Newsletter - July 2019

July 2019

Dear Resident,

Please find below my latest newsletter. 

As always, if you have any questions about the contents of this newsletter or any issues which may not be mentioned here, please don't hesitate to contact me by email: russell.george@assembly.wales or by phoning my office on 01686 610887.

If you would like to meet me to discuss any issue informally, please be aware that I will also be in Morrisons in Newtown this Friday between 5pm – 7pm, located near the front of the store and I will also be in Tesco Welshpool on the 19th July between 1pm – 3pm. A full list of my forthcoming advice surgeries is also available at the foot of this newsletter.

Best wishes

Russell

Russell George AM
Assembly Member for Montgomeryshire

New Health & Wellbeing Facility in Newtown

I have previously welcomed the news that an additional £2.5 million of Welsh Government funding will be invested to develop plans for a multi-agency well-being campus, including a Rural Regional Centre and that the preferred site for this new health and social care facility for North Powys will be in the centre of Newtown. 
 
Powys Teaching Health Board confirmed to me that the Rural Regional Centre could be co-located next to new school facilities as well as a Community Wellbeing Hub which could be part of a network of other Community Wellbeing Hubs across North Powys. 
 
I also believe that a new school building in Newtown next to the health facility, should be developed at the same time. It's important that both the health facility and the new school have appropriate space, with the ability for further expansion in the future as demand requires.

I believe that a town centre location is the correct place to help further regenerate the town centre, but the proposals also need to demonstrate that the new facility will help to strengthen health facilities in other towns in North Powys. However, further capital funding will have to come forward if the project and new facility is to become a reality and I shall continue to lobby the Welsh Government so that it is easier for families to access essential services locally rather than have to travel some distance from North Powys to access support, health checks and appointments.

However, while the initial sum for this new health and wellbeing facility is welcome, I recently asked the First Minister to provide assurances that further capital funding will be invested to ensure that this facility becomes a reality. Furthermore, even if this project moves at quite a pace, it's going to be some years away until that facility is in place so I believe that it is essential that the GP practice and wider health services in Newtown is sustainable in the meantime.

I was pleased that the First Minister recognised that the long-term sustainability of the services is an important factor and that these questions over sustainability were part of the decision-making that leads to the investment in the first place.
 
A number of people have raised questions with me about the new Health facility, so I would urge you to attend a public "drop-in" meeting. They are being held by the Powys Regional Partnership Board during July and are seeking the views of residents across north Powys on their experiences of existing health and wellbeing services and what services could look like in the future.

There will be ‘drop in’ sessions at the following locations and times:
 
Llanfair Caereinion Library - Thursday 4th July (3.30pm - 6pm)
Welshpool Library - Tuesday 16th July (2pm - 7.30pm)
Llanidloes Library - Tuesday 23rd July (3:30-6pm)
Newtown Library - Tuesday 30th July (2pm - 7.30pm)

On 19th June, I raised the issue of the proposed large scale incinerator at Buttington quarry in Powys . During questions to Julie James, the Welsh Government Minister responsible for planning policy, I asked for the Welsh Government to implement a moratorium on all new incinerators while a full and detailed review is carried out, ahead of a national waste strategy.

Buttington Quarry Waste Incinerator

I had the opportunity of raising the issues surrounding the proposal for a large scale incinerator at Buttington quarry, near Welshpool, in the National Assembly last month.
 
Broad Energy Limited is planning to submit an application for a 150,000 tonne Energy Recovery Facility, located at Buttington Quarry. The size of the Buttington Incinerator means that Welsh Government Ministers, under the Developments of National Significance Process, will make the decision on its approval rather than the local planning authority.
 
As well as raising this above proposal, I was able to raise questions more generally about relevant planning guidance around  large scale incinerators and the Welsh Governments national waste strategy.

I believe that the Welsh Government should take some time to consider whether the current processes and rules surrounding waste incinerators are fit for purpose, and in so doing, develop a national plan. A moratorium on all new incinerators should be put in place whilst this is carried out in my view. We also must ensure that the decision making processes allow for communities to have a strong voice; it is local people who understand best how developments may impact them and it is local people who know whether their road networks are suitable for large scale developments.
 

High Rail Levels & Flooding 

In spite of the recent heatwave in Europe and period of dry weather here in Powys last weekend, we have had some big rain falls during the Spring, and I have had a number of flooding related queries raised with me throughout Montgomeryshire which I am taking up on an individual basis.

Later this month, I will be meeting with the Clywedog and Vyrnwy Liaison Group to discuss some of these flooding issues iwhich have been raised by land owners regarding the recent high river levels within the Severn and Vyrnwy catchments and the overflowing of the dams during heavy rainfall after prolonged periods of dry weather.

I’ve previously asked both Natural Resources Wales and the Welsh Government to provide an explanation of why water tips over the top of the dams so quickly, following prolonged dry weather in the area. I will of course report back further following my meeting late this month.
 

Russell George AM and Emyr Wyn Davies from the Farmers' Union for Wales supporting the FUW campaign to ensure that both dogs and livestock are kept safe..

Farming Matters 
 

I held positive talks with Emyr Wyn Davies from the Montgomeryshire branch of FUW earlier this week on a range of farming matters. Top of the agenda were farm thefts, the introduction of Nitrate Vulnerable Zones in the county, as well as the future of farming in light of Brexit.

Emyr also outlined that 89% of dog attacks are simply caused by dogs which have escaped from their home when their owners think that they are safe and secure. I was pleased to agree to help promote the campaign. This summer, I would encourage everyone to ensure that their fencing is up to the job of keeping pets safe and in turn keep livestock safe too.

Mid Wales Tourism Awards
 

I would like to encourage local businesses to support the inaugural Mid Wales Tourism Awards which are now open to entries.

 The biennial awards are designed to celebrate and showcase the region’s exceptional tourism industry and the talented businesses, organisations and individuals driving the sector forward.

There are 16 categories for businesses and individuals to enter and the closing date for entries is July 31. Entry forms may be downloaded from the awards website at: 
 
https://www.midwalestourismawards.co.uk/ 

Winners and finalists from the awards may be selected to represent the region at the Wales National Tourism Awards in March, 2020. Category finalists will be announced on September 9th and the winners will be revealed at an awards ceremony at The Hafren, Newtown on October 17th.

Advice Surgeries

 
I will be in the following areas, and available to meet with people. Please contact me if you would like to meet by phoning 01686 610887 or emailing russell.george@assembly.wales

5th July - Machynlleth

6th July – Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant

6th July – Caersws

20th July -  Castle Caereinion

22nd July – Llanidloes

3rd August – Dolfor

3rd August - Trefeglwys

4th August – Churchstoke

8th August – Guilsfield

10th August - Llangurig

"Drop-in" Advice Surgeries (no appointment needed)

5th July – Newtown – I will be situated near the front of store in Morrisons Newtown between 5pm – 7pm

19th July – Welshpool – I will be situated near the front of store in Tesco Welshpool between 1pm – 3pm