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New licensing scheme in Wales welcomed by tattooists 



WALES is set to become the first UK nation to introduce a mandatory national licensing scheme for tattoo artists and those working in body piercing, semi-permanent make-up, acupuncture and electrolysis, Chief Medical Officer Frank Atherton has announced.

The scheme aims to reduce infections, eliminate poor working practices and will create a central public register for licensed practitioners and approved business premises.
It is the final phase of changes introduced under the Public Health (Wales) Act 2017 to improve standards of infection prevention and control in the industry.

There are an estimated 3,516 practitioners operating in Wales who will need to be licensed, and 1,868 premises that will require approval under the new mandatory licensing scheme. The pass rate for those practitioners who have so far voluntarily already undertaken the Level 2 Award in Infection Prevention and Control is 95%.

A 12-week consultation has been launched to seek the views of all stakeholders, including practitioners, local authorities and the public.

Chief Medical Officer Frank Atherton said: “Good standards of hygiene and infection control by all special procedures practitioners and businesses is essential as these procedures are capable of causing harm if not carried out properly.

“This new compulsory licensing scheme will ensure that both clients and practitioners are adequately protected at all times. I am very pleased that these impending changes have been widely welcomed by practitioners in Wales, with many already volunteering to meet the new standards.

“We are keen to receive responses to the consultation from all stakeholders, but particularly from self-employed practitioners and those working as small businesses.”

Tattooist Ash Davies, of Stronghold Tattoo, in Charles Street, Cardiff, has been part of the Welsh Government’s practitioner engagement group since 2018, and has passed the Level 2 Award.

He said: “It is fantastic that Wales will be the first UK nation to introduce a national licensing scheme for our sector.

“We fully recognise and welcome the work Welsh Government has put in to develop this mandatory scheme to regulate industry practices, and its development of a bespoke regulated infection prevention and control qualification. This will raise standards and should be embraced.”

Ffion Hughes, a permanent make up and paramedical tattooist based at Little Wren Beauty & Aesthetics, in Pool Street, Caernarfon, participated in the engagement conferences on the new scheme in 2019.
She said: “This mandatory scheme will provide a level playing field for reputable businesses in the industry.

“The Welsh Government has continued to engage with us throughout the development of this legislation and it is great to see our feedback has been considered and used to inform the consultation.”
Rod Stapleton, the manager of Milford Ink, based in Milford Haven, said that he thought that the bringing in of regulations is ‘better late than never’.

Rod said compared to Europe and other countries such as Australia where there is a lot of regulation, this country has had very little regulation and has been very much lagging behind.

Rod added: “There are a lot of scratchers (non professional tattoo artists) going to people’s homes and working. Tattoos are expensive, so people go to someone who can save them money but ultimately will get an inferior service.”

Asked if the cost of regulation would be a problem, Rod explained: “Prices will be a concern but the licensing of tattoo artists will help people to differentiate between the professional and nonprofessional.”

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Ferry staff concerned over rumours Pembroke Dock to Rosslare route coming to an end



CONCERNS are growing amongst Irish Ferries staff operating out of Pembroke Dock as rumours continue to circulate that the company is considering abandoning the Pembroke to Rosslare route.

Several sources state that Irish Ferries is to pull out of Wexford (Rosslare) all together.

Several newspapers in Ireland are reporting that Irish Ferries has failed to reply to queries in relation to future of Rosslare route as concern grows among employees

The company has remained tight-lipped on its plans and despite queries by various reporters to both the Irish Ferries media contact and a senior company official in Rosslare, there was no response from Irish Ferries at the time of publication.

A lot of the concern stems from the fact that customers cannot book passage on the Rosslare/Pembroke route beyond May 31st of this year. Potentially this could be related to the expiry of the company’s charter on the ship currently working the route – Blue Star 1.

The Greek passenger ferry, with capacity for 1,500 passengers, 100 freight vehicles and up to 700 cars, was chartered by Irish Ferries in March of 2021. The company has faced a number of issues with the ship and it was detained by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) as recently as December after failing a safety inspection.

It is reported that in the past couple of weeks, Irish Ferries staff members have met with senior management to express their concerns and have also reached out to their union SIPTU to put them on notice.

The lack of information being provided by the company is certainly not doing anything to quell rumours.

This is not the first time Irish Ferries has caused a stir in Rosslare. Back in December of 2018, the company announced its intention to axe its service between Rosslare Europort and France in a move that wax described as “a kick in the teeth” by locals at the time.

Since then, thankfully, fortunes at the Europort have drastically turned in a post-Brexit landscape with the port now nearly handling up to 40 sailings per week.

However, the routes operating between Rosslare and the UK have seen more mixed fortune. With Stena

Line operating a route from Rosslare to Fishguard alongside Irish Ferries’ sailing to Pembroke, there has been some debate as to whether there is the trade to sustain both routes going forward.

Stena Line’s ownership of the port in Fishguard means its likely to want to hang in there, while back in 2021, Irish Ferries only signed a 10-year deal with Pembroke Dock.

We asked Milford Haven Port Authority for their view on the ongoing speculation. A spokesperson at the Port of Milford Haven, said: “We were surprised by these press articles.

“We are unaware of the basis of them; but we can confirm that we renewed our contract with Irish Ferries in 2021 and continue to provide excellent port services to support this important UK and International trade route.”


Calls a year ago (Feb 2022) for Wales to have one ferry port in Pembrokeshire instead of two due to declining trade following Brexit would be a “disaster” for the county, a Senedd candidate  said.

Rosslare in Ireland’s January traffic to the UK was down 49% on last January, with freight direct to the European mainland up 446%.

Glenn Carr, general manager at Rosslare Europort in Ireland, suggested closing either Pembroke Dock or Fishguard ports to compensate.

But the Liberal Democrat Senedd candidate for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire said at the time that would be a “disaster” and called for Welsh Secretary Simon Hart to “take urgent action” to solve the situation.

“Some companies have chosen to take the sea route from Ireland to the European continent rather than going through the UK’s land bridge,” he said.

“They have done this to avoid the trading barriers which have arisen from our hard Brexit. Mr Hart and his government colleagues need to ‘step up to the plate’ and take urgent action to eliminate these trading barriers before we lose one of our precious ferry ports.”

Conservative Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb also has been calling on the UK Government to “get a grip” on the situation.

“There’s now a big fight on to retain competitiveness and win back business that seems to have been lost out of the Welsh ports since the end of the Brexit transition period,” he said.

“So the UK government needs to get a grip on working out simpler, more effective, streamlined procedures for complying with this paperwork, making it less of a headache for doing business through the Welsh ports between the Republic, the UK and the continent.”

Tina Roberts, Welsh Liberal Democrat Senedd Candidate for Preseli Pembrokeshire also said both Fishguard and Pembroke Dock are vital ferry ports to our local community and to local businesses.

“Staff at these ferries have worked very hard to provide an excellent service which also benefits tourism and local trade,” she said.

“The government needs to end its trading barriers with Ireland to avoid the catastrophe of one of these ferries closing.”

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Momentum gathers behind transformational bid for Celtic Freeport



  • From Manufacturing Wales to Tata Steel UK, Ledwood Mechanical Engineering to RWE, Floventis to NPTC Group of Colleges, momentum is gathering behind a freeport bid that will accelerate Wales’ decarbonisation and act as a catalyst for the transformation of Wales’ industrial cluster.

OVER 100 organisations and politicians have come together to back the transformational bid for a Celtic Freeport. Supporters include global industrial giants and Welsh engineering and construction businesses, green energy developers, decarbonisation groups and trade associations, universities, colleges and local politicians.

On 24 November 2022, a public-private consortium lodged its bid for a Celtic Freeport with the UK and Welsh governments. Spanning 600 hectares of development land across sites in Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire, the bid sets out a vision to deliver an accelerated pathway for Wales’ net zero economy. It is also expected to support over 16,000 jobs and generate up to £5.5 billion of new investment.

The Celtic Freeport will accelerate significant inward investment in new manufacturing facilities to support the roll-out of floating offshore wind (FLOW) in the Celtic Sea, giving Wales global first-mover advantage in this new form of clean, reliable energy. It will also provide the backbone for a greener future, with strengthened export and supply chain opportunities based on the hydrogen economy, sustainable fuels, carbon capture, cleaner steel and low-carbon logistics.

The Celtic Freeport bid covers the ports of Milford Haven and Port Talbot and includes clean energy developments and innovation assets; fuel terminals; a power station; heavy, light and advanced engineering; and the steel industry across south west Wales.

It will create a green investment corridor, securing long-term commitments for major port infrastructure upgrades, skills development and innovation. The bid is rooted in the fair work principles and enduring trade union engagement.

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

The Celtic Freeport Consortium comprises Associated British Ports (ABP), Neath Port Talbot Council, Pembrokeshire County Council and the Port of Milford Haven. However, a huge range of organisations have been involved in the development of the proposals and spoken out in support of the bid.

“The support we have received for the Celtic Freeport proposals has been phenomenal, both prior to submission and since the bid was submitted,” explains Roger Maggs MBE, Chair of the Celtic Freeport consortium. “There has been a real appetite from across a wide range of industry sectors, as well as from education and politicians at all levels, to ensure Wales and the UK takes full advantage of the massive opportunity that exists through the generation of floating offshore wind energy in the Celtic Sea. Achieving freeport status would give the entire region an enormous boost, whether that is in achieving our net zero targets, creating high-skilled jobs, attracting new investment, developing innovative technology, supporting future skills or putting our manufacturing sector on a path to a sustainable future.”

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Tenby project began without planning permission on cards for approval



A RETROSPECTIVE application by a former national park committee member for the change of use of historic buildings is expected to get the go-ahead.

Since last July, former stables in Tenby’s Sergeant’s Lane have been rented out to be used as a seating area for the nearby Harbwr Brewery.

A planning application seeking retrospective change of use of the Grade II listed buildings and previously derelict and overgrown stableyard for the serving of food and drink, made by by Harbwr Brewery owner Mike Evans, will be heard by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority planners on Wednesday, 1 February.

The application is being brought to the National Park’s Development Management Committee as Mr Evans was a recent member of the national park authority.

It is recommended for approval, subject to conditions including approved plans and documents, and opening times.

Mr Evans – who was also a county councillor before the May elections – also seeks to carry out work to the listed building roof, changes to fenestration, windows and openings and additions of roof lights; again subject to conditional approval.

Tenby Town Council has previously declined to comment on the application.

The council, which is a consultee to the proposals, previously stated that members were “unhappy with another retrospective application which has been undertaken without prior consultation with neighbouring residents”.

Tenby Civic Society has raised concerns about potential noise nuisance to nearby residential properties.

Sergeant’s Lane – which links St Julian Street with Bridge Street – is a narrow lane of medieval origin.

Some of the buildings on the lane date back to the 16th century.

Several of the buildings are thought to have been constructed as cottages, possibly for fishermen, and then converted to stabling for the nearby gentrified houses in the 19th century.

Until the late 1990s, many of the buildings on Sergeants Lane were used as warehousing and stores for Hermann Thomas and Co Plumbers.

  • Bruce Sinclair is the Local Democracy Reporter for Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion
Sergeants Lane in Tenby is now a popular attraction (Pic Herald)
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