Column 5th July 2017

This week saw the launch of Rural Wales: Time to Meet the Challenge 2025 which I presented to the Welsh Government to take forward. The focus of this new “Made in Rural Wales” economic plan is on skills and emerging technology and has the potential to transform the economy of Pembrokeshire.

There are some really exciting, innovative ideas in the document, crafted through the involvement of local communities, business and members of a specially created rural economic forum. Innovations like electric vehicles.

One of the frustrations of our rural communities I often hear about, especially from elderly people, is the lack of suitable transport. Buses are often empty during the day yet people still say it’s hard to get around, and that’s despite Government spending tens of thousands of pounds on bus services.

Electric cars are growing in popularity and are 5 years away from everyone’s reach. Driverless cars are only 10 years away.

Think about the much appreciated Royal Voluntary Service’s Country Cars which provides transport for journeys for people who can’t get there any other way using volunteer drivers. Now imagine that with electric, driverless vehicles. That’s a way of embracing the future. A partnership between business, the Welsh Government and local government could take the UK lead in rural areas by offering to pilot the use of driverless electric vehicles.

There are real possibilities here for Wales to get out ahead, embracing innovation and new technology to all our advantage.

I hope you’ll take a look at Rural Wales: Time to Meet the Challenge 2025 available here:

Let me know your views at or contact my regional office in Haverfordwest on 01437 765588