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New fisheries protection vessels named

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New Fisheries Protection Vessel: Being built in Pembroke Dock

​THE CABINET SECRETARY for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, announced the names of the new Welsh Government fisheries protection vessels.

The Cabinet Secretary visited Mainstay Marine Solutions at Pembroke Dock on Monday (Jan 22) to see the building work currently underway on two of the new vessels built and manufactured in Wales.

The company is delivering high quality boat manufacturing products through a highly committed and locally skilled Pembrokeshire workforce.

During the visit, the Cabinet Secretary also unveiled the new Welsh Government Marine enforcement ensign, which in collaboration with the Garter Principal King of Arms has been designed and manufactured at Welsh social enterprise company, Red Dragon flag-makers in Swansea.

The Cabinet Secretary announced two larger patrol vessels, built by Mainstay Marine Solutions, will be named the FPV Rhodri Morgan and the FPV Lady Megan, with two smaller enforcement RIB’s named the FPV Gwenllian and the FPV Siwan.

A Cabin RIB patrol vessel, built by MST Ltd which is very close to completion, will be named FPV Catrin. The FPV Catrin will undertake sea trials later this month and will be expected to be in operational service early this year.

The FPV Rhodri Morgan and FPV Lady Megan are expected to be in operational service by late autumn this year.

The new vessels will replace the current ageing boats, to effectively protect from illegal fishing activity in Welsh waters and safeguard Wales’ fishing industry and coastal communities in the years ahead.

Lesley Griffiths said: “Our new patrol vessels will ensure we can continue to effectively enforce fisheries and marine laws around the seas of Wales and help ensure we meet our commitment to manage our fish stocks sustainably. They will also help safeguard Wales’ fishing industry and our coastal communities in the years ahead.

“I am delighted to announce the names of the new vessels and to see first-hand the considerable progress that Mainstay Marine has achieved in building two of our new Fisheries Patrol Vessels for Wales.”

Stewart Graves, Managing Director of Mainstay Marine Solutions​,​ said: “We are delighted with the progress of the builds so far. Our design, build and project management teams are enthusiastically engaged in ensuring we deliver a high-quality Welsh product on time and in budget.”

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£3.8m to upgrade local gas network

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WALES & WEST UTILITIES says it is continuing its work to upgrade the gas pipes supplying homes and businesses across west Wales and has announced a £3.8 million investment programme for 2021.

The work, which will see 19km of gas pipe upgraded, not only keeps the gas flowing safely today, it also prepares the gas network to transport green gases like hydrogen and biomethane. Converting the existing safe and reliable gas network to run on green gas will help communities across Wales and south west England play their part in a green future and getting the UK to Net Zero.

Rob Long, Wales & West Utilities Chief Operating Officer, said: “While most of the gas network is underground and out of sight, it plays a central role in the daily lives of people across west Wales. Whether it’s heating your home, making the family dinner or having a hot bath, we understand how important it is for your gas supply to be safe and reliable and there when you need it.

“Our investment in local communities is essential to keep the gas flowing to local homes and businesses today, and to make sure the gas network is ready to transport hydrogen and biomethane, so we can all play our part in a green future.

“And it will make sure that we continue to support communities through Coronavirus, keeping the gas flowing so local people are safe and warm.”

Wales & West Utilities look after the pipes that keep the gas flowing to heat the homes and power businesses of 7.5m people across Wales and south west England. They operate the gas emergency service, connect new homes and businesses, and upgrade the gas network so it’s safe today and fit for a green future.

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Wales is moving in the right direction to ease coronavirus restrictions

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THE NUMBER of coronavirus patients being treated in Welsh hospitals is at the lowest for three months, Wales’ Health Minister Vaughan Gething has revealed at a briefing today (Feb 8).

The R number is below one, it was confirmed – the most recent estimate from SAGE is that R is between 0.7 and 0.9 in Wales.

He also confirmed that the latest figures show the testing positivity rate has fallen in Wales below 10%, which means Wales could soon be moving is from alert level 4 to alert level 3.

Mr Gething said: “There are some encouraging signs that the number of people needing hospital treatment for coronavirus is starting to fall.

“The number of people with confirmed Covid in our hospitals is at the lowest since 8 November and we have also seen a reduction in the number of people with coronavirus needing intensive care.

“Overall, we are seeing cases of coronavirus fall. Monday’s figures show there are around 115 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 people in Wales.

“But this varies widely across Wales.

In Wrexham, rates are above 220 cases per 100,000 people, although this is falling. In Ceredigion, the rate has risen over the last seven days to 56 cases per 100,000 people. “The positivity rate – this is the percentage of tests, which return a positive result every day – is also falling. It now stands at just below 10%.

“This is still high, but it’s a lot lower than the very high rates we were seeing before Christmas, when we had overall rates of more than 650 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 people and a positivity rate of more than 25%.”

BAM communities hesitant to get vaccines

Concerns have been growing in recent weeks about an apparent hesitancy from some people in black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) communities to have the Covid-19 vaccine. Which is why Mr Gething also told the briefing that work was being done to counter some of the misinformation about the vaccine, which is common among some groups and communities.

He said that Welsh Government was closely monitoring vaccine uptake to make sure there are no barriers to take-up.

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Aberaeron takeaway closed for ignoring coronavirus restrictions

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A Premises Closure Notice has been issued to Paradise Pizza, Regent Street, Aberaeron due to repeated non-compliance with the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No.5) (Wales) Regulations 2020.

The business was issued with a premises improvement notice on 15th January 2021. It was required to take reasonable measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including the need to ensure that staff use personal protective equipment and face coverings. However, officers have since witnessed staff failing to wear face coverings on multiple occasions in contravention of their advice.

Monitoring inspections have shown that the majority of Ceredigion‘s retail premises are complying with the restrictions placed on them during the pandemic. Ceredigion County Council’s Public Protection team will continue to take action against businesses who fail to comply with the coronavirus restrictions. Whilst non-compliant businesses will usually receive advice and guidance, serious or persistent breaches will be dealt with by means of closure powers, fixed penalty notices or prosecution.

This takeaway must remain closed for 28 days, or until Public Protection officers are satisfied that the alleged non-compliance has been addressed.

Premises improvement and closure notices are required to be published by law.

The full closure notice can be found on Ceredigion County Council’s website, under Improvement and Closure Notices: http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/resident/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-improvement-closure-and-direction-notices/

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