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Ambitious bid for ‘Celtic Freeport’ worth £5.5billion to the local economy launched

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A PUBLIC-PRIVATE consortium has today (Nov 23) unveiled their bid for a Celtic Freeport, which they say will “deliver an accelerated pathway for Wales’ net zero economy.”

If approved, the bid could generate over 16,000 new jobs and generate up to £5.5 billion of new investment for the region.

Free ports or zones are designated by the government as areas with little to no tax in order to encourage economic activity. While located geographically within a country, they essentially exist outside its borders for tax purposes.

Companies operating within free ports can benefit from deferring the payment of taxes until their products are moved elsewhere, or can avoid them altogether if they bring in goods to store or manufacture on site before exporting them again.

Money saved on tax is used to pay for local projects, such as clean energy, and better local infrastructure.

In front of a packed audience, and on the eve of the Freeport bidding window closing, the bid team unveiled their vision to create a green investment corridor with long-term commitments on major port infrastructure upgrades, skills development and innovation, all rooted in the fair work principles and enduring trade union engagement.

Map of proposal: Milford Haven and Port Talbot ports will be working together

The transformational bid covers the ports of Milford Haven and Port Talbot and spans clean energy developments and innovation assets, fuel terminals, a power station, heavy engineering and the steel industry across south-west Wales.

Celtic Freeport bid consortium is comprised of Associated British Ports (ABP), Neath Port Talbot Council, Pembrokeshire County Council and the Port of Milford Haven.

The Celtic Freeport will, the backers claim, accelerate significant inward investment in new manufacturing facilities to support the roll-out of floating offshore wind (FLOW) from the Celtic Sea, while providing the backbone for a cleaner future based on the hydrogen economy, sustainable fuels, carbon capture, cleaner steel and low-carbon logistics.

The bid also proposes an ambitious skills agenda that will harness the skills-base, industrial assets and education providers of today for the jobs of tomorrow through dedicated green skills programmes.

The launch event included a joint presentation with and Q&A from the core team behind the bid: Andrew Harston, Director Wales and Short-Sea Ports, Associated British Ports (ABP); Karen Jones, CEO, Neath Port Talbot Council; Will Bramble CBE, CEO, Pembrokeshire County Council; and Tom Sawyer, CEO, Port of Milford Haven. World-leading technology investor, successful professional in the mining and mineral sector and Chair of the Celtic Freeport, Roger Maggs MBE also presented to attendees.

On November 24 the Celtic Freeport Consortium will have submitted their transformational bid to the UK and Welsh governments for assessment.

If selected, the successful bid will be announced in the first quarter of 2023.

“Celtic Freeport will mobilise significant international investment into the greener industries of tomorrow. Wales cannot decarbonise, unless south west Wales finds a path to net zero. Our vision will see two new green energy ports at Port Talbot and Milford Haven build out to help create masses of green power from floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea. This acceleration of the green economy will create thousands of high quality jobs, while turbo-charging cleaner steel production and hydrogen generation,” Roger Maggs MBE, Chair of the Celtic Freeport bid consortium.

“We are excited to be partnering with Neath Port Talbot Council, Pembrokeshire County Council and the Port of Milford Haven on this bid, which will be transformational for the Welsh economy. It will also be vital in the push towards net-zero, with significant investments in clean energy assets, including floating offshore wind (FLOW). Port Talbot is the ideal location for the deployment of FLOW, and ABP is ready to invest over £500m in new and upgraded infrastructure to enable this,” Andrew Harston, Director Wales and Short-Sea Ports, Associated British Ports (ABP).

Karen Jones, CEO, Neath Port Talbot Council told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “We are very pleased to be working in partnership on a bid that has huge potential to transform the economy of Port Talbot and the wider regional and national economy. Energy has played an enormous role here historically. Harnessing the potential of green energy through our existing assets to create a sustainable and low carbon future is a prospect that has our full support,”

Will Bramble CBE, the new Chief Executive of Pembrokeshire County Council added to Ms Jones’ comments. He told this newspaper: “The Celtic Freeport’s green investment and innovation corridor will act as a clear signal to the international investment community that south-west Wales is open for business and will remain a central pillar in the country’s green energy future. Our plans will create a more secure national energy supply and help diversify the region’s industrial base as Wales accelerates its transition to a decarbonised economy, with many fresh opportunities for future generations,”

Tom Sawyer, CEO, Port of Milford Haven boasted: “The details of our collective bid stir up many emotions for me. It makes me feel incredibly excited about the wealth generation opportunities the freeport will deliver for regional businesses, alongside the well-paid career choices for future generations.

Port boss: Tom Sawyer incredibly excited about the wealth generation opportunities (Pic: MHPA)

Mr Sawyer added: “I am really optimistic about the life-changing impact this level of economic regeneration can have on local families and communities, and proud that our collaborative approach will accelerate Wales towards a bright, sustainable future,”

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Milford Haven father of two sadly dies following medical emergency in Mount Estate

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A MAN was found unresponsive, and sadly later passed away in The Mount Estate, Milford Haven on Wednesday evening (Dec 9).

Police vehicles and an ambulance responded to a call coming from Chestnut Way just before midnight, but despite the excellent efforts of the paramedics attending, the man could not be revived.

The man who passed away has been named locally as Paddy McManamon, age 30, a well known local and a father of two young children.

A spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys Police confirmed to The Pembrokeshire Herald by way of an official statement: “At 11.45pm on Wednesday, 7 December, police were called to Chestnut Way, Mount state, Milford Haven, after a male was found unresponsive.

“The male sadly passed away.

“His death is not being treated as suspicious.”

Paddy McManamon’s cousin, Tara-Jade Riley paid tribute on social media saying: “We had some awful news our lovely cousin has passed away.

“You were such an amazing person but now you have gained your wings.

“So go and have a Guinness up there with our Nans and give them both a big hug from us all.

“Such a young man will be sadly missed by all of us – until we meet again, God bless you.”

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Christmas Gift Subscription wins £10,000!

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Carol Ormond with daughter Collette, granddaughter Ellie and great granddaughter Polly

THE PEMBROKESHIRE LOTTERY has awarded one lucky player a massive £10,000 in their Christmas Superdraw. 

The Superdraw was held on Wednesday, December 7 and the winner was Mrs Carol Ormond from Pembroke with lottery number 48095.

After Carol’s name was announced on 102.5 Radio Pembrokeshire, the team at the Pembrokeshire Lottery made contact with her and presented the winning cheque later that day. The win was made extra special as Mrs Ormond’s lottery membership was a Gift Subscription from her daughter last Christmas. Accompanying her were daughter Collette, granddaughter Ellie and great granddaughter Polly.

The normal weekly £2,000 draws now continue until the next monthly Superdraw for £4,000 on January 4. However, as the Lottery celebrates it’s 30 th Anniversary next year, there will be higher prize amounts than usual as the 3 x £8,000 draws in March, June and September will all be increased to £10,000!

Pembrokeshire Lottery Gift Subscriptions make ideal gifts for anyone and can be purchased for either 6 months or a full year. To order yours or to join up to play yourself, ring the Pembrokeshire Lottery on 01646 690800.

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Four rescued following early morning mayday call

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FOUR fishermen have been rescued in the early hours of this morning (December 7) after their vessel is said to have hit rocks near Skomer Island.

The Coastguard received a mayday call from the stricken vessel just before midnight, with lifeboat crews from Angle and St Davids sent to assist.

The crew abandoned the vessel and were located in a life raft nearby and were taken onboard the Angle lifeboat.

Milford Haven Coastguard have confirmed that no injuries have been reported and the crew were safely brought ashore at Milford Haven.

Arrangements are being made to recover the fishing vessel and to assess whether there is any pollution.

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