Joyce Watson MS’s Mid Wales Journal column

Last week the Welsh Government signed off £1.5m for a new footbridge over the Severn in Newtown. Powys Council approved plans for the 61-metre steel structure in March. It’s part of the government’s goal to encourage more people to walk and cycle more often, rather than take the car. It’s healthier, improves our towns and communities, and is better for the planet. It requires the right infrastructure and routes, though, and transport minister Lee Waters also confirmed active travel funding for schemes in Llandrindod, Welshpool and elsewhere in the county. Plus, there is new money to improve road safety measures for pupils travelling between Builth and Llanelwedd School, and on the A4215 from Libanus to Defynnog. The road to net zero starts with one step – or push of the pedal.

Net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is a guiding pledge for this and future Welsh governments. There will be lots of milestones along the way. And one year on from the Senedd election, it is a good time to reflect on the other promises made and where we are on delivery. Here’s a rundown of the six commitments I stood for last May, and progress so far:

1. Recovery after Covid – put in place the biggest ever catch-up-programme for schools and health, with £1bn invested in the NHS.

2. A Young Person’s Guarantee – launched in November 2021, it gives every young person under the age of 25 a guaranteed offer of a job or a place in education, training or help to start their own business.

3. A Fair Deal for Care – as of April 2022, all of the amazing care staff who helped us through the pandemic receive the real living wage.

4. A Greener Country – creating a National Forest to run the length and breadth of Wales, plus development of the Wales Coast Path, National Trails and Public Rights of Way network – to the tune of more than £153m.

5. Safer Communities –100 more Police Community Support Officers on our streets – 600 now in total across Wales – most of whom are already on the beat.

6. New Jobs for Wales – creating thousands of new jobs in a low carbon house building revolution, including building 20,000 new low carbon social homes for rent. The first new homes have already been built.

Much done, much still to do. But on the road to a stronger, fairer, greener, more successful Wales, we’ve reached some milestone.