The National Assembly
SOUTH WALES TRAVEL GUIDE
took two referenda and over twenty years for Wales to see the doors
open to its own Assembly Building.
The new National Assembly for Wales building
is called the Senedd – the Welsh word for parliament or senate.
The Cardiff Bay building was officially opened by the Queen on St
David's Day 2006. The £67m Lord Richard Rogers-designed building
was drastically over budget and schedule but now stands as an impressive
and modern landmark for the capital city.
A giant six-metre wind cowl, like a large up-turned
funnel straddles the roof allowing natural ventilation and light
into the debating chamber. The largest of its type in Europe, changes
in wind direction cause the cowl to rotate, drawing warm air out.
Roof rainwater is collected and used to flush toilets and wash windows.
Earth heat exchangers and waste timber heat the building and the
cool outside air is used in place of air conditioning.
The National Assembly for Wales has 60 elected members led by a
First Minister, currently Rhodri Morgan from the Welsh Labour Party.
Unlike the Scottish Parliament, the National
Assembly for Wales does not have full law-making powers. Most laws
concerning Wales are still made in Westminster where Wales still
has 40 MPs and a Secretary of State for Wales in the Cabinet.
The National Assembly's £14 billion budget (2006-7) covers
agriculture; culture; economic development; education; the environment;
health; sport; local government and housing; sport; social services;
transport and the Welsh language.
The National Assembly Government have made some different decisions
to Westminster. For example, plans to abolish Key Stage 1 and 2
tests for school children. Also free prescriptions for under 25s
and pledging to abolish prescription charges by 2007.
Directions from holiday cottages
Getting to the Welsh National Assembly from Swansea
Valley Holiday Cottages
(i) By car. Our cottages are an easy 45 minute drive from the National
Assembly for Wales along the M4 motorway. Leave the M4 at junction
33 (Signed Cardiff (West), Barry, Penarth, Cardiff Airport &
A4232). Join the A4232 and continue for about 9.3 miles. Leave the
A4232 just before the Butetown Tunnel and follow the signs for Techniquest.
Continue along Stuart Street and turn right at the first set of
lights. The Assembly Building is behind the Wales Millennium Centre.
For alternative directions or a map use the AA's
route planner along with the holiday cottage postcode, SA8 3JQ
and the Wales National Assembly postcode, CF10 5AL.