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PEMBROKESHIRE Coast National Park (PCNP) received a “most welcome” 10 per cent increase in its funding for the coming year.

At an authority meeting on Wednesday (February 3) members signed off the draft budget, in principle, for 2021/22 which includes funding of £3.2million, which when an increase in council levy is included is an overall increase of £394,000 in core funding.

When budget planning was carried out before Christmas the expectation was for a smaller increase and the 10 per cent rise was said to be a “most welcome increase in our fortunes” by Richard Griffiths, chief financial officer.

A reduction in non-salary related budgets of five per cent is planned along with a one per cent increase in staff cots, to maintain the living wage level.

Also included is a projected decrease in travel costs of 25 per cent and pension contributions are also reduced.

A loss of income of around £250,000 from national park centres and other sources due to covid-19 has been covered by Welsh Government and “there is an expectation that normal level of authority generated income will recover.”

James Parking, director of countryside, community and visitor services, added he was “expecting a repeat of last summer” which was the busiest recorded, although there were doubts about the situation by Easter.

A revenue gross expenditure baseline of £5,884,000 is included in the budget, and a £1.4 capital programme, which included nearly £850,000 of grant funding for electric vehicle charging points.

There were some concerns raised about the viability of electric vehicles and whether future work on hydrogen would overtake current use at committee.

Other capital projects include photovoltaic installation at suitable sites, Castell Henllys wood pellet silo, a fleet upgrade to electric vehicles and enhancements at Carew Castle.

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