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Climate

MP champions ports as pillars of green energy and economic renewal

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STEPHEN CRABB, MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire and an ardent advocate for the local energy sector, steered a pivotal debate in Parliament on 18th October, focusing on the indispensable role of ports in green energy transition.

During the discussion, Mr Crabb spotlighted the immense potential of the Port of Milford Haven and the broader Milford Haven Waterway in the UK’s transition to sustainable energy. The port’s prospective emphasis on Floating Offshore Wind power and hydrogen energy underscores its significance.

The debate attracted a cross-sectional audience of MPs from various coastal and port areas across the UK, all standing at the cusp of an energy revolution with diverse renewable technologies.

Mr. Crabb was keen to underscore the tremendous efforts behind the establishment of the Celtic Freeport, predicting it to be a nexus for investment and job growth in Milford Haven.

The debate’s conclusion saw The Rt Hon Graham Stuart MP, the Minister of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pledge a visit to Pembrokeshire. The purpose is to deepen engagement with the burgeoning energy enterprises along the Milford Haven Waterway.

Post-debate, MP Crabb remarked, “It’s heartening to witness such broad-based support for ports as catalysts in achieving the net zero vision. Milford Haven is a case in point, with port investments significantly amplifying local economic vigour and job creation.” He further expressed anticipation about the Minister’s upcoming visit, affirming the necessity of firsthand exposure to the region’s vibrant energy sector.

Echoing this sentiment, Tom Sawyer, CEO of The Port of Milford Haven, stated, “The emphasis on ports, especially the Port of Milford Haven, in the UK’s net zero quest is evident. Achieving 24 gigawatts in the Celtic Sea is crucial for optimising the UK supply chain. We’re indebted to Stephen Crabb MP for this parliamentary spotlight on our port’s aspirations.”

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Climate

Solidarity between generations ‘crucial to help tackle Climate Change’

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MEMBERS of the Senedd’s Cross-Party Group on Intergenerational Solidarity are working together to identify ways to bring different generations together in schools and other educational settings to encourage new action to help tackle climate change.

The impact of climate change was a key agenda item at the Group’s latest meeting, and members agreed that while the younger generation is often most associated with the climate change movement, older people also have significant concerns, and a vital role to play in tackling this threat.  

A presentation from Age Cymru highlighted that older people are at particular risk from the effects of climate change, which impacts on their well-being and ability to age well. Hotter summers are creating health risks for older people, for example, especially those with heart issues and other chronic health conditions, while colder winters are increasing fuel costs and forcing many into fuel poverty.

While stereotypes often suggest that older people are not concerned about climate change or its impact, and are not prepared to take action to protect the environment, this is not reflected in data, which shows that 92% of people over 65 are concerned about climate change and that nearly three-quarters of people over 65 think the government is doing too little to respond to climate change.

However, these kinds of myths and misconceptions can create tensions between generations which can act as a barrier to action. Encouraging solidarity is therefore important to enable knowledge-sharing and to inspire fresh perspectives and new ideas.

Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE said: “We know that climate change projects that have brought generations together have been successful and the action agreed by the Group will enable more work like this to inspire fresh perspectives and new ideas.

“It is important that people of all ages work together to play their part in tackling climate change and action across all generations will be important to support this.”

Delyth Jewell MS, Chair of the Cross-Party Group on Intergenerational Solidarity, said: “We should not see the climate crisis as an issue that divides people: across all generations, our experience of this crisis must bind us together in a firm resolve.  From flooding, wildfires and heatwaves that already blight our communities, it would be easy for us to lose hope, or to pit generations against one another.  But wasting our energies in such a way would only intensify isolation; it would do nothing to combat the crises that face us.

“There is so much good work going on, intergenerationally, to address the climate crisis. From projects linking care homes with schools, from comics being developed to share stories, and workshops that link different generations together, there is so much we have to celebrate. Chairing the Cross Party Group on Intergenerational Solidarity always reminds me of the wonderful, defiant work that’s going on across Wales. That gives me hope – and we need to get better at telling those stories.”

The Commissioner added: “There is often a misconception that older people don’t care about climate change, which is simply not true, something that pits younger and older generations against one another and feeds into wider ageist narratives that can lead to discrimination.

“Given the scale of the issues we face, it is essential that generations are united and work together to tackle the threats posed by climate change.”

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Climate

No current plans for clean air zones in Pembrokeshire

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PEMBROKESHIRE County Council has no current plans to introduce clean air zones or road user charging, councillors heard.

In a submitted question heard at the May meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council, member of the public Sharon Purcell asked: “In relation to the Environment (Air Quality and Soundscapes) (Wales) Bill, what advice has the council received regarding planned clean air zones or road user charging with a view to introducing schemes to address these issues in the future?”

She also asked a second traffic-related question: “Are there any plans for Local Traffic Neighbourhoods to be introduced and if so, where?”

Answering both questions, Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services Cllr Rhys Sinnett said there were no plans across Wales currently, under any guidance received for the first question.

He also said there were no plans for any Local Traffic Neighbourhoods in Pembrokeshire.

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90 percent of Rhosygilwen turbine power would be sent to national grid

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A SCHEME for a £1m “20-storey-high” wind turbine to keep a listed Pembrokeshire mansion viable has been backed at a meeting of full council despite members hearing 90 percent of the power generated would be sent to the national grid.

Mr and Mrs Glen Peters of Western Solar Ltd sought permission for a single turbine on land near the Grade II-listed Rhosygilwen Mansion, which includes an arts and functions building known as Neuaddydderwen.

Mr Peters has previously said the application for a turbine would ensure the long-term viability of Rhosygilwen, acquired some 30 years previously as a fire-damaged house that was about to be pulled down.

He has said that, despite 200-year-old Rhosygilwen using power from its solar farm, the first of its kind in Wales, it has been hit with “huge increases in importing energy from the grid” during the winter months.

Planners have repeatedly been recommended to refuse the scheme by officers, but backed it at both their March and April committee meetings.

The March backing meant the application returned to the April meeting for ratification after a ‘cooling off’ period; the application having been deferred at the January meeting pending a site visit.

It was initially recommended for refusal in January for several reasons, including potential harm to the setting of the Grade-II-listed house and grounds, and fears of threats to the safe operation of West Wales Airport at Aberporth in neighbouring Ceredigion, some 9.5 kilometres away.

The last concern was later withdrawn.

Officers have said the scheme “would not protect or enhance the setting [of Rhosygilwen] but rather would result in significant harm to this interest of acknowledged importance”.

They have also warned any backing of the scheme against policy recommendations could set a precedent for similar developments.

As the scheme was from the development plan, the final decision had to be made by full council, meeting on May 9, where it was recommended the committee support for the scheme was not endorsed.

The scheme had been twice backed by the planning committee partly on the grounds of its contribution of green power to help tackle the ongoing climate emergency.

Speaking at the May 9 full council meeting, Councillor Tessa Hodgson questioned how much power from the proposal would be fed back into the grid and how much would go to power Rhosygilwen.

She was told that 90 percent from the “medium scale turbine” would be fed back into the grid, generating a tariff for the applicant, 10 percent powering the mansion and associated buildings.

Councillor Mike Stoddart described the amount of power produced by turbines as “miniscule,” saying it would require some 2,000 to equal the power output of Pembroke power station.

“It’s not going to make any material difference to the amount of carbon dioxide we output,” he told fellow councillors.

A move to approve the scheme, made by planning committee chairman Cllr Jacob Williams, was supported by 37 votes to 18, with two abstentions.

Objector Paul Robertson-Marriott has previously said the “20-storey” turbine would have “a detrimental impact” on surrounding properties and the proposal would “ride roughshod over the status of the listed building for economic benefit.”

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