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Welsh business leaders back £1.7bn Blue Eden project

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Business leaders in Wales are giving their backing to the £1.7bn Blue Eden project that’s been announced for Swansea.

Katherine Bennett, Western Gateway Chair, and Ian Price, CBI Wales Director, say the project will create opportunities for sustainable growth, while helping accelerate a green recovery from the Covid pandemic in Wales.

The Blue Eden project, which includes a tidal lagoon, is being led by Bridgend-based DST Innovations and their business partners, with support from Swansea Council and Associated British Ports.

Made possible by funding from the private sector, Blue Eden will be delivered in three phases over 12 years.

The project also includes a manufacturing plant to make high-tech batteries for renewable energy storage, along with a battery storage facility to store renewable energy produced at Blue Eden and power the site.

A floating solar array will also feature, along with a data centre, an ocean and climate change research centre, residential waterfront homes and about 150 floating, highly energy-efficient eco-homes anchored in the water.

Blue Eden will create over 2,500 permanent jobs and support a further 16,000 jobs across Wales and the UK, while creating additional jobs during its construction.

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The lagoon element of the project will include state-of-the-art underwater turbines generating 320 megawatts of renewable energy from the 9.5km structure. 

Katherine Bennett CBE, Western Gateway Chair, said: “I am delighted to support the Blue Eden project in Swansea. It is an ambitious and innovative project that will benefit the Western Gateway area and create opportunities for sustainable growth.

“Our partnership is committed to using our combined strengths and skills on both sides of the Severn to unlock new job opportunities for local people whilst also finding solutions to decarbonise our economy.  Already home to a developing hydrogen ecosystem that stretches from Swansea to Swindon, we are leading the bid to bring the UK’s first prototype fusion plant to the Severn Edge site.

“I look forward to working with Swansea Council and the Blue Eden team to see how our powerhouse partnership can further support this project.”
Ian Price, CBI Wales Director, said: “The Blue Eden project is hugely welcome and will deliver a massive economic boost to Swansea and the wider Welsh economy.

“The CBI has long called for a green recovery from the pandemic and the steps being taken here, to bolster the renewables sector and deliver thousands of high-quality jobs, represent an excellent example of how to turn that vision into reality.”   

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Blue Eden will be sited along an extensive area of land and water, to the south of the Prince of Wales Dock in the SA1 area of Swansea.

All the project’s buildings and facilities, including the eco-homes, will be situated alongside the lagoon and will utilise and enhance the existing land in the area.

The energy generated by the lagoon and solar farm will be used on site, but there is also scope for 32% of it to be exported onto the grid for the benefit of local residents and businesses. The amount of green energy consumed by the Blue Eden development will also save a significant amount of energy being taken from the grid in future.

Subject to planning consent, Blue Eden work on site could start by early 2023.

(Lead image: DST Inspired by: Octatube)

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Swansea-based recycling business scoops national award

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Family-run business, Gavin Griffiths Recycling came out top at the Growing Business Awards 2021

This is the second award for the Swansea-based business this year, after the firm found success at the Swansea Bay Business Awards, picking up the Business of the Year 2021 award

The business describes itself as one of the region’s leading recycling, waste management, haulage and aggregate suppliers.

In a very competitive category at an awards ceremony to honour and reward the UK’s most entrepreneurial and high growth business, up against 1,400 other businesses in the category, Gavin Griffiths Recycling came out on top at the Growing Business Awards 2021.  

The firm said they were delighted to be announced B2B Business of the Year 2021 at the ceremony held at the Grosvenor Hotel in London. They described this latest award as further testimony to the hard work and determination that has seen the business accelerate its growth plans since its birth in 2005.

During the last 18 months, the group has opened its second site, a 40-acre inert recycling facility in Carmarthenshire, complimenting its existing mixed recycling facility in Swansea whilst delivering one of its largest and most prestigious contracts working on the Llangennech railway crash land remediation.  

The arrival of new staff, additional machinery, plant and 10 new trucks to support the expansion plans have also seen the continued investment into the business.

The company said that whilst keeping its values as a family business, they have continued their community and social values programme, supporting grassroots sports, individuals, schools, and charities across South and West Wales.

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Gavin Griffiths, Group Managing Director commented: “I was very honoured to see us make the final of such a prestigious national award, but when our name was read out as the winner, I was extremely proud of what we have achieved as a team. I would like thank the whole team, as well as every one of our customers, suppliers and stakeholders for supporting us on our journey so far. 

“This recognition is phenomenal, we are so grateful and humbled to have been chosen from so many other amazing throughout the UK. We have some exciting developments on the horizon that will see us pioneer and lead the way in the recycling market. To win two awards in one year, really shows how we have kept our family ethos and worked hard to serve our customers across the whole business.”

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Swansea named the best city in Wales to buy pre-loved presents

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close up shot of a person wrapping a gift box

Sustainable e-tailer Bower Collective’s latest study finds the UK’s top places to buy second-hand gifts this Christmas

As much as £42m worth of Christmas gifts are unwanted (and sent to landfill) each year. To break the taboo around second-hand gifting this festive season, Bower Collective have released a study looking at the number of vintage stores, second-hand shops and vintage and second-hand events per capita across UK towns and cities to find the top places to find pre-loved presents.

Considering all factors, the study found Swansea is the “thrifty-gifting” capital of Wales. Elsewhere in Wales, Wrexham has the most second-hand shops per capita. The Welsh town has 34 second-hand shops per 10,000 people, the most per capita in the UK. Newport has the 4th most second-hand shops per capita, with 38 to offer.

The data for the four major cities can be found below:

LocationOverall rank in WalesNo. of vintage stores (rank per capita)No. of second-hand shops (rank per capita)No. of recent second-hand events (rank per capita)
Swansea1st16th18th47th
Newport2nd30th4th51st
Wrexham3rd49th1st41st
Cardiff4th17th41st44th

The study also researched the search volume of each city for sustainable and second-hand shopping terms like ‘sustainable gifts’, ‘charity shops’ and ‘vintage kilo sale’. Per capita, Cardiff searches the most for relevant terms in Wales. However they also found that searches in Swansea increased by 528% in the past year alone, the biggest one year growth in Wales and the UK overall.

Overall across the UK, Norwich, Worthing, Newcastle and Worcester are the best places to buy a pre-loved present. From looking at Google search trends, the study also found that Brits are searching for ‘sustainable gifts’ 988% more than they were three years ago. Searches for ‘Vintage Kilo Sale’ also rose by 167% and ‘charity shops’ searches went up by 95%.

Norwich, Norfolk featured in the top 10 for all factors, and also ranked top for the most vintage shops per capita, with 28 to choose between. The next best cities to go vintage shopping are Carlisle and Brighton.

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The city with the most second-hand events (like vintage kilo sales and table-top sales) is Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. For this festive season, residents of the city have over 30 events to get stuck into. The next places hosting the most second-hand events were Lincoln and Worcester.

The study can also reveal the most ‘thrifty gift’ winners of each UK Nation. Derry in Northern Ireland is the best place to buy pre-loved presents on the Emerald Isle, and considering its smaller size, Derry ranked 4th in the study for the number of vintage shops per capita – with 8 to purchase from. Glasgow is the ‘thrifty gifting’ capital of Scotland, and ranks 5th in the study overall. Glasgow also has the 6th most vintage shops per. capita in the UK – with 44 to explore.

The study was also supplemented with research into the UK’s changing search trends for sustainable and second-hand gift giving. The data found that those in Bath, Edinburgh and Oxford are searching the most for second-hand and sustainable gift giving search terms per capita.

However, since 2020 Swansea has seen the biggest one-year increase in relevant search terms (up by 528%). Milton Keynes (with an increase of 146%) and Woking (with an increase of 134%) were the next cities with the biggest growth of interest in shopping more climate-conciously.

(Lead image: EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA / Pexels.com)

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No printer? No problem! Royal Mail will now bring labels and collect your parcel from your door

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The move enables customers without a printer to feel the benefit of Parcel Collect, where posties collect parcels for delivery while carrying out their delivery round.

The plans to deliver pre-printed labels are also aimed at bringing even more convenience to customers who are increasingly time-poor and may not want to leave home to drop off a parcel or wait in queues – especially during the cold winter months. As the festive season approaches, it promises to be one of the most convenient ways to post presents this Christmas.

Under Parcel Collect, customers arrange for their postie to collect their parcel from their doorstep. Customers using the service simply have to book a collection online (https://www.royalmail.com/collection) then signal whether they would like to order a self-adhesive, pre-printed postage label to affix to their parcel*. As part of the service, postmen and postwomen will collect a parcel from the customer’s door or nominated safe place.

Through Parcel Collect, Royal Mail collects from customers at their doorstep as part of our postmen and women’s daily round, which means no additional vehicles on the road resulting in fewer additional emissions and less congestion. With the UK’s largest “Feet on the Street” network of over 85,000 postmen and women, Royal Mail already has the lowest reported CO2e emissions per parcel amongst major UK delivery companies. 

As well as offering even higher levels of convenience, Parcel Collect enables online sellers and online shoppers to mail or return a pre-paid item by post from the comfort of their own home. Parcel Collect is available six days a week and can be booked up to five days in advance and up to midnight the day before. Parcel Collect is currently priced at 60p per item, inclusive of VAT, in addition to postage costs.

Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer at Royal Mail, said: “Every day our posties walk past every house in the country at about the same time. People know when their postie is going to deliver and now they can send or return parcels at the same time. If people aren’t going to be in, they can leave their item in a safe place for our postie to collect it and now if they don’t have a printer at home, they can ask their postie to bring the label with them. How convenient is that! As the nights continue to draw in and the weather gets worse, why go out when you can stay safe and warm and leave the hard work to your friendly local postie. And even better, many of our deliveries and collections are carried out by posties who walk their rounds – the greenest way to send and return.”

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The nationwide launch of label-less collections follows a trial of the service in four areas of the UK earlier in the year.

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