Environmental issues will rightly be high on the agenda during the forthcoming general election and many will want to know if the Labour Welsh Government has any plans to match the work being done by the UK Government in England to clean up the River Wye.

New First Minister Vaughan Gething certainly needs to give some reassurances about his own commitment to the environment given he accepted a donation of £200,000 from a company whose director received a suspended prison sentence for dumping waste in the Gwent Levels.

The same company also received £400,000 in a loan from the Welsh Government-owned Development Bank of Wales. I have questioned why the company needed to borrow £400,000 from the Welsh Government when it was in a position to offer a party political donation of £200,000 shortly afterwards. I am still awaiting an answer. To be fair though, the First Minister has been spending quite a bit of time in Monmouthshire recently so if you see him feel free to ask!


As the five-week closure of Monnow Street gets underway for Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water to start the next phase of replacing the ageing Victorian mains water pipe, traders in Monmouth continue to bear the brunt of disruption. Disappointingly, Monmouthshire County Council didn’t seem interested in taking up my suggestion of offering three hours of free parking to encourage shoppers to use the high street.

In fact, the council has actually increased parking charges at the worst possible moment. I have met with Secretary of State for Transport Mark Harper to discuss the need to urgently sort out the A40 landslip. I understand a programme of works over the summer and new proposed diversion route, which aims to keep traffic away from the Monmouth area during road closures, has been designed - with full details set to be communicated and shared shortly.

 There are far too many people who want to ban or “cancel” comedians, politicians or anyone else they disagree with from appearing in public. I have been the victim of this attitude myself. I was therefore unimpressed by calls to get involved in trying to ban the controversial comedian Roy “Chubby” Brown from appearing at the Savoy Theatre in Monmouth.

Some people may not like his sense of humour and high profanity - but nobody is being forced to go there. We live in a free society and fundamental to that is freedom of expression. I am glad the Savoy Theatre management took no notice of those demanding they cancel the event.