£100,000 of emergency funding will be spent on supporting the clean-up operation at Holyhead Marina.
The Welsh Government says it will provide the money to Anglesey Council towards the cost of cleaning up the damage caused by Storm Emma in March, which destroyed or sunk around eighty boats. The grant is also aimed at keeping local businesses open to attract tourism.
First Minister Carwyn Jones is visiting the town on Thursday morning to meet authorities involved in the clean-up, including the coastguard, Natural Resources Wales and local volunteers.
Ahead of the visit, he said: ”This will be my second visit to the marina since the devastation of Storm Emma. From day one, agencies and volunteers have worked tirelessly on the clean-up and I saw for myself the dedication and professionalism of those involved.”
”We have remained in close contact with the local authority, who have kept us informed of the recovery operation every step of the way. I said when I visited in March that we would look at what assistance we could provide to support the tremendous efforts being made to clean up the marina, and to help businesses affected.”
”I am hopeful the support I am announcing today can be used by the council to support those local businesses affected, as well as to further promote tourism here and show potential visitors that Holyhead continues to be ‘open for business’.”
Around 3000 litres of oil and an estimated 40 tonnes of polystyrene have been recovered in the two months since the storm from both the marina and beaches along the north west coast of Anglesey.
Last month, authorities said around 28 boats had been salvaged from the shore and sea bed with the operation due to be completed shortly.
But the Government’s response to the storm has also been criticised. In March, Plaid Cymru AM Rhun ap Iorwerth said he had been told by by marina workers and local residents that there was confusion over responsibility for the clean up operation.
Council leader Llinos Medi said she welcomed the funding as ‘vital’ support for affected businesses and the environment: ”Anglesey is deeply reliant on the tourism industry, and we’re pleased that the Welsh Government is providing financial assistance which will help minimise the negative impacts on Holyhead.”
”There has been tremendous damage caused to the marina and local businesses are suffering, but the impact on our environment and beaches through polystyrene pollution has also been considerable. Thankfully, everyone, from businesses to volunteers, has pulled together to tackle this terrible incident and we are now working towards recovery.”
Rural Affairs Secretary Lesley Griffiths, who visited Holyhead a week after Storm Emma, said: ”The damage to Holyhead Marina has been disastrous for all the businesses and individuals affected, as well as the significant environmental impact with debris and polystyrene entering the water. I hope this funding provides some reassurance to the community that every effort continues to be made to restore the marina and its local environment.”
Carwyn Jones’ visit to Anglesey is his first since telling the Welsh Labour conference in Llandudno last month that he was stepping down as First Minister and party leader in the Autumn.
His visit also coincides with the first ever Welsh visit of the Viking Sun cruise liner: ”This is great news for the town and surrounding region, and shows the great potential for the future of the area. The cruise industry in Wales has seen excellent growth and is up year on year and we look forward to welcoming more than 80 ships to Wales during 2018.”