Posted: Thu 1st Oct 2020

Boris Johnson urged stop ‘astonishing anomaly’ allowing people to travel into North Wales from English lockdown areas

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Oct 1st, 2020

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A north Wales MP has urged the Prime Minister to stop an “astonishing anomaly” allowing those living in locked-down English counties to cross into parts of north Wales.

From 6pm today (Thursday) travel will not be permitted in or out of the four affected north Wales counties “without a reasonable excuse,” such as work or educational reasons.

But according to Liz Saville Roberts, the latest Welsh restrictions mean that those living in locked down areas of England – including parts of the north west,  the midlands and West Yorkshire – are permitted to travel through Wrexham, Flintshire, Conwy and/or Denbighsire into the non-locked down counties of Gwynedd or Anglesey.

While holidays do not qualify as a “reasonable excuse” in Wales, no equivalent rule applies in England, where residents continue to be allowed to go on holiday with people they live with.

Quizzed during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Boris Johnson accepted there were “seeming illogicalities” but offered no assurance that advice would be amended for the affected English areas.

Speaking in the Commons, Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP Liz Saville Roberts said: “From tomorrow 2.3 million people will not be able to travel in or out of Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire or Wrexham without good reason.

“Yet people in locked down areas of England can still visit rural Wales.

“Travelling from Betws-y-Coed to Beddgelert can land you with a fine. But Rochdale to Rhosneigr? No problem.

“I raised this with the Prime Minister last week, leisure travel from locked down areas has got to stop. Will he make good on this today?”

In response the Prime Minister said: “There are different measures in place but overall the UK is proceeding with the same approach and I’m very grateful to Mark Drakeford and everyone else in the Welsh Government for the way we’re working together to defeat the virus.

“Yes there will be some differences and some seeming illogicalities which are inevitable in tackling a pandemic, but I’m grateful for the cooperation she is giving.”

In the Senedd on Tuesday, the First Minister confirmed that he had written to the Prime Minister on Monday, asking him to implement  similar “stay-local” rules for English lockdown areas.

Speaking after PMQ’s, Ms Saville Roberts, added: “The vast majority of Welsh people are now being asked not to leave their local authority area as communities fight collectively to push down rising infection rates. These efforts could be hamstrung by tourists from outside of Wales travelling from high-infection areas.

“The only ‘illogicality’ is the Prime Minister ignoring good public health practice in the middle of a pandemic.

“We’ve seen queues of walkers on top of mountains and traffic jams outside tourist destinations, whilst people who live locally are told not to travel. It isn’t fair, it isn’t safe and it isn’t helping to stop the spread of the virus.

“Yet again, I’m urging the Prime Minister to review the guidance for people facing local lockdowns in England to ensure that people do not travel outside of their local area unless it is necessary.”

By Gareth Williams – Local Democracy Reporter

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