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Alternatives to new M4 rejected

by Nick Powell

The Welsh Government is to press ahead with plans for a new motorway south of Newport to relieve congestion on the existing M4. The project was already the government's preferred option but it has been consulting on whether less ambitious alternatives would provide a quicker and cheaper solution that would still end the daily traffic jams at the Brynglas tunnels.

Alternatives such as upgrading the existing Newport Southern Distributor Road would also have had less impact on the wildlife of the Gwent Levels. As well as environmental groups, organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses and the Institute of Welsh Affairs favoured a cheaper option, partly because of fears that the £1 billion cost would drain money from other projects.

The UK government has been pressing for early action from Welsh ministers. Although the Welsh Government will not have borrowing powers until legislation currently going through Westminster is passed, the Treasury says it would allow an early loan for a new motorway. It's not yet clear how a the money would be repaid but one option is to retain tolls on the Severn Bridges once the Second Severn Crossing is paid for.

Under threat Newport bakery saved by new buyers

Avana Bakeries in Rogerstone was under threat of closure Credit: ITV News

Avana Bakeries in Newport, has been given a lifeline after its owners found a new buyer.

The processing site in Rogerstone was due to close this summer - with the loss of 650 jobs - after losing its principal contract with Marks and Spencer.

Its owners, 2 Sisters Food Group, confirmed that the site has been sold.

A spokesperson said: "It is proposed to operate the business under a new company, Food Utopia Ltd, which will aim to secure continuing operations. We will now commence the TUPE transfer process of colleagues."


Welsh meat prices slashed by a quarter, farmers say

Welsh farmers claim that some supermarkets have gone back on their promise to stock more British lamb and beef, just a year after they agreed to try and sell more of their produce in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.

In 2013 international sales of Welsh beef and lamb hit £224million. But farmers say the money they get for their meat has since been slashed by a quarter. Hannah Thomas reports.

International sales of Welsh meat hit £224m

Exports to Scandanavia started three years ago. Credit: Nick Potts/PA Archive/PA Images

International sales of Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef were worth more than £224 million to the economy of Wales last year.

That's according to Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales.

It says exports of certified Welsh lamb products were worth £154.7 million in 2013 - up by £7 million on the previous year.

Meanwhile overseas sales of certified Welsh beef stood at £69.4 million, the same as in 2012.

Further Tata Steel statement after Port Talbot emission

Tata Steel has issued a further statement following this morning's loud bang and visible smoke coming from the Port Talbot steelworks.

"We do everything possible to avoid any impact from our operations on our surroundings and we care very much when activities here unsettle our neighbours" said Dr Martin Brunnock, Technical Director at Tata Steel.

Black smoke was seen coming from the site Credit: Viewer's picture

"We have been contacted by local residents in relation to this incident and we will respond to this feedback once we complete our investigation."

"The release was the result of a procedure which we carry-out on very limited occasions when required to stabilise the blast furnace operation"

"We carry-out this procedure only when it is necessary and with a clear eye on our responsibilities to the community and the environment."


In pictures: Black smoke seen from Port Talbot steelworks

Below are pictures which appear to show black smoke emitting from the Tata Steel site after a 'loud bang' was heard there earlier today.

The company says the bang was caused by a valve in one of the blast furnaces.

Black smoke is seen from nearby houses in Port Talbot Credit: Ross Hookings
The emission has been reported to Natural Resources Wales Credit: Viewer's picture
Tata Steel insists the site remains safe Credit: Viewer's picture

Photo shows black smoke from Port Talbot steelworks

This photo from David Thomas, who lives near the Port Talbot steelworks, appears to show black smoke being emitted from the site.

Tata Steel says the site remains safe Credit: David Thomas

More: Tata says Port Talbot Steelworks remains safe after 'loud bang'

Tata Steel said production is continuing as normal, and that the site "remains safe".

The emission, caused by a valve in one the furnaces, has been reported to Natural Resources Wales.

Tata acknowledges 'unusual emission' from Port Talbot steelworks

Tata Steel said production is continuing as normal after a loud bang was heard from the Port Talbot steelworks this morning, with an 'unusual emission' witnesses by people living near the site.

Tata Steel said the bang was caused by a valve in one of the blast furnances

"Following reports of an unusual emission from the site, this morning, we can confirm that there was an operation of a valve in one of the blast furnaces which led to a release" a spokesperson said.

"The site remains safe and our normal production operations continue."

"The emission has been reported to NRW, and will be investigated and further reported to the regulator according to normal protocols.

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