A ‘GOLDEN opportunity’ that would have created thousands of new jobs and put Pembrokeshire on the green energy map once and for all has been lost, with Port Talbot taking precedence over a Pembrokeshire Port.

The Port of Milford Haven saw its bid to act as a hub for developing offshore wind technology rejected by the UK government this week.

Instead, the government has decided to focus its attention on Port Talbot, a move that was described by a Celtic Freeport spokesperson as a ‘deeply disappointing blow for Pembroke Dock and the whole of the Milford Haven Waterway’.

During a visit to the Port of Milford Haven, alongside shadow Welsh secretary Jo Stevens, Henry Tufnell, Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Mid and South Pembrokeshire said: “The decision by the UK Tory Government to reject the bid by the Port of Milford Haven for a new green energy terminal in Pembroke Dock is a huge blow for communities across Pembrokeshire.

“It demonstrates the Tories’ short sightedness and lack of ambition for the future.

“We have the closest port to the Celtic Sea development, a heavy engineering skills-base and strong support from Floating Offshore Wind developers, but again we have been overlooked.

“A UK Labour Government will take advantage of these new technologies to secure our energy supply, develop industry in the county and create good well-paid jobs.”

Shadow Welsh Secretary Jo Stevens added that the government’s support for the emerging technology was ‘narrow-minded’ and ‘poorly run’.

Conservative ministers have the opportunity to unlock investment in three floating wind farms this year, in Scotland, north England and the Celtic Sea. But research from RenewableUK has found that budget restrictions will likely mean only one of these projects will go ahead, stifling investment in the emerging sector that would lead to new jobs as well as cheaper bills.

Marine Energy Wales said that on the Welsh side of the project the UK Government had agreed to take forward the Future Port Talbot project to undergo due diligence as part of the next stage of its Floating Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Scheme (FLOWMIS).

The Port of Cromarty in Firth has also been chosen to progress to the next stage.

The Crown Estate, which administers the seabed, estimates that up to 5,300 new jobs and up to £1.4 billion could be generated for the UK economy by fully realising the opportunities in south Wales and the southwest England.

Industry execs also highlight that the UK is lagging behind international competitors. A similar scheme in France had access to EU100billion (£85bn) and $1bn (£780m) in California.

The UK is well positioned to become a global leader in floating wind technology, with the biggest project pipeline in the world of 37GW, one-fifth of the global pipeline.

Labour has pledged to create a new publicly owned company – Great British Energy - to take back control of the energy system on behalf of the British people.

Jo Stevens, Shadow Welsh Secretary, said: “We have a golden opportunity to become a world leader in floating offshore wind, delivering cheaper bills and the jobs of the future.

“But the Conservative government is holding Wales back, with narrow-minded, poorly run investment schemes that leave us lagging behind international competitors.

“A UK Labour government will switch on GB Energy to invest in projects that can secure our lead in floating offshore wind, unlocking the potential jobs and investment that the Tories have left to languish.”