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Written Assembly Questions tabled on 28 September 2017 for answer on 5 October 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

Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): Has the First Minister discussed leaving the international fishing agreement with the First Secretary of State, Damian Green? (WAQ74296)W
 
Answer received on 6 October 2017

The First Minister (Carwyn Jones): I have not discussed any fishery related matters with First Secretary of State, Damian Green.

Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): Will the First Minister share the Welsh Government’s view on leaving the international fishing agreement? (WAQ74295)W​

Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): Will the First Minister provide information on what conditions the Welsh Government has in mind for Welsh fisheries following withdrawal from the international fishing agreement? (WAQ74298)W
 
Answer received on 6 October 2017

Carwyn Jones:  The UK Government has notified the European Commission of its intention to leave the London Convention, an international agreement signed in 1964 relating to access rights of fishing vessels from some European coastal states.

Fisheries management is a devolved matter.  As detailed in Securing Wales' Future, we have been clear that Wales will need its own fisheries policy once the UK leaves the EU.  Our National Strategy 'Prosperity for All', commits us to working with stakeholders to design and deliver a post-EU fisheries policy for Wales that reflects the needs of a modern, sustainable and prosperous Welsh fisheries sector and the impacts on our marine environment to help safeguard our coastal communities.

Discussions with the industry and wider stakeholder community are progressing well via the EU Transition Roundtable we established soon after the EU Referendum.  Cross-sector engagement is helping to shape our approach to preparing key sectors, including fisheries, for future arrangements.


 

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

Angela Burns (Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire): Will the Cabinet Secretary provide information on which care clusters and services have submitted winter resilience plans, and of those which have not yet submitted them, when are these due to be received? (WAQ74300)

Answer received on 6 October 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport (Vaughan Gething): All health boards, local authorities and the ambulance service have submitted draft integrated winter resilience plans in preparedness of the forthcoming winter period. The Welsh Government are currently scrutinising the draft winter plans and providing feedback to all health and social care organisations to support the enhancement of those plans.
I will also be attending the Winter Planning Forum national event on 11 October where key NHS and local authority staff will discuss their integrated plans further, explore opportunities for learning and consider how this learning can enhance their plans. I intend making a further statement about preparations for the forthcoming winter later this month.
 
Angela Burns (Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire): Will the Cabinet Secretary provide information on how funding from the intermediate care fund was shared between health boards, local authorities and third sector? (WAQ74301)
 
Angela Burns (Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire): What evaluation has the Cabinet Secretary made of the impact of this year's intermediate care fund initiatives, outlining the predicted number of avoided hospital admissions, reduction in inappropriate admission to residential care and improvement in delayed hospital discharges? (WAQ74302)
 
Angela Burns (Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire): What progress has the Cabinet Secretary made in identifying best practice schemes being delivered by the intermediate care fund (ICF) and what work is being done to share this information? (WAQ74303)
 
Answer received on 10 October 2017

Minister for Social Services and Public Health (Rebecca Evans):  I will write to you as soon as possible and a copy of my letter will be published on the internet.
 
Angela Burns (Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire): Will the Cabinet Secretary provide an update on plans to develop out of hours services in Hywel Dda Health Board? (WAQ74304)

Answer received on 3 October 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport (Vaughan Gething): I acknowledge the challenges in staffing Out of Hours services in Hywel Dda UHB as elsewhere, and we have been taking action to address this.
Our Welsh 111 service pathfinder project brings together NHS direct and GP Out of hours call handling and triage into a single, simplified, service. Since May this year, the Carmarthenshire area of Hywel Dda has been included in the 111 pathfinder, sharing the Clinical Support Hub with Abertawe Bro Morgannwg.
The draft pathfinder evaluation indicates that the service has performed well and public satisfaction is high. We are now planning the further implementation of the service. This will consider a number of options in terms of the phased roll-out and be ready for consideration in late October. Completing the roll-out in Hywel Dda, so that all residents have equal access to the 111 service, is a key element of the plan.
Meanwhile, Hywel Dda continues to manage its Out of Hours services and, like other health boards, provides weekly weekend assurance returns to the Welsh Government. The most recent of these, for 29 and 30 September, suggested the service was well-supported and there was evidence of strong shift fill amongst GPs and nurses.
 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): Further to WAQ 74141, what is the Welsh Government's 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? (WAQ74290)
 
Answer recieved on 4 October 2017

 

Lesley Griffiths: I have submitted the Welsh Government's response to the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee's report on the management of marine protected areas in Wales. It is available via the attached link.

http://www.assembly.wales/laid%20documents/gen-ld11208/gen-ld11208-e.pdf


Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): How will the Cabinet Secretary ensure the natural resources policy is embedded across all Welsh Government decision-making? (WAQ74291)

Answer received on 4 October 2017

 

Lesley Griffiths:  The overarching framework for decision making is set out within the Well-being of Future Generations Act, with the Well-being Goals including the aims of a 'productive and low carbon society which recognises the limits of the global environment and therefore uses resources efficiently and proportionately' and 'a biodiverse natural environment with healthy functioning ecosystems that support social, economic and ecological resilience and the capacity to adapt to change'.  Within this overarching framework, the Environment Act sets out the specific requirements in relation to the management of our natural resources, which are in turn based on international obligations.   

The role of the Natural Resource Policy within this framework is to set out the key risks and opportunities and identify the priorities that we will take forward through our policies to address them and deliver on our legal obligations.  The legal framework is therefore in place to ensure that consideration is embedded across Government.  In addition, the Welsh Government's "Prosperity for All: the national strategy" re-enforces our commitment by underlining that 'Our aim is to realise the economic opportunities of Wales' natural resources, whilst building their resilience to support future generations.'


 
Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): Will the Cabinet Secretary provide information on the Welsh Government's methods of managing their Natura 2000 sites? (WAQ74292)

Answer received on 6 October 2017

Lesley Griffiths: Wales has a robust existing legal and policy framework for ensuring the protection, management and, where necessary, the restoration of Natura 2000 sites so they achieve and maintain favourable condition.

The Environment (Wales) Act 2016 promotes sustainable, integrated natural resources management in line with the ecosystem approach. Our Natural Resources Policy sets out our commitment build resilience into ecosystems and reverse the decline of biodiversity by taking an approach focussed on the sustainable management of natural resources. Our Nature Recovery Action Plan sets out how Wales will deliver the commitments of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, the EU Biodiversity Strategy and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive to halt the decline in our biodiversity by 2020 and then reverse that decline. It includes the objective to safeguard species and habitats of principal importance and improve their management.  
On land Natura 2000 sites have management plans, including conservation objectives which set out advice on potentially harmful activities that could damage sites and features. Our terrestrial Natura 2000 sites also have further statutory protection as Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural Resources Wales carries out a wide range of consenting,  advisory and land management functions, which comply with obligations under the Habitats Regulations, and hence where relevant directly protect Natura 2000 sites.

At sea, sites are principally managed through the regulatory consenting process, including  the marine licence and fisheries management regime, which are underpinned by the obligations of the Habitats Regulations. We are working with the MPA Management Steering Group to produce a  Management Priority Action Plan to apply common approaches to benefit multiple marine protected areas (MPAs). The Plan will set out both the strategic and specific delivery requirements, and will articulate the Group's collective vision for the management of the MPA network in Wales.

Wales also has an active public, private and voluntary sector which is currently investing in Natura 2000 management and  enhancement as part of a wide variety of protected site and biodiversity projects, initiatives and ongoing work.
 
Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): Will the Cabinet Secretary provide information on the Welsh Government's performance in managing their Natura 2000 sites? (WAQ74293)

Answer received on 6 October 2017

Lesley Griffiths: The State of Natural Resources Report (SoNaRR), published by Natural Resources Wales in 2016, set out the best available information on the extent, condition and trends of species and habitats in Wales. The report summarises monitoring data collected and reported in 2013 for the species and habitats of Natura 2000 sites in Wales

The overall condition of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas for Birds (SPAs) features on these sites in Wales was mostly unfavourable. 55% of species features and 75% of habitat features were considered to be in unfavourable condition. However  the picture for species features is more positive for birds, land mammals and marine mammals with 86%, 68% and 100% in favourable condition respectively.

Natural Resources Wales is currently working to provide the Welsh Government with a set of indicative site condition reports for our European marine protected areas within the Natura 2000 network. These reports will augment the information in SoNaRR and will give us an up-to-date picture of the health of our marine habitats and species. They will also inform the development of management measures to ensure our sites achieve and maintain favourable condition.

Through the legislative framework provided by the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, the Environment (Wales) Act 2016, as well as our Natural Resources Policy and Nature Recovery Action Plan, we will continue working with stakeholders to ensure we can meet our biodiversity commitments.
 
It is important to remember it may take years or even decades before habitats and species respond to and reach favourable condition. This is due to the pace of ecological change, even where appropriate management measures are in place or restoration has occurred.
 
Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): Will the Cabinet Secretary put funding in place to enable Natural Resources Wales and its partners to take forward the prioritised action framework and put Natura 2000 sites in favourable condition? (WAQ74294)

Answer received on 6 October 2017

Lesley Griffiths: The Welsh Government already provides significant financial resource to Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and others to carry out their statutory duties to conserve and manage the Welsh environment. 

In addition to this programme resource, my Department is working with NRW and other stakeholders to take forward priorities identified within the Welsh Chapter of the Prioritised Action Framework for Natura 2000 sites. Examples of the actions being delivered in the marine environment include the Assessing Welsh Fishing Activities Project, which is being delivered by the Welsh Government with support from NRW, and work to prevent the spread of invasive non-native species which is the subject of a bid to the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

I have supported NRW's "New LIFE for Welsh Raised Bogs" project which has successfully attracted over £3m of funding from the European Union's LIFE programme. This project will improve the conservation status within the 7 raised bog Special Area of Conservation wholly in Wales by implementing favourable management.
I have also supported two further projects which have been submitted to the EU for funding from the LIFE programme. NRW's Sands of LIFE 2 project aims to seek favourable conservation status on four Welsh sand dune Natura 2000 sites in Wales.  Snowdonia National Park Authority's Celtic Rainforest LIFE project aims to improve the conservation status of four key woodland Special Areas or Conservation in the north and west of Wales. If both projects are successful they are together expected to attract around £7.5m additional funding from the EU.

Funding for the management of Natura 2000 sites is also available through Glastir, where land managers may be selected to receive support to carry out specific management commitments aimed at managing soils and improving water quality, as well as conserving and enhancing wildlife and biodiversity. Currently, Glastir covers 92,550 ha of land, designated as a Special Protection Area or Special Area of Conservation. Funding is also available for the creation of new native woodlands for biodiversity through Glastir Woodland Creation, which can contribute to the resilience of woodland Special Areas of Conservation. 
 
Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): Will the Cabinet Secretary provide information on who will police any new rules on fisheries after the UK withdraws from the international fishing agreement? (WAQ74297)

Answer received on 6 October 2017

Lesley Griffiths: The Welsh Government is responsible for the enforcement and management of fisheries in the Welsh inshore and offshore area. Irrespective of the outcome of Article 50 negotiations in relation to future UK marine and fisheries management arrangements, I fully expect our marine compliance and enforcement responsibilities to continue once the UK has left the EU.
 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): Further to WAQ74078, will the Cabinet Secretary advise as to when he intends to make a statement on leasehold contracts in Wales? (WAQ74299)

Answer received on 5 October 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children (Carl Sargeant): I will announce my proposals shortly

 

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