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Contract awarded for ‘largest UK energy retrofit of its kind’ at 650 housing association properties in Penderi

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As rising energy prices make headlines in the UK, an energy retrofit scheme hailed as the largest ever of its kind in the UK has taken a step closer to realisation following the appointment of Everwarm as lead contractor on the project.

The company will oversee the installation of state-of-the art renewable energy generation, energy storage and smart energy management technology in almost 650 homes in the Swansea community of Penderi.

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It is anticipated that the community will generate as much as 60 per cent of their total electricity requirements, protecting against the impact of future energy price increases, improving resident comfort and well-being, as well as reducing carbon emissions by as much 350 tonnes per year.

The homes are owned and managed by Pobl Group, Wales’ largest provider of affordable housing, who have partnered with renewable energy tech and service supplier, Sero.

The innovative scheme is supported by £3.5m EU funds from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Welsh Government, and is seen as a stepping-stone to a wider investment into the Penderi area that will have a positive impact across the entire community.

Scott Paton, Operations Director, Everwarm said: “Here at Everwarm, we’re delighted to have such a driving role in the Penderi energy initiative. It’s a programme that’ll empower the Penderi community and give residents a greater control over their energy efficiency and household costs. We’re looking forward to working alongside Pobl, Sero and local residents to drive forward energy efficiency and develop the opportunities within your community. Together we can make a brighter future for Penderi.”

Everwarm are one the UK’s leading energy services and regeneration companies offering all forms of renewables solutions, insulation, heating, and regeneration services. Part of the Sureserve Group offering additions compliance services throughout the UK from 23 offices, the company has delivered over 300,000 energy services measures since 2010.

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Solitaire Pritchard, Director of Regeneration, Pobl Group said: “More than ever, rising fuel prices is a very real issue, along with climate change, and we must be innovative in how we tackle this crisis. We are delighted to confirm the appointment of Everwarm as lead contractor on the Penderi energy project and are looking forward to them commencing work on a scheme that will tackle the challenge head on, transforming our homes in the community, making them more environmentally and financially sustainable for the future.”

James Williams, co-founder and CEO of Sero said: “As a result of the energy crisis and in the lead up to COP26, the spotlight is now firmly focused on the role our homes need to play in helping tackle the climate emergency. The Penderi scheme will demonstrate how we can significantly improve existing homes, at a community scale, to improve comfort and well-being, protect against future energy price hikes, whilst also reducing carbon to work towards hitting net zero.   The project will also demonstrate new methods of socialisation of renewable energy benefits across the community, ensuring that all residents benefit from the distributed community generation.”

Everwarm will utilise local skills for the project wherever possible and, in particular, are looking to recruit Solar PV and battery storage installers. Anyone interested in learning more about the project should contact enquiries@everwarmgroup.com or to apply to work as part of the team email recruitment@everwarmgroup.com.

Homes in Penderi (Image: Google Maps)

ABOUT THE PENDERI ENERGY PROJECT

Homes in Penderi are be fitted with individual or communal batteries that will harness power generated via linked solar panels, fitted to most homes in the community, so that renewable energy is generated and can be stored for subsequent use by the community.  The project will address inequality in energy generation from different roof and therefore solar panel design and orientations, by ensuring that all residents benefit from the energy generated by the community regardless of individual location.

Homes will also have new smart technology and intelligent energy controls, managed through Sero’s digital app, to deliver energy bill savings for residents while also balancing demand from the grid so that stored energy is used at the most expensive times.

The Penderi community will also benefit from large scale infrastructure upgrades, due to Western Power Distribution using this project as its national pilot to trial the positive effects on local grid infrastructure of renewable energy supplies and storage that are intelligently managed through trusted systems installed in people’s homes.

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(Lead image: Pobl)

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Environment

Cadle Heath is alive with the sound of critters

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From endangered bats to moths, beetles and unusual critters, a Swansea suburb is giving locals an opportunity to discover exactly what’s living on their doorstep.

The Cadle Heath BioBlitz event funded by the Swansea Nature Partnership on Saturday, May 14, is a day packed with scavenger hunts, guided walks, opportunities to learn about the wildflowers, bugs birds, reptiles and mammals and help to gather important nature data by recording the unusual species living in this urban heath.

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This nature reserve is one of Swansea’s best kept secrets and stretches from behind Swansea Community Farm on Carmarthen Road, to popular shopping-destination, Pontarddulais Road Retail Park.

The event, which is organised by Swansea Community Farm, South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre and Penderi Green Regeneration project, will take place between 10am and 3pm at the farm. Followed by a bat walk at 8.30pm, giving people the chance to listen for the elusive, red-listed, Lesser Horseshoe Bat in its natural habitat.

Kate McCabe from Pobl, leading on the Penderi Green Regeneration Project, said: “This is an exciting event for us. Cadle Heath is one of the best examples of urban heathland in the country and we are proud to have such a rich, exciting space for nature in the heart of Swansea’s Penderi region. The fact that the heath is home to a red-listed bat species is something we should be really proud of and something we should protect and celebrate.”

“Cadle is in such a highly populated part of Swansea that it is often overlooked, and people don’t often realise the hidden haven that exists for local wildlife. This family-friendly event will really bring the area to life, giving people a unique opportunity to really explore the area with the guidance of passionate scientists and nature experts.”

Katharine Aylett, from Swansea Community Farm, said: “We are proud to be hosting such an important and exciting event for the area, and to be partners of Pobl’s Penderi Green Regeneration Project. At Swansea Community Farm, we know the positive effect activities like this have on the community and local wildlife; it’s about raising awareness of the natural world and bringing people together, outdoors. 

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“The Penderi Green Regeneration Project itself, is vital to the area and is already having a clear impact on this part of Swansea. We’re looking forward to working with them on future events and initiatives.”

The Penderi Green Regeneration Project is an initiative to support local people in their desire to improve green spaces in their area which will help boost health and wellbeing. Through a series of physical and educational opportunities, the initiative will bring the wider neighbourhood together to regenerate green spaces in the Penderi area of Swansea.

Funded by UK Government, under the Community Renewal Fund (CRF), Pobl Group is able to deliver the Project with the help of key partners, Swansea Environment Centre, Room To Grow and the Conservation Team at Swansea Council.

For more information on the free event, visit: www.swanseacommunityfarm.org.uk

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Environment

First Minister celebrates 10 years of the Wales Coast Path

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The First Minister will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Wales Coast Path with a visit to meet volunteers and walkers.

A year long programme of events and activities celebrating the Wales Coast Path will take place throughout 2022, including walking festivals, virtual challenges and art installations.

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Since its opening in 2012, the Wales Coast Path has established itself as a beacon of our nation’s natural beauty.

The 870 mile path guides walkers along Wales’ picturesque coastline, weaving its way past a hundred beaches and sixteen castles.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The coastal path is one of the crowning glories of Wales and one of the proudest achievements of devolution.

“I would like to thank all those involved in the management of the path. Particularly the staff and volunteers, who are out in all weathers, working hard to maintain the path to such high standards.

“If I had to choose my favourite stretch of the path, the portion between Pendine and Amroth would be a candidate: starting in my own home county of Carmarthenshire, and ending in Pembrokeshire. It may not be the most well-known part of the path, but it offers huge variety: some challenging climbs, outstanding variety of flowers, secret coves and plenty of historical interest”.

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The Welsh Government will build on the successes of the first ten years so that more people are able to enjoy the path, from more backgrounds, more easily, and with more benefits for local communities, businesses and the environment.

The Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters MS, asked Huw Irranca-Davies, MS for Ogmore to undertake a review of the Wales Coast Path.

A small group, drawn from academia and the public, private and voluntary sectors was established to undertake the review.

The Group reflected on the key achievements over the last decade and identified how to maximise opportunities for the future.

Their report has been published on the Welsh Government website today (11 May).

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The review recognises the potential value and challenges of the Wales Coast Path. It contains 19 recommendations for the Welsh Government to consider when developing its future strategic approach to the path.

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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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