AM looks to spark EV Revolution in Wales

Rhun ap Iorwerth AM for Anglesey continues to lead charge for better EV infrastructure in Wales

Presenting his proposal for an Electric Vehicle Charging Planning Bill in the National Assembly this week, Anglesey Assembly Member Rhun ap Iorwerth is continuing to lead the charge for better EV infrastructure as he urges Welsh Government to invest in more charging points throughout Wales.

The Plaid Cymru AM is proposing legislation in the Assembly Chamber today that would introduce planning guidelines for new developments, ensuring that all new buildings must include electric vehicle charging points, making it easier for people to use EVs, and reduce Wales’ carbon emissions.

Rhun ap Iorwerth has voiced his concerns repeatedly in recent months regarding Welsh Government’s lack of innovation and commitment in terms of developing a significant EV charging point infrastructure in Wales, labelling a recent report which showed that there are only 31 publicly-funded charging points throughout Wales as reflecting ‘shamefully’ on Welsh Labour’s EV efforts.

Outlining his vision and rationale behind the proposed bill, Rhun ap Iorwerth Plaid Cymru AM said,

“This Bill, if passed, would give Wales an opportunity to finally get in the game with regards to electric vehicle infrastructure. At the moment, we’re lagging so far behind the rest of The UK and that is all down to Welsh Government’s lack of commitment to seeing this technology more readily-adopted.

“The Scottish Government have shown tremendous commitment towards EVs, and Dundee City Council, for example, allow EV owners to use their car parks and charging points for free, and they have more electric vehicles in their council fleet than any other in the UK.

“There is no reason why Wales can’t show the same ambition, should Government commit to investing in this fantastic technology. I have seen first-hand how much desire there is across Wales for EVs, the only thing holding the public back from sparking the revolution into life and investing in EVs is the lack of a significant charging network.

“Plaid Cymru negotiated £2m towards investment in charging points in the latest budget deal, showing how committed we are as a party to developing EV infrastructure, and my proposal for this legislation, if passed, would make up for Welsh Government’s lost time and enable Wales to lead the charge on EV technology in the future.”

Electric Vehicle charge point statistics reflect ‘shamefully’ on Welsh Government, says AM

Recently published figures detailing the number of electric vehicle charging points available across the United Kingdom show just how far behind Wales is in terms of embracing the EV revolution, says Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Ynys Môn Rhun ap Iorwerth.

Research conducted by HSBC into the availability of EV charging points shows Wales has by far the poorest infrastructure for charging electric vehicles, with only 31 publicly-funded charging points available in Wales, compared with 743 in Scotland, 185 in Northern Ireland and 2,862 in England.

Per capita figures highlight just how poor Wales is performing, with Scotland having one charge point for every 7,127 people, Northern Ireland slightly higher with one for every 9,789 people, with Wales’ proportion truly staggering at one charge point for every 98,806 people.

Ynys Môn AM Rhun ap Iorwerth has been vocal in making his support known for encouraging an electric vehicle revolution, raising questions in the National Assembly calling for more investment in EV infrastructure, and campaigning for Welsh Government to act in a manner that shows they’re taking this new technology seriously.

Mr ap Iorwerth labelled the Welsh Labour Government’s investment in EV infrastructure as ‘shameful’ following the release of these figures.

‘I’ve been calling for a long time for Welsh Government to take this matter seriously, but these figures prove Wales is way, way, behind rest of UK on publicly-funded charge points. Instead of trying to be a leader – which this country is more than capable of doing, Wales is barely in the game, and it reflects shamefully on this Welsh Labour Government.

‘This Welsh Labour Government is simply trying to manage the country, to maintain everything at its present level – which it is struggling to do, by the way – rather than trying to take Wales forward and put our country in a position where we can lead, or even compete, with other countries in terms of innovation.

‘One publicly-funded charge point for more or less every 100,000 people in Wales is appalling, and this is a situation that needs to change very quickly before Wales is left behind again, thanks to this Labour government. Plaid Cymru succeeded to secure £2m towards EV infrastructure in the latest budget negotiations, but it is clear that this was a drop in the ocean compared to what is needed.’

You can find the full list of statistics by following this link.

AM asks for support for Holyhead Marina and for lessons to be learnt after storm Emma response

Ynys Môn Assembly Member Rhun ap Iorwerth today asked Welsh Government for an update on the clean up work at Holyhead following storm Emma at the beginning of the month.

However, he was disappointed with the response, considering the environmental and economic impact of the damage, and the concerns still being expressed by the marina and local people about the clean up effort.

In his question to the Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs at the Assembly today, Rhun ap Iorwerth asked:

“Looking back, I think there are some serious questions about the speed of the response to what happened in Holyhead. I think it’s quite clear that there was, and remains, a grave environmental issue. So, perhaps you could update us on whether, on reflection, there was a missed opportunity to get in early, to deal with the environmental impacts of what’s happened. And what lessons have been learned, in terms of making sure that, if there’s disagreement about who exactly should take over, Welsh Government can step in, or your relevant bodies?

“Secondly, looking forward, because that’s crucial now, we do need assurances about what is happening. I’ve heard reports this morning of people returning from sea to Holyhead for the first time since the events, and being shocked at what hasn’t happened up to now. We need assurances on rebuilding the marina, on help for individuals and businesses that have been affected, and of course on the need to step up in terms of the environmental clean up, of which there is a lot yet to do. Because this still is a desperate situation in Holyhead.”

He later added:

“This was another disappointing response from the Cabinet Secretary regarding how Welsh Government and its agencies reacted to storm Emma’s destruction in Holyhead. Those working in the marina, those who have lost boats, and those who have been to Anglesey’s north west beaches themselves to clear up polystyrene because of their concern about the environmental impact tell me that the response was not quick enough, that there was confusion over who should be doing what and that the problem still remains today.

“I appreciate the Cabinet Secretary’s consideration about possible financial support for public infrastructure repair, and environmental damage clean up, but I was really hoping for more leadership on Government on this, especially considering the impact on the environment and on the local economy in Anglesey.”

Rhun supports WWF Cymru’s Earth Hour 2018

Ynys Môn Assembly Member Rhun ap Iorwerth has pledged his support for WWF’s Earth Hour campaign 2018 – the global movement to protect our planet.

Every year, millions of people across the world show their love for our planet and their commitment to protecting it by taking part in WWF’s Earth Hour.

Last year in Wales, an estimated 280,000 took part in WWF’s Earth Hour, as did every single local authority in the country. Iconic Welsh landmarks like the Senedd in Cardiff Bay, the National Library in Aberystwyth, and Caernarfon and Caerphilly castles all went dark.

As part of this year’s Earth Hour campaign, Rhun ap Iorwerth has backed WWF Cymru’s calls for everyone in Wales to make small changes in their everyday lives to live more sustainably – a ‘Promise for the Planet’. Refusing plastics cutlery, using a reusable coffee cup or turning the washing to 30°C are small actions as individuals, but have a much bigger impact together.

Rhun ap Iorwerth said:

“I’m delighted to pledge my support for WWF’s Earth Hour campaign this year.

“We know that climate change is going to have a massive impact on the way we all live our lives, but if individuals take small steps to live more sustainably, and if politicians take action to tackle climate change, we can help by doing our bit.

“I’m encouraging everyone to make a Promise for the Planet and support Earth Hour on the night by switching off at 8.30pm on Saturday 24 March.

“I’ve pledged to make my next car an electric vehicle. I was pleased that Plaid Cymru secured £2M for electric car charging in this budget, but I’ll continue to push Government for better charging infrastructure to make this an easier choice for more people in Wales.”

Rhun seeks government help to repair damage of storm Emma in Holyhead

Following the devastating effects of storm Emma on Holyhead marina last week, Rhun ap Iorwerth AM tabled an urgent question to the Welsh Government, which was answered in the Assembly today.

The Ynys Môn Assembly Member made a plea to Welsh Government for help for the businesses affected, for an assurance that all is being done in the short-term to limit the environmental damage of the polystyrene debris, and in the more long-term for research into the possible need for a sea defence for this part of the harbor in Holyhead.

Speaking at the Senedd today, Rhun ap Iorwerth said:

“I was at Holyhead marina on Friday, immediately after the storm. Many of you will have seen the pictures on television. It was truly heartbreaking, utter destruction. There were many pleasure boats, which were important to the area, but there were also commercial boats in the marina, and many of those had been destroyed or partially damaged. All of the businesses using the marina make up an important part of the marine economy of Anglesey, and I would like to know what kind of support package the Government can put together to support these businesses in their hour of need in the short term.

“Secondly, and looking beyond the short term, may I be given a commitment that the Government will assist to fund research into the possible need for a sea defence for this part of the harbour in Holyhead? And would you agree that there’s an important role for the oceanography department at Bangor University in this important work, including use of their research ship, the Prince Madog?

“Finally, and crucially, you have referred to this: in the short term we are facing a grave environmental problem as a result of the storm. Now, I understand that there wasn’t too much fuel in most of the boats, and most of it has been collected, but there is certainly a huge problem in terms of the polystyrene debris and the pontoons in the marina. Now, five days later, I would like an update on what is being done to deal with the pollution, and an assurance that whatever needs to be done will be done to ensure that we don’t face more environmental destruction that we’ve already seen.”

He later added:

“I was pleased to hear the Cabinet Secretary say that she was happy to give consideration to possible financial support for public infrastructure repair, and I look forward to being updated regarding the environmental issues after her visit to Anglesey tomorrow.”

Electricity Connection should respect Future Generations Act, says AM

Ynys Môn Assembly Member Rhun ap Iorwerth yesterday quizzed Welsh Government about the role of the Well-being of Future Generations Act in developing electricity infrastructure in Anglesey.

Rhun said that an underwater or underground connection, rather than new overhead pylons, would safeguard the interest of the people of Ynys Môn now as well as future generations, and that this was what the people of Anglesey are asking for. He pointed out that we have a Future Generations Act in Wales and this connection plan should only happen in accordance with the principles of that Act.

Speaking in the Assembly chamber, Rhun ap Iorwerth said:

“The National Grid intends to have a new electricity connection across Anglesey with the cost being the main, if not the only, factor in deciding what kind of connection that will be. What they intend to do, therefore, is to go for the cheapest possible option, which is pylons above ground rather than undergrounding, or placing cables underwater, which is what we on Anglesey would want to see.

“Going underwater or underground would safeguard the interests of Ynys Môn now and for future generations, and we do have a Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 here in Wales.

“You’re the Cabinet Secretary with responsibility for the implementation of that Act. Are you willing to give a commitment that you will work with me and others such as campaigners against pylons to urge the National Grid, Ofgem and the UK Government, who will ultimately make the decision, to ensure that this connection plan can only happen in accordance with the principles of this important piece of legislation passed in this place.”

In his response, the Cabinet Secretary responsible replied:

“I know of the work that you have done in the context of the island on this issue. We as a Government are working more closely with the local councils on the issues that he has alluded to.

“I was pleased to see a statement from the National Grid…on well-being where they state, in the context of the Act,

‘While these do not specifically place requirements on the National Grid or the development of new transmission lines, National Grid believes that the aims of the Act are important and deserve consideration.’

“So, there is some recognition there by the National Grid of the impact of the Act. The Act is binding as far as the local council is concerned. The Secretary of State will be influenced by it. I hear, of course, what the Member says about under grounding and over grounding and the Welsh Government’s starting position is that under grounding is the preferred option, but there will be discussions that will be needed and the local authority and Welsh Government will be involved in them as we seek to maximise the benefits for the island while mitigating the impacts of these developments.”

Speaking after the exchange in the Senedd, Rhun ap Iorwerth added:

“I will be meeting National Grid in the near future to discuss this matter further with them. Even though the Act is not binding on them, it is important that the principles of the Act are respected.”

“We need to get on with flood defence works”, says AM

Rhun ap Iorwerth receives government respose to his recent questions on Anglesey flooding

Ynys Môn AM Rhun ap Iorwerth has now received a reponse from Welsh government following his questions in the chamber regarding flood defence works in Anglesey after several communities on the island were affected by flooding in November.

Rhun said that he is pleased that this work is now being prioritised by NRW, but that it was a pity that it had taken more floods to make them do that and is disappointed that the investigative work still hasn’t started..

Responding to the letter from Welsh Government, Rhun ap Iorwerth said:

“Presumably investigative work will be about finding evidence for the need for flood defences. I’d say we saw pretty good evidence in November.

“We need to get on with this work in Llangefni and other parts of the island affected by flooding. Every day’s delay is another day of flood victims looking out of the window and wondering if the next rain fall will lead to another flood.”

Rhun ap Iorwerth also added that he supports Anglesey Council’s efforts to press for immediate action and possibly to increase the direct influence it has in flood defences in Llangefni.

Local AM Rhun ap Iorwerth pledges to make “every daffodil count” for Marie Curie this February

Ynys Môn AM, Rhun ap Iorwerth has pledged to encourage constituents to donate and wear their iconic Marie Curie daffodil throughout February and March to help the charity’s Nurses provide care and support to people living with a terminal illness.

Rhun ap Iorwerth joined forces with Marie Curie Nurses Amy Law, Sue Thomas and Ruth McGhee at an event at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay on Tuesday 6th February to help launch the Great Daffodil Appeal, Marie Curie’s biggest annual fundraising campaign.

As well lending his support to the appeal, Rhun ap Iorwerth is also encouraging Ynys Môn people to help the charity raise more money than ever before by simply giving a donation and wearing a Marie Curie daffodil pin, available from volunteers across Wales, Marie Curie shops, Superdrug, Spar, Poundworld, Hotter Shoes and Wyevale garden centres.

Rhun ap Iorwerth said: “Funds raised through the Marie Curie Great Daffodil Appeal help provide care and support to people at a time when they need it the most. I hope the people of Wales will join me in supporting people affected by terminal illness across the country by proudly wearing their Marie Curie daffodil throughout February and March.”

Simon Jones, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Wales, for Marie Curie, added: “To have the support of Rhun ap Iorwerth makes a huge difference to Marie Curie. With their help we are able to raise awareness about what we do and reach more people who need us.

“Our services rely on charitable donations, so I’d like to express a heartfelt thank you to everyone who gives a donation and wears a daffodil pin this February and March. The money raised from the Great Daffodil Appeal will help Marie Curie Nurses provide care and support to people living with a terminal illness, and their loved ones, in homes across Wales, as well as in the charity’s Cardiff & the Vale Hospice in Penarth.”

Make Every Daffodil Count and volunteer to support now: or call 0800 304 7025*.
For more information on how to get involved in the Great Daffodil Appeal, please 0800 304 7025.

Picture caption: Rhun ap Iorwerth pictured with Marie Curie Nurses Amy Law, Sue Thomas and Ruth McGhee

Plaid AM marks ‘Time to Talk’ Day with call for improved mental health care for NHS staff

Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Health Secretary Rhun ap Iorwerth has called for action to improve the mental health support available to NHS workers in Wales.

Recent figures suggests that around a quarter of the Welsh NHS workforce has suffered adverse effects to their health as a result of work-related stress.

Speaking on the occasion of Time to Talk Day 2018, Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“Time to Talk Day’s aim is to get people talking, listening and changing lives with respect to mental health issues.

“Everyone should feel comfortable to seek the support and care they need without the fear of stigma, which is why I’m giving this campaign my wholehearted support.”

Mr ap Iorwerth added:

“Our NHS is based on giving free care to everyone at the point of need. In order to do this, it’s necessary to be able to properly identify the point at which need occurs.

“Recent figures published in England showed that over 90,000 NHS staff had to take time off work with long term stress over the past three years.

“The NHS Wales Staff Survey 20161 suggested that between a quarter and a third of NHS staff have been injured or felt unwell as a result of work related stress.

“The Welsh Government should commission a review into the current prevalence of mental health issues and the support available and to look at what can be done to alleviate difficulties faced by staff at the earliest possible opportunity.

“It’s time to talk – but it’s also time for action.”

Rhun ap Iorwerth calls for halt to privatisation within Welsh NHS

More Welsh NHS services are being outsourced to a private company, revealed Plaid Cymru Chief Whip Rhun ap Iorwerth, deputising for Leanne Wood during First Minister’s Questions.

Dialysis services in Wrexham Maelor are due to be privatised “under First Minister Carwyn Jones’s watch” he said, with £700,000 of savings coming from “staff entitlements to sickness pay, holiday pay and pensions”.

The discussions are thought to involve the outsourcing of the service to a private company such as ‘B Braun Avitum’, which already runs the dialysis services in Ysbyty Gwynedd and Alltwen.

The service could be transferred to a private company within a matter of weeks and is out for tender through the Welsh Government’s “Sell2Wales” procurement notice. Under the privatisation plans, staff are outsourced to a private company and are no longer entitled to NHS-level terms and conditions.

Rhun ap Iorwerth pointed out that a two tier health system was growing under the Labour Government, with patients being encouraged to consider paying for quicker treatment or diagnosis because of long waiting times.

Speaking after FMQs, Rhun ap Iorwerth said:

“It’s extraordinary that the Labour First Minister of Wales is allowing creeping privatisation of NHS services under his watch.

“Labour’s 2016 manifesto pledged that the ‘NHS will be modernised but not privatised’, but given this example of privatisation and the recent winter crisis, it seems to be more a case of ‘privatised but not modernised’.

“It’s also becoming clear that unduly long waiting times are creating a two-tier health system, where those with the ability to pay are able to have operations within a reasonable timeframe, but those relying on the NHS face long waits that could potentially affect their final health outcomes.

“This is not about ideology, this is about ensuring that providing Welsh patients with the care that they need is the priority rather than allowing private companies to make a profit by picking away at important NHS services. It’s also about protecting hard-working staff, who are already in a stressful job, facing reduced terms and conditions.

“It’s time the Welsh Government came forward with a long-term plan for a sustainable Welsh NHS.”