By Albert Owen MP/AS, Ynys Môn
Pressing the Reset Button
A New Year gives the chance to re-focus on issues that can bring greater opportunities and prosperity for the future. After almost a decade of prolonged austerity Anglesey needs to hit the reset button in 2018 in areas of great potential such as transport, energy and tourism.
21st Century Transport Infrastructure
I have lobbied the Welsh Government for the island to be central on transport issues, from port development to crossing the Menai, enhanced rail and air services and improved road networks. Transport infrastructure is vital to the economy of the region and is a major employer.
Low-Carbon Energy Leaders
In the energy and low carbon sector we have both the natural resources, a proven history and a good skill base. Marine energy remains underdeveloped but we can rekindle the pioneering spirit and be world leader. Morlais and Minseto are two good examples who, with support from Welsh Government and Europe, have shown great initiative. Wylfa Newydd is progressing and has the support of myself, the Council Leader and our AM. This large-scale development can boost the regional economy during construction and thereafter in generation and the local supply chain for many decades. Linking both new nuclear and renewables with our schools and colleges and university will provide local people with the right skills and quality jobs. I also support an energy faculty, a real centre of excellence on the Island, the science park can help in developing this. Anglesey and 'Energy Island' can be a hub for the entire country in low-carbon technology.
A Unique Island Destination
The tourism brand of the Island has improved over the last 15 years. I have long championed the Isle of Anglesey as a major destination to use our coastline's natural beauty, history and culture as a pull to benefit locals and visitors alike. Tourism is big business but using our unique island status can give us an edge in this competitive sector.
Achieving our potential requires partnerships and working together. An important part of my role as the local MP is that of a facilitator, bringing local, Welsh and UK Governments together on the big ticket issues. The Assembly Government's Economic Plan and the regional North Wales Growth Deal can be vehicle for real growth from Anglesey to Wrexham with the island playing to its strength in a positive way.
I am convinced if we embrace positive change in these areas we will improve the well-being of all our residents and as an Island community be a better place to work, live and visit. So let's re-set the buttons in 2018 and make it happen for a brighter future.