Pembrokeshire as a world class centre for marine energy.”

Dr Stephen Wyatt, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s Research & Innovation Director, said “This approval is extremely welcome, enabling us to go full steam ahead with the work of our Marine Energy Engineering Centre of Excellence and establish our longer term presence in the region. We are now formally engaging with our academic partners – the universities of Swansea, Cardiff, Bangor and Cardiff Metropolitan. The breadth and depth of their research activity perfectly complements the industrial sector expertise and market knowledge of ORE Catapult. Working with Welsh innovators and supply chain companies, MEECE will demonstrate and validate new products, technologies and processes in marine energy, providing ongoing innovation support to reduce costs and risks as these products mature towards commercialisation, something which, drawing on the Catapult’s existing
expertise and those of our partners, MEECE is well-placed to provide.”

Steve Jermy, Executive Chair of Wave Hub Ltd said “This is a significant milestone in the
Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone project, which will catalyse the establishment of a Welsh centre for low carbon, offshore, energy production. We are excited to be working with our partners to develop strategically enabling infrastructure to accelerate the development of Welsh offshore renewable energy, to support future energy generating technologies and generate green electricity from the sea. Moving forward, we are very much looking forward to welcoming new staff, based in Pembroke Dock, into the Wave Hub project development team.”

Andy Jones, Chief Executive at the Port of Milford Haven, said “This is a landmark decision for Pembrokeshire, made possible by the Swansea Bay City Region and the European Regional Development Fund. Alongside a significant investment by the Port, the Swansea Bay City Deal will support the modernisation of our port infrastructure to ensure developers can operate with maximum efficiency allowing them to drive down the cost of energy and help reach net zero targets.

We also recognise the value to other industries and the role this project will play in encouraging further collaborations and innovations within the region. We see this as a significant step forward and we look forward to working with developers as they explore the benefits of this new base. And, in turn, we welcome the positive impact this new and exciting industry will have on Pembrokeshire’s economy and employment opportunities.”

Cllr David Simpson, Leader of Pembrokeshire Council, said: “The impact of Covid-19 has further heightened the importance of Pembroke Dock Marine, so the project’s approval is very welcome news for Pembrokeshire’s residents and businesses. Worth £73.5 million a year, Pembroke Dock Marine will also make our economy more resilient in future by transforming Pembrokeshire and the City Region as a whole into a global example of best practice for zero carbon, marine energy innovation. This project will place Pembrokeshire and the City Region at the heart of a growing global industry, helping further raise the region’s profile as a place to do business and invest in.”

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Milford Haven: Apocalyptic scenes as work truck catches fire in Meyler Crescent

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A MILFORD HAVEN businessman says that he is “absolutely gutted”, after he lost his tipper truck in a dramatic fire overnight.

Callum Hicks, of Meyler Crescent, was woken just after 1am on Monday morning (Mar 1) to see his vehicle in flames, with fuel running down the street on fire.

The apocalyptic scenes brought neighbours out of their homes and the fire brigade was quickly called and put out the blaze.

At this time the police and fire brigade are not suspecting foul play, but in a telephone call to a Herald reporter Callum Hicks said that he thought it was impossible that the vehicle would just spontaneously combust.

Work van: Callum Hicks with his truck, which he says was his “pride and joy”

Explaining that he thought his truck had been set on fire deliberately, he said: “There was CCTV of the fire, but its a football pitch length away, with a white van parked blocking the view of the camera. There was not a clear uninterrupted view.”

“I parked the truck at 2pm on Sunday afternoon so it was 11 hours before the fire started. The vehicle was therefore cold, and locked up.”

Firefighters at the scene

The Herald has asked two mechanics, one of whom has worked on Transit vans for decades. The first said: “It is very unlikely that a vehicle like this would catch fire on it’s own – its impossible – I am 99.9% sure that this was arson.”

The second, a specialist in vehicle electronics said: “There are so many fuses and fail safes its highly unlikely for diesel vans to burst into flames like this without some kind of catalyst.”

Burned out shell: The vehicle after the fire

“There have been issues regarding Transits in the past, even a product recall involving a fire risk from a towing module. But, the chances are a million to one of it catching fire after being parked up for almost twelve hours. It just doesn’t happen.”

The Herald asked Callum Hicks if he could think of anyone who may want to torch his truck. He said that he could not think of anyone who would do such a thing.

Commenting on the police handling of the matter, he said: “They told my missus, Rhianna Pearce, that they were not taking matters further because it was just an accident – its not!”

“I have been in trouble with the police before, and they know I am a bit of a boy, but I think this is the reason that the police are not looking into this properly.

“At the end of the day this was a large fire in a residential area, lives could have been in danger. I have lost thousands because I was insured third-party only and I do not have cover for fire.

Dyfed-Powys Police and Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have been asked for a comment.

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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50

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EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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Nolton Haven: Man hospitalised after getting into difficulties in sea

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A MAN was taken to hospital after getting into difficulties in the sea off Nolton Haven on Friday.

Emergency services were alerted at 2.40pm on February 26 by a 999 call to the control centre.

The Little Haven RNLI lifeboat, Broad Haven Coastguard, an ambulance crew and a Coastguard rescue helicopter assisted police in the operation.

The male casualty was stabilised on the beach and shortly before 4.30pm, was then transported to Withybush Hospital.

A police spokesman told The Herald: “We were called to a male who had got into difficulties in the water at Nolton Haven shortly before 3pm.

“He was taken to hospital by ambulance.”

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