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Airport a ‘huge asset’ to county

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‘Come and see’: Jonathan Rees wants the council to visit the airport

‘Come and see’: Jonathan Rees wants the council to visit the airport

FLY WALES’ Jonathan Rees wants Pembrokeshire County Council to come down to Haverfordwest airport to see what it is all about.

The council has recently approved a consultation on the future of the airport but Jonathan Rees told the Herald that closing the airport would have a big impact on Pembrokeshire.

Jonathan has invested heavily into the business and says that the airport is an asset not just to businesses but to the people of Pembrokeshire as well.

One option that was mentioned at the cabinet meeting in April was the possibility of using Brawdy as an alternative but that idea was also dismissed by Jonathan.

He said: “No one has taken the time to know what is actually going on here, so for them to say this needs to be closed, they should at least come up to the airport first to see what is going on and the jobs it has created and if it did close, the jobs that would be lost directly. We do a lot of NHS work which involves a lot of organ flights all over the UK from Haverfordwest. We may go to pick up surgical teams from London or Newcastle to fly out to wherever the donor is, retrieve the organs and go back to where they are needed. Haverfordwest is able to offer a 24- hour service because we’ve already got the infrastructure of the lighting as a lot of the organ retrievals are done in the evenings. On Saturday evening there was an organ which left here at 11.30 and that was flown to Edinburgh and another that went to Edinburgh on Tuesday morning. The Charter also flies companies around Pembrokeshire. The LNG oil refinery does use this facility and it does use it to fly in people whenever something major is happening. When Marks and Spencer was being built in Haverfordwest, they were flying in and out as well. The packaging companies that are processing, they use us to fly in the buyers for Tesco, Morrisons and Asda. All these companies are quite large employers for the county of Pembrokeshire. We also do work for the MOD in Aberporth. Whilst there is an airfield at Aberporth it is used for the UAV’s which means they can’t use commercial transport. We’ve seen an increase of over 300% in Pilot training, up on where we were last year, bearing in mind we are coming out of one the most severe recessions. We are actually now attracting people and we’ve got students coming over to learn to fly at Haverfordwest from Hong Kong in May. As well as being good for the economy of the airport this will also be good for the local economy with accommodation and services that are provided being used. People do use the facility for pleasure flights whilst on holiday and one comment I’ve had is that it was the icing on the cake of their holiday and they would want to come again.”

He continued: “Brawdy is not an option because, going back to the charter, from the minute we have a phone call, until the craft is airborne, has to be 45 minutes and that’s 24- 7. For us to be out in Brawdy, there are no lights, there is no runway lighting, no control tower, and no security facility. The infrastructure at Brawdy means it is just not an option. The airport has made a loss of £46,000 but my view is that whilst we are getting busier, we are going to be buying more fuel, we are going to be making more profit so that loss will slowly diminish. The airport shouldn’t be looked at as a separate entity because other jobs are supported by the airport. It isn’t just a playground for people. It is a proper business.”

Jonathan also revealed that the area in which they operate could soon be expanding to areas in Iceland, Russia and Yemen.

He continued: “Before the council talks about closure and before they suggest something like Brawdy, why don’t they come up and see what really happens at the Haverfordwest Aerodrome. What I would like is for the council to come up to Haverfordwest airport to have a discussion about what the airport does, what services go from here and who it is provided for. It is a huge asset for the businesses and even to the people of Pembrokeshire and it is a huge asset to encouraging investment. If the airport was to close it would definitely have an impact. I would close the aviation site and I wouldn’t relocate as it wouldn’t be viable. It works here because we can guarantee that aircraft will be airborne within 45 minutes. Everything is close at hand and this is why we are very good at what we do.”

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Two week national ‘Firebreak Lockdown’ announced for Wales from 6pm on Friday

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MARK DRAKEFORD, The First Minister of Wales has announced a two week ‘fire break’ lockdown from Friday October 23 at 18:00 HRS, to last until Monday November 9 at 00:01 HRS

Mr Drakeford said: “This firebreak is the shortest we can make it. It must be sharp and deep in order to have the impact we need it to have on the virus.”

All non essential businesses, including tourism businesses will be told to close.

Businesses have been told that they will be given £1000 each automatically to help with the economic impact of the shutdown.

Mr Drakeford added that children will be the priority and that childcare facilities will open as normal. Primary schools will open after half term.

Secondary schools will be closed for a week after half term to help control the virus.

Universities will offer a mixture of face-to-face learning and learning via video link. Students must stay at their university accommodation during the lockdown.

Responding to the Welsh Government’s announcement of a Wales-wide lockdown, Paul Davies MS, the Leader of the Opposition in the Welsh Parliament, has called the lockdown “not-proportionate” and is calling on the Welsh Government to be “open and transparent” on the evidence to support a lockdown and if the First Minister is committing Wales to rolling Wales-wide lockdowns every month.

Paul Davies MS said: “Sadly, the First Minster has failed to get public support for this second Wales-wide lockdown, failing to be open and transparent about the evidence to justify this lockdown and what his actions will entail for the future.

“The Welsh Government also has to be honest that this road they are taking us down is committing Wales to rolling Wales-wide lockdowns. This is not a two-week break to solve the pandemic, it is likely that we will see regular lockdowns across the rest of the year. The Welsh Government must be clear what actions they are taking during the lockdown to prevent further Wales-wide lockdowns which will have a significant impact on people’s lives and livelihoods.

“However, the main concern is that this national lockdown is not proportionate. The impact on businesses in areas such as Powys, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion, who have the lowest rate of Covid-19 cases in Wales, will be severe at a time when they are desperately struggling to recover from the pandemic so far this year.

“The First Minister needs to urgently come to the Welsh Parliament and answer these questions, to face effective scrutiny by elected representatives and not run his government by media.”

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP, Stephen Crabb told The Herald: “The evidence to support an all-Wales lockdown is weak and I am sceptical that this so-called ‘fire-break’ will tackle the situation in those parts of Wales where infection rates have been out of control. The key issue for Welsh Government to address is what will be done differently after the firebreak ends in those parts of Wales where infection rates have spiralled out of control. Otherwise the whole of Wales risks being dragged back into a series of rolling lockdowns.

“As we saw earlier in the year, lockdowns come with huge costs in terms of harm to the economy and to people’s emotional and mental wellbeing. With the Welsh Government asking UK Government to fund this lockdown, I hope that as many businesses as possible get support they need quickly. Pembrokeshire’s hospitality businesses will be hit particularly hard by these latest restrictions and I will be fighting hard again to see that they are protected as the lockdown kicks in.”

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Drakeford to make decision on ‘fire-break’ lockdown in Wales by Monday

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WALES is facing a national lockdown lasting at least two weeks in plans described as a “fire-break” by the first minister.

He said a decision was likely to be made on Monday, while talks continue with health officials, scientific advisors and councils over the weekend.
“Doing nothing is not an option,” he said.

Responding to the speculation First Minister, Mark Drakeford, is set to announce a ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown in Wales, Welsh Conservative health spokesperson, Andrew RT Davies MS said: “I implore the First Minister to think again before heading down this path.

“The decision to lockdown Wales once again will have devastating consequences – from an economic and public health perspective – and should be the last resort.

“Only yesterday, the former director of communicable diseases at Public Health Wales, Dr Roland Salmon, said a circuit-breaker is likely to fail and the Welsh Labour Government should listen carefully to his warning.

“Earlier this week, Welsh Conservatives called for the urgent resumption of shielding in Wales with a substantial package of support to ensure the financial, physical and mental well-being of those most at risk is protected.

“This should be the immediate action taken by ministers along with prioritising PPE and testing in the problem areas in Wales such as hospitals, care home, universities and meat factories.

“It’s not too late for the Labour Government to reconsider and choose a different approach in Wales.”

Mr Drakeford warned that 2,500 people were now being infected with coronavirus every day in Wales, with critical care units in hospitals full.

“A successful fire-break would re-set the virus at a lower level,” he added.

Together with a new national set of rules for the whole of Wales after the fire-break period we would have slowed the virus down enough to get us through to Christmas.”
Plaid Cymru has been calling on Mr Drakeford to introduce the circuit-breaker without delay, while Labour at Westminster says a similar approach should be adopted in England.

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Ceredigion pub to be issued with a closure notice

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A Ceredigion premises has been closed down over breach of coronavirus regulations.

A closure notice has been served on Ffostrasol Arms in Ffostrasol, Llandysul by Public Protection Officers due to continuing non-compliance with the Coronavirus Regulations. An Improvement notice had previously been served on the premises, but it was established that further contraventions of the regulations had been identified and in order to protect the public, a decision was made to close the premises. The Ffostrasol Arms will remain closed until they can demonstrate that they have made improvements and meet the requirements of the Coronavirus Regulations.

Ceredigion County Council, supported by Dyfed-Powys Police, continue to step up their enforcement of businesses that are failing to keep their customers safe and to ensure that Covid-19 cases do not increase in the County.

There is growing evidence across the country that where there are insufficient controls in pubs, clubs and bars, that these premises increase the risk of Covid-19 spreading in the community. The Council will issue further closure notices where necessary to ensure compliance with the Regulations. The Council will act decisively if any business is found guilty of breaking Covid-19 Regulations. In the interest of public safety, all businesses need to ensure that they are compliant with the Regulations at all times.

Improvement notices are also being served on premises advising them to take action or face similar consequences. However, the Council is pleased to see how many businesses are operating well to provide a safe environment for their customers. Many of those visited in recent weeks have made further improvements following the advice of the council’s public protection team.

During the compliance visits, officers are checking that businesses are complying with the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions)(No.2) (Wales) Regulations 2020, and have the power to close, force improvements of review the premises licence or club premises certificate.

All pubs and clubs must ensure that:

· A Test, Trace, Protect system is in place to accurately record all visits to the premises so that customers can be easily contacted in the event of a positive case linked to the venue. This includes customers’ name and telephone number.

· Social distancing of 2 metres is maintained, with adequate signage, distance between tables and seating, and procedures for managing walkways and toilet areas.

· All premises must provide table service only i.e. no ordering at the bar.

· All food and drink must be consumed at tables.

· Customers are not drinking and standing at the bar.

· Customers are not drinking alcohol whilst standing, unless they are standing at a tall table – in all other instances they must be seated.

· There is no live music, and that recorded music is only played at a low background level.

· Hospitality businesses, including pubs, cafes, restaurants and casinos, to close at 10pm.

Ffostrasol Arms Premises Closure Notice came into force on 15 October 2020 at 16:40. The notice can be seen on the Coronavirus web page, under Improvement and Closure Notices: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/coronavirus

Information for businesses is available on the Council’s website: http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/business/covid-19-supporting-ceredigion-s-economy/

Any business who is unsure of their responsibilities is urged to check the Welsh Government website: https://gov.wales/taking-all-reasonable-measures-minimise-risk-exposure-coronavirus-workplaces-and-premises-open

Any business that requires further information or guidance can contact the council’s Licensing Team at 01545 570881 or clic@ceredigion.gov.uk

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