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Onshore wind industry contributes over £799m

Thomas Sinclair

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Renewable energy generation: Carno Wind Farm (Pic: Oliver Dixon)

Renewable energy generation: Carno Wind Farm (Pic: Oliver Dixon)

WALES gains over £799 million of economic benefit from its local onshore wind industry, according to new figures released by RenewableUK. Of that, benefits to the value of £33 million go directly into the local community as a result of installed onshore wind capacity in the area.

Wales has an excellent natural resource and 559 megawatts (MW) of installed onshore wind. The region will receive a substantial £799 million in economic benefit from the installed onshore wind farms over their lifetime. This represents environmental benefits of 541,992 tonnes of CO2 reduced per year due to onshore wind installed in Wales alone.

Mid Wales has the highest installed onshore wind capacity in Wales, at just under 300MW. The next highest area is South Wales with 176MW of onshore wind capacity installed.

There are a number of firms active in the area ranging from independent onshore developers to component manufacturers and companies providing steels for wind turbines, including West Coast Energy, Jones Brothers, Prysmian and Dulas Ltd.

The figures form part of a report, undertaken by BiGGAR Economics for RenewableUK, which shows that the economic benefits of developing onshore wind are strongly felt across the UK, with the onshore wind industry generating a total £906 million in gross value added (GVA) revenue to the UK economy in 2014 alone. Since the beginning of 2012, GVA has risen by £358 million (up 65%) – revealing the increasing contribution that the onshore wind industry and its supply chain makes to the UK economy.

The largest percentage of local spend comes at the operations and maintenance stage with 42% of the value of contracts (compared to 29% in 2011) being spent in the local area. On a wider level, almost half of the total spend is retained in the region in which a wind farm is located (48%), with this highest at the development stage (59%) and operation and maintenance (58%).

For businesses, investors and other regional stakeholders looking to find out more about the economic impact onshore wind has in their area, RenewableUK has created factsheets outlining the findings for each region: http://www.renewableuk.com/en/ publications/index.cfm.

Dale Hart, Managing Director of Welsh developer Pennant Walters said: “We are committed to maximising and promoting local supply chain and employment opportunities and, on average, 27% of the economic benefits of onshore wind are enjoyed in the local authority area around each project. It’s also gratifying to see the report show that local level of content has increased in each stage of wind farm development between 2011 and 2014, reflecting our industry’s commitment to ensure benefits are spent locally.”

RenewableUK’s Chief Executive, Maria McCaffery, said, “The British onshore wind energy industry is adding £906 million a year to the national economy, so the benefits to the UK are clear to see. This report also shows that onshore wind really does bring benefits to the UK – with £7 in every £10 spent on projects invested in the UK. Onshore wind powers local economies, bringing £199 million of investment into local areas where communities host wind farms, and creating jobs across the supply chain. The industry is helping to propel Britain to a brighter, cleaner future – onshore wind is already the lowest cost of all low carbon options, with potential to be the least cost form of electricity within the next five years.

Yet onshore wind farms are under threat from misguided Tory and UKIP policies aimed at stifling their development, despite being the rational economic choice and having consistently high levels of public support.”

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Four charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs

Carli Newell

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FOUR people have been arrested and charged as part of an investigation into an organised crime gang supplying class A drugs from London to Aberystwyth, Llanelli and Swansea.

Dyfed-Powys Police, with support from The Met Police, carried out warrants at four addresses on July 21, resulting in four arrests.

Mohammed Osman, aged 23, Yonis Mohammed, aged 20, Salman Mohamoud, aged 23 – all from Islington – and Amy Simmons, aged 21, from Dulwich were charged with a total of 12 offences:

  • Mohammed Osman: Two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine,
  • Yonis Mohammed: Two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine.
  • Salman Mohamoud: Conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine
  • Amy Simmons: Conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine.

All four appeared at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Friday, July 23, where they were remanded in custody. They are due to appear at Swansea Crown Court for their next hearing on August 20.

The investigation is being carried out by the Ceredigion Serious and Organised Crime Team, Aberystwyth CID and the Operation Orochi command of the Met Police.

Detective Sergeant Steve Jones said: “These four arrests and charges are the result of a coordinated approach to target an organised crime gang we believe is running a county lines operation into the Dyfed-Powys Police force area.

“We will continue to work diligently to disrupt gangs of this kind, to prevent the supply of illegal substances into our community.

“I would like to thank all officers involved, as well as the Met Police for their part in the operation.”

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New children’s play area in Bryn as part of new council housing development

Carli Newell

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A NEW children’s play area has opened in time for the summer holidays in Bryn, Llanelli as part of a new £5.9million council housing development.

Carmarthenshire County Council is building 32 new homes on land close to the Dylan housing estate in Bryn.

The scheme will be made up of 22 two-bedroom homes, four two-bedroom bungalows and six four-bedroom homes and is part of the council’s ongoing drive to deliver more affordable homes across the county. It has been part funded through the Welsh Government’s Affordable Housing Grant.

The development also includes a new children’s play area, funded by the council in partnership with Llanelli Rural Council, which will take over the running and maintenance of the play area on completion.

Executive Board Member for Housing Cllr Linda Evans said: “I am delighted the park has been completed in time for the summer holidays for the local children to enjoy.

“We are committed to delivering more affordable housing across Carmarthenshire and this development will benefit dozens of families in Llanelli, as well as proving much needed facilities for the local community.

“I would like to thank the rural council for collaborating with this us on this and I hope the children are thrilled with it.”

Before designing the play area, the rural council liaised with local schoolchildren to find out what play equipment they wanted at their new park.

Llanelli Rural Council Chairman Cllr Tegwen Devichand said: “The council is delighted to be working in partnership with Carmarthenshire County Council to provide this wonderful new play area for the community.

“The opening of the play area couldn’t have been better timed to coincide with the school holidays. I hope the local children will enjoy the range of challenging play equipment on offer and that they have lots of fun using it over the summer.”

The housing development is due to be completed by the beginning of 2022.

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Burry Port Harbour lighthouse overhaul tops council’s £2million investment

Carli Newell

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A £2MILLION investment in Burry Port Harbour is nearing completion, topped off with the iconic lighthouse getting a fresh lick of paint.

Carmarthenshire County Council is behind a range of improvements to maintain and restore the historic harbour which is one of the county’s most loved and well visited beauty spots.

Restoration of the Grade II listed harbour walls, undertaken under the guidance of CADW, will conclude within the next few weeks.

The council has also been working alongside The Marine Group, which operates the harbour, to improve mooring facilities. They are working closely with fishermen to bid for funding for new commercial pontoon infrastructure.

It will add to investment made over previous years which saw the council spend almost £1.5million on new pontoons, and over £300,000 in maintaining the harbour railings and bridge.

A local operator has agreed a lease for a cafe and public toilets on east side of Harbour, and the refurbishment of the old RNLI harbour office has recently started by The Marine Group (TMG) to create a harbour-side coffee house.

TMG has also invested in a state-of-the-art dredger which arrived at the harbour last autumn. Dredging is well underway and will continue until targeted depths are reached.

Boat lifting equipment and new fuelling points are also planned.

The council has introduced community safety officers to patrol the harbour assisting tourists and local people during the summer months, especially to advise around Covid regulations, as part of a tourism hotspot plan to take care of issues such as parking, litter, street cleansing, enforcement and signage.

Temporary car parking surfacing has also been laid on the east side along with new pay and display facilities ahead of a wider multi-million regeneration plan that will transform the harbour with a mix of housing, commercial and leisure space covering around 13 acres of prime development site.

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “We are proud of our continued investment in Burry Port Harbour. We are spending millions restoring and maintaining historic features that are much-loved by local people and visitors who come from far and wide to enjoy what the harbour has to offer.

“We continue to work closely alongside The Marine Group and Pembrey and Burry Port Town Council to plan and prioritise works and ongoing maintenance. We are as keen as everyone else to ensure it is well-maintained and continues to be a place people can enjoy.

“We appreciate that there has been some upheaval during these improvement works but we ask people to understand that our investment will make Burry Port Harbour an even better place for the future.”

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