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Food rating system scores a success

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foodratingA LEADING Welsh environmental health officer has praised the success of the Food Hygiene Rating system.

 Mark Elliott, Chair of Wales Heads of Environmental Health Group and Head of Public Protection at Pembrokeshire County Council said 23,540 businesses across Wales now received a hygiene rating with the number getting top marks increasing by almost a fifth. Conversely, the number of businesses rated 0-2 has declined by a third since the introduction of the mandatory scheme. “Giving consumers more information is having a positive effect on food hygiene standards,” he said. “The number of businesses rated 5 (very good) has increased by almost 20% since the start of the scheme and many have reported that a good rating has increased their takings significantly. “In Pembrokeshire too the number of food business operators improving their food hygiene standards is also increasing with 94 per cent of food premises now scoring 3, 4 or 5 under the scheme.” But he warned that the scheme’s success was taking place against a background of rapidly shrinking local authority budgets and if it were to be continued would have to be adequately resourced. “The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme’s success so far reflects the hard work and dedication of Environmental Health Practitioners in Pembrokeshire and across Wales,” he said. “It is vital that such services are adequately resourced in future to protect public health.” The Food Hygiene Rating system was introduced in 2010 when all 22 Welsh local authorities took the voluntary decision to implement one food premises inspection scheme. The scheme aims to improve business food hygiene standards by making them visible to the consumer so that they can make informed choices about where to eat safely. The ratings awarded by Local Authority officers follow inspections and are then made available to the Food Standards Agency, which publishes them on their website. In November 2013, the Welsh Government made the implementation of the Food Hygiene Rating scheme mandatory. Food businesses were also required to display their food hygiene rating in a prominent place, such as the front door or entrance, or face a fine or prosecution with money generated from fixed penalty notices going to the Welsh Government. Meanwhile businesses that score poorly and want to improve are given assistance to enable them to improve their hygiene rating – although in some cases further appropriate enforcement activity may also be carried out. In November this year the Rating scheme will be extended to businessto- business trade, which means that almost everyone from small producers to factories will also be included. This will help small businesses choose their suppliers and could be used as a selection criterion when public sector contracts are tendered. “Environmental Health Practitioners will take all necessary action, including prosecution, to protect the health of the public where serious failures of law are found during inspections,” said Mr Elliott, who is also a Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. “We are working hard to improve the services we deliver but it is against a background of rapidly shrinking local authority budgets. It is vital that such services are adequately resourced in the future to protect public health.” *Members of the public wanting to check on the rating of a business can do so at http://tinyurl.com/dyvdbgc

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Blue Gem Wind begins digital aerial surveys for 300MW Valorous floating wind project

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BLUE GEM WIND, the joint venture between TotalEnergies, one of the world’s largest energy companies, and Simply Blue Energy, has begun offshore digital aerial surveys for a proposed 300MW floating wind project.

APEM Ltd have been chosen by Blue Gem Wind to deliver 24 consecutive monthly bird and marine mammal surveys of the early-commercial scale Valorous site. The high resolution data obtained will support baseline environmental characterisation of the site and environmental impact assessments for key ecological receptors.

The survey programme commenced in March 2021 and four of the 24 monthly surveys have been completed
to date.

Sean Evans, Environmental Specialist at Blue Gem Wind said, “It is important for us to begin long-lead in items
such as bird and marine mammal surveys as early as possible. These surveys will provide crucial species specific
data on the number, spatial distribution and activity of individuals across the Valorous site. This enables us to
undertake robust environmental impact assessments ahead of our planned consent application submission in
2023.”

Matt Rohner, Senior Consultant at APEM, “APEM Ltd are delighted to be able to support Blue Gem Wind’s
proposed Valorous offshore wind farm with our best-in-class survey design approach. Imagery captured using
state-of-the-art cameras is of ultra-high (1.6cm) resolution, providing industry leading image quality that is
essential for species level identification.”

The Celtic Sea is poised to play a key role in Net Zero, the Committee on Climate Change’s 100GW offshore
wind target, and crucially, the UK Government’s target of 1 GW of floating wind by 2030. The ORE Catapult also
estimated that the first GW of floating wind in the Celtic Sea could potentially deliver over 3,000 jobs and
£682m in supply chain opportunities for Wales and Cornwall by 2030.

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Three arrests as suspected cocaine worth £12,000 seized in Milford Haven

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POLICE in Milford Haven have disrupted the supply of cocaine in the town in a major operation which saw people detained and a large quantity of drugs found.

Three people were arrested and suspected cocaine worth up to £12,200 was seized, police said.

Dyfed-Powys Police carried out a warrant at a house in Hubberston on the evening of Friday, June 11, “where 122g of what is believed to be cocaine was found.”

This is estimated to have a street value of between £9,760 and £12,200 depending on its purity.

The occupant of the address – a 59-year-old man – was not present at the time, however he was later arrested on suspicion of possessing class A drugs with intent to supply.

He has been released under investigation pending the result of forensic, digital and financial enquiries.

As enquiries progressed, officers made two further arrests over the weekend.

A 33-year-old man from Manchester, was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of cocaine and possession of an offensive weapon after police stopped the car he was driving.

A quantity of white powder was seized by Greater Manchester Police during a warrant at the address he gave officers in custody.

A 27-year-old woman from the Stockport area was also arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.

Both have been released on bail with the condition not to enter Pembrokeshire.

Detective Constable Phillip Jones said: “This was a significant drugs seizure, and we will continue our enquiries with the view to securing a swift outcome.

“I would like to thank all officers involved over the weekend for their dedication and diligence.”

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Major blaze destroys well known Tenby chip shop

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EMERGENCY services have sealed off part of Tenby following a major fire at a chip shop.

Fire fighters rushed to Park Road Fish & Chip Shop after a blaze broke out late on Tuesday morning (Jun 15).

Emergency services are still at the scene. Police are asking people to avoid the area.

Diversions for traffic are in place.

Four fire appliances responded to the blaze at the Tenby chip shop (Image G Davies Photography)
Fire fighters take off BA kits after the blaze was put out (Image G Davies Photography)

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