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Written Assembly Questions tabled on 9 February 2016 for answer on 16 16 February 2016

R - Signifies the Member has declared an interest.
W - Signifies that the question was tabled in Welsh.

(Self-identifying Question no. shown in brackets)

Written Questions must be tabled at least five working days before they are to be answered. In practice, Ministers aim to answer within seven/eight days but are not bound to do so. Answers are published in the language in which they are provided, with a translation into English of responses provided in Welsh.

To ask the Minister for Natural Resources

Kirsty Williams (Brecon and Radnorshire): Will the Minister make a statement on future plans for agri-environment schemes such as Glastir on Welsh commons? (WAQ69781)

Answer received on 17 February 2016

The Deputy Minister for Farming and Food (Rebecca Evans):

The Welsh Government has seen a very high success rate for Glastir Commons, enabling more land managers and more common land to enter into agri-environment support than ever before.  To ensure we maintain this success, at the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 start of term event, last week, I announced the opportunity for all Glastir Commons agreement holders to extend their existing contracts until the end of December 2019.  This is to allow time for Grazing Associations to explore the opportunity to build on the success of their Glastir Commons contract and seek innovative longer term funding solutions for the important services they provide.  There is also the Sustainable Management Scheme, which will also bring a collaborative focus to ensure we deliver our well-being goals across the Welsh landscape.


Kirsty Williams (Brecon and Radnorshire): Will the Minister make a statement on future plans for agri-environment schemes such as Glastir to ensure that farmers in nitrate vulnerable zones have financial support to ensure their buildings and holdings meet regulations? (WAQ69782)

Answer received on 17 February 2016

Rebecca Evans:

The agri-environment-climate measure within the Rural Development Regulations cannot be used to meet regulatory requirements; indeed, the Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) regulation is one of the main baselines that any support must demonstrate that it exceeds.  However, farmers in any areas newly-designated as NVZs in 2017 will be able to apply for the Sustainable Production Grant, in order to support them to meet the requirements of the NVZ regulations. The Sustainable Production Grant has been designed to bring about transformational change in the farming industry, to make the sector more sustainable, profitable and resilient and it is envisaged that multiple calls for expressions of interest would be made each year.  Grants range from a minimum of £16,000 to a maximum of £400,000. The maximum grant rate for any individual investment project is 40% of the total cost.

However, irrespective of the regulatory framework, the industry has a responsibility to ensure that it does not pollute the water environment, so the sector needs to undertake long term planning if it is to remain viable.  Farmers wishing to make the soonest start to begin this step change can submit an expression of interest in the Sustainable Production Grant when the next window opens on 29 February, which has an increased allocation of £6 million.


Janet Haworth (North Wales):  Will the Minister provide a breakdown by Assembly electoral region of the number of single farm payments: a) submitted by the May 2015 deadline; and b) where payment has been made, broken down by: i) complete payment; and ii) payment with a penalty imposed? (WAQ69784)

Answer received on 17 February 2016

Rebecca Evans:  The data below is a breakdown of Basic Payment Scheme 2015 claims and part payments as of 15 February. Balance payments will be made from April onwards.  Data is held by 'Unitary Authority' and not 'Electoral Region', and is established by the main address of the holding. It is not possible, at this time to breakdown payments into 'with or without penalty'.

Unitary AuthorityNumber of eligible BPS claims received by the 15th MayNumber of eligible BPS claims received after the 15th MayTotal number of eligible BPS claims receivedNumber of eligible BPS claims paid (to date)

Total value of BPS payments

(to date)

Blaenau Gwent4304331£189,451.15
Merthyr Tydfil4514639£235,633.70
Neath Port Talbot1330133110£942,345.55
Not Yet Determined2216227155£454,359.87
Ynys Mon7315736611£4,138,194.99


Kirsty Williams (Brecon and Radnorshire): Will the Minister make a statement on the regulation of pheasant shoots in Wales? (WAQ69785)

Answer received on 19 February 2016

Rebecca Evans: Pheasant shoots in Wales are regulated by legislation which includes the Game Act 1831, the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

To ask the Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty

Kirsty Williams (Brecon and Radnorshire): What action is the Welsh Government taking to ensure the successful implementation of park homes legislation? (WAQ69783)

Answer received on 17 February 2016

The Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty (Lesley Griffiths): All subordinate legislation arising from the introduction of the Mobile Homes (Wales) Act 2013 has been implemented. To assess how the legislation is working in practice, my officials have been in regular contact with Local Authorities to monitor progress in implementing the new requirements and to address any practical difficulties which may have been encountered.

Our latest update from Local Authorities (December 2015) shows two thirds of eligible sites had been issued with a new site licence. The next update is due at the end of this month, by which time I expect further progress to have been made.

To ask the Minister for the Economy, Science and Transport

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): How many rail stations in Wales have full audio/visual facilities to assist passengers with impairments or reduced mobility? (WAQ69779)

Answer received on 17 February 2016

The Minister for the Economy, Science and Transport (Edwina Hart): Rail infrastructure is non-devolved. Welsh Government, however, fully recognises the importance of accessibility to the rail network and has funded a programme that has resulted in every station in Wales now having a CIS system providing visual information.  The majority of stations also have a public address system, help-point and/or information point for audio information.

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): In relation to WAQ69686, will the Minister provide information in the format used? (WAQ69780)

Answer received on 17 February 2016

Edwina Hart: This information could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Minister for Public Services

Kirsty Williams (Brecon and Radnorshire): What is the Minister's timetable for reviewing the mechanisms for funding local authorities, the framework of financial governance and the systems which support democracy, governance and performance, and could he outline how these reviews will impact on the current council tax system? (WAQ69713)

Answer received on 17 February 2016

The Minister for Public Services (Leighton Andrews):

I will write to you and a copy of the letter will be put on the internet.

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