I've now reached the stage where career reconstruction means that I only very occasionally miss being an Assembly Member. Today was such an occasion. I'd been invited to join the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds at their Wales Biodiversity Conference in North Wales for the afternoon. I was to chair a session on 'Agri-environment Schemes'
In the event, it turned out to be more 'seminar' than 'conference' with the RSPB's Head of Conservation Policy, Katie-Jo Luxton taking the lead, rather than me. There was a good mix of participants with a range of opinion. For me it was like transportation back to the Environment, Planning and Environment Committee that I chaired until last May. (and I had a coffee with Kath, the very talented lady who served as my committee clerk, when I was in Cardiff Bay yesterday to add to the poignancy). As I drove home from Wrexham, I really missed the freedom that I used to have to manipulate and control events.
If I was still an AM, I would use this blog to outline my thoughts on transforming Tir Mynnydd into an agri-environment scheme, on maximising environmental benefit through targeting Tir Gofal, on accommodating species recovery through greater flexibility in the application of Tir Gofal and on the need for robust monitoring of agri-environment schemes to provide evidence to justify budgets a few years down the road. Dear reader, you have had a lucky escape. But today did help me develop a sense of what I would want to do if I were to become a Member of Parliament.