Minister reconsiders Osprey Project cuts

cywion gweilch / osprey chicks

cywion gweilch / osprey chicks

Many people have been concerned about the funding cuts facing the Dyfi Osprey Project, located on the Ceredigion-Powys border. The Environment Wales grants were due to disappear.
I raised the matter with the Minister, and I’m pleased to say that he has reconsidered. In his letter to me he states that funding will continue to be provided by the Welsh Government for at least 18 months.
This is good news for a project that has been very popular, and attracts many visitors to the area.

Llywodraeth Cymru’n gwneud tro-pedol ar ariannu Canolfan y Gweilch

cywion gweilch / osprey chicks

cywion gweilch / osprey chicks

Roedd nifer o bobl wedi codi consyrn gyda fi fod Prosiect Gweilch Dyfi, ar ffin Ceredigion a Maldwyn, ar fin colli cyllid gan Lywodraeth Cymru oherwydd diwedd y grantiau Amgylchedd Cymru.
Codais y mater gyda’r Gweinidog, ac rwy’n falch o ddweud ei fod wedi ailystyried.
Yn ei lythyr i mi cadarnhaodd y bydd y Prosiect yn parhau i dderbyn cyllid gan y Llywodraeth am o leiaf 18 mis.
Dyma newyddion da i brosiect sydd mor boblogaidd, ac sy’n denu nifer o ymwelwyr i’r ardal.

Great news for railway campaign

The campaign to reopen the rail link between Aberystwyth and Carmarthen has received a boost, thanks to the decision of the Transport Minister to commission an initial study on the feasibility of reopening the line.

Llythyr gan y Gweinidog Trafnidiaeth / Letter from the Transport Minister

Llythyr gan y Gweinidog Trafnidiaeth / Letter from the Transport Minister

This follows on from a meeting we held earlier this year, when the Minister came to Lampeter to met the Traws Link Cymru campaigners, Simon Thomas AM and myself.

For the first time, the Welsh Government is committing its own resources and taking the lead on a study on reopening the rail link between Aberystwyth, Tregaron, Lampeter and Carmarthen.

Of course there is a long way to go in the campaign, but it’s very significant that the Minister has been persuaded that this is an idea which is worth developing further.

Traws Link’s campaign goes from strength to strength, and they’re holding the latest in their series of public meetings this Friday evening in Aberaeron Memorial Hall, at 7pm.

Hwb mawr i’r ymgyrch reilffordd

Daeth newyddion da i’r ymgyrch i ailagor y cyswllt rheilffordd rhwng Aberystwyth a Chaerfyrddin.

Llythyr gan y Gweinidog Trafnidiaeth / Letter from the Transport Minister

Llythyr gan y Gweinidog Trafnidiaeth / Letter from the Transport Minister

Cadarnhaodd y Gweinidog Trafnidiaeth mewn llythyr i mi fod y Llywodraeth am gomisiynu adroddiad cychwynol ar ddichonoldeb ailagor y rheilffordd, a gaewyd gan doriadau Beeching.
Mae hyn yn newyddion gwych i grwp TrawsLink, sydd wedi ymladd mor galed ar y mater yma, ac mae’n dilyn cyfarfod yn gynharach eleni, lle daeth y Gweinidog i gwrdd a’r ymgyrchwyr, Simon Thomas AC a minnau yn Llambed.

Am y tro cyntaf, felly, mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi penderfynu rhoi arweiniad ac adnoddau i astudiaeth ar ddichonoldeb ailagor y linell reilffordd rhwng Aberystwyth, Tregaron, Llambed a Chaerfyrddin.

Wrth gwrs, mae dipyn o ffordd i fynd yn yr ymgyrch, ond mae’n arwyddocaol iawn fod y Gweinidog wedi cael ei pherswadio fod hon yn syniad y dylid ei ddatblygu ymhellach.

Mae’r ymgyrch yn cynnal cyfarfod cyhoeddus yn Aberaeron nos Wener yma, am 7 yn y Neuadd Goffa.

Council merger plans could mean chaos

Today, the Welsh Government has announced plans which could see local authorities merged into eight councils. Under the plans, Ceredigion would be merged with Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, in an arrangement similar to the old Dyfed County Council.

The plans announced by the Public Services Minister are an amended version of the plans in the Williams Commission Report for 10-12 merged councils, and have already been severely criticised by many within his own party.

I fear that we’re in danger of a botched reorganisation of local government, which will distract councils at a time when they’re coping with serious cuts, and won’t deal with major challenges such as integrating health and social care.

By just merging the existing local authorities, these plans miss an opportunity to engage with real reform. There are an immense number of regional public bodies, operating on different boundaries, dealing with such issues as health, fire, education and much more besides. Many of these could be made more accountable, and reforming them would help to integrate key functions such as health and social services.

Plaid Cymru’s alternative plans would aim at better integration and accountability for regional services, abolishing educational consortia,  reforming health boards and pooling back office functions, without forcing councils through a reorganisation at a time of cuts, and without increasing the numbers of councillors or officers.

Merging the three counties of south-west Wales back into Dyfed, while leaving the broader problems unaddressed, is unlikely to be a good deal for Ceredigion.

The Labour Welsh Government needs to re-think these proposals. They’re a recipe for chaos, and voters will have the chance to pass judgement on them next May.

Cynlluniau i uno cynghorau yn llanast

Heddiw, mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi cyhoeddi cynlluniau all arwain at uno cynghorau lleol yn wyth awdurdod. O dan y cynllun, byddai Ceredigion yn cael ei gyfuno gyda Sir Benfro a Sir Gaerfyrddin, yn debyg i’r hen Gyngor Sir Dyfed.

Mae’r cynlluniau a gyhoeddwyd gan y Gweinidog Gwasanaethau Cyhoeddus yn fersiwn ddiwygiedig o argymhellion Comisiwn Williams am gyfuno er mwyn ffurfio 10-12 awdurdod, ac yn barod mae nifer o fewn ei blaid ei hun wedi ei feirniadu’n chwyrn.

Rwy’n teimlo ein bod mewn peryg o ad-drefnu mewn modd hollol anfoddhaol. Mae’r potensial yma i dynnu sylw cynghorau ar adeg pan eu bont yn wynebu toriadau anferth, ac nid yw’r cynlluniau’n delio a phynciau pwysig fel integreiddio iechyd a gofal cymdeithasol.

Trwy gyfuno cynghorau, mae’r cynlluniau’n methu cyfle i ddiwygio go iawn. Mae na nifer anferth o fyrddau rhanbarthol, ar ffiniau amrywiol, yn delio gyda materion fel iechyd, tan, addysg a nifer o bethau eraill. Gellid gwneud rhain yn fwy atebol, a byddai eu diwygio yn helpu integreiddio gwasanaethau craidd fel iechyd.

Byddai cynlluniau amgen Plaid Cymru yn anelu at fwy o integreiddio ac atebolrwydd i wasanaethau rhanbarthol, gan gael gwared ar gonsortia addysg, diwygio byrddau iechyd a rhannu gwasanaethau cymorth, heb orfodi cynghorau i uno ar adeg o doriadau, ac heb gynyddu’r nifer o gynghorwyr.

Byddai cyfuno tair awdurdod ac ail-ffurfio Dyfed, tra’n methu diwygio’n ehangach, yn anhebygol o fod yn ffafriol i Geredigion.

Mae angen ail-feddwl y cynlluniau yma. Maent yn debygol o arwain at anhrefn, a bydd gan etholwyr y cyfle i basio barn arnynt fis Mai nesa.

The e-cigarettes debate

There’s a lot of attention in the media over the Welsh Government’s intention to bring in a ban on e-cigarettes in public places as part of its Public Health Bill.

This is a controversial part of the measure, and one that I feel needs a lot more thought.

The National Assembly now needs to consider all of the evidence that relates to the effect of e-cigarettes on public health, most of which is newly-emerging. E-cigarettes are used widely by people who are trying to give up smoking, so we should be very careful not to halt that trend. We cannot risk these people reverting to tobacco cigarettes from e-cigarettes.

The Health Minister must now set out clearly what evidence there is to prove that a ban on using e-cigarettes will have a beneficial impact, and I will be seeking for the Health Committee to take the widest possible range of evidence on this before coming to its conclusions. Public health legislation must be reserved for measures where there is incontrovertible evidence that public harm is being done.