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Damaged pipe found to be the cause of the Afon Lliedi disappearance

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A DAMAGED sewer pipe is now thought to have halted the flow of the Afon Lliedi in the Llanerch area of Llanelli on 16 August.

Natural Resources Wales officers have been on site continuously in shift pattern monitoring the dam and the pumps they had installed to pump water around the hole and back into the river channel downstream.

Coal Authority officers attended the incident early on Tuesday (Aug 17) morning and found that the hole was not a sinkhole as had previously been suspected.

After receiving confirmation that the site was stable, NRW officers investigated and found that a damaged pipe was at the base of the hole that was taking the water flow. After working with Welsh Water colleagues, it was confirmed that the pipe is a sewer pipe.

Ioan Williams, NRW Duty Tactical Manager for South West Wales said: “By pumping the river flow downstream and beyond the hole, our officers on site have been able to restore a good level of flow to the Lliedi. I’m very grateful to them for their quick and effective work.

“We will carry out a fish assessment of the river see if further fish have died due to a lack of water flow. We know that approximately 50 fish had died before we installed the dam and pumping equipment, and we expect that our actions have limited further damage to fish and other aquatic life in the Lliedi.

“Although unusual, a pipe such as this could well be capable of removing a large majority of river flow when the river is in low flow as was the Lliedi. Once the repair is in place, we will monitor water levels in the river.”

Discussions are ongoing between NRW, Welsh Water and Carmarthenshire County Council on the best way to repair and protect the damaged pipe and on when the closed bridge can be reopened. Once repaired, the dam and pumping equipment will be dismantled which will allow the natural flow of the river to resume.

The pumps and lights are expected to be operating overnight and are due to be removed on Wednesday 18 August.

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Wiltshire Farm Foods Carmarthen Unites Customers with World’s First Closed Loop Recycling Scheme

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Paul Freeston, Chair & CEO, apetito UK & North America holding a week’s worth of Wiltshire Farm Foods film lids next to a week’s worth of ready meals from other suppliers.

LOCAL business Wiltshire Farm Foods Carmarthen has always pledged to make a difference to its customers, with its good old fashioned delivery service and delicious ready meals. Now, it’s making a difference to the planet with a trailblazing recycling scheme – the first of its kind in the world.

The company has introduced 100% recyclable trays, alongside a recycling collection service for its customers, which involves collecting washed, used trays directly from customers and sending them back to a specialist recycling facility in Durham.

Here, they are broken down to create brand new trays which are then redistributed to customers. It is this closed loop nature of the recycling process which makes Wiltshire Farm Foods the first company in the world to adopt the scheme on an industrial scale.

Carmarthen office supervisor, Kirsty Davies, is delighted to be rolling out this initiative to her customers across Swansea, Haverfordwest, Milford Haven, Fishguard:

“Not only is the scheme easy for our customers to be a part of, as they simply hand their trays back to their drivers (just like the milkman used to take away empty bottles) we have also given them peace of mind that they know exactly where their trays are going. We are hopeful that our customers will embrace this initiative, so that together we can play a crucial role in helping the environment.”

Alarmingly, 61% of UK plastic recycling is exported, according to a survey conducted by RECOUP, which means there’s uncertainty around where our plastic actually ends up. Wiltshire Farm Foods guarantees that every tray collected from its customers in Carmarthenshire and right across the UK will be recycled into new trays, so embracing a system which keeps waste and products in use, as opposed to disposing of them.

This commitment to protecting the environment has always been something of a mission for the company, especially with its packaging. It’s one of the few food companies which doesn’t use any secondary packaging such as cardboard sleeves or wrap arounds on its meals, not wanting to create excessive and needless waste. Furthermore, the boxes that meals are delivered in, are taken away by the drivers and recycled. The only thing left behind are the film lids.

Brett Barnard, Delivery Driver collecting recycled trays from customer.

Chair & CEO, apetito UK & North America, Paul Freeston, says sister company, Wiltshire Farm Foods, is focused on targeting the ‘zero-packaging’ ready meal: 

“As a food company, we’ve taken a serious approach when it comes to reducing waste with our packaging.  It’s why we’ve never used cardboard sleeves for our meals, so the only thing we leave with the customer is the film lid.  We think it’s time for other retailers to ditch the cardboard sleeve completely, so that, together, we can minimise household recycling requirements and prevent unnecessary waste. We leave just 3% of the packaging behind, compared to a weeks’ worth of ready meals from other suppliers.”

Milford Haven-based Ann Walker, 88, has been a customer for three years and applauds the new recycling scheme:

“It’s fantastic to know that I’m doing my bit to help the environment and Wiltshire Farm Foods has made it so easy for me. I can just hand the used trays back to my lovely driver, Paul, and look forward to my meals the following week, safe in the knowledge that nothing has gone to landfill.

“Paul tells me that for every 100 trays recycled we’ll be saving the equivalent of boiling water for 175 cups of tea! When he put it like that, it made me feel very proud I was doing my bit for the environment.”

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100% Sir Gâr pop-up shop moves to Pembrey Country Park

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LOCAL businesses taking advantage of a pop-up shop in Carmarthen’s St Catherine’s Walk have been selling out of stock because of demand.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s 100% Sir Gâr pop-up shop has helped boost the business of several local producers and arts and crafts retailers during its time in the former Topshop unit.

The pop-up has now moved on to Pembrey Country Park where sellers will be offering their goods from Wednesday August 18 to Saturday August 21.

100% Sir Gâr was developed during the Covid-19 pandemic as a virtual shop window on the council’s Discover Carmarthenshire website, as a way of supporting local businesses to recover from a long period of lockdown and restrictions on retail.

Sunday 15 August 2021 CCC Pop Up Shops Carmarthen

Businesses including Cariad Candles, Gemwaith Defana, Melys neis, Prick in a Box and Coles Brewery have been amongst those taking advantage of the space to display and share their goods.

Penny Powell, owner of Cariad Candles, was one of the sellers to sell out some of her products in the first week.

“It was really successful, I really enjoyed it,” she said. “The pop-up shop was a great opportunity for small businesses in Carmarthenshire to showcase their products. The event was well organised and as a small business I was given the support I needed to succeed in this event. I had great feedback from my customers to thought it was a great use of the empty shop and enjoyed the experience of browsing, chatting and meeting the businesses owners in the local area.”

Eleri Soanes, who owns Melys Neis and Prick in a Box, added: “It was great to see an empty high street store full of local businesses.”

100% Sir Gâr is part of the council’s overall Economic Recovery Plan which aims to safeguard and create jobs, support businesses and bolster the local economy over the next two years, focusing efforts on 11 key themes with emphasis on maximising opportunities for local businesses and growing the economy.

It has been supported by local business and retail groups, and the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2014-2020, which is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Leader of the council and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Cllr Emlyn Dole, said: “I’m so pleased that the first 100% Sir Gâr pop-up shop has been such a resounding success. This is just one of the many ways we are supporting local businesses at a time when they need it most. I’d like to thank everyone who has called in and given them much needed support. We hope this platform acts as a springboard for their businesses and wish them every luck for the future.”

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Bodnant Welsh Food taste success at the Farm Shop & Deli Awards

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BODNANT Welsh Food has been named Wales Regional Winner of the Farm Shop & Deli Retailer Awards 2021, for transforming its business which is a real asset to the community of north Wales.

The family run Welsh farm shop in the Conwy Valley is one of nine regional winners and 30 commended retailers chosen from a shortlist of 153 speciality retailers across the UK.

The awards held in partnership with The Grocer and sponsored by Food and Drink Wales and Garofalo, took a different format this year so they could shine a spotlight on the retailers who deserve recognition for their commitment to customers, community, staff and suppliers throughout the pandemic. Therefore, the winners were named regionally rather than by category as seen previously.

Bodnant Farm Shop

The judges praised Bodnant Welsh Food for ‘stepping beyond the pivots we now expect to see as a result of Covid by including health and wellness’. There is a real emphasis on what they can offer to benefit their customers and community’s wellbeing.

Commenting on their win and achievements of the past two and a half years, managing director Richard Reynolds at Bodnant Welsh Food, said, “We are thrilled to have won this award, it’s great for us and our profile. It has been an incredible time for us, an awful lot has happened and we have learnt a lot about the business and our suppliers.

“We use about 81% of Welsh produce within the business. We have an in-house bakery and have had to employ two new bakers to cope with demand. All our meat is locally sourced and we prepare all our burgers and sausages for selling in the farmshop and used in our restaurants.

“Like many businesses over the past 15 months, we did have to adapt the business during the Covid-19 pandemic, we opened an online shop and home delivery service which was a massive success. Footfall is now increasing and it is great to welcome customers back to Bodnant.

Bodnant Welsh Food

“We value our local community, suppliers and shoppers alike and are proud to be recognised as a beacon of our area.”

The Reynolds family are all very much fully immersed in running Bodnant. Richard and Cathryn Reynolds, with their two girls Olivia 24 and Tilly 20, bought Bodnant Welsh Food in December 2018 after it went into liquidation.

They re-opened the business on the 1st February 2019 after re-furbishing the farm shop, turned the tearooms into a restaurant, while the former Hayloft restaurant is now used for weddings and other events. They currently employ 50 members of staff.

Bodnant showcases the very best Welsh artisan produce, from organic vegetables to cheeses, locally supplied meat to tasty bakes and preserves. The beautifully converted 18th century Furnace Farm houses an award-winning farm shop, two restaurants, bakery, butchery, cookery school and wedding and events venue.

Bodnant Welsh Food also host other extra-curricular activities such as cookery demonstrations and a cookery school which has also spawned a cookbook and there are other elements which they are looking at developing further.

Commenting on Bodnant’s success, Welsh Government Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd Lesley Griffiths said: “I would like to congratulate Bodnant Welsh Food on its success in the Farm Shop & Deli Retailers awards. It is great to see our food businesses doing so well and being recognised for the hard work and commitment they have put into building up the business again, particularly during such difficult times.

“Wales is a fantastic place for food and drink businesses to establish themselves and become rooted in our communities. I would like to wish Bodnant every success for the future.”

For more information regarding Bodnant Welsh Food go to https://www.bodnant-welshfood.co.uk.

Other Welsh companies named as a Commended Retailer in Wales at the Farm Shop & Deli Awards were Babita’s Spice Deli, Swansea; Best of Hungary, Machynlleth; Square farm shop, Monmouth and The Olive Tree Delicatessen, Mold.

To see the full list of regional winners and commended retailers visit the Farm Shop & Deli website.

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