Thank you for reading this October update.

Here is a quick summary of what I have been doing to represent you in Cardiff Bay and in the constituency. 

Towards Zero Carbon

The Climate Crisis was debated on 13th October. I called for Wales to do more to redouble efforts to produce more renewable energy, both to
decarbonise our domestic energy market and to protect low income families from the six-fold increase in the price of gas.

I once again urged for Part L of the building regulations to be revised so all future homes have to be built to zero-carbon standards, rather than the developers passing the cost on to home buyers.

I also said we need to understand how much carbon is involved in the food we buy, so we are aware of the carbon cost of intensively reared meat fed on soya and corn grown on land that was previously Amazon rainforest.

The latest Zero Carbon Plan is due to be published tomorrow by the Welsh Government.

Decarbonising Schools 

On October 6th I asked Jeremy Miles whether all future school building projects will be zero carbon, and how he would ensure that local authorities check new technology is working properly before handing over new buildings to schools who have to operate them correctly.

The Education Minister said the 21st century schools programme would support zero carbon pilot projects where possible but the technology is still a work in progress.

Decarbonising Homes 

On October 6th, the day that the £20 a week cut to Universal Credit was implemented, I asked the Minister of Social Justice about accelerating the retrofitting of social housing to A rating for energy efficiency.

The Welsh Government will receive £25m to compensate for this cut but this will be totally inadequate to make the homes of families who will be £1,000 a year worse off more energy efficient. It will require the collective resources of government.

On the 12th October, I asked the First Minister about the numbers of apprenticeships needed to get all Welsh homes retrofitted.

The First Minister admitted that the apprenticeship programme has been affected by the pandemic but Welsh Government has recently allocated £78m towards the skilled workforce we need to decarbonise our homes.

Open Doors Week

I took the opportunity to visit three significant building sites:

  • the Maelfa Well Being Centre;
  • Cardiff University’s social science research park (SPARK) and an Innovation Centre on Maindy Road,
  • the long-awaited new bus station in Central Square.

All are exemplary projects which will have important roles once completed.
I met a few apprentices but nearly as many as we need to be training to make the transition to zero carbon.

Decarbonising Transport

Four years after the cancellation of the electrification of the line to Swansea, I was dismayed to learn that the UK Government has yet to complete an initial assessment of how they will improve Welsh rail infrastructure.

The Welsh Government cannot implement the integrated SE Wales Metro plans until the UK Government collaborates on the use of the rail track between Cardiff and Newport and beyond.

During a statement by Lee Waters, the Deputy Minister for Climate Change on October 20th I expressed my concern on the delay in light of the Rail Safety and Standards Board’s disclosure that the levels of nitrogen dioxide on board a main line train burning diesel mode are significantly higher than on a congested street in the centre of London.

Reversing Biodiversity Loss 

Julie James, the Minister for Climate Change announced the Welsh Government’s commitment to protect 30% of our land and seas by 2030 on October 12th to coincide with the COP15 meeting in Beijing.

The UK now has the most depleted nature resources in Europe and 29 community projects are receiving £6 million to help save Welsh native wildlife that are threatened with extinction. The Minister agreed with me that we can all make a contribution, e.g. growing flowers in a window box to provide pollen for bees.

Autumn Plant and Seed Swaps

At the beginning of October, I held two well-attended events in Llanedeyrn and Pentwyn to help more people to grow their own at home.

Cashless Society

With the continued closure of high street banks, I asked the Welsh Government how the digitally excluded can still have a secure place for their savings and get hold of cash without being charged. Lesley Griffiths said that the Government was working with the private sector to develop plans for Banc Cambria, a community bank for Wales.

Talk to Adferiad

I enjoyed attending Adferiad’s #TalktoAdferiad event in St Fagan’s on October 8th along with carers, staff and clients.

Adferiad Recovery launched in April 2021 and will offer support for those with addiction and mental health issues.

Vulnerable people facing complex life challenges need consistent and seamless support to ensure they remain engaged with vital health and wellbeing services. Adferiad will help prevent them becoming disenfranchised and isolated.

Official Opening of the Senedd, October 14th 

The Queen officially opened the 6th Senedd attended by a much reduced number of guests. I was very pleased that Ahmed Ali, representing the Al-Ikhlas Centre, was one of the Covid Community champions invited to meet the Royal party and he had the opportunity to invite Prince Charles to open the new mosque they are building in Adamsdown.

Celebrating Cardiff’s Culture 

On October 1st I attended a concert at St Davids Hall. The performance of the Wales National Orchestra with its new resident conductor was very exciting, though my first concert in two years took some getting used to.

More recently at the Wales Millennium Centre I was very pleased to see The Boys with Two Hearts about Afghan refugees who made it to Cardiff before it transferred to London. It was yet another great performance.

On October 26th I met Adrian Field, Cardiff’s Business Improvement District  Manager, on how we continue to maintain a vibrant city centre.

October 27th, 2021

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