Rhun ap Iorwerth proposes non-carbon-emission vehicle legislation to help tackle climate change

Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Ynys Môn Rhun ap Iorwerth continued to push Welsh Government to commit to developing a bespoke Ultra Low Emission Vehicle adoption Strategy for Wales after his Member’s Legislative Proposal calling for the creation of a non-carbon-emissions public vehicle Bill was noted in the Assembly.

The Welsh Parliament declared a Climate Emergency recently following a motion by Plaid Cymru calling for that to happen, and the party’s Shadow Minister for Economy and Finance has said Assembly Members need to work together on innovative legislation which would benefit the environment in order to go to task on tackling climate change.

For this Senedd as a legislature, in responding to the fact that Wales has declared a climate emergency, Mr ap Iorwerth argued that the Assembly needs to consider how it can use the tools available to it – particularly its powers to create legislation.

Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“This Senedd recently voted to declare a climate emergency. It was Plaid Cymru that had tabled the motion, and it was a very important symbolic statement, but whilst the symbolism was significant, our willingness to take action here in Wales will be the measure of our success in tackling that emergency.

“I’ve proposed a non-carbon-emission public vehicle Bill to promote the use of electric vehicles and non-emission vehicles by placing a duty on the Welsh Government and other public bodies to develop a strategy to move towards specifically using electric vehicles and non-carbon-emission vehicles in their own public fleets.

“I welcome signs of movement towards having a strategy. But when Welsh Government’s Low-carbon plan talks of wanting to move to a zero-emission public fleet by 2025, what I want to know is how. When are we going to do it? How are we going to do it?

“We need to move, with urgency, towards having a strategy, Wales-wide, with ULEVs as a very clear focus, because they are going to be a very prominent part of our transport future.”

Rhun ap Iorwerth to host roundtable discussion regarding dementia

On Monday 10 June, Rhun ap Iorwerth, AM for Anglesey, is holding a roundtable discussion about hospital care for people living with dementia.

The roundtable will be held at Canolfan Ebeneser, Llangefni, and is open to anyone living in the area who has experience – good or bad – of hospital care for someone living with dementia. This information will be used to make recommendations to the Welsh Government to improve the quality of dementia care in hospitals across Wales, potentially impacting the lives of thousands of people.

Evidence has shown when a person living with dementia is admitted to hospital they are often at their most vulnerable. Their health may deteriorate rapidly upon admission.

An unnecessarily lengthy stay in hospital can make it more likely for the person to lose their independent living skills such as dressing themselves or eating unassisted. A lack of understanding about dementia amongst medical staff can also have a significantly adverse effect on the experience of the patient.

Rhun ap Iorwerth, AM for Anglesey says:

“When the person you love goes into hospital it is of the utmost importance that they experience the very best care. We urgently need to do more to support people living with dementia during their time in hospital and that begins with listening to the experiences of my constituents and responding to their concerns. I will work closely with other members of Cross Party Group on dementia to find solutions to this crucial health issue.”

The Welsh Government’s Dementia Action Plan pledges to take action on improving hospital care for people living with dementia[1].

The Cross Party Group on dementia is conducting an inquiry to gather evidence from people across Wales to understand the current state of hospital care for people living with dementia. They will use this evidence to make recommendations to the Welsh Government for improvements that can be achieved in hospitals across Wales.

If you or your loved one has experience of dementia-related hospital care Rhun ap Iorwerth would like to hear from you on 10 June at the roundtable in Canolfan Ebeneser, Bridge Street, Llangefni, Anglesey, LL77 7PN. To find out more and book your place please contact Sophie Douglas on 02920 475580 or email Sophie.Douglas@alzheimers.org.uk

Plaid Cymru calls for bespoke Ultra Low Emission Vehicle Strategy ahead of ambitious EV launch

Plaid Cymru has urged Welsh Government to take charge and show that Wales is eager to embrace the future with regards to Ultra Low Emission Vehicles, after launching a report outlining the pioneering work done in other parts of the UK on the matter and how Wales is being left behind.

Driving Change: Scottish Lessons for Wales’ EV Future is a report which is today being launched by the party’s Shadow Minister for Economy and Finance Rhun ap Iorwerth, which illustrates the challenges facing Wales in adopting an EV agenda and calls on Welsh Government to do more to encourage the nation to go electric.

Ahead of launching the report, Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“We need a wide-ranging and bespoke ULEV strategy, not merely included as part of a wider strategy on carbon reduction, as we saw with the Low Carbon Plan recently published by Welsh Government. As well as strengthening power networks, charging infrastructure has to be planned carefully.

“Welsh Government could either wait for enough people to buy ULEVs before driving its own investment in infrastructure, which makes little sense to me, or it could do as Scotland has done, and see the real value in investing money, time and effort now in encouraging behavioural change.

“Let’s make statements as a nation that raise the profile of ULEVs, and normalise their use. Can we introduce our own electric highways, as Scotland has done with their Electric A9? Can we rapidly incentivise the public and private sectors to go electric?

“Let’s show that Wales is eager to embrace the future.”

Plaid Cymru AM welcomes County Council backing of 2025 Island Games bid.

Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Ynys Mon Rhun ap Iorwerth has welcomed Isle of County Council’s majority decision to endorse and support the island’s bid to host the International Island Games in 2025.

The Full Council today (Tuesday, May 14th) agreed in principle to support a request from the Ynys Môn Bid Committee to underwrite the cost of hosting this international sporting event.

Ynys Môn is a founding member of the International Island Games Association having competed at the inaugural event on the Isle of Man in 1985. Once every two years, thousands of athletes from across the globe – from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean, North Atlantic to the Caribbean – visit a member island to compete.

In a question to the First Minister Mark Drakeford in the Assembly Chamber today, Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“I’m delighted that Isle of Anglesey County Council has agreed to underwrite Ynys Mon’s bid to host the International Island Games in 2025.

“I’m extremely grateful to the Welsh Government for already agreeing to give a substantial sum o money towards the bid. The Isle of Anglesey Charitable Trust has also provided a sum of money, as has the International Island Games Executive Committee.

“I’m very confident that, through private sources and through local fundraising on Anglesey we will ensure that we are able to stage a very successful Games in 2025, and I’m extremely grateful to the councillors for their support today.

“There is a fantastic opportunity through these games to leave a legacy for Anglesey in terms of physical activity and an interest in sport for decades to come.”

Councillors asked to back Anglesey’s 2025 Island Games bid.

Exciting plans to bring the International Island Games to Ynys Môn in 2025 could come a step closer today as County Councillors are asked to back a request to underwrite the Games.

The Ynys Môn 2025 Bid Committee, including representatives of the Ynys Môn Island Games Association, the island’s AM Rhun ap Iorwerth and MP Albert Owen – who’ve been working closely with the County Council’s elected representatives and officials – already have a significant amount of funding promised, from the Anglesey Charitable Trust, Welsh Government as well as the International Island Games executive.

With commercial sponsors already showing keen interest in getting involved – some already promising significant sums of money – the bid committee is confident there will be no need for any additional support from the Isle of Anglesey County Council.

The underwriting, however, is a technical necessity for the bid’s approval.

2025 Bid Committee Chair Gareth Parry said: “We are very thankful for the support we’ve received from the Country Council’s Officials and Councillors with the work on the bid so far. We hope that after today’s meeting we will be in a position to move forward and make the prospect of bringing a major International event of this stature to our island a reality.”

Rhun ap Iorwerth AM said: “I’m sure Councillors will want to give a vote of confidence in our young people, by ensuring the Games get the go-ahead. Bringing this wonderful festival of sport to Ynys Môn in 2025 will leave a positive legacy for years to come.”

Albert Owen MP added: “This is an important juncture and the support of the Anglesey Council is vital to proceed to host the 2025 games and the 25 year legacy it will provide the island’s wider community.”

Plaid warn Brexit could “decimate” Wales’ R&D Sector

Menai Science Parc, CEMET, Geom and Food Centre Wales could struggle for post-Brexit funding

Plaid Cymru have warned that Brexit could decimate Wales’ research and development sector.

Speaking during the party’s European Elections campaign, Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Economy Minister, Rhun ap Iorwerth AMs said that in the event of leaving the EU, Wales’ research and development output could be ‘decimated’.

80 per cent of Wales’ total EU funding for research and development currently comes from EU structural funds.

Menai Science Parc, Food Centre Wales, The Centre of Excellence in Mobile and Emerging Technologies and Geom are all partially funded by European Structural Funds and could struggle for replacement funding after Brexit.

He said Wales could not “trust” Westminster to deliver replacement structural funding and said that the shambolic handling of Brexit left no option but to have a People’s Vote with the option to remain in the EU to safeguard Wales’ current R&D funding.

Plaid Cymru Shadow Economy Minister, Rhun ap Iorwerth AM said,

“Research and development is vital to Wales’ economic well-being. Leaving the EU would be a disaster and could decimate our current research and development output.

“Almost 80 per cent of Wales’ total EU funding for research and innovation comes from structural funds. Universities are particularly dependent on the freedom of movement of their researchers to facilitate R&D.

“Already, Wales is not given its fair share from the Westminster Government. In 2016, of the £2.2 billion spent on research and development by UK Government, just £5 per person was spent in Wales UK compared to £54 per person in London and the Home Counties.

“We are still waiting on the Westminster Government’s so-called Shared Prosperity Fund which is supposed to replicate EU regional funding after Brexit. But how can Wales trust Westminster to deliver the funding we need to safeguard our communities and industries? We can’t.

“The Brexit shambles over the past three years means we now must have a People’s Vote and a final say referendum in these European Elections. We want to give people the choice on whether they want to remain with the crucial structural funding we have, or to risk our research and development on the whim of the Westminster government.

North of Anglesey needs particular support from Welsh Government, says Rhun ap Iorwerth

Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Ynys Môn Rhun ap Iorwerth has urged Welsh Government to consider special measures of support for the north of Anglesey after a written response from the Welsh Government Minister for the Economy Ken Skates refuse to commit to any particular economic development plans.

Mr ap Iorwerth received a written response from the Welsh Government Minister outlining that his government’s broad approach to developing the economy in North Anglesey and across Wales is set out in our Economy Action Plan, after the Plaid AM had asked him to outline Welsh Government’s plans for developing the economy in the north of the island.

Mr ap Iorwerth has since written to the Minister in response and has made the case for the north of Anglesey needing particular support after suffering a number of economic blows in recent months.

Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“This is just a ‘stock’ answer from the Minister, but I very much felt the need to respond. If I had an opportunity to raise a supplementary question, I would have strongly argued that the north of Anglesey needs particular support following a series of recent blows.

“I’ve called on the Government to consider special measures, including an injection of extra money targeted at the north of the island for economic and social projects, to prove that they really want to help the area during these difficult times.

“I have appealed to the Minister to work closely with the Isle of Anglesey County Council and other relevant bodies to look for opportunities which could be a way of turning a corner following the recent announcements. The Council is currently consulting on a regeneration plan for the north of the Island and I would like as many people as possible to feed into that.”

Rhun ap Iorwerth calls for debate on future of NHS dentistry in Wales.

Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Ynys Môn Rhun ap Iorwerth has urged Welsh Government to hold a debate on the future of dentistry in Wales following a number of concerns raised with the availability of treatment on the NHS for patients on the island.

The recent announcement of the impending closure of an NHS dental practice in Menai Bridge, followed by the closure of a branch in Bangor which had a number of patients from Ynys Môn, has again highlighted the lack of dentistry provision in the area.

In a question to Welsh Government yesterday, Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“There are a number of levels of our dental service that needs discussion and I think a debate would be a means of airing concerns. First of all, there are serious concerns about the UDA agreement—the units of dental activity—where I’m convinced there is a disincentive for dentists to deal with multiple problems, including problems suffered by children who can’t access treatment.

“Secondly, we need to have a debate on the availability of NHS dental care. A surgery in my constituency, Bridge Street Dental Practice in Menai Bridge, announced recently the intention to close—it was a problem in getting hold of staff that was the cause of that. I wrote to Betsi Cadwaladr to ask what the patients are now supposed to do.

“The response I received was, ‘Tell them to phone around looking for a dental surgery that provides NHS services.’ I know that the opportunities for people to access NHS services are few and far between, and, on a recent list, Holyhead in my constituency was the place where people had to travel furthest to access dental services—59 miles there and back to the nearest surgery.

“And thirdly, a failure to recruit new dentists was the problem in terms of Bridge Street Dental in Menai Bridge. Just as we succeeded with our campaign to provide medical training in Bangor, I think that this debate would also be a means of discussing the need for dental training too, to be developed on the back of the medical training that is due to commence there soon.”

Welsh Government has failed to tackle child poverty, says Plaid Cymru AM

Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Ynys Môn Rhun ap Iorwerth has lamented the Welsh Labour Government for failing time and time again to take action in combatting child poverty.

In First Minister’s Questions this week, the Plaid Cymru AM highlighted the unacceptable situation where 29% of children in Wales live in poverty, and criticised the Labour Welsh Government for failing to tackle the problem.

Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“A series of Governments here have been missing their targets on tackling child poverty since the inception of devolution and it’s natural that people will ask how effective Welsh Governments have been over that 20 years, and Labour has led each of those Governments. This First Minister is the fourth Labour First Minister.

“In a few weeks’ time, this Assembly will discuss a motion signed by Members of many parties, including the party of Government, calling for a strategy to tackle poverty with a budget and specific action points. Isn’t it scandalous, after 20 years of Labour Government, that we are still in a situation where one feels that we need to have such a strategy?

“Backbench Members are eager to take action. The Assembly is eager to take action, but it’s the Welsh Labour Government that has failed time and time again, just as they have failed to resolve the problems of the health service.”

Orthopaedic waiting times nowhere near what is acceptable, says Rhun ap Iorwerth

Waiting times of over 100 weeks for patients requiring orthopaedic surgery under Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board are nowhere near what is acceptable to patients and action needs to be taken urgently, according to Plaid Cymru AM for Ynys Môn Rhun ap Iorwerth.

The Assembly Member raised the matter of orthopaedic waiting times in a question to the Health Minister this week and said that it is time to realise special measures in themselves are not enough for Betsi Cadwaladr, with steps needing to be taken quickly to improve the situation.

Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“The Health Minister says that he is disappointed that people are waiting too long. It’s worth taking a moment just to think what exactly ‘too long’ means with regards to orthopaedic waiting times.

“I wrote to the Betsi Cadwaladr health board and received a response on 8 April on behalf of a patient waiting for a new knee. The response said that some 2,200 patients were awaiting orthopaedic treatment and that waiting times for elective surgery was around 100 weeks. A fortnight later, I got a response saying that waiting times for knee operations or hip operations were more than 110 weeks.

“This at any level isn’t anywhere near what is acceptable. Isn’t it time for us now to realise that special measures in themselves are not enough and that we need to move to some sort of crisis measures for Betsi Cadwaladr, or to seriously consider whether the single health board model for north Wales is fit for purpose?”