New and expanding businesses in Milford Haven will now be able to apply for much-needed rate relief after the Haven waterway was officially awarded enterprise zone status by the Welsh Government yesterday (Wednesday).

The Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone will include Blackbridge, Haverfordwest Airport, Honeyborough Industrial Estate, Murco, Pembroke Port, RWE, South Hook, Thornton Industrial Estate, Valero and Waterston and Pembrokeshire Science and Technology Park (including Waterloo and London Road).

And SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprise) located on any of these sites will now be eligible to apply for funding under the new Enterprise Zone Business Rate Incentive Scheme.

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb said: “The decision to include more sites as part of the Haven Enterprise Zone is good news for business in Pembrokeshire. Thanks to the announcement in the chancellor’s autumn statement, firms operating within the Haven Enterprise Zone will benefit from 100% capital allowances. The announcement today means that more businesses in Pembrokeshire will benefit from this important measure.”

He added: “The Haven Enterprise Zone represents a great opportunity to attract business and investment into Pembrokeshire. With more sites now included, I look forward to the continued development of the zone.”

The zones aim to strengthen the competitiveness of the Welsh economy, and with around 30% of the UK's energy supplies now coming via Pembrokeshire, the Welsh Government says it is rapidly becoming the new energy capital of the UK.

Based on existing and potential new energy sites, the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone offers access to deep water port facilities, and ideal sea conditions for the development of both wave and tidal stream marine energy.

Haven Waterway Enterprise chair Nick Bourne said: “I am delighted that the boundary for the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone has been agreed and includes the immediate Haven area and surrounding areas of Honeyborough, Thornton and Haverfordwest Airport.

“As a board we look forward to continuing our work with key partners and stakeholders in the area. The Business Rate Scheme is excellent news for start ups and SME's in the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone and the boundary will allow the scheme to operate on a wide basis. This financial lever will be a boost to businesses looking to create jobs and opportunities in the Haven.”