By Mark Isherwood

MS for North Wales

Since becoming Wales Species Champion for the Curlew in 2016, I have actively raised awareness of this iconic and endangered species inside and outside the Senedd.

Responding to the Statement by the Minister for Climate Change on ‘Nature, biodiversity and local places for nature’ in the Senedd, I stated “if we don't do something urgently, the Curlew will disappear as a breeding population in Wales in just 12 years, but, if we do, there will be multiple and multi-species benefits contributing positively to the sustainability of over 80 other species, and we need to embrace the farming population across Wales who have joined this agenda, and work with them and other agencies to make this survival a priority for all”.

Having made my own submission in March to the Manchester Recovery Taskforce public consultation on rail services in support of its option B, which would retain direct access to Manchester Airport from North Wales, I am pleased that this option has been selected and that this vital service will continue. Rail links between North Wales and England are vital for the economy of this area, but journey times are currently too lengthy to encourage people to travel by train and faster connections are therefore imperative going forward.

It was concerning to hear the First Minister brush off concerns expressed by the Royal College of GPs, the British Medical Association, and a GP on the frontline, including that the crisis in GP surgeries pre-dated COVID-19, with “a lot of patients finding it difficult to get an appointment before the pandemic”. It is also concerning that a patient in Wales is five times more likely to wait over a year for an operation than in England.

I was delighted to attend the Official Opening of the Sixth Senedd with my wife, Hilary, in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.

Although, with Covid safety measures in place, the occasion was different to the 4 previous Royal Openings of the Senedd I have attended, it was still a wonderful occasion, including Royal Gun Salute, Opening Ceremony in the Senedd and performances by organisations from across Wales.

As Chair of the Welsh Parliament’s Public Accounts and Public Administration Committee, I had a useful online meeting with the Committee’s Clerking Team and the Auditor General for Wales to discuss Audit Wales’ recent reports and current work, and their implications for the Committee’s forward work programme.

If you need my help, email or call 0300 200 7219.