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Call for police to use new powers to prevent people ‘recklessly’ travelling to second homes in Wales

05 Apr 2020 3 minutes Read
Picture by Paul Townley. Public Domain Mark 1.0.

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?”

 

‘Emergency’

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.”

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Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 year ago

This looks to be a real problem now, people registered with second homes in the UK should be warned to stay home. Doesn’t HMRC have a record of all second home owners in Wales? The Welsh government should be requesting that information. Many local communities know which houses are seasonal, second homes – if they become occupied – let the local authorities know. This all sounds easy in practice but unless we are to fully curtail the spread of this disease every avenue needs to be looked at.

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

If the authorities can’t be bothered to be more vigilant you may find that a new breed of vigilante is created. Anger and frustration can be contained for a while but persistent offenders going unpunished will in due course lead to a less sophisticated form of “community justice”. That should bring Sun and Mail readers out in a rash.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

Heddlu Gogledd Cymru have fewer police than Cheshire, even though area covered is three times larger.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
1 year ago
Reply to  j humphrys

Until we get our independence this abuse from the UK will continue.

Evan
Evan
1 year ago

Two things that might help:
1. Get insurance companies to waive the requirement for monthly checks on second homes. (I know about this because my sister has a holiday home in England. 😇)
2. The NHS should make it clear that you are only eligible for treatment in your local hospital.

Catherine Ebenezer
1 year ago
Reply to  Evan

I believe most insurance companies have already waived their requirement for monthly checks.

Sandra Owen
Sandra Owen
1 year ago

No point in Virginia Crosbey spending Saturday afternoon with NWP, Thats Acting after the horse has bolted, The 2nd home owners had travelled Thursday night & Friday Morning, N WPolice are doing their best but cant be Everywhere at the Same time plus having to deal with everyday work load as well, Are we going to have another reoccurance for Easter Weekend or is Viginia Crosbey going to stand on the bridge in her high Visability Jacket telling us all that nobody is breaking the rules, I Live on Anglesey i have seen all the tourists i know where they… Read more »

Sibrydionmawr
Sibrydionmawr
1 year ago

There are some 240 odd roads that cross the border into Wales, it would be a challenging task, but not an impossible one to ensure that there were checkpoints on every one of them. In times past checkpoints on the major roads might have sufficed, but we now live in the age of satellite navigation so if one route into the country is blocked, it’s trivial work to find another way in.

Somehow the message needs to be driven home that Wales is closed to the non-domiciled for the forseeable future.

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
1 year ago

Since many seem to have already sneaked in evn before Neil questioned the effectiveness of security measures, local people in Ynys Mon, Gwynedd and Pembrokeshire should have no compunction in grassing these people up to the local heddlu. The culprits could then be given their marching orders. Lives are at stake here.

John Ellis
John Ellis
1 year ago
Reply to  Rhosddu

Agree, When I lived in Radnorshire’s Ithon valley over forty years ago, even then the local population was so small that absolutely everyone knew (a) which houses were tai ail – usually, in that part of the world, owned by prosperous folk from the English west midlands – and (b) when the second homers were in residence in their second homes. However counter-intuitive it might initially seem to city dwellers, you have way more anonymity in a densely populated city suburb than ever you get in a sparsely populated rural village, even though you may see very few people out… Read more »

max wallis
max wallis
1 year ago

What a contrast between real Welsh concerns over unnecessary trips to holiday homes, and the English Health Minister’s synthetic anger over London’s unnecessary sunbathing ! He’s angry that his “instruction” by TV on Friday to “stay at home” – no exception even for exercise – was ignored by London’s many renters of garden-less apartments. I’m concerned that the Welsh Government did not clarify that Matt Hancock’s “instruction” did not apply in Wales. Our Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, could have seized the chance to win some profile and insist that Wales can have different priorities. We surely don’t see a family… Read more »

Michael Hughes
Michael Hughes
1 year ago

As a Nation.Cymru must be empowered to be a Country with Her own agenda as acted in the too distant past, with the classic laws of “Hywel Dda”. England have their Royalty, which has no part in Cymru! A President would be equally recognised as a leader for the Nation. I believe that Bryn Terfel would be a great example. Talented,Fair and Just ! A Welsh Parliament be located in Machynlleth. Wealth wise, Mrs Windsor could return the stolen treasures of Cymru as a starter. The health service, education and up keeping of law be foremost on the agenda !!… Read more »

Robin Owen
1 year ago

They know they are not supposed to travel, if they do, we must assume they are deliberately trying to spread the virus, They have already had an effect from two weeks ago. The police should be intrusted to turn them back, but those that sneak through should the be made to pay, literally, their properties seized and used to pay for the cost of managing the virus. Maybe the knowledge they could lose their properties might make them think twice.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
1 year ago
Reply to  Robin Owen

I don’t think they’re deliberately trying to decimate the population of North West Wales, Robin, but they clearly don’t give a damn about any Welsh collateral damage as long as they can escape their ghastly cities.

Simon Gruffydd
Simon Gruffydd
1 year ago

The only national emergency is the spreading of fear and panic – turning much of the civilized world into police prison states. Real experts in the fields of virology and disease control are pointing out that covid-a9 is no more dangerous than the common flu. The average death rate in Wales is still below average, well below the flu peak in 2017. https://thesovereigner.net/2020/04/05/coronavirus-separating-fact-from-fiction/

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