Wales business

Phased return for staff at Blaenau Ffestiniog plastics site

Staff at a plastics factory in Gwynedd have begun a phased return to work.

Only essential employees had been left on the Rehau site in Blaenau Ffestiniog where production of window profiles stopped on 26 March.

The company, which employs nearly 200 people at the premises, said the first tranche of staff returned to work on Monday after “extensive consultation” with safety experts and employees.

Safety measures include recording the temperature of staff on a daily basis, a one-way system in the building, two-metre physical distancing and instructions for face masks to be worn at all times.

Rehau said it expected 130 staff to be brought back off furlough within the next few days.

The Rehau factory in Blaenau Ffestiniog
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Family dairy farm to sell own milk as orders cancelled

Aled Scourfield

BBC News

Milk on shelves
Clos Farm
Clos Farm milk is now being sold in the family's own shops

A family dairy farm in Pembrokeshire has begun selling its own milk directly to customers, as demand from processors collapses with coronavirus lockdown forcing the closure of high street coffee shops.

Research by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board suggests that around half of Welsh dairy farms have been “badly hit”m with 58% seeing a drop in prices and 45% asked to slash production.

Clos Farm near Rhoshill has decided to begin selling its own milk in the two local shops that the family own in nearby Crymych and Efailwen.

Most Welsh milk for drinking is currently processed in England, but the milk from Clos Farm will only have to travel six miles to the shop at Efailwen to be pasteurised.

Ifan James, who runs the herd of dairy cattle at Clos Farm, said: “For years we’ve been tinkering with different options.

"We’ve got the shops and the cows, and we were thinking of marrying it up and taking it in to our own hands.

“It’s a way of adding value to our product. With the coronavirus everybody is starting to look at 'local'. Why not get your milk from a local farmer?”

Gareth Richards, former chair of NFU Cymru’s dairy board, says the minority of dairy farms selling their own raw or pasteurised milk is increasing in number.

“Milk sales are up 15-20% in supermarkets," he said.

"There are plenty of resourceful farmers looking to sell their product. I think we’ll see more. The demand is there.”

Clos Farm
Demand for milk from processors has fallen due to the closure of high street coffee chains during the pandemic