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Written Assembly Questions tabled on 6 September 2017 for answer on 13 September 2017

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 First Minister

Neil McEvoy (South Wales Central): Will the First Minister make a statement on whether the Welsh Government supports the Barry incinerator? (WAQ74138)

Answer received on 11 September 2017

The First Minister (Carwyn Jones): I am not able to offer a specific view on the proposal in question, not least because the process of obtaining all the necessary permissions and authorisations is still on-going. Natural Resources Wales agreed to extend the deadline for consultation on further information in relation to the environmental permit application until 10 September so local people could have more time to express their views. 
 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Further to WAQ74114, will the Cabinet Secretary confirm the total sum of money spent to date on ground work assessments and all works relating to preparation for construction of the new five mile lane in the Vale of Glamorgan? (WAQ74131)

Answer received on 12 September 2017

Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure (Ken Skates): The Vale of Glamorgan County Council has been provided with Welsh Government funding to carry out the project. The total sum of money spent to date on ground work assessments and all preparation work is £1.443m.

 
Russell George (Montgomeryshire): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm that Powys passengers with a bus pass will continue to have free travel on the Cambrian Coast railway line for the autumn/winter season from 1 October through to 31 March 2018? (WAQ74136)
 
Answer received on 12 September 2017

Ken Skates: Yes, concessionary pass holders will be able to have free travel on the Cambrian Coast railway line for the Autumn/Winter season from 1 October through to 31 March 2018.


Russell George (Montgomeryshire): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm that during the consultation process for the next rail franchise the continuation of free travel on the Cambrian Coast line has been discussed and will be included as part of the bid for the next franchise? (WAQ74137)

Answer received on 12 September 2017
 
Ken Skates:  During a three month consultation period earlier this year and on an ongoing basis, Transport for Wales has engaged with a wide range of stakeholders to understand their priorities for future Wales and Borders rail services. Transport for Wales continues to discuss the detailed arrangements for the next contract with the shortlisted bidders in a commercially restricted environment and these discussions are guided by the views expressed by stakeholders.
 
Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): Further to WAQ74101, will the Cabinet Secretary explain whether a public consultation will be carried out into 'The Wales Way' and, if so, how the public and businesses can participate? (WAQ74140)

Answer received on 7 September 2017

Ken Skates: My officials are already engaging with regional and local industry partners and stakeholders and views can also be fed into Lucy von Weber lucyvonweber@gmail.com who is leading on this engagement process.
 
Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm the number of jobs created as a result of the Welsh Government's £400,000 investment in G M Jones, at Parc Tŷ Gwyn, Llanrwst? (WAQ74144)

Answer received on 11 September 2017

Ken Skates: As part of our monitoring process, as of 5th July 2017, 21 jobs had been created in line with the company's current growth expectations.
 
Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Will the Cabinet Secretary provide passenger numbers for the T9 Airport Express for the last 6 months, including the most recent complete month to date, and will he also provide figures for the Welsh Government subsidy over the same period? (WAQ74145)

Answer received on 19 September 2017

Ken Skates:  The passenger numbers carried on the T9 bus service for the last six months is as follows:

20172016% Increase / Decrease
March13,22313,0411.4%
April12,9698,65349.8%
May15,78610,69547.6%
June15,26413,35814.3%
July13,97614,589-4.2%
August15,08914,5004.1%
    
Total86,30774,83615.3%

 

This information is taken from the on bus automatic passenger counting equipment.

The subsidy during this period was £264,726.

 

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm that the fund raising exercise undertaken by TVR in relation to the £2 million Welsh Government loan was successful and that the £5.5 million was raised? (WAQ74132)
 
Answer received on 12 September 2017

Ken Skates: TVR have been engaging with a number of investors. So far they have raised over £2m which has enabled them to launch the finished prototype car at the Goodwood Revival Festival and as a result of this are now expecting to conclude the balance of the necessary investment for the manufacturing facility in Wales.  
 
Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement on the progress of the dualing of the Heads of the Valleys Road, giving particular mention to the budget and timings allocated the project and confirm if the progress of the road is currently running on budget and on time? (WAQ74133)

Answer received on 12 September 2017

Ken Skates: We are currently dualling 40km of the A465 to improve traffic flow, safety and accessibility. The project is being delivered in sections and will represent an equivalent capital investment of nearly £900m when complete. We are on target to complete the project by 2022 as programmed.

Three sections have already been completed between Abergavenny and Gilwern, Brynmawr and Tredegar, and between Tredegar and Dowlais Top.

The section between Gilwern and Brynmawr is currently being built and is more than half way through construction. The project team is currently reviewing the costs and programme for the project. I will provide an update to members once this process has been completed.

The dualling between Dowlais and Hirwaun is being delivered using the Welsh Government's new form of public-private partnership – the Mutual Investment Model – and would complete the dualling of the A465. It is currently progressing to budget.

 
To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport

Russell George (Montgomeryshire): Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement on the Welsh Government's policy on designated smoking bedrooms in hotels? (WAQ74134)

Answer received on 7 September 2017

The Minister for Social Services and Public Health (Rebecca Evans): The Smoke-free Premises etc. (Wales) Regulations 2007 provides an exemption to the smoke-free law for hotels. This exemption allows managers of hotels to designate one or more bedrooms as rooms in which smoking is permitted subject to the conditions set out in the Regulations. The conditions include that the designated bedroom must be clearly marked as a smoking room and must not ventilate into any other part of the premises (except any other designated room).
Although the legislation provides for this exemption, there is no legal obligation for hotels to offer designated smoking bedrooms if they do not wish to do so. 
 
Huw Irranca-Davies (Ogmore): Will the Cabinet Secretary provide an update on the working group established to consider some body modification and non-surgical cosmetic procedures, and the commitment he gave on 1 December 2016 to consult early on additional special procedures where there is an associated risk of public health harm? (WAQ74135)

Answer received on 12 September 2017

Rebecca Evans: A task and finish group met in 2016 and provided expert advice to the Welsh Government on the possible inclusion of a number of additional special procedures to the four already included in the Bill - piercing, tattooing, electrolysis and acupuncture.  Additionally the group considered the implications of adding to the list of special procedures having regard to the prevalence, risks and evidence of harm to human health; and the ethical and legal issues associated with the potential additions.  A commitment to consult on possible additions to the list of special procedures was given by the Minister for Social Services and Public Health at the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee's scrutiny of the Bill on 1 December 2016.

Following Royal Assent the Welsh Government is developing the regulations for the new special procedures licensing system and engaging with a wide range of professional and practitioner groups to ensure that appropriate support, guidance and enforcement procedures are in place to enable high levels of compliance.  Our intention is to give local authorities the time to embed the new special procedures licensing system with the four procedures already covered in the Act before giving further consideration to adding new ones.  This is essential as over 2,000 practitioners and 900 premises will need to be reassessed under the requirements of the new licensing system.

We do have concerns about the risks associated with other body modifications and non-surgical procedures and we will consult on adding such procedures in due course.  In doing so, the Special Procedures Professional Working Group will be reconvened later in the year to look at and discuss the wider range of potential special procedures it previously identified, and advise the Welsh Government on priorities, appropriate processes, procedures and timescales etc, inclusive of a consultation programme.   

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs

 
Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): Will the Cabinet Secretary advise how she will be taking forward the recommendations of the report of the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee; Turning the tide?  Report of the inquiry into the Welsh Government's approach to Marine Protected Area management, with particular reference to recommendations 1 and 2? (WAQ74141)

Answer received on 11 September 2017

Lesley Griffiths: My full response to all 12 recommendations within the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee’s report on the management of Marine Protected Areas in Wales is due to be published on 20 September. 
 
Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): How does the Cabinet Secretary intend to ensure conservation remains the priority concern of national parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty going forward, and does she foresee any conflict of interest between the maintenance of the Sandford principle and the proposals outlined in the White Paper: Taking Forward Wales' Sustainable Management of Natural Resources? (WAQ74143)
 
Answer received on 12 September 2017

Lesley Griffiths: Conservation is a priority concern for the National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), alongside other priorities which support their purposes to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the area. In the case of National Parks, this includes the area's wildlife and cultural heritage, and promoting the understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities.

Wales has an ambitious and innovative legislative framework to seek to address the decline in the resilience of ecosystems and associated biodiversity. In addition to their core purposes National Park Authorities and the constituent local authorities of AONBs have a duty, under the Environment (Wales) Act 2016, to maintain and enhance biodiversity and promote the resilience of ecosystems. The recently published Natural Resources Policy sums up the challenges faced in Wales and will help the authorities discharge their responsibilities for nature. I will also continue to support conservation as a priority in these areas through my annual strategic grant letter for the National Park Authorities. 

Taking Forward Wales' Sustainable Management of Natural Resources seeks views on whether there is a case for aligning the purposes of Areas of Outstanding Beauty and National Parks with the sustainable management of natural resources. The rationale and relationship to the Sandford Principle, as codified in Section 62 of the Environment Act 1995, is clearly set out from page 30 of the consultation document.  I will be considering the responses to the consultation once it closes, but I have no intention of proposing any changes which would threaten the natural beauty and special qualities of these areas.


 
Darren Millar (Clwyd West): What estimate has the Welsh Government made of the future energy it expects to be generated by wind turbines in Wales? (WAQ74149)

Answer received on 12 September 2017

Lesley Griffiths: The Welsh Government has not made any projections of generation from specific energy generation technologies. We are considering the role of renewable energy as part of developing our decarbonisation pathways. I will be making a statement on energy shortly, which will include further information on this topic. 
 


 
Darren Millar (Clwyd West): Will the Cabinet Secretary provide the number of wind farms and wind turbines that are projected to be installed in each local authority in Wales? (WAQ74150)
 
Answer received on 12 September 2017

Lesley Griffiths: The Welsh Government does not hold data on technology specific projections. The following table shows data collected on 1 April 2017, from Local Authorities in Wales, on the number of onshore wind farms over 5 MW and numbers of wind turbines awaiting determination from the planning authority and those that have received planning consent:

 

Local AuthorityAwaiting determinationPlanning consent granted
 No. of wind farmsNo. of turbinesNo. of wind farmsNo. of turbines
Blaenau Gwent County Council0000
Bridgend County Borough Council00317
Caerphilly County Borough Council0000
Camarthenshire County Council00342
Cardiff City Council0000
Ceredigion County Council0000
City and County of Swansea00116
Conwy County Borough Council00111
Cyngor Gwynedd0000
Cyngor Sir Ynys Mon County Council00111
Denbighshire County Council00358
Flintshire County Council0000
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council0000
Monmouthshire County Council0000
Neath Port Talbot CBC32219
Newport City Council0000
Pembrokeshire County Council0000
Powys County Council8156353
Torfaen County Borough Council0000
Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council00210
Vale Of Glamorgan Council0000
Wrexham County Council0000

 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm how many landlords are now registered under Rent Smart Wales, and what percentage of eligible landlords in Wales this constitutes? (WAQ74142)

Answer received on 12 September 2017
 
Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children (Carl Sargeant): According to statistics published by Rent Smart Wales on 31 August, 80,683 landlords have been registered. The Explanatory Memorandum to the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 estimated there to be between 70,000 to 130,000 landlords in Wales.

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm how many times the Welsh Government has received requests from Welsh local authorities to raise the salary cap of advertised roles when seeking to appoint individuals to new senior positions in Wales, and if so, provide details of the request, the local authority, and if it was approved? (WAQ74139)

Answer received on 13 September 2017

Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government (Mark Drakeford): The Local Government Measure 2011 was amended by the Local Government (Democracy) (Wales) Act 2013 and the Local Government (Wales) Act 2015 to extend the powers of the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales so that a principal council or a fire and rescue authority must seek the view of the Panel when it proposes to change the salary of its chief executive, chief fire officer or any other chief officer, in the case of principal councils.

The Panel can approve the proposal, express concerns about the proposal or recommend variations to the proposal. The local authority or fire and rescue authority must have regard to any recommendations made by the Panel.

The Panel publishes its recommendations in its Annual report which can be found here:

http://gov.wales/irpwsub/home/publication-reports/?lang=en

You will note that the Panel dealt with six applications during the year prior to this report.


 
Darren Millar (Clwyd West): What consideration has the Welsh Government given to the introduction of a duty to disclose medical conditions for people working in the Welsh public sector with dementia and other conditions which could impair professional judgement? (WAQ74148)

Answer received on 12 September 2017

Mark Drakeford: A duty to disclose medical conditions across the Welsh public sector has not been previously raised with the Welsh Government and no specific consideration has been given.

Consideration of such a duty would need to give careful balance to safeguarding service users and the legitimate rights of individuals under existing relevant employment and equalities legislation such as the Equality Act 2010.

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Education

Suzy Davies (South Wales West): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm whether 'Food and Fun' programme funding has been allocated to all Welsh Local Authorities or whether Local Authorities are required to apply for it and, if the former, how is Welsh Government monitoring the spend of this if it is not ringfenced? (WAQ74146)

Answer received on 12 September 2017

Cabinet Secretary for Education (Kirsty Williams): Food and Fun was open to all local authorities for the 2017 summer programme.  Local authorities had to apply to the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) for the funding by sending an expression of interest to the WLGA, and demonstrate compliance with the 14 mandatory criteria (and if possible, the 9 best practice recommendations) which were agreed at the Food and Fun launch event in February 2017. The WLGA then worked with the local authorities and partner agencies to determine an appropriate school setting. This decision was primarily based on the school having an above-average level of Free School Meal (FSM) eligibility. Local authorities also had to match-fund the amount provided by the WLGA, though these costs could be provided 'in-kind'.

The WLGA monitors spend through pro-forma returns which show a detailed breakdown of expenditure for the scheme, including those spent on in-kind costs.


 
Suzy Davies (South Wales West): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm where in the budget the funding for this summer's 'Food and Fun' programme came from, and whether this was in the Cabinet Secretaries initial plans, or whether it was possible as a result of the supplementary budget? (WAQ74147)
 
Answer received on 12 September 2017

Kirsty Williams: The additional £500k funding for the 2017-18 financial year formed part of the 2017-18 Final Budget. It is referenced in paragraph 2.9, on page 6, in the final budget explanatory note, though the funding is part of a larger set of allocations to the Education MEG.  I have provided a link to this document below, for your convenience. 

http://gov.wales/docs/caecd/publications/161220-note-en.pdf

The funding was not provided through the supplementary budget.

In the detailed tables published alongside the final budget, the allocation of £500k can be found on page 11, under the category "Improving Wellbeing, Reducing Inequality and Increasing Participation", alongside the "wellbeing of children and young people" line.

http://gov.wales/docs/caecd/publications/161220-action-en.pdf


 
 

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