In her latest blog for Caerphilly Observer, Islwyn AM Rhianon Passmore hails the refusal of a permit for a waste plant at Nine Mile Point, outlines the Welsh Government’s budget, and discusses holding Arriva Trains Wales to account.
2017 began in my constituency of Islwyn with a stunning victory for people power. Natural Resources Wales refused the environmental permit application for Hazrem Environmental’s facility.
Natural Resources Wales ruled the plant could have a negative effect on local people’s health.
The site wanted to sort and segregate waste for recycling and fuel production, releasing emissions from burning gas used in an onsite drier including nitrogen dioxide.
The refusal to grant the permit for a waste treatment facility in Cwmfellinfach will help safeguard and protect our communities from increases in nitrogen dioxide emissions.
The communities of Cwmfellinfach, Wattsville and Ysnysddu were rewarded for their determined and vigorous campaign to maintain the health quality of their air. The quality of life of my constituents matters greatly to me and this is why I joined the Lower Sirhowy Valley Residents, submitting seven hundred letters of objection to Natural Resources Wales.
The Welsh Government has laid its final budget for 2017-18. The details once again highlight the importance of ensuring Welsh Labour representation.
The Budget includes:
· An additional £10 million for social care.
· An additional £15 million to widen access to our existing apprenticeship schemes. This additional funding will support the Welsh Government to deliver 100,000 all-age, quality apprenticeships over this Assembly term.
· An extra £53 million to accelerate our commitment to deliver 20,000 affordable homes over this Assembly term.
· An additional regeneration of £50 million for re-generation.
Providing a voice on Brexit
After the Supreme Court decision Parliament will trigger Article 50. As the elected representative for Islwyn in the National Assembly for Wales I shall continue to give voice to the interests of my constituents.
Unsatisfactory rail services
One pressing issues is the poor service being experienced by rail passengers. My constituents in Islwyn continually raise with me overcrowding on Arriva Trains Wales.
In total, Arriva Trains Wales made £133.88 million in dividends for its parent company after taking over the franchise to run the Wales and Border train services in December 2003.
It held £70 million in the bank at the time it filed its last accounts. I will continue to meet with relevant authorities to pursue the needed solutions to this unsatisfactory situation.
The existing UK franchise ends in October 2018. That is an agonising 20 months away. My constituents are fearful that during the forthcoming Six Nations they will again be stuck on railway stations in Newbridge, Crosskeys, Risca and Pontymister as the Ebbw Vale to Cardiff service is already at capacity at Ebbw Vale.
I do not believe that a company with £70 million in the bank is incapable of increasing capacity on the line. I will continue meeting relevant authorities to pursue needed solutions to this unsatisfactory situation.