September can be a bit of a strange one in the life of an MP. You get back to the hustle and bustle of Parliament after the long summer recess (not break! I promise you) of visits, surgeries and many many shows, and then three weeks later you are back on recess again while party conferences take place.
Next week is party conference week for me and it will be a busy one but really looking forward to joining a whole range of fringe events where I will of course be championing Brecon and Radnorshire at every turn! Particularly looking forward to speaking at the Countryside Alliance’s Fringe Event.
On that note, one of the big things that has happened for Brecon and Radnorshire this month is the decision by Natural Resources Wales to drop the decision, at least for the next season, to effectively restrict gamebird shooting by adding common pheasant and red-legged partridge to Part 1 of Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in Wales. Such a change would have meant that shoots would have needed permission from Natural Resources Wales and ultimately an anti- shooting Welsh Government to release game birds and therefore operate, posing a risk to this vital part of Brecon and Radnorshire’s economy, the management of its countryside, and to the rural way of life for many here. Welcome news then, especially for all those who packed out the public meeting I co-hosted on this matter at the Fedw in June, but I am sure that the Welsh Labour Government and local Liberal Democrats who “support proposals for a licencing scheme” will continue to push for this change, so we must continue to make the case for the preservation of this rural way of life which is central for many across the constituency.
Another key issue has been the imposition now of 20mph restrictions across Wales. As I outlined in my Evening Standard article, I am sure most people would agree that 20mph zones around schools is sensible, and even in certain areas where our rural villages with their wonky roads don’t lend themselves well to cruising in fourth gear. But this is a policy right across Wales in all residential and built-up areas, unless local authorities have opted certain areas out — and, for the most part, they haven’t. Speeding is a blight almost everywhere. But as someone whose inbox is full of complaints, I know they aren’t complaining about people driving at 27mph. Instead, it’s about boy racers travelling at 50 in a 30mph limit, and the nuisance of noisy motorbikes howling through the countryside, with my appeals to the Welsh Government to impose lower restrictions on some of these A and B roads falling on deaf ears. I will be meeting with Dyfed-Powys Police to discuss this matter again in the next weeks.