North Wales briefing: Covid rule changes, Wales wildfires and Snowdonia parking chaos

We have put together a round-up of the latest news that is making the headlines in Wales, North Wales and the UK, for Monday March 28, that will get you up to speed for the rest of the day. They include the changes to Covid rules coming into effect today, more wildfires in Wales and Snowdonia parking chaos

Here are the latest headlines in Wales and the UK:

Wales headlines

More Covid restrictions lifted

The full lifting of rules to safeguard the public against coronavirus has been delayed by a new strain – the Omicron BA.2 variant, a more transmissible form of Omicron.

However from today, face coverings will no longer be required by law in retail settings and on public transport. Wales will continue to gradually relax some of its remaining pandemic protection and while not legally required, face masks will continue to be recommended in public health advice and the need to self isolate will become guidance, not law.

The updates come as Covid-19 infections have risen sharply across most of the UK and are nearing record levels in England, while both Scotland and Wales have reached an all-time high, according to figures released on Friday.

Wildfires continue to break out

More wildfires were reported across Wales over the weekend. In North Wales, up to 120 firefighters tackled three wildfires across the region. Crews were spread out across hillsides in Tanygrisiau, Trawsfynydd and near Betws-y-Coed as flames left gorse bushes and bracken charred and smoking.

It is believed that the blazes were caused by controlled burning which got out of hand. High temperatures of 16 degrees Celsius (60.8F) left the land tinder box dry, which only helped the blazes blacken the ground while smoke drifted across acres of rural Gwynedd and Conwy.

Meanwhile in the South Wales valleys, residents watched a “massive” fire break out on the mountain behind their homes. Locals living in Nantymoel in Bridgend County Borough said they first spotted thick plumes of smoke billowing across the sky above the Spirit of Llynfi Woodland site at around 5pm on Sunday, but said the blaze was rife at the site for several hours, reports Wales Online.

Witnesses said police and fire crews were on-scene for several hours but the cause of the fire, and the exact time it was started, has not yet been revealed by the authorities. Dozens of locals took to social media to warn others of the fire – and some said they had to shut their windows to stop the smoke filling their homes. One resident described the fire as “massive”

North Wales headlines

Snowdonia parking warning after dozens of vehicles cause chaos along A5

Motorists have been urged to park sensibly in Snowdonia to avoid causing chaos at a North Wales beauty spot. Traffic Wales has issued a parking notice following delays on the A5 between Bethesda and Betws-y-Coed this weekend.

Often referred to as the gateway to Snowdonia, Betws-y-Coed is the main village in the National Park and sees a huge influx of tourists each summer. However, the usually tranquil village’s proximity to some of Wales’ most popular areas have caused major issues in recent years.

A pattern of illegally parked motorists along Snowdonia’s narrow roadsides led to a clamp down back in 2020, which saw more than a dozen vehicles towed from the A5 at Llyn Ogwen – you can read more about that here. And last year, cones were laid along the stretch to avoid chaos over the Easter weekend.

A tweet by Traffic Wales said: “#A5 Parking Notice. We have been dealing with a number of vehicles parked on the roadside along the A5 from Bethesda to Betws-y-Coed causing delays and issues. We ask everyone to please park sensibly in designated areas and to not block traffic. @NWPolice #TrafficWalesAlert”

Man ‘critically ill’ after plunging 30ft into Snowdonia waterfall

A young man fell at least 30ft at a North Wales beauty spot and had to be flown to hospital. He is understood to have plunged into the water at Swallow Falls near Betws-y-Coed in Conwy and was airlifted to Stoke to be treated for injuries described as “critical.”

Emergency crews and volunteers had rushed to the scene off the A5 on Saturday morning (March 26). A Wales Air Ambulance Charity spokesperson said: “I can confirm that the Wales Air Ambulance Charity attended an incident near Betws y Coed yesterday morning (26/03/22). Our Caernarfon-based helicopter crew were mobile at 11.05 and arrived on scene at 11.18.

“Following critical care treatments from our consultant and critical care practitioner, we airlifted the patient to the Royal Stoke University Hospital, leaving scene at 12.54 and arriving at the hospital at 13:26. Our involvement concluded at 14.46.”

UK news headlines

NHS could lose valuable staff to higher paid jobs in private firms

The NHS is in danger of losing thousands of vital staff because of stiff competition for workers from high-street firms, a leading union is warning.

Unison said that without significant pay increases, 999 call handlers, healthcare assistants, medical secretaries and cleaners were being tempted to switch to the private sector. Supermarkets, coffee shops and logistics firms? are among those promoting wages higher than the lowest hourly rates in the NHS, according to Unison, reports Alan Jones, PA Industrial Correspondent.

Drivers in particular can command higher rates of pay if they move to a private company, it was suggested.
Golden hellos worth £1,500, overtime supplements of an extra £2 an hour and staff discounts are among incentives being offered, it was revealed.

Unison warned that an exodus of NHS workers to the private sector would be “disastrous” for the health service amid an ongoing staffing crisis.

A report for Unison by Incomes Data Research said: “In the public sector, rising inflation means that the gap between pay rises there and those in the private sector is likely to widen again. If the Government does not act to narrow this gap, then the NHS is likely to face many of the problems around staff recruitment, retention and morale that arose in the past.”

To have your say on any of these stories, use the comments section

Prime Minister is helping more than other leaders in resistance against Russia, says Ukranian President

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said Boris Johnson is “helping more” than other leaders in the resistance against Russia thanks to pressure from the British people.

In an interview in Kyiv where he is resisting Vladimir Putin’s invasion, Mr Zelensky said France was being more hesitant in sending weapons “because they are afraid of Russia”, reports PA.

He told the Economist magazine that Germany “are making a mistake today” as it tries to take a balanced approach due to their deeper economic ties with Moscow.

Mr Zelensky’s comments were followed by a late-night video interview on Sunday with independent Russian journalists in which he reiterated earlier statements that signalled he was willing to discuss neutrality with Russia.

The president added that Ukraine could consider offering security guarantees to the Kremlin involving his government agreeing to stay out of Nato.

Ukraine would also remain nuclear-free, he said. He told the reporters the issue of neutrality should be put to Ukrainian voters in a referendum after Russian troops withdraw.

See the news in your area

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.