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Tidal lagoon future still uncertain

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Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 09.33.18WELSH MPs from all parties joined together in an ‘unusual’ display of unity to discuss the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon Project on Tuesday (Mar 8).

However, the response from the UK Government was notably less enthusiastic.

Simon Hart, the Conservative MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, led the debate, claiming beforehand that it could bring ‘hundreds of jobs’ to his constituency, as well as providing widespread benefits for Wales and the UK as a whole.

At present, while planning permission has been given for the project, it is on hold while the UK Government reviews the guaranteed price for the energy generated.

“Over the next 10 years the UK will lose at least 11 coal fired power stations, followed by our ageing nuclear capability, so it is no exaggeration to say the lights will go off unless this energy shortfall is met,” he added.

“There will also be a positive impact on south west Wales’ ‘tourism offer’ and this will feed down to Pembrokeshire. The project is being supported by UK, Welsh and local government as well as economists and environmentalists.”

In the debate, Mr Hart said that the project, which has enjoyed cross-party support from the Welsh Government and Welsh MPs, could be essential for the future production of energy in the UK: “Over the next 10 years, the UK will lose 11 of its coal-fired power stations, followed by our ageing nuclear capability. In technical terms, that is the same as a 25 GW reduction out of a total capacity of 85 GW across the UK,” he remarked.

“As yet, nobody has made it entirely clear how we will fill that void. Hinkley Point is 10 years off, and today further questions were raised about the speed and certainty of that project. No new gas-fired power stations are under construction in the UK.

“I do not want to sound too melodramatic, but there will be a lights-off moment in about a decade’s time unless the Government – I would say this to any Government – take it seriously.”

MPs from all parties spoke in support of the project, and Members from other parts of the UK suggested that the proposed development could bring manufacturing business to firms across the country.

Mr Hart replied that he hoped most of the construction work, including the steel, would be carried out in Wales: “and preferably with bits of it in Pembrokeshire: “However,” he added, “I recognise with a heavy heart and rather grudgingly that we may have to extend our reach to Sheffield.”

In response to a claim by the Conservative MP Antoinette Sandbach that her Cheshire constituents were concerned about energy costs, Mr Hart replied: “My point is that her constituents will not have any electricity at all, expensive or cheap, unless we fill the void that will be staring us in the face in about a decade’s time.”

However, The Minister for the Department of Energy and Climate Change Andrea Leadsom, responded by ‘clarifying’ the Conservative manifesto pledge for the Lagoon: “I want to clarify one important thing: my hon. Friend is absolutely right to mention that the Swansea bay project was in our manifesto,” she said. “The Government absolutely recognise its potential to deliver low-carbon, secure energy for the future.

“However, as I am sure he will accept, it was not a commitment to deliver a contract for difference. This Government are absolutely determined to prioritise keeping costs down, to be on the consumer’s side and to decarbonise at the lowest price while keeping the lights on.

“Although the project is of huge interest to us, I am sure that he will appreciate that we must keep a close eye on the cost.”

Ms Leadsom later added that ‘we are keen on the project, but not at any price.’

In his final remarks, Mr Hart said: “As far as manifesto commitments are concerned, nothing annoys me – and I suspect voters – more than something that gives a very clear impression in the written word in a manifesto that is followed up a few weeks or months later with: “Oh, we didn’t mean it quite like that. “

“The manifesto was really pretty clear about this project; there was no indication anywhere that this project might run into the long grass at a later stage.”

The 2015 Conservative manifesto stated: “We’re entering into the first phase of negotiations on a Contract for Difference for Swansea Tidal Lagoon to recognise Wales’ potential to become a major hub for tidal and wave power. This project will create thousands of jobs and attract millions of pounds worth of investment into Wales.

“Mr Hart added that the debate had been characterised by three words beginning with ‘u’: “Unity, which is good and somewhat unusual – to give a fourth word beginning with ‘u’ ; uncertainty, which is bad, and I hope that has been taken on board; and unique, because this proposal has a unique nature.

“There have been some erroneous comparisons with other projects. This project is not the same as other projects and therein lies its strength,” he added.

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Carmarthenshire Archives’ new building officially opened

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ON MONDAY, November 28, Cllr Rob Evans, Chair of Carmarthenshire County Council, unveiled a specially designed plaque to commemorate the official opening of the brand new Carmarthenshire Archives building.

The official opening was attended by year 6 pupils of Ysgol Y Dderwen, along with their Headteacher Mr Dylan Evans, who designed the plaque by compiling various artwork and sketches that are housed at the Archives.

Established in 1959, Carmarthenshire Archives is the local authority archive service for the County of Carmarthenshire and the new building is located at St Peter’s Street, Carmarthen. 

The service is home to our extensive collection of historic documents that date from the 13th century to the present day. The collection includes archives, maps, books, photographs, videos and sound recordings. It is the Archives’ mission to preserve and make its documents available for general study and research.

Admission to Carmarthenshire Archives is free and open to anyone who wishes to use the Council’s records. Most of its services are free, but we do charge for some extra services and help.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure, Culture and Tourism, Cllr Gareth John commented:

“Congratulations to the pupils of Ysgol Y Dderwen, they have designed an excellent and appropriate plaque that is inspired by the treasure troves of our archives. It was wonderful to welcome them to the official opening so that they can see their work take pride of place at a building that holds great significance to us in Carmarthenshire. 

“This is a brand new and modern building that is fit to keep and protect our county’s most precious historical documents. 

“But of course, these documents are meant to be viewed and studied by school children, students, academics and anybody who has an interest in Carmarthenshire’s rich history; and this excellent facility provides the perfect space for people to come and view these treasures.”

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Llandeilo gas works to begin say Wales & West Utilities

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WALES & West Utilities will shortly begin work to upgrade gas pipes in Llandeilo.

Wales & West Utilities has liaised with Carmarthenshire County Council to plan the work and it has been agreed that work will commence after the town has celebrated the Festival of Senses.

The £123,000 investment scheme, which is essential to keep the gas flowing safely to heat and power local homes and businesses, will begin in New Road on 21 November. This section of work will be complete before Christmas and Wales & West Utilities will return to the town next year to undertake further work in the Crescent Road area. Barring any engineering difficulties, work in the town will be complete by the end of February next year.

Wales & West Utilities Adam Smith is managing this gas pipe upgrade work. He said: “Working with the Council, we have planned this work to accommodate the needs of the town.

“While most of the gas network is underground and out of sight, it plays a central role in the daily lives of people across Llandeilo. Whether it’s heating your home, making the family dinner or having a hot bath, we understand how important it is for your gas supply to be safe and reliable and there when you need it.

“We know that working in areas like this is not ideal, but it really is essential to make sure we keep the gas flowing to homes and businesses in the area, and to make sure the gas network is fit for the future. We’ll have a team of gas engineers on site throughout the project to make sure our work is completed as safely and as quickly as possible while keeping disruption to a minimum.

“This work is essential to keep the gas flowing to local homes and businesses today, and to make sure the gas network is ready to transport hydrogen and biomethane, so we can all play our part in a green future.”

Our Customer Service Team is ready to take your call if you have any questions about our work. You can contact them on freephone 0800 912 2999.

Alternatively, you can contact us on Twitter @WWUtilities or Facebook.com/WWUtilities.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night. Before visiting, we’ll ask you to let us know if you or anyone in your household, is experiencing Coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating. We’ll still come and help you: but our teams will take some additional precautions to keep us all safe.

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Police appeal following theft of items from Home Bargains Crosshands

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OFFICERS from Dyfed Powys Police have confirmed that they are investigating the theft of items, including a Christmas Nutcracker Ornament valued at £129.99, from the Home Bargains store in Crosshands, Carmarthenshire.

The theft occurred at about 12:40pm on Tuesday, 27th September 2022.

Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.

They would like to identify the people in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.

Anyone who knows who the people are, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police.

This can also be done either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk or phoning 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Please quote reference DPP/2006/27/09/2022/02/C

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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