I’d like to report back to you from the meeting mentioned in my previous column about a Sustainable Powys in Newtown.

We held a successful meeting about the steps public bodies could take to create a more sustainable future for everyone living in the county. It was good to see so many people ready to discuss what kind of Powys they want.

I was joined by my colleagues Councillor Elwyn Vaughan on what Powys Council could do and Jill Evans MEP brought home the impact Brexit would have on rural Wales.

Agriculture in Wales is facing the most challenging situation since World War II, and certainly no-one today can recall such a volatile situation or a period of greater uncertainty about the future of the industry.

Many of these challenges arise from the decision to leave the European Union but some result from changes in the way we eat, trade and regard our countryside and environment. Not the least of these is climate change.

With this in mind, I believe it is extremely important for us to seek the best ways of supporting young people in agriculture and making agriculture an attractive industry for young people.

Plaid Cymru succeeded in securing £6 million for a grant scheme for young farmers over the next two years to ensure new entrants into the industry which will support the sector’s long-term future.

This forms part of our attempt to ensure that the sector is ready to face the challenges of Brexit and wider demographic changes.

Part of my vision for a sustainable, independent Wales is that we invest in tomorrow’s generation today, since they are the ones who will build and develop our abundant natural resources, and do so in a manner which will set a pattern for the whole world.

I was also pleased we discussed how Plaid Cymru secured £2 million for electric car charging in the Welsh budget. There is a huge gap in Mid Wales for charging infrastructure. Some of the charging points we have would be comparable to filling a petrol car with a thimble. The result is that you can drive by electric car from Cardiff to Orkney, but not from Cardiff to Bangor.

I want to see Mid, North and rural Wales prioritised for this development. Otherwise once again the UK government and the market will abandon us, as we have experienced with broadband rollout and provision.

Get in touch if you would like to find out more about the two schemes.

n As this is the last column in the Powys County Times before Christmas may I wish all readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Email: simon.thomas@assembly.wales


Twitter @SimonThomasAC