Plaid Cymru AMs and MPs are continuing to press on Welsh and UK Government to act and overturn the decision to close the HGV test centre in Caernarfon, which threatens the livelihoods of numerous businesses across north-west Wales.
Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Ynys Môn Rhun ap Iorwerth raised concerns with Welsh Government directly this week, and the party’s MP for Arfon, Hywel Williams, met with the Minister of State at UK Government’s Department for Transport to discuss the importance of retaining the Caernarfon test centre.
Both, together with Plaid Cymru’s Arfon AM Sian Gwenllian, were quick to act as news of the centre’s planned closure was confirmed recently, and have continued the campaign to have the decision overturned with crucial interventions this week.
Welsh Gov. must ensure the decision to close the HGV test centre in Caernarfon is overturned.
Businesses in Ynys Môn – and across the north-west of Wales – cannot afford to lose it.
— Rhun ap Iorwerth (@RhunapIorwerth) February 26, 2020
Welsh Government Minister for Economy and Transport Ken Skates AM responded to Mr ap Iorwerth’s question, outlining he had sought clarification on the DfT’s proposals, but the Plaid Cymru AM urged Welsh Government ‘to go further than that’, adding:
‘In August last year, following concerns raised with me by my constituent, Huw Williams, who trains HGV drivers on Ynys Môn, I wrote to the DVSA, pointing out to them that they had a lack of capacity in Caernarfon as things stood.
‘What companies like Huw Williams’ had found is that they couldn’t get enough slots in the centre in Caernarfon in order to test those people who they were training. That tells me that we needed to grow and strengthen the centre, so you can imagine my huge disappointment in hearing that the intention now is to close the test centre.
‘There was a suggestion that they would seek another site in Caernarfon, having closed the current site. That’s not how things should be done. If the DVSA agree that there is a need for a centre in Caernarfon, then they must find a new site in Caernarfon or in that area now, not after the closure of the centre.
‘Welsh Government must do everything it can to urge the UK Government to change this decision, because we can’t afford to lose that centre.’
Plaid Cymru MP for Arfon Hywel Williams met with the UK Government’s Minister of State at the Department for Transport this week also, and said following the meeting:
‘I welcome the opportunity of meeting with the Minister of State at the DfT to press upon her the importance of retaining the DVSA test centre in Caernarfon.’
‘From those directly impacted by the closure threat to the wider Gwynedd haulage industry, there are legitimate concerns about the potential effect of the closure on local businesses.’
‘It is unacceptable that the DVSA can consider closing important local facilities without any consultation whatsoever, when the livelihoods of the area’s driving instructors are at stake.’
‘The Minister of State at the DfT agreed to take the matter up directly with the DVSA, and I am providing her with a brief explaining the detail of local businesses’ concerns.’