The Farmers’ Union of Wales has called for Boris Johnson to issue urgent clarification that English lockdown changes do not apply in Wales, describing the Prime Minister’s address to the nation on Sunday May 10th as confusing and ambiguous and having failed utterly to distinguish between Welsh and English changes to restrictions.
Responding to the Prime Minister’s statement yesterday (May 10) FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “There appeared to be no attempt to make it clear that the changes being announced only applied in England.
“Worse than that, the impression was given that the changes applied throughout the UK when this is simply not the case.”
Mr Roberts said he was particularly concerned that the Prime Minister’s comment that ‘you can drive to other destinations’ would lead people to wrongly assume they could visit Wales, thereby increasing the risk of introducing the coronavirus to Welsh communities as well as being fined by the police for doing so.
“In March the Welsh Government had to bring in emergency legislation to close footpaths and other public spaces as thousands flocked to Welsh beauty spots, causing a huge risk to themselves and others,” said Mr Roberts.
“While people are generally now exercising locally within the restrictions laid down by the Welsh Government, every day our offices are dealing with members who are in the vulnerable category and are concerned that the large numbers of people coming through their farmyards and fields are placing them at risk.”
Mr Roberts said that members were also extremely concerned at the number of individuals arriving in rural areas and illegally using second homes.
“We of course value the huge contribution that visitors to Wales make to our economy, but people moving around and spreading the coronavirus is one of the biggest risks we face, and the health of our communities must come first.
“I know the Prime Minister will be making a statement in the House of Commons today and I would urge him to make it perfectly clear that the changes he is referring to do not apply in Wales, where the Welsh Government has taken a far more cautious approach,” said Mr Roberts.
With the UK’s per capita mortality rate higher than in some of the worst affected countries in the World, including France and Italy, Mr Roberts said Governments needed to be vigilant and cautious, and that the FUW’s priority was to protect rural communities and food producers.