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Dairy closure ‘is a body blow’

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body blowTHE proposed closure of Dairy Crest’s Proper Welsh Milk dairy at Whitland, which puts 31 jobs in jeopardy, is a major body blow for the region’s capacity to process milk locally, a Farmers’ Union of Wales official said on Monday.

FUW vice president Brian Walters, who runs a dairy farm near Carmarthen, said: “There is already a lack of processing capacity for milk in Wales and this move, so soon after Dairy Crest took over the dairy, comes at a time when there are increasing calls for more local processing.

“As a local dairy farmer I think it is a great pity because we need more processing capacity in Wales, not less, to help cut down on food miles and prepare ourselves for the abolition of Milk Quota in 2015.

“If we are hoping to produce more milk in the future to meet an expanding market, we need to be able to access more processing capacity locally, not further away.”

Proper Welsh invested £1.5m there in 2011 and at the time it was hoped the dairy would process and bottle up to 10 million litres of locally-sourced milk each year.

Dairy Crest announced it is starting consultation with the 31 employees and their representatives regarding the proposed closure of Proper Welsh Milk dairy which it bought from administrators in March this year with the aim of maintaining production and employment and developing new products at the site.

However, production volumes had fallen short of expectations and significant investment was needed to bring the site up to Dairy Crest standards, they added.

Mark Allen, Chief Executive of Dairy Crest, said: “We are disappointed that it has not been possible to make a success of Proper Welsh, but lower sales and higher costs mean it is not possible to operate the site economically. We will do all we can to help employees at the dairy who may be affected by these proposals. We will also work with customers to offer them alternative packing arrangements and ensure there is no disruption to their service.

“We remain committed to the Welsh dairy sector and are continuing to recruit farmers and invest in milk collection facilities around Carmarthen.”

Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire MP Simon Hart said he was deeply saddened by the proposals.

Mr Hart said: “I am desperately sad that Dairy Crest were unable to make this venture work.

“The employees have worked incredibly hard and deserve a better outcome than this. It is frustrating that this has happened just before Christmas.

“I will do anything I can to help them find alternative work in the area and urge them to get in touch.”

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Campers from Cardiff sent packing

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PEMBROKESHIRE Road Policing Unit (Pembrokeshire RPU) have this morning, June 5, reported nine individuals for breaching coronavirus regulations.

The occupants of the three vehicles, all from the Cardiff area, had moved barriers that had been in place to close off the carpark to the public and set up camp for the night.

A Pembrokeshire RPU spokesperson said ‘Three vehicles from the Cardiff area located at Abereiddy this morning.

“The occupants of the vehicles, who’d travelled down overnight, had moved the barriers that had been used to close the car park. Having done so they then set up camp nearby.

“All nine persons present were reported for breaching coronavirus regulations. One was further dealt with by means of an out of court disposal for possession of cannabis.

“Rubbish cleaned up, car park closure reinstated, vehicles escorted out of Pembs.”

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Police urge visitors to ‘check the rules’

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POLICE in Powys are reminding people to check the rules before they travel, as tourists from the Midlands, London and Bristol continue to visit despite lockdown restrictions.

Last weekend more than 1,000 cars were turned around by police in the Brecon Beacons after visitors attempted to access the area around Ystradfellte known as ‘waterfall country’.

Many of those stopped claimed they thought the rules around travel were the same as in England, while others had deliberately flouted them.

Seventy-two per cent of people reported for breaches of Covid-19 restrictions in Powys since March 27 have been from outside the police force area.

“I would like to thank the communities of Powys for their cooperation in recent months in complying with requirements of the Covid 19 legislation and also reassure them we are still working hard with our partners to police the restrictions that remain in place across Wales,” said Superintendent Steve Davies.

“Our officers have worked hard to engage with the public at every opportunity throughout these unprecedented times by explaining what we are doing and why, and encouraging people to make the best choices to protect public health in Wales.

“But where people have clearly flouted the rules we have dealt with them appropriately and issued fines.”

He said officers will continue to conduct stop checks throughout Powys and across the force area this weekend.

In England, people can now travel an unlimited distance for exercise and to access so-called ‘beauty spots’.

But the Welsh Government has said people must remain local – ideally not travelling further than five miles from their home – for exercise or limited leisure pursuits, and this also applies to anyone travelling across the border.

Wales’ three national parks – which include popular sites such as Snowdon, the Elan valley and the Pembrokeshire coast – currently remain closed to the public, as do all National Trust car parks and properties.

The latest Welsh Government advice is available at gov.wales/coronavirus.

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Coastal car parks at beauty spots remain closed

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THE RECENT changes in regulations reinforce that movement is restricted to your local area.

This has been identified by the Welsh Government as an approximation of a five mile radius from your home.

Members of two separate households from the same local area (not travelling more than five miles) can now meet outdoors, as long as they maintain social distancing.

You should aim to meet another local household as close to your home as possible. Always take care to maintain social distancing and hand hygiene.

Pembrokeshire County Council car parks at attractions and beauty spots (including public toilets) currently remain closed so you should check before travelling.

They remain closed as a clear message that travel remains restricted, and associated tourism amenities remain closed.

A critical point for all to note is that lifeguards are not currently patrolling beaches and toilets and other facilities are not open.

Full details of the car parking facilities which remain open for the local community can be found on the Council’s website:
https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/emergency-planning/service-changes

Councillor Phil Baker, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure said: “The emphasis is on careful, structured unlocking, and not to put in danger any of the recovery measures that relate to public health and not to undo the safeguarding that lockdown has delivered.

“We will continue to review and monitor this carefully and take cautious, measured steps only to provide the benefits of the eased regulations without putting our residents at risk.”

Motorists are reminded not to contravene parking restrictions – such as yellow lines – where they exist as parking enforcement is still being undertaken.

As with other service areas, car parks will be reviewed in line with current advice.

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