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Carmarthenshire

Green light for multi-million pound Homes as Power Stations project

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Homes as Power Stations will facilitate the take up of energy efficient design and technologies in thousands of homes throughout South West Wales as part of a pioneering multi-million pound project.

The UK Government and Welsh Government have now approved the Swansea Bay City Deal’s Homes as Power Stations project, which will benefit residents and businesses in Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea.

Led by Neath Port Talbot Council, this £505 million project aims to help thousands of people save money on their energy bills, further contributing to cutting carbon emissions in the Swansea Bay City Region.

The project will work with Registered Social Landlords, private developers and other partners to use energy efficient design and technologies to retrofit 7,000 homes throughout the City Region as part of the project, with a further 3,300 new build homes also set to benefit.

The green light from both governments means Homes as Power Stations can now start drawing down on a £15 million Swansea Bay City Deal investment.

Solar panels installed at one of housing association Pobl’s homes in Penplas, Swansea (Image: Pobl)

Next steps will include the setting-up of a dedicated project team, along with a targeted regional financial incentives fund and a regional supply chain development fund. An open access knowledge sharing hub will also be developed to share learning across the region.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Chair of the of the City Deal Joint Committee said: “It’s great that another City Deal project in our £1.3bn portfolio has received full approval and will now enter the delivery phase.
“Especially as the technology delivered as part of the Homes as Power Stations project could help lower the fuel bills for many residents across South West Wales, with added health and well-being benefits aimed at reducing burden on the NHS and our social care providers”.

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Cllr Edward Latham, Neath Port Talbot Council Leader, said: “This pioneering project also complements Neath Port Talbot Council’s Decarbonisation and Renewable Energy Strategy (DARE), while forming part of a regional response to the Welsh Government’s declaration of a climate change emergency in 2019.

“The intention is to initially prove the Homes as Power Stations concept within the public sector at a relatively small scale before ramping up activity in other sectors. This will demonstrate the viability of the concept to the rest of Wales and the UK, helping create a new industry in the Swansea Bay City Region.

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“As the region emerges from Covid-19, the project’s focus on regional supply chain businesses will also help accelerate our economic recovery from the pandemic in a green and sustainable way, in combination with many other projects across South West Wales that are now moving into delivery.

“The City Deal investment will also enable detailed monitoring and evaluation of the energy efficiency technologies being introduced, with remaining project funding coming from the private sector and other public sector programmes.”

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Welsh Government’s Minister for Economy, Vaughan Gething MS, said: “Perhaps the most important commitments in our recently published programme for Government is to embed Wales’ response to the climate and nature emergency in everything we do. This is a transformation which can start in our local communities, with a focus on locally-generated renewable energy and avoiding waste.

“It’s important we are able to do so in a way which supports people and jobs; this project will not only tackle fuel poverty by helping residents save money on their energy bills, but also be of enormous benefit to the local supply chain.”

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Wales Office Minister David TC Davies said: “Delivering transformational projects across Wales is a priority for the UK Government and is why we have backed growth deals covering every part of the country.

“This project will make a positive difference to thousands of people across South West Wales as well as contributing towards our drive to net zero by 2050. Growth Deals are unleashing the potential of all areas of Wales as well as getting the economy moving as we emerge from the pandemic.”

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The Homes as Power Stations project is aligned to several other City Deal projects, including digital infrastructure, skills and talent, and supporting innovation and low carbon growth. The project is also aligned to the work of the Active Building Centre at Swansea University, which is the UK centre of excellence for transforming construction, and it builds upon the Active Buildings design concept pioneered by Swansea University’s SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre.

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The Swansea Bay City Deal is an investment of up to £1.3 billion in a portfolio of nine major programmes and projects across the Swansea Bay City Region, which are together worth over £1.8 billion and 9,000 jobs to the region’s economy in coming years.

Funded by the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the public sector and the private sector, the City Deal is being led by Carmarthenshire Council, Neath Port Talbot Council, Pembrokeshire Council and Swansea Council, in partnership with Swansea University, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea Bay University Health Board and Hywel Dda University Health Board.

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Ammanford

Man who filmed rape on Ammanford victim’s phone changes plea mid trial

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A man who filmed himself raping an Ammanford woman on his victim’s phone has changed his plea to guilty midway through his trial.

Cameron Hassan, aged 31, of no fixed abode, attacked the woman, raping her as she slept on 21 August 2021.

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Hassan had been on trial at Swansea Crown Court after denying any wrongdoing. However, after the jury was shown the video of the attack and hearing the victim was going to give evidence yesterday (Tuesday, 10 May), Hassan changed his plea to guilty.

Investigating Officer DC Sophie Lambert from Dyfed Powys Police said the victim had shown great strength and determination throughout the investigation.

“I must commend her tremendous courage in coming forward and the tenacity shown throughout the investigation,” she said.

“We hope this case demonstrates that Dyfed-Powys Police acts on serious allegations such as rape and sexual assault with officers working tirelessly to secure justice for victims.

“If you are suffering because of similar abuse, please contact the police, or if you would rather speak to someone in confidence, New Pathways are an independent charity that will support you through every step of the investigation.”

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New Pathways can be contacted at 01685 379 310 or email enquiries@newpathways.org.uk

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Carmarthenshire

Women’s Tour of Britain returns to Carmarthenshire

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The countdown is on before the world’s top women riders will race through Carmarthenshire as part of the Women’s Tour of Britain.

Some 108 cyclists will race through the County to the finishing line on top of the Black Mountain between Llangadog and Brynamman as part of the stage five event on Friday, June 10.

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The route will be starting from Pembrey Country Park at 10.45am and riders competing for the title will go through Pinged, Carway, Pontyberem, Horeb, Llansawel, and Llangadog.

A rolling road closure will take place along the 65-mile route which will come into action at 10.45am until 1.50pm.

Roads will be re-opened once the cyclists have passed through. A full road closure will be in place over the Black Mountain from 5am-5pm.

The event will be broadcast on ITV4 and across Europe with a helicopter camera crew following the race.

The Women’s Tour departs on Monday, June 6, and coincides with the final day of a four-day Bank Holiday weekend in the UK to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. The race will culminate with a prestigious finale six days later on Saturday, June 11.

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Pembrey Country Park previously hosted the Grand Départ of the men’s Tour of Britain as well as the overall finish of the Women’s Tour in 2019.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Chief Executive, Wendy Walters said: “We are thrilled that we have again been chosen to host this top cycling event. Previous years have brought an immediate economic boost to the tourism sector as well as providing a great deal of positive media coverage.”

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

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A man from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to the River Loughor, near Llanelli to fish using a barbaric and illegal method, has been banned from driving for 12 months as part of his sentence.

Vu Quang Tien pleaded guilty to an illegal fishing charge and also to a charge of obstruction of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Fisheries Enforcement Officer on 26 April at Swansea Magistrates Court.

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Mr Tien and two other anglers were witnessed by NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers deliberately using the illegal foul hooking method of fishing – also known as snatching – at the river Loughor on 15 August 2021. NRW officers attended the site after several reports of illegal fishing were made to NRW’s 24/7 incident call centre by concerned members of the community.

When approached and questioned by NRW officers, Mr Tien and his accomplices showed significant hostility and reluctance to share identification documents which eventually had to be extracted by use of reasonable force.

All of Mr Tien’s fishing tackle and fish, along with his associates’ fishing tackle was seized by NRW Officers at the time of the incident. The district judge on the day at Swansea Magistrates Court gave permission to NRW to confiscate these items permanently from each of them.

The District Judge disqualified Mr Tien from driving for 12 months due to seriousness of the incident, and the premeditated and deliberate action of travelling such a distance to commit the offence.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,334 in fines, NRW costs and a victim surcharge.

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Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “We would like to again thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.

“Foul hooking is a truly barbaric form of fishing carried out by a small minority of anglers in Wales, who have no regard for fish welfare.

“NRW and the Police take these incidents seriously as do the courts.

“Hopefully, the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines and driving ban in this case issued by the courts.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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