In his regular 'Your AM' column, Monmouth AM Nick Ramsay explains why he backs an environmental campaign to plant more trees.

The recent World Economic Forum may have been marred by some pretty fundamental disagreements but there did at least seem to be some agreement on the important role of “Carbon sinks” in dealing with the pressing problem of climate change.

This is one of the reasons I’ve been keen to support the Size of Wales Mbale programme which has seen over one million trees planted on two continents. I first became aware of the details of this programme when our son James was born and we received a letter from the Welsh Government confirming that two trees would be planted to commemorate his birth – one in Wales and one in Uganda.

As well as absorbing carbon emissions, the fast-growing trees in the Mount Elgon region of Africa help protect local people from the effects of soil erosion. Simultaneous tree planting here in Wales reinforces the need for a global approach to tackling climate change, absorbing carbon here too whilst helping improve our environment.

Growing our country’s global relationships will become increasingly important as the UK leaves the European Union and enters the transition year, designed to facilitate new trade agreements. There’s a lot to be done in the coming year, internationally but also at home as the details of the UK Government’s proposed Shared Prosperity Fund are hammered out. This new fund will be key to replacing existing EU structural funds, providing much needed funding for less economically active areas of Wales. Our rural communities are also looking to the UK Government to provide much needed support for farmers as we withdraw from the Common Agricultural Policy. Farming is the backbone of Wales’ rural economy and must be adequately supported.

Finally, I was saddened to hear of the passing of former Torfaen councillor Margaret Pead. A longstanding representative for Llanyravon South and Ponthir, Margaret was for many years the only Conservative councillor on Torfaen County Borough Council and carried out her role with dignity and skill. I first got to know her back in the 1990s whilst protesting against controversial proposals for a housing development on recreational land adjacent to Cwmbran’s Boating Lake (a battle we won) and over the ensuing years she was always a source of advice and support, becoming a good friend. Margaret was quite simply one of a kind. Thank you Margaret for your years of service to your local community, you will be sorely missed.