An Assembly Member has called on Wales’ Police and Crime Commissioners and Council leaders to direct the police to use new powers to prevent people travelling to second homes in Wales.
Neil McEvoy, leader of the Welsh National Party, said that the lack of action to prevent the unnecessary travel during the coronavirus lockdown was “seriously disappointing”.
He said that emergency legislation passed by the Senedd gave police “unprecedented powers” to protect parts of Wales from travel by second home owners and other holidaymakers.
“I write formally as Leader of the Welsh National Party (WNP) to express my serious disappointment at the apparent lack of pro-active action to prevent people travelling to holiday homes this weekend,” he said.
“Could you explain the lack of police presence on the bridges going into Ynys Mon, if reports I have received are correct? Are police at the bridges now?
“What conversations took place between Council officials of Gwynedd, Mon, North Wales Police and Welsh Government about pro-actively preventing people occupying holiday homes? We all knew this weekend was coming.
“The most serious action possible in law should be taken against those who have recklessly travelled at this time. What do you intend to do as a police force and local authorities?
“The National Assembly for Wales has already passed emergency legislation to give unprecedented powers to prevent the present outrage and to protect the local populations in Wales from those recklessly ignoring the lockdown. I voted for that legislation.
“But those laws must be enforced. Does the WNP have your firm support in proactively protecting our communities to prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed and the virus being spread unnecessarily? Or will you allow our communities to once again be overrun by potential virus carriers?”
Yesterday Conservative Ynys Môn MP Virginia Crosbie took part in efforts alongside the police to stop any unnecessary travel to the island.
“We’ve been stopping people as they come onto the island and just checking what their journeys are for,” she said. “Most people are compliant, but we’ve had the odd one.
“I’d like to thank those doing the right thing and staying at home.”
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price also called on the Welsh Government to use emergency legislation to implement a stricter travel ban into and within Wales.
“The message that this is a national emergency is not getting through,” he said. “There are widespread reports of people dangerously flouting the guidelines and making non-essential journeys to their second homes ahead of the Easter break.
“‘The Welsh Govt should introduce emergency legislation to impose a full travel ban into Wales without an official permit or valid reason. This should include additional arrangements to help prevent any unnecessary internal travel within Wales or via international transit.
“This would mean roadblocks on all major routes as well as checks at all major bus and rail stations, with the exception of emergency and commercial vehicles which could travel in designated express lanes.
“Similar measures have been rolled out in Australia, for example, where there is an inter-state travel ban. The police are already doing exceptional work in carrying out spot checks and turning people back when they are found to be on non-essential journeys.
“There will come a time when people can once again make the most of what Wales has to offer. But for now our message could not be clearer – Visit Wales Later.”