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Episode 4: Military and Transport

Adrian concludes his election adventure Photo: ITV News Cymru Wales

Planning for the four programmes that make up my election adventure has seemed like a military operation at times. So it makes sense that in this last programme, I take a closer look at military matters and how they may affect this election.

They were very much to the forefront in September 2014 when the NATO summit was held in Newport.

That summit culminated in an agreement to defend Europe against Vladimir Putin’s Russia and committing member states to a minimum level of spending of 2% of each nation’s income or GDP.

It’s been the subject of furious debate ever since with one think tank suggesting that it’s inevitable that Britain’s defence spending will drop below that 2% target.

One military commentator, Major Alan Davies, says that’s a big risk given current dangerous developments.

We’ve got threats in Eastern Europe, we’ve got threats in the middle East, we’ve got threats of terrorism across the world. And we don’t know how that’s going to play out. And against that we’re cutting.

– Major Alan Davies

Wales of course has long played a part in the defence of Britain. The landscape here lends itself to as many as 10 military training grounds.

Adrian visits Sennybridge, a military training area in Powys acquired by the Ministry of Defence in 1939 Credit: ITV News Cymru Wales

In this episode I travel to see the largest of those and the third largest in the UK: Sennybridge, and then onto the nearby garrison town of Brecon to ask people living there how important the military is to them and to have a good nose around the fascinating Regimental Museum of the Royal Welsh.

Adrian chats with Richard Davies, curator of the Regimental Museum of the Royal Welsh Credit: ITV News Cymru Wales

For the second part of this week’s adventure, I wanted to look at the question of transport. I started in the north at Thomas Telford’s magnificent Menai Bridge.

First proposed in 1785 it finally opened in 1826 after a mere forty-one years of political disagreements over the impact on shipping, whether or not it was needed and the question of how to pay for it.

The Menai Bridge in Anglesey, North Wales, took 8 years to construct Credit: ITV News Cymru Wales

The answer was tolls and tolls have always been controversial in Wales.

As I found out in the south the Severn Bridge tolls can have a significant impact on businesses.

At Owen's haulage, they told me the tolls cost them half a million pounds a year.

Then there are the trains. I travelled with passengers of Arriva Trains Wales who share their praise and frustrations as well as grapple with the question of which government should have most say in the running of them.

Adrian chats to passengers on board an Arriva Trains Wales Valleys line service to Cardiff Central Credit: ITV News Cymru Wales

With just days to go to the election, it seems fitting that I end my efforts to find out what are the big issues ends by talking about transport.

I’ve been on the road mostly, but have also taken a plane, a boat and trains.

Along the way I’ve heard about the things that are top of the agenda for voters and I’ve learned that they’re not always the same concerns as for the politicians.

It’s been quite a journey. Join me for the last leg of it at 8pm on ITV Cymru Wales.

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