The number of empty homes in Pembrokeshire has risen in the last decade, new census figures show.

The figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show 8,915 of 64,400 total dwellings in Pembrokeshire were unoccupied on census day in March 2021.

It meant 13.8 per cent of the 64,400 total properties in the area were empty – up from 12.5 per cent in 2011, when the last census was undertaken.

The Pembrokeshire figure is significantly higher than the Welsh national average which stood at 120,500, or 8.2 per cent of properties, in March 2021 The number of unoccupied dwellings across Wales has grown during the last decade, increasing from six per cent in 2011.

The census took place during the coronavirus pandemic, and the ONS expressed caution that some unoccupied dwelling figures may be inflated due to people living with parents, overseas residents returning home, and other lockdown-related restrictions such as travel.

Owners of properties that have been empty for three years or more in Pembrokeshire have been charged a premium on top of their council tax since 2019.

This premium is increased incrementally, starting at 25 per cent rising to 50 per cent for properties that have been empty for four years or more and a 100 per cent for properties that have been empty for five years or more.

Earlier this month new local tax rules were introduced by Welsh Government. These saw local authorities being able to set and collect council tax premiums on second homes and long-term empty properties at up to 300 per cent.

Pembrokeshire is currently operating a 100 per cent council tax premium for second homes.

A Pembrokeshire County Council spokesperson said that the authority had not proposed to increase the council tax premium on second homes or long term empty properties for 2023/2024.

However, a consultation on potential future premium levels for the financial year 2024/25 will take place this year.