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A last minute trade deal that ends fears of a no-deal Brexit



UK AND EU negotiators have announced a trade deal that ends fears of a no-deal Brexit.

With a week to go until the end of the transition period on December 31, the deal’s announcement came this afternoon (December 24).

The agreement means the UK can continue having tariff-free to the EU market. Goods coming from the EU to the UK will also be tariff-free.

Farming unions in Wales, whose industry would have been catastrophically damaged by leaving the EU without a deal, expressed relief at the news.

The negotiators reached a compromise on EU boats’ fishing access to British waters after Brexit. The settlement involves a gradual five-year adjustment to fishing quotas. During that period, British vessels will gradually increase their share of the catch.

UK citizens will be able to enjoy visa-free access to EU countries for 90 days every six months.

The Leader of the Opposition in the Senedd Paul Davies welcomed the deal.

The Preseli Pembrokeshire MS said: “The news this afternoon ends years of discussions over the UK’s future with the EU. I’m delighted the UK Government has been able to secure a deal.
“Crucially, this means that we can add the EU to the list of nearly 60 trade deals that have been secured around the World, which come into place as we enter the New Year. Those deals enable the UK to start our new journey as a strong independent nation.

“I have no doubt that, despite the challenges of Covid-19, across the UK, and especially in Wales, people and businesses will take up the opportunities that these deals provide. They will help Welsh businesses to grow and kick start the Welsh economy.”
Wales’ First Minister said that the deal was ‘thin’ and less than ideal.
Faced with a choice of this deal or no deal, Mr Drakeford said: “Welsh businesses will still face significant new barriers to trade. Welsh citizens can no longer travel freely in Europe, and there will be little in it for service sector businesses.

“Even so, this deal is better than the catastrophe which would have been a no-deal.”
Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb tweeted his congratulations to Boris Johnson, the UK’s Chief Negotiator Lord David Frost, EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Mr Crabb described the deal as ‘important for the UK, Wales, Pembrokeshire – and the EU’. He said the agreement laid a robust platform for continued trade and co-operation.

The deal’s detail means that there will still be increased checks at borders between the EU and UK and inspections at ports on food exports and imports. That will mean increased bureaucracy for firms trading with the EU. However, businesses could consider that a relatively small price to pay compared to the alternative.
With only a week to go before the end of the transition period, teething problems can be expected from January 1.

Tony Danker, CBI Director-General, congratulated both teams of negotiators for reaching a deal but sounded a cautionary note.

Mr Danker said: “This will come as a huge relief to British business at a time when resilience is at an all-time low. But coming so late in the day, both sides must take instant steps to keep trade moving and services flowing while firms adjust.”

The Speakers of both the Commons and the Lords have recalled both Houses of Parliament on December 30 when the deal will almost certainly receive overwhelming parliamentary approval.

Simon Hart MP said: “It’s been a very long journey, but I hope today’s trade deal strikes a careful balance between those for whom only a clean break would suffice, and those who voted to remain but respect referendum results.

“There will no doubt be copious analysis of the detail, but the fact that we leave on reasonable terms and that certainty is at last established I hope brings this chapter to an orderly close.

“I am very conscious that there are many who doubted (back in 2015) that we would ever win an election that committed to a referendum; that if we did we would not honour it; that if we honoured it the result would have been remain; that we would fail to deliver a withdrawal agreement; but if we did we would never get a deal – and that when all that stalled due to parliamentary numbers that we would never win an election which pledged to “get brexit done”.

“That’s all for now, but I will say more on this and Covid as we close in on the new year. It’s been tough, but our community resilience is unbeatable! Happy Christmas.”


Launch of Haverfordwest Castle Conservation Management Plan



MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help shape the future of Haverfordwest Castle as a draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is launched.

One of Pembrokeshire’s most important historical assets, the Castle is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, which has produced the CMP.

The plan:

▪ sets out the significance of the castle and describes how the building will be protected with any new use, alteration, repair or management; 

▪ will help with the planning of maintenance, conservation and repair work and adaptation of the site to meet new or changing uses; 

▪ will help promote understanding of the site and look at improving public access and activities for local people and visitors; 

▪ will support proposals to conserve the castle and adaptations of the site in response to climate change; 

▪ and underpin funding applications to support improvements

An engagement exercise has been launched alongside the Plan, giving members of the public with an interest in the historic and/or environmental significance of the castle an opportunity to comment on the document and share their views.

To take part in the engagement exercise, please click on the following link:

The deadline for responses is Sunday, March 28, 2021.


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Natural Resources Wales approves Ireland-UK interconnector licence



GREENLINK INTERCONNECTOR LIMITED says it welcomes the decision by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to approve its application for a Marine Licence for the Greenlink electricity interconnector project, which will link the power markets of Great Britain and Ireland.

An important project for Pembrokeshire, and the UK as a whole, NRW’s go-ahead is one of several consents required for the construction of the project and covers installation of the marine cable in UK waters.

The approval is a major milestone for Greenlink and joins the onshore planning consents granted unanimously in July last year by Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Greenlink’s proposed 190km subsea and underground electricity cable will run beneath the Irish Sea to connect National Grid’s Pembroke Power Station in Wales and EirGrid’s Great Island substation in County Wexford, Ireland. It will have a nominal capacity of 500 MW.

The Wales-Ireland link is just one of four interconnectors being installed

Nigel Beresford, CEO for Greenlink Interconnector Limited, said: “We are delighted by Natural Resources Wales’s decision to grant this licence. This marks a significant milestone for Greenlink and another important step towards project construction, which we expect to commence later this year.

“The Greenlink team has worked constructively with Natural Resources Wales and Welsh marine stakeholders to find workable solutions to the many technical and environmental challenges facing a large infrastructure project like this, and this has been reflected in the quality of the final proposal.

“The thorough environmental and technical assessments we have undertaken, supported by the practical and value-adding feedback we have received from key marine stakeholders, have ensured that we move forward confident that we are delivering a well-designed project with the interests of the Welsh marine habitat at its core.”

The subsea section of the cable will be approximately 160km in length and uses high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology. The preferred route and installation methods were chosen following the conclusion of subsea surveys and consultation with key stakeholders.

In Ireland, a Foreshore Licence application was submitted to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Foreshore Unit) in 2019 and the onshore planning application was submitted to An Bord Pleanála in December 2020.

Greenlink is one of Europe’s most important energy infrastructure projects and brings benefits on both sides of the Irish Sea for energy security, regional investment, jobs and the cost-effective integration of low carbon energy. The project will offer important local supply chain opportunities and plans are being drawn up for ‘meet-the-buyer’ events in the local area prior to construction.

Once fully consented, Greenlink is expected to have a three-year construction programme, with commissioning planned by the end of 2023.

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Appeal from Fire and Rescue Service to install working smoke alarms



AT 01:17am this morning, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, crews from Milford Haven were called to a property fire in the Hakin area of Milford Haven.

The fire was confined to a pan on a stove in the kitchen area and extinguished by firefighters using two breathing apparatus, a hose reel jet and a thermal imaging camera.

Crews also ventilated the property and fitted smoke alarms within the property.

The Fire Service left the incident at 02:00am.

Watch Manager Alun Griffiths, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said “This fire was the result of cooking left unattended. It is so important to remove all pots and pans from a heat source when you are called away from the cooker.

“Thankfully, the occupiers of the property managed to exit the property before our firefighters arrived, but it could have ended very differently as there were no smoke alarms fitted in the property.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of installing working smoke alarms in your homes and testing them regularly. In the dreadful event of a fire, they can alert you to the danger sooner and could mean the difference between life and death.

“As a Fire and Rescue Service, we provide Home Fire Safety advice which is free of charge. We also offer Safe and Well Visits which you can arrange by phoning us on 0800 169 1234 or by visiting the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website.”

For further Home Fire Safety advice or to talk about the possibility of a Safe and Well Visit by Fire and Rescue Service personnel, please phone us on 0800 169 1234.​​​ Alternatively please complete an online Request a Safe and Well Visit​ form on the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website:

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