Senedd Member Julie James has been to see first-hand the work being done in Pembrokeshire to protect our coastline and support Wales’ transition to Net Zero.
The Welsh Government Minister for Climate Change James was invited to Pembroke Dock to meet members of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum team, a community interest company set up to support sustainable development and to preserve coastal and marine environments for future generations.
As part of her visit, the minister was taken on a boat tour around the Milford Haven Waterway and visited sites within the Marine Energy Test Area, a project managed by Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum.
The Marine Energy Test Area (META) offers energy developers the chance to test wave energy, tidal energy, and floating offshore wind devices in pre-consented, real sea conditions and is the first and only facility of its kind in Wales.
Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum was set up in 1996 as an independent body after the Sea Empress disaster, which saw 72,000 tonnes of oil spilled into Pembrokeshire waters. The tragic event highlighted the need to address issues facing the coastline and coastal communities in Wales.
As a stakeholder support organisation, the forum prides itself on being able to connect communities, businesses, organisations and decision-makers, several of whom were present at Thursday’s event.
Working to reduce the impact of climate change is a priority for the forum, which runs several pioneering initiatives around outdoor health, sustainable recreation, climate adaptation, wildlife protection and education.
Jetske Germing, Managing Director of Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum said: “We were delighted to welcome the Minister for Climate Change to Pembrokeshire this week to meet the team and some of our key partners in person.
“Coastal communities in Pembrokeshire are on the frontline of a changing climate and growing pressures on natural resources; solutions require a dynamic, independent coastal platform to bring the relevant people together.
“PCF’s work contributes directly to the Welsh Government’s sustainability and climate change goals and legislation, including the Net Zero Wales plan and the UK’s commitment to cut emissions and reach Net Zero by 2050. It’s fantastic to be able to show the minister first-hand the vitally important work that goes on here and around the county every day.”
As well as meeting members of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum team, Thursday’s visit was also an opportunity for the minister to meet some of the forum’s key partners and stakeholders from the community.
Guests included members of the Pembrokeshire Local Nature Partnership, representatives from the Outdoor Charter Group Partnership, the Port of Milford Haven and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority. Floating offshore wind project developers Blue Gem Wind and Floventis also attended.
James Parkin, Director of Nature and Tourism at Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority said:“It was a pleasure to represent the Park Authority and welcome the Minister for Climate Change to Pembrokeshire, showcasing the importance of partnership working in responding to recreational pressures in our National Park.
“Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum plays an integral part in delivering the Marine Code and Outdoor Charter work, as part of their wider role in supporting our collective efforts to provide sustainable coastal solutions. As a National Park Authority, we value their significant contribution to protecting our iconic coastline.”
Marine renewable energy is another of Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum’s priorities, through its Marine Energy Wales project, dedicated to establishing Wales as a global trailblazer and realising its energy potential.
As a membership organisation it acts as a single point of contact for the industry, connecting the sector with politicians and key stakeholders. It also delivers education and training in local schools and colleges.
The waters around Wales have some of the best wave, tidal and wind energy resources in Europe, along with many valuable protected habitats. It’s estimated that within the next five years, marine energy could deliver more than £600 million to Wales and create thousands of jobs, particularly within the Floating Offshore Wind industry.