THE BIGGEST ever investment for south west Wales has been secured following the approval of the ground-breaking Swansea Bay City Deal.
UK and Welsh Government Ministers will visit Swansea Bay today (Mar 20) to sign the deal together with members of the Swansea Bay City Region Board.
Leaders from Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire councils are celebrating having secured the £1.3billion deal that will transform the economic landscape of the area, boost the local economy by £1.8billion, and generate almost 10,000 new jobs over the next 15 years.
Eleven major projects will now get underway, delivering world-class facilities in the fields of energy, smart manufacturing, innovation and life science, with major investment in the region’s digital infrastructure and workforce skills and talent underpinning each.
The total investment package is made up of £241million of UK and Welsh Government funding, £396million of other public sector money and £637million from the private sector.
The Swansea Bay City Region Board – including the four local authorities together with Abertawe Bro Morgannwg and Hywel Dda University Health Boards, Swansea University and the University of Wales Trinity St David’s, and private sector companies – worked under the Chairmanship of Sir Terry Matthews for over a year to develop and submit the City Deal proposal to the Welsh and UK Governments.
It culminated in a pitch to Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales, and other UK Ministers and their advisors, following months of rigorous challenge and negotiation.
There are three specific projects for Carmarthenshire – a Wellness and Life Science Village in Llanelli; a creative industry project at Yr Egin in Carmarthen; and a skills and talent initiative which will support skills development for all 11 projects.
The Wellness Village and Life Science Village at Delta Lakes, is being led by the council, under the ARCH (A Regional Collaboration for Health) programme, which is a partnership between Hywel Dda and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Boards and Swansea University.
The £200million project aims to create 1853 high quality jobs and boost the economy by a staggering £467 million over 15 years.
The proposals include an Institute of Life Science with laboratory and clinic space and an incubation facility for business start-up, research and development; a wellness hub incorporating a new ‘state-of-the-art’ sports and leisure centre, a wellbeing centre, a wellness hotel and an assisted living village all interlinked and set within a ‘green’ eco-park.
Yr Egin involves the construction of a creative and digital hub and the development of a creative industry sector cluster. It will create around 203 jobs and help the local economy, along with boosting the Welsh language.
A skills and talent initiative will provide educational and training pathways to support the next generation workforce delivering specific sector skills required in order to meet the demand of the City Deal themes of Digital, Life Science and Wellbeing, Energy and Smart Manufacturing.
Carmarthenshire County Council Leader Cllr Emlyn Dole said: “This is a unique opportunity for Carmarthenshire and the wider region to increase prosperity and opportunity. The City Deal will help the long-term sustainability of the economy in Carmarthenshire, creating jobs, growth and training opportunities.
“This is a truly exciting time for the region; the level of investment we are talking about is incomparable to anything we have seen before. The City Deal will allow us to deliver what we have worked so hard to achieve and local people and businesses will soon start to reap the benefits.”
Cllr Rob Stewart, lead Leader of the Swansea Bay City Region and Leader of Swansea City Council, said: “This is among the biggest investments Wales has ever seen, so it’s an historic day for the Swansea Bay City Region.
“The City Deal will improve people’s lives in Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire by generating up to 10,000 jobs and investing in world class technology that will revolutionise the way sectors like energy, social care, healthcare and entrepreneurship are delivered and supported here.
“This has always been about making sure South West Wales gets its fair share of investment for the benefit of our residents.
“The state-of-the-art projects the investment will deliver will turbo-charge the regional economy and help attract even more investment in future.
“The approved City Deal is also terrific news for our businesses because not only will the introduction of cutting-edge digital infrastructure help embrace and harness innovation, but the construction of new developments will boost the regional supply chain as well.
“Enormous credit should go to everyone involved in the City Deal bid. The ‘Team Swansea Bay’ approach between partners in the public and private sectors will considerably benefit many people in the near future, with our focus now on aggressive spending to ensure residents reap the rewards of the investment as soon as possible.”
Mark James CBE, lead Chief Executive of the Swansea Bay City Region and Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “This City Deal is a once in a generation opportunity to further consolidate the region’s role in technological innovation.
“The Swansea Bay City Region will now lead innovation in developing and commercialising solutions to some of the most pressing challenges in the fields of life sciences, energy, smart manufacturing and digital networks in both urban and rural areas.
“This is a unique opportunity to increase prosperity and opportunity for the region.”
Police trying to track stolen tanker
DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating the theft of a fuel tanker containing approximately 8,500 litres of diesel (4,000 litres of red diesel and 4,500 litres of white diesel).
The vehicle was taken from Tan Y Foel Quarry, Cefn Coch, Welshpool, between 5.30pm on Wednesday, May 23 and 6am on Thursday, May 24.
The police are asking people to see if the tanker is now in this area.
Anyone with information that can help officers with their investigation is asked to report it by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908, quoting Ref: DPP/0006/24/05/2018/01/C.
Reprogrammed virus offers hope as cancer treatment
A CANCER treatment that can completely destroy cancer cells without affecting healthy cells could soon be a possibility, thanks to research led by Cardiff University.
The team of researchers has successfully ‘trained’ a respiratory virus to recognise ovarian cancer and completely destroy it without infecting other cells. The reprogrammed virus could also be used to treat other cancers such as breast, pancreatic, lung and oral.
Dr Alan Parker from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine said: “Reprogrammed viruses are already being used in gene therapy procedures to treat a range of diseases, demonstrating they can be trained from being life-threatening into potentially lifesaving agents.
“In cancer treatment, up until now, reprogrammed viruses have not been able to selectively recognise only the cancer cells and would also infect healthy cells, resulting in unwanted side effects.
“We’ve taken a common, well-studied virus and completely redesigned it so that it can no longer attach to non-cancerous cells but instead seeks out a specific marker protein called αvβ6 integrin, which is unique to certain cancer cells, allowing it to invade them.
“In this case we introduced the reprogrammed virus to ovarian cancer which it successfully identified and destroyed.
“This is an exciting advance, offering real potential for patients with a variety of cancers.”
Once the virus enters the cancer cell it uses the cell’s machinery to replicate, producing many thousands of copies of itself, prior to bursting the cell and thereby destroying it in the process. The newly released viral copies can then bind and infect neighbouring cancer cells and repeat the same cycle, eventually removing the tumour mass altogether.
The virus also activates the body’s natural immune system, helping it to recognise and destroy the malignant cells.
The reprogrammed virus is from a group of respiratory viruses called adenoviruses. The advantage of using these viruses is that they are relatively easy to manipulate and have already been safely used in cancer treatment.
The technique used to reprogramme the virus to identify the protein common to ovarian, breast, pancreatic, lung and oral cancers could also be used to manipulate it so that it would recognise proteins common to other groups of cancers.
Additional refinement to the viral DNA could also allow the virus to produce anticancer drugs, such as antibodies, during the process of infecting cancer cells. This effectively turns the cancer into a factory producing drugs that will cause its own destruction.
The research was carried out in a laboratory, using mice with ovarian cancer, and has not yet reached clinical trials. The next step is to test the technique with other cancers, with a view to starting clinical trials in five years’ time.
Dr Catherine Pickworth from Cancer Research UK said: “It’s encouraging to see that this virus, which has been modified to recognise markers on cancer cells, has the ability to infect and kill ovarian cancer cells in the lab. Viruses are nature’s nanotechnology and harnessing their ability to hijack cells is an area of growing interest in cancer research.
“The next step will be more research to see if this could be a safe and effective strategy to use in people.”
The team includes researchers from Cardiff University; the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, USA; Glasgow University; the South West Wales Cancer Institute; and Velindre Cancer Centre.
The research was funded by Cancer Research UK, Tenovus Cancer Care and Cancer Research Wales.
The paper ‘Ad5NULL-A20 – a tropism-modified, αvβ6 integrin-selective oncolytic adenovirus for epithelial ovarian cancer therapies’ is published in Clinical Cancer Research.
Fly infestation sparks health fears
RESIDENTS in the New Dock area of Llanelli are ‘buzzing’ with anger as a result of a fly infestation which has been described as ‘absolute Hell’ by a local councillor.
Numerous causes have been suggested for the fly infestation, and Carmarthenshire County Council’s Environmental Health Department has visited the area this week.
Commenting on social media, one resident said: “There is nowhere in our home to sleep, eat or cook – the flies are everywhere.”
Glanymor County Councillor Louvain Roberts told The Herald that bungalows for OAPs in Stanley Street and Stanley Road were among the properties affected.
“The flies are absolutely everywhere and they’re huge. We had a problem last year but this year things have gone to extremes,” she remarked.
“We need some answers. This is affecting everyone including the young, old and vulnerable.”
Clos y Tafol residents Graham and Janet Tiencken said that the problem was putting their health at risk.
“Graham is currently on dialysis where he has to be aseptic for treatment,” Janet explained. “There’s no way he can be with the flies – how can he get treatment? We’ve all had enough now.
“I’ve even got footage on the problem and have had to buy so much equipment, it turns you off eating. I’ve purchased screens the lot. This is far from sanitary. We want answers, our health is seriously affected and it’s getting worse. Please help us.”
Town Councillor Sean Rees said: “Following a number of messages received from Glanymor residents about the fly infestation, I’ve asked for an update from public protection and environmental health. This is regarding current investigations being undertaken and whether the source of the problem has been identified yet. Something needs to be done. In the meantime, report flies publicprotection@
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