By Simon Baynes

MP for Clwyd South

March Column

As your Member of Parliament, I am proud to ensure that those in power hear your views. I raised the concerns of residents in Esclusham about the proposed battery storage facility near Bersham during questions to the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero in the House of Commons on 27th February.

The proposals by Innova would see the construction of a battery storage facility near the A483. It would constitute the largest lithium-ion battery storage site in the UK. Since the announcement of the proposal, it has faced significant local opposition, with residents forming the “Esclusham Community Group” to campaign against the scheme due to safety concerns.

It was a great pleasure to support the farming community recently by welcoming Lord Newborough, owner of the Rhug Estate near Corwen in Clwyd South, to a Reception at No. 10 Downing Street to celebrate the work of Local Community Food and Farming Champions which hosted by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP, and Minister for Food, Farming and Fisheries, Rt Hon Mark Spencer MP. Lord Newborough has transformed the Estate into an award-winning business, recognised for embracing sustainable organic farming, green energy, retail, wholesale and most recently, skincare.

Broadband connectivity is an essential part of life but rural areas, including some in Clwyd South, can struggle with sub-par coverage. It was therefore a pleasure recently to meet with Julia Lopez MP, Minister of State for Data and Digital Infrastructure, in the House of Commons to discuss broadband connectivity in Clwyd South. Approximately 24,500 premises across North Wales are in scope for further Project Gigabit regional procurement, providing a major boost for connectivity and the local economy.

Throughout Clwyd South, many individuals and businesses undertake voluntary work to help our local charities. I recently welcomed Paul and Katy Jones from The Sun Trevor pub near Llangollen to the House of Commons for the PubAid Community Pub Hero awards 2024 where they won the Community Pub Fundraising Hero Prize for Wales. I was proud to nominate them as the Community Pub Fundraising Hero for Wales.

The award celebrates the work that the Sun Trevor has done fundraising for Nightingale House Hospice through their weekly pub quiz run by Maggie Smith. The quiz has raised over £27,500 to date and I was pleased to introduce Paul and Katy to Kevin Hollinrake MP, Minister for Enterprise and Markets, and Dr James Davies MP, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for the new Clwyd East constituency (which includes Llangollen and the surrounding area).

The House of Commons is open to all residents in Clwyd South and the rest of the UK, and I am always happy to facilitate visits. I enjoyed meeting Nicholas Claffey and Hannah La'Course from Plas Madoc and Rebecca and Ken Roberts from Bangor-on-Dee who travelled down to Westminster for a tour of the Palace of Westminster and to watch Prime Minister’s Questions on 6th and 13th March respectively.

Our farming community works tirelessly year-round, I was pleased to highlight in the House of Commons on Thursday 14th March the problems facing Clwyd South farmers. The Prime Minister’s recent announcement of £220 million to deploy new technology to boost productivity in the farming sector in England compares very favourably with Welsh Labour’s Sustainable Farming Scheme, which would force farmers in Clwyd South and the rest of Wales to reduce their productive land by 20%. This would result in the reduction of 122,200 Welsh livestock with 5,500 jobs being lost along with a £199 million loss to the Welsh economy.

Given the importance of rail transport in Clwyd South, I was pleased to co-sign on the 14th March an open letter from Sarah Atherton, MP for Wrexham, to the Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Mark Harper MP, alongside nine other MPs. The letter calls on the Secretary of State to work with the Office of Rail and Road and the Department for Transport to ensure that the plans of the Wrexham, Shropshire & Midlands Railway to introduce a new direct daily train service between Wrexham General and London Euston is processed as quickly as possible.

I continue to campaign for policies that will help small businesses in Clwyd South. I was pleased in Treasury Questions in the House of Commons on 19th March to show my appreciation for the Spring Budget’s increase in the VAT threshold from £85,000 to £90,000 that will help businesses like the Two Doves Café and Gift Shop in Overton. I asked Gareth Davies MP, Exchequer Secretary, to prioritise increasing further the VAT threshold in the government’s next fiscal intervention.

The UK government has provided significant funding to our area since 2019. This includes the £13.3 million Clwyd South Levelling Up Fund that I helped to secure in 2021 and a £160 million Investment Zone for Wrexham, Clwyd South and Flintshire that was announced last year. I was delighted that on Saturday, 23rd March, the UK government’s Community Ownership Fund announced a grant of £452,700 for the Owain Glyndwr Hotel in Corwen.

I have been enormously impressed by everyone involved in this campaign, including the group of local residents 'Save the Owain Glyndwr Hotel' chaired by Dr David Counsell and also including County Councillors Alan Hughes and Gwyneth Ellis, all of whom should take great pride in their work. I am very pleased to have helped bring significant Levelling Up Fund investment to the town from the UK government so that Corwen can realise its great potential and prosper in the years to come.

As your Member of Parliament, my team and I are always here to provide advice and support. For updates on my work in Clwyd South and Westminster, please visit my website

I will be holding a constituency surgery in the Ceiriog Valley on 12th April. If you would like to attend, or would like to book tickets to attend PMQs, please get in touch on