There have quite rightly been various discussions about the Welsh Labour Government’s controversial Sustainable Farming Scheme, which will see every farm in Wales forced to give up 20 per cent of working land for tree planting and habitat creation. But other issues continue to be a major problem for the agricultural community.

At Monmouthshire Livestock Market last Wednesday, I heard from farmers who are finding it very difficult to keep their businesses going because of bovine TB. The disease is spread mainly by badgers and deer and where cattle are found to have TB, they are culled. Farmers in areas with high levels of TB are having to breed extra calves to compensate for the fact they are going to lose some of the herd – causing an immense financial and mental health strain.

Testing remains hugely challenging and while TB rates are going down in England, they continue to rise across Wales. The Welsh Labour Government needs to look at what is being done elsewhere to eradicate TB and take bold action because our farmers deserve better.


I am glad the Abergavenny Chronicle has highlighted anti-social behaviour in the town centre. Monmouth has also seen similar disorder, which I have raised with Gwent Police, and it always seems to be a small number of people involved. Mind you, I am not sure it was entirely fair to illustrate this on the front page with an image of somebody on a skateboard.

As a parent of a skateboarder (who has on past occasions been known to ride one myself!) I would have to defend them and say it is a little unfair to suggest they are responsible for anti-social behaviour – and certainly no more than other groups. I am a firm advocate of encouraging young people to take up exercise and fitness, whether that be cycling, skateboarding or any kind of sport.

 Congestion on the A40 near Monmouth is much improved now the lane closure has been moved north of Dixton roundabout, although the real test will come when school traffic returns after the Easter holidays. Looking forward, National Highways has turned its focus to exploring the best traffic management solution to start clearing debris off the road following February’s landslip.

These options include staggered daytime closures or a contraflow. Once the debris is clear, we should have a better idea of what work is needed to secure the rock face. On the ground it would appear not much is happening, but there is an awful lot going on behind the scenes. I am told National Highways is hoping to have a programme of work and associated timescales to clear the site ready to share soon and I have another update meeting on Friday.