Brecon Carreg dampens increased truck fears

South Wales Guardian: CALM WATERS: Brecon Carreg has moved to scotch rumours of a massive expansion leading to increased deliveries. CALM WATERS: Brecon Carreg has moved to scotch rumours of a massive expansion leading to increased deliveries.

Brecon Carreg, the award-winning mineral water producer based between Trap and Llandyfan, has moved to calm villagers’ concerns over proposals to extend delivery times at its plant.

Some residents object to the firm’s application to extend the hours in which lorries can enter or leave the site until 9.30pm during summer months and 8.30pm in winter.

Company bosses claim that current restrictions – imposed by the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority when the plant first opened in 1985 – which limit delivery times to between 7.30am and 6pm create a “pressure point” between 4pm and 6pm, leading to a flurry of activity before the cut-off.

However, householders fear the extension would lead to a large increase in the number of trucks passing through the village and on to Wernddu Road.

Jeff Phillips, Brecon Carreg’s production manager, said: “The problem we have is a build-up of lorries trying to get out by 6pm which causes congestion here and in the village.

“Rather than having a lot of traffic in that final two-hour period we want to extend the times to make it a smoother operation.

“We are trying to deal with the same amount of trucks but over a longer period of time. This is all about easing congestion, both for ourselves and for the village.”

Mr Phillips was also quick to scotch rumours of a £7million expansion of the plant by its Belgian owners Spadel.

“We do not know where this has come from,” he said.

“Around £7million has been invested by Spadel since they took over the firm to improve and modernise equipment, but there are no plans for major expansion.”

Commercial manager David Stockley said: “It is important to remember that we are already a 24-hour operation and have been for more than 10 years.

“Work takes place at the plant overnight, but we do not send out lorries between 6pm and 7.30am.

“This year has been our busiest ever, due mainly to the hot, dry summer with, on average, between five and six lorries arriving and leaving per day.

“Next year we are forecasting slightly less, but we hope by 2015 to be back to this year’s level and then maintain that in future.

"Therefore we do not foresee any expansion between now and 2015."

Business projections seen by the Guardian indicate an average increase on current levels of less than one lorry movement per day after 2015.

The company, which employs 29 staff locally, also stressed its operation was strictly monitored in terms of the quantity of water it is permitted to extract.

“This is not a question of increasing volume,” said Mr Stockley, "but more about developing the Brecon Carreg brand in a sustainable way and producing a quality product in the heart of Wales.

“It is not so much about increasing the amount we produce, but about producing it more efficiently.

“We are trying to do that in a way that is more logical for our neighbours and ourselves by spreading the times lorries leave the site.

“By extending the hours it takes away the congestion and should make our lives easier and improve life in the village.”

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