Wales

Nato summit security barriers being cleared in Cardiff

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Media captionContractors will work 24 hours a day to dismantle the fences

Security fences through the centre of Cardiff are being removed following the end of the Nato summit.

The ring of steel surrounding Cardiff Castle was condemned by taxi drivers and traders for causing chaos since it was erected two weeks before the event.

First Minister Carwyn Jones thanked people for their tolerance, saying it would benefit Wales in the long term.

There was minimal disruption around the main summit venue, the Celtic Manor Resort on the outskirts of Newport.

More than 60 world leaders, 4,000 delegates and 1,500 journalists were in south Wales on Thursday and Friday for one of the biggest international events ever to take place in the UK.

City 'lockdown'

With the summit taking place on the eastern outskirts of Newport there was little disruption in the city itself, but parts of central Cardiff were sealed off completely in advance of dinners for the visitors at Cardiff Castle and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama on Thursday.

Several shops in the centre of Cardiff closed their doors during the summit, complaining that trade had fallen since the security fences first went up in mid-August.

Cardiff council called in contractors to start dismantling the city centre barriers on Friday and promised they would be cleared by Sunday afternoon ready for the start of the working week.

Image caption The plan is to clear all the barriers by Sunday afternoon
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Some traders said the security measures deterred shoppers
Image caption Contractors will work through the night to take the fences down

Ramesh Patel, cabinet member for transport, said: "I would like to thank residents, visitors and commuters for their patience with the security measures that needed to be put in place by the security services.

"The priority of the administration is to get the fence line taken out of the city centre as quickly as possible and this is why contractors will be working around the clock to make this happen.

"We will then be working with our partners to get the fence taken down from Bute Park and Cardiff Bay as quickly as possible."

The following road closures will remain in effect while the work takes place:

  • North Road from Colum Road junction through to Kingsway
  • Kingsway
  • Duke Street
  • Boulevard de Nantes
  • Cowbridge Road East from Cathedral Road junction across Castle Street Bridge
  • Castle Street

However, the council has warned of other road closures on Sunday morning in the Cathays and Roath areas of the city for the Cardiff 10K charity run.

There had been warnings of likely traffic congestion on the M4 in south Wales on Friday afternoon as the summit drew to a close and delegates departed, but there were no serious delays.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Protesters are blocked by a security barrier at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport
Image copyright Cardiff Airport
Image caption German Chancellor Angela Merkel was among the world leaders to fly in and out of Cardiff Airport

Cardiff Airport had opened a temporary terminal to handle Nato-related traffic with an extra 100 staff on duty to run it, with some road restrictions remaining in place until midnight on Friday.

Road closures in Newport around the Celtic Manor Resort were lifted early on Saturday morning.

First Minister Carwyn Jones paid tribute to people and businesses in south Wales for supporting the summit, and their tolerance of some "inevitable disruption" from the security and logistical operation.

"I am firmly of the view that the benefits to Wales greatly outweighed any short term disruption," he said.

Protest marches in Newport and Cardiff passed off largely peacefully, with four people arrested in Cardiff.

Nato arrests

Around 100 people had set up a peace camp at Tredegar Park, on the western side of Newport, representing a range of causes.

A further four arrests were made on Friday, after protestors entered a bank in Newport and two people attached themselves to a barrier.

The incident happened at Barclays on Commercial Street just after 15:20 BST.

A spokesperson for the joint Nato policing operation said four people had been arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass.

A four - a 60-year-old woman from Swansea, a woman from Kent, 49, a Glasgow woman, 33, and a man from London, 39 - are all in custody.

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