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Minister’s schools announcement for children aged 3 to 7 welcomed



WELSH Education Minister Kirsty Williams has confirmed that children in Foundation Phase (aged three to seven) will start to return to school on Monday, February 22 after the half-term break.

Pembrokeshire County Council says it welcomes the announcement.

Director for Education, Steven Richards-Downes, said: “Today’s announcement gives clarity to school staff and families and about a phased return to school for Foundation Phase learners.

“Schools have been working closely with the Council and planning and preparing for this announcement for some time. Schools will now move into an operational phase, building on the knowledge and experience of the past year to ensure that schools are as Covid-safe as they can possibly be.

“Please check your school’s website and social media pages over coming weeks for details of how the return to school will look for your child/children.

“It is important to remember that for those learners not included in this announcement schools will still continue to provide distance learning provision. Again please contact your child/children’s school directly if you have any queries on distance learning.

“Provision for the children of key workers and vulnerable learners will also continue.

“I would like to once again thank everyone, school staff, learners and parents and carers for the way they have embraced learning at home and adapted to the current situation.

“We look forward to welcoming more learners back to schools when safe to do so.

“In the meantime, please continue to follow the guidance to keep driving down the spread of Covid-19.”

The phased return to schools is only possible because people have stuck to the rules, the Director of the Welsh NHS Confederation said.

Responding to the latest Welsh Government update on the Coronavirus pandemic, Darren Hughes told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “Everyone in Wales wants to see our children go back to school as soon as it’s safe to do so. Teachers, the NHS and anyone who works with children understands the need to get them back to face-to-face learning as soon as possible.
“That’s why we’ll need the public to be particularly careful as we bring some children back to school, it’s not a return to normality. The phased return to schools is only possible because people have stuck to the rules and the vaccination programme roll-out has continued to progress, at speed.

“It is fantastic to see we have passed the milestone of having administered half a million vaccinations, meaning more than one in six people in Wales have now had their first dose. The rapid acceleration of the vaccination programme roll-out is a credit to our staff and all of the organisations working in partnership and individuals involved. Every person we vaccinate is another step closer to safer communities.

“Whilst the overall picture is looking positive, pressure on the NHS remains high, and we continue to have a high level of hospitalisations. Let’s not go backwards now.”
The National Deaf Children’s Society has responded to the announcement that schools in Wales will reopen to younger children on February 22nd. There are around 2,500 deaf children in Wales, of whom around 1,100 are of primary school age.

Debbie Thomas, Head of Policy at the National Deaf Children’s Society Cymru, said: “Families of young deaf children in Wales will have mixed views on the return to school. Remote learning has brought real challenges during the pandemic, but deaf pupils have faced barriers in the classroom too, such as face masks and difficulties in accessing their specialist teachers.

“As schools prepare to reopen, it’s vital that they consider the needs of their deaf pupils at this very difficult time because many of them face a huge battle to catch-up. They will need ongoing, tailored support to help them succeed.”


Trial date for son accused of killing mum



THE SON of Judith Rhead, 68, who was found dead in her home in Market Street, Pembroke Dock on Feb 20 will now appear in Crown Court again in October.

Dale Morgan, 43, said to be a scout master, appeared in court only to confirm his name, date of birth and address – which was listed as Honeyborough Green, Neyland.

A plea and trial preparation hearing date was set for March 26 with a provisional trial date set for October 4.

He was remanded in custody.

In court papers it stated that the alleged murder took place between December 10, 2020 and February 21, 2021.

The paperwork demonstrates that the police are unsure of the exact date that Ms Rhead died. The large date range, two months, points to the likelihood that this will be a challenging case for all those involved.

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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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