Y Pwyllgor Deisebau

Petitions Committee

13/09/2021

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Buffy Williams MS
Jack Sargeant MS Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair
Joel James MS
Luke Fletcher MS

Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol

Senedd Officials in Attendance

Gareth Price Clerc
Clerk
Mared Llwyd Ail Glerc
Second Clerk
Samiwel Davies Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Legal Adviser
Steffan Lewis Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk

Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Cyfarfu’r pwyllgor drwy gynhadledd fideo.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 10:00.

The committee met by video-conference.

The meeting began at 10:00. 

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datganiadau o fuddiant
1. Introduction, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest

Croeso cynnes ichi i gyd i gyfarfod y Pwyllgor Deisebau.

I welcome everyone to this meeting of the Petitions Committee.

This meeting is being broadcast live on Senedd.tv, and all participants will be joining by video-conference. The meeting is bilingual, and translation is available. A Record of Proceedings will also be published. Aside from the procedural adaptations relating to conducting business remotely, all other Standing Order requirements remain in place.

Item 1 on today’s agenda: apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest. No apologies have been received and, therefore, no substitutions are required. And I remind committee members that they should note any declarations of interest, either now or at the relevant point during the proceedings.

2. Deisebau newydd
2. New Petitions

Item 2 on the agenda, new petitions. Item 2.1, P-06-1172, 'Ban fireworks from public sale'.

'Fireworks are an explosive and should only be used in a controlled environment. They cause anxiety to vulnerable people and pets. They can also be used as weapons. Items such as this should only be available to licenced events.'

The petition was submitted by Chris Morgan with 115 signatures. Can I invite Members to discuss the petition and any further actions that they would like to take? Luke.

Thank you, Chair. I think we’ve all, probably, had some correspondence in the past relating to fireworks—I certainly did when I was a councillor. As far as I know or I’m aware, the UK Government and Welsh Government are already looking into this, so it might be worth us now potentially feeding into that Welsh Government consultation, if there is one ongoing, and closing the petition and thanking the petitioner for submitting the petition in the first place.

I think it is something that affects a lot of people, and I think it’s important, really, that we try and engage with this as much as possible. But as far as what we can do as a committee now, I think the cogs are already in motion, so I think closing the petition for the time being is the best way forward.

Yes, thank you, Chair. It was just to agree with what Luke was saying, but the only thing I was going to say differently was that if we were to engage with the consultation, it might be best to close the petition once we’ve had some idea of the feedback from that consultation. That’s the only thing I was going to add to it, really. But if the committee felt it necessary just to close it, I’m happy to support that as well, really.

Thank you, Joel. To make a recommendation then to the committee, perhaps we could forward this petition on to the Welsh Government so that Ministers are aware fully of the petition and what the petition states, and then go from there. But, as a fact of that, we can close the petition on the back of making the Government aware and put it in motion in that way. Do Members agree?

Okay. Thank you.

Item 2.2, P-06-1174, 'Stop the Welsh government & public groups from making Wales a Nation of Sanctuary'.

'The Welsh government and public groups, are actively promoting Wales as "a nation of sanctuary" for foreign nationals (refugees and asylum seekers) to come and live in Wales. This is NOT the will of the majority of the people in Wales. The Welsh government have yet to consult with their constituents (ie the Welsh nation), regarding this matter. If Wales becomes the Nation of Sanctuary, the Welsh heritage will very quickly be eroded away.'

That was submitted by Ted Jones, with 1,619 signatures. Can I invite Members to discuss this petition, please? Buffy.

I just wanted to raise a point and say that with everything that’s gone on over the last few weeks with the Afghanistan crisis, I’ve had an overwhelming response from people in Rhondda welcoming the refugees. I know this is a very emotive subject, but it’s very difficult, isn’t it? Welsh Government are already consulting on this, so maybe we could write to the Minister—I'm not sure. But I just think, from my experience, that we've had an overwhelming response from people in Rhondda, welcoming refugees and wanting them to feel safe and secure in their new home environment.

10:05

Thank you, Chair. It was just a case where—. When we get petitions that say that the public haven't been consulted and all that—. I know it was previously in the Conservative manifesto about creating a nation of sanctuary and I assume it was in the Welsh Labour one as well, really. We've had an election recently, and regardless of whether or not we were supportive of the outcome or happy with the outcome, that should really end the discussion in terms of not having a say on the matter.

I'm conscious of, as Buffy says, the emotiveness of the situation, and, overall, most people have been supportive of what all the Governments have been doing in terms of the Afghani refugees, but then you've also got the number of people who say, 'Well, we have trouble housing our own'—you know, homelessness and everything. But, I think, with this, I would be saying that we'd probably just agree that there's no further action and to close the petition, really. I think this is something that has already been discussed previously at quite a length really, even in the Senedd Chamber, and it's just something—. Basically, what we're doing with the nation of sanctuary is just to make sure that anything that's devolved to the Senedd is fit for purpose, if that makes sense, to help with the situation.

Thank you, Chair. Just really to add to the points that have already been made. This has been the subject of long, long debates, not just in the Senedd, but in the public domain. I've made my position on it very clear: I'm supportive of a nation of sanctuary. I think especially, as Buffy said—I think Joel also referred to it—in the current climate, I think now, more than ever, it's an important thing. So, I would agree with both Buffy and Joel: I think we should now close the petition. We know, of course, that the Welsh Government has already consulted on this, and the report demonstrated substantial support for the approach.

Thank you for that, Luke. Clerk, I think we've got a recommendation to close the petition from all Members there.

Item 2.3, P-06-1175, 'Stop firebreaks during half terms. These are the only breaks teaching staff are permitted to have'. 

'We have already had one firebreak during half term and teaching staff in Wales were unable to go anywhere or do anything. We cannot just book a week or two off work when we want, they have to be during the school holidays only. It is only fair that teaching staff and the children can go and enjoy their break for all their hard work during term times, just like we could if we had a choice of holiday. Allow children, staff, parents the freedom to enjoy valuable time together doing what they want.'

That was submitted by Lorraine Robinson, with 52 signatures. And I'll ask Members to discuss the petition and any action they'd wish to take. Any thoughts from Members? Buffy.

These firebreak lockdowns have been a necessity, haven't they, really? I think that, with the restrictions lifting now, things will look very different in the future, hopefully, and they are an emergency, the lockdowns. That was the purpose of them. They were for an emergency reason, weren't they, because the transmission was so high in our communities and in our schools that it was important that Welsh Government took this action to ensure the safety of pupils, teachers and parents. So, I think that as the time goes on we won't be seeing these lockdowns, hopefully, any more, so I think we should thank the petitioner and close this petition.

I couldn't get myself off mute there, apologies. Thanks, Chair. I think it's important, obviously, to acknowledge the hard work that the education workforce has done during the pandemic. I think it has been difficult for everyone, but particularly difficult for the people who are working in the sector. I think that Buffy's already make the point that firebreaks themselves are an emergency measure, and are dictated a lot by the situation: if you have rising case numbers, for example, or even hospital admissions, the Welsh Government are going to need to have something like this in their arsenal. So, I would be reluctant, really, to put any restrictions on them. I would agree with Buffy: I think we should thank the petitioner and close the petition in light of that.

10:10

Thank you, Luke, and I'm looking to Joel to agree with that as well. Yes. Thank you.

Moving on to 2.4, P-06-1176, 'The Dignity Charter to inspire all citizens to become ambassadors of and for Wales'.

'We call on the Senedd to urge the Welsh Government to introduce a Dignity Charter of Cymru. The purpose of this would be to introduce a Moral and Ethical Code of conduct and therefore excellence for everyday and professional citizenship in order to encourage and inspire each and every citizen to become accountable role-models and ambassadors for and of Wales.'

This was submitted by Neil Jones Coles with 149 signatures. Again, I will invite Members to discuss the petition and any actions the committee would like to take. Luke.

Thank you, Chair. I'll be completely honest, I'm not entirely sure what more we can do here. We've had a response from Welsh Government, and I think, of course, we should note the Welsh Government's response, pass that on to the petitioner and thank the petitioner for raising the idea. It's definitely an interesting idea and something that's incredibly important, so I think that should also be conveyed to the petitioner as well.

Thank you, Luke, and I see Members nodding at that, so we'll take Luke's recommendation—. Joel.

Thank you, Chair. I just wanted to say on what Luke was stating, I'm in full agreement with that. The only thing I'd like to add is that I always get a bit—not worried per se, but when Governments start setting moral and ethical codes, I don't necessarily think it's for the Government to be doing that, but that's a debate for another day, I think.

Thank you, Joel, and I could see Buffy nodding earlier as well, so we'll take that forward and move on to 2.5, P-06-1177, 'Provide Free Period Products for all Menstruating People in Wales'.

'The £3.1 million provided to schools in Wales to purchase sanitary products is not enough to keep all young women out of period poverty and stay in education. Having experienced period embarrassment first-hand, I know how it feels to sit through a lesson, bleeding through my sanitary product because I was too embarrassed to ask a friend, or teacher, if I could borrow a panty liner. We need to end the stigma around periods, and give all women free sanitary products.'

This was submitted by Lili Smith, with 481 signatures. Can I invite Members to discuss further? Buffy.

This is a really serious concern, this is. I worked within the school environment for a long time and I understand the embarrassment young girls have. They don't like asking for period products, they just don't. So, I really understand the importance of this petition. I think Welsh Government are consulting on the period dignity strategy and action plan, and they are going to be taking this further. So, I think it is important that the petitioner knows how important this subject is and how we feel about this subject. No young lady or young girl should be in period poverty, they just shouldn't, not in this day and age. They just shouldn't. So, I think that we should thank the petitioner and close the petition, but be mindful that we do inform the petitioner how important we feel this is and that we will continue to ensure Welsh Government do all they can to make sure that no young lady will ever be in period poverty.

Thank you, Chair. Just to agree with Buffy here, I don't think anyone should be put at a disadvantage when it comes to education. I'd like to actually see dispensers, for example, become the norm across all schools in Wales. We have got some good examples and actually I'd like to pay tribute to some of the work that Councillor Elyn Stephens in the Rhondda has done over the years on this. I'd agree with Buffy: I think it's important that we convey how important this is to the petitioner, that we're not taking this lightly, and thank her and close the petition. And I think now it falls to us as Members of the Senedd, really, to continue to scrutinise Welsh Government on their period dignity strategic action plan, and to ensure that, actually, it delivers in the long term and that, by the end of this Senedd, this isn't a problem any more.

10:15

Again, I agree with that. Joel, you'd like to come in. 

Yes, thank you, Chair, just to say I agree with everything that has been said. I'm conscious that one of the proposals is to close the petition. Is there a way to keep the petitioner continually updated with what the Welsh Government is doing with regard to this after the petition is closed, or is that the end of it? We close the petition, we thank the petitioner and highlight how strongly we agree with it, but is there an ongoing dialogue, then, going forward, or is that it from this point of view? 

Yes. Normally, closing the petition would be the end of our involvement and our updates. The Minister talks about a consultation on the action plan and does encourage the petitioner to get involved in that. Normally, if you submitted information to a consultation, the Government would respond and let you know what was happening. Does that answer your question, Joel?

On the basis of that, I'll just say I agree with all comments made by Members. This is a really important petition, so I do think we should thank the petitioner for being brave as well, for using her own experiences to try to tackle this issue. 

Clerk, I think we'll go forward with closing the petition and thanking the petitioner, but can we make sure we include the details of the Welsh Government's consultation programme, and make sure they're fully supported if anything is needed when submitting evidence to that? Thank you. 

Item 2.6, P-06-1178, 'Free school meals for all pupils in Wales':

'We call upon Welsh Government to immediately

'Amend the eligibility criteria for Free School Meals so that any child in any family receiving Universal Credit or equivalent benefit is eligible.

'Permanently extend free school meal entitlements to families with no recourse to public funds

'Introduce universal infant free school meals across Wales

'As the first step towards implementing universal provision of nutritious free school meals for all school-aged children in Wales.'

This was submitted by Adam Johannes with 980 signatures. Can I ask Members to discuss this petition and whether they would like to take this forward? Luke.

Thank you, Chair. I don't think any of us disagree with how important this is. I, myself, was on free school meals, for example, when I was in school. They're a lifeline for many people. In particular, I'm very supportive of the universal approach because of the stigma there is often around claiming free school meals. Of course, Plaid Cymru have held a debate in the Chamber. It's something that is a source of embarrassment for me, that we are continually in a position where this isn't the norm, really, but I understand that we're very limited as a Petitions Committee in what we can actually do to that effect.

What I would like to do, or suggest, Chair, is that we keep open the petition pending a further update from Welsh Government and that we of course forward the petitioner's comments as well to the Minister as he draws up his review and request that the review includes the costs and benefits of providing universal free school meals. I think it's important we have as much information as possible. I do have my concerns around keeping the provision around eligibility, but again I think, like I said earlier on another petition, it's for us as Members of the Senedd to ensure that we make those views known in the Chamber and that we push for Welsh Government to make that change in the Chamber. So, hopefully, everyone is in agreement with those suggestions.  

I'd just like to say that I agree with Luke's way forward. I think that's the action we should take now—we should pass this on to the Minister and he can use this to make his informed decision on the review that will be, hopefully, available in late autumn.

Thank you, Buffy. I can see Joel nodding with that. Clerk, I think we've got a way forward with that, so I thank Members for that and move on to 2.7, P-06-1180, 'Increase the teaching and readily available information on drugs in Welsh secondary schools'. 

'I aim to make information on drugs more widely available in Welsh secondary schools in hope to increase Welsh children’s understanding of drugs and the culture surrounding it. I think that it would be detrimental to a child to not know about drugs and the implications they can cause. Please consider signing this petition in order to create a more informed youth on drugs, this way individuals will be able to make better and more educated choices. Thank you for reading.'

And that was submitted by Pearl Oshan Crumb with 102 signatures, and I'll ask Members of the committee to discuss the petition and any actions they may wish to take. Buffy.

10:20

Again, it's another very, very important subject. Like I said, coming from a school environment myself, I know how important it is that children have their questions answered, and answered as honestly as possible, even though sometimes we don't like giving the honest answers. I think that the new health and well-being area of learning in schools is very informative and gives teachers the tools they need, then, to answer these difficult questions. I think that we should thank the petitioner for raising this matter and close the petition, because I think that the information that is available within our education settings is quite substantial now. It's much, much better, and easier to relay than it has been in the past.

Thank you for that, Buffy, and do I see Members in agreement with that? Yes, thank you. So, Clerk, you've got a way forward in that.

3. Y wybodaeth ddiweddaraf am ddeisebau blaenorol
3. Updates to previous petitions

I move on to item 3 of today's agenda—updates to previous petitions. Item 3.1, P-05-895, 'Rosa's Legacy: Introduce a scheme to help people access veterinary care for their companion animals', and this was submitted by Linda Joyce Jones, with 95 signatures. Can I ask Members to discuss the petition and any actions they may wish to take? Any comments from Members on this petition? Joel. I'll bring Joel in, and then Buffy later.

Thank you, Chair. It was just a quick thing. I note from the report that there's a possibility to write to the Minister for rural affairs just to see if they're going to take this forward. I think that's probably the logical next step, really.

That's what I was going to say. I was going to agree with Joel. That's the way forward, definitely, yes.

And I see agreement from Luke. Thank you, Members, and, Clerk, we have a way forward there. So, we'll move on. Item 3.2, P-05-1003, 'Demand an EIA now on the dumping of radioactively contaminated mud in Welsh waters', and this was submitted by Cian Ciaran with 10,692 signatures. I note this has come to committee quite a few times now, including a debate in the Senedd. Can I ask Members to discuss further? Luke.

Thank you, Chair. I understand, of course, that this has been subject to debate for quite some time now, a number of years, and has been debated in the Chamber as well. I would, however, ask that the committee write to Natural Resources Wales, asking particularly about why the Marine Management Organisation's application—I think it is, off the top of my head—and the information around that haven't been made public, and ask them to place the documents and correspondence in a public file. I think it's important that we try to get to the bottom of this; there are clearly quite a large number of people who are concerned with it. I understand—and, again, I'm approaching this from quite a layman's perspective—that the testing has been done on sediment, for example, but not on the air particles associated with it. I think it's important that we do cover the bases here and so I hope the rest of the committee would agree with that.

Do Members agree? Right. I remember this petition from the last Senedd, and, Luke, you've put a suggestion forward there to write to NRW, which Members agree with, and I do, too. Perhaps we can write to NRW, but, on the back of that, close this petition, given the fact we've already debated it and I don't think we'll be able to get a second debate on this particular petition. But I do agree that the questions need to be asked, so we can ask those questions for the petitioner and correspond on that. Do Members agree with that as a way forward? Joel.

10:25

Thank you, Chair. This just touches upon what I mentioned on a different petition earlier. If we are to write on, I'd be more comfortable closing it once we know what the response is, if that makes sense, and then, if we felt it necessary, to close it at the next meeting. I just feel a bit that it's, for want of a better expression, half the battle to say, 'Oh, we'll write to the Minister', but then we don't necessarily as a committee care what the response is, if that makes sense. That's what it feels like, if that makes sense, not that that's what we intend.

Okay. So, there's a suggestion to keep it open, then. So, Members—I'm looking at Buffy and Luke—do you want to go with that suggestion?

Thank you. Moving on to item 3.3, P-05-912, 'Supporting Families with Sudden and Unexpected Death in Children and Young Adults'. This was submitted by Rhian Mannings with 5,682 signatures, and, again, I note I remember this particular sensitive petition from the last Senedd, which I think I'm right in saying, Clerk, we did push forward for a debate, which was rescheduled and postponed because of the pandemic. So, can I ask Members if we could honour that commitment from the last committee? Also, I think there is an opportunity to meet with Rhian as well as a committee, perhaps before that debate. Do Members agree with that? Thank you. I know Rhian's a huge campaigner, so I congratulate her on that as well. Hopefully we can get this debate as promised by the last committee sooner rather than later. Are Members in agreement? Yes. Thank you.

Moving on to item 3.4, P-05-1035, 'Allow birthing partners to be present at scans, the start of labour, birth and after the birth'. This was submitted by Hannah Albrighton with 7,326 signatures. Can I ask Members to discuss this petition and any actions they'd like to take? Buffy.

It's all about safety, isn't it, really—keeping mother and baby and staff safe. It must have been absolutely horrendous last year for new mothers to be giving birth without their birth partners with them. I can only imagine what they must have gone through, especially if they've had a traumatic birth. You need that person, that loved one, there with you, that trusted friend. You need that person with you when you're giving birth, so I can't imagine what the past 18 months have been like. But we also recognise that there are risk factors and they must be taken into consideration at all times. I think that the revised guidance now that Welsh Government have put out makes it a lot easier for birth partners to be present at the birth and at scans. I think each hospital has taken its own course of action now where this is concerned, so I think we should thank the petitioner, recognise that this is a very, very important and emotive subject, and then close the petition, because, as things move on throughout the year, I think things will become a little bit easier. 

Thank you for that, Buffy, and I can see Members nodding in agreement with your suggestion there, so we'll take that forward. Thank you for that.

Item 3.5, P-05-1045, 'To make shared-decision making and monthly mental health care-plan reviews a legal requirement', and this was submitted by Tesni Morgan with 1,462 signatures. I would like to invite Members to discuss this important and sensitive petition and any actions that we may wish to take forward on this. Joel.

Thank you, Chair. This is a very important subject matter, and I note from the report that's been done that one of the recommendations could be to write to the Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee to request that this is included within a forward work plan. I definitely think that's a must, I think, depending on what the rest of the committee says, but I think that's a very good way to move forward.

10:30

I can see Members nodding in agreement, and I nod with agreement to that as well. And as a member of the health committee, I think it's a very important point raised by the petitioner. So, if we can action that please, Clerk, and we'll move on to item 3.6, P-05-1062, 'Abandon the rt-PCR test for covid-19 testing as its unfit for purpose'. This was submitted by Robert O'Shea with 96 signatures, and I'll ask Members to discuss this petition and any actions they'd like to take forward. Luke.

Thank you, Chair. It seems to me that the Welsh Government has provided its rationale for using the PCR tests. So, I'm failing to see, really, where else we can take this now. So, if the rest of the committee's happy, I think we should close the petition and thank the petitioner. 

I can see nodding from Buffy, and I think Joel's in agreement too. Yes, that's great. Thank you for that, Luke. 

Item 3.7, P-05-1138, 'COVID-19 Weekly testing for staff caring for people with complex medical health needs'. And this was submitted by Leanne Collis with 50 signatures. Again, I'll ask Members to discuss this and, Luke, I can see—.

Thanks, Chair. I think the Minister has provided a response to this petition already, or at least to the subject matter of the petitioner, and has explained that lateral flow tests are now available freely to all individuals who work from home. I would think that that addresses the petitioner's concern, or at least I'd hope it does. And in that case, I think we should thank the petitioner and close the petition. 

Thank you, Luke, and I see Members in agreement.

Item 3.8, P-05-1133, 'Adapt the teacher training syllabus to include Transformational Coaching and Emotional Intelligence'. And it was submitted by Tracey Jones with 193 signatures. And again, I'll invite Members to discuss this petition further. Buffy. 

We could write back to the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, highlighting the petitioner's concerns, asking the question how the petitioner could contribute to future planning for the teaching profession. We could do that. 

Are Members in agreement with Buffy's suggestion? Good suggestion put forward. Thank you. Thank you, Buffy. 

Item 3.9, P-05-1135, 'Targeted funding for residential outdoor education centres, now unable to operate for 12 months'. And it was submitted by Sara Jane Jones with 1,181 signatures. And again, I'll ask Members to discuss this petition further. Buffy. 

I think everything is operating as normal now, isn't it, with the outdoor education centres? I'm sure they are. Yes, they are. So, we could thank the petitioner and close the petition. 

Thanks, Chair. I think there are still some gaps in the support for the sector, in particular, but I would agree with Buffy's suggestion of closing the petition and thanking the petitioner, mainly because whilst Welsh Government have provided support and there are gaps present, I think now it falls on us as individual Members of the Senedd again to raise this in the Senedd Chamber and directly with the Minister, rather than this being done through Petitions Committee. And I think that point should be emphasised with the petitioner, that this is something that we as individual Members now will take up in the Chamber. 

I can see agreement there, and I fully agree with both comments made. And perhaps we can make that point to the petitioner, and maybe include the details of the local and regional Members too. Thank you.

Moving on to 3.10, P-05-949, 'SAVE COWBRIDGE OLD GIRLS’ SCHOOL FROM DEMOLITION', and this was submitted by Sara Pedersen, with 5,541 signatures. Again, this has been in front of the committee a number of times, and I'd like to invite Members to discuss this petition and any action they would like to take. Joel. 

10:35

Thank you, Chair. Just for transparency purposes, I think, in my role as councillor, even though it's a different authority, I've been involved in the past with this campaign. I note it has been going for some time, but I'm conscious we've got a new change of Government now in theory—you know, it's the same Government but with new Ministers in place. I would very much like to know what the new Minister's view is on this, really. Would it be possible for us to write as a committee to the new Minister, really? Knowing the area as I do, it's a beautiful looking building. It's got a lot of historical significance to it, I believe, and I think it's just something that we could look just to fight a little bit more for, so that all avenues are looked at before closing it, really.

Thank you, Chair. I would agree with Joel. I think it's worth finding out what the new Minister's opinion is on this. I would, however—. Perhaps this is something we would need to discuss at a later date as a Petitions Committee, but we will need to decide where we draw the line under this as well, because this is something that I think the Government has made their position quite clear on, and we know, of course, this has been a campaign that's been running for quite some time. It's always a difficult discussion to have, really, isn't it, because we want to ensure that the concerns of the petitioners are realised and that we represent them as best we can, but I think we do need to consider where we draw the line on this one. Otherwise, this could be something that could be with us for another couple of years on top, you know. I'm not sure what other Members think about that.

I certainly would agree, Luke, there. There was the suggestion to write to the new Minister, and perhaps we could do that, as suggested by Joel. Let's see the response to that. They are difficult decisions, but we are here to make those difficult decisions as well, so I would agree with you, Luke. Buffy, I can see you've raised your hand too.

I just wanted to echo, Chair, everything Luke's said. I totally agree with him and Joel. But yes, as far as what Luke said, I think that is the right course of action to take.

Well, thank you, Buffy, for that. I think we'll action Joel's suggestion of writing to the new Welsh Government Minister, and we'll bring this forward to a future committee to discuss further.

The following two items are grouped together for consideration: 3.11, P-05-1073, 'Create and build a new branch of National Museum Wales dedicated to Welsh involvement in colonialism', and this was submitted by Kieran Sawdon with 103 signatures; and 3.12, P-05-1086, 'Create a National Museum for Welsh Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic History and Heritage', and it was submitted by Yasmin Begum with 490 signatures. Can I invite Members to discuss these very important petitions together? Luke, I can see your hand up already.

Diolch. Diolch, Chair. I'll be honest; I'm in full agreement with both petitions. Just for transparency, I actually know Kieran from a previous life. I think it's important for us to actually realise the contribution of migrants and immigrants in particular in Tiger bay and the contribution that they made to making the bay, and, well, Cardiff, the coal capital of the world back in the industrial revolution period. I think it is quite a shame, actually, that we're talking about putting a military museum in the bay but we're not talking about establishing a museum to recognise the contributions of the people who live there, you know. I would ask if the committee would consider writing back to the Welsh Government to ask whether they would consider rehousing the Tiger bay archive within a more accessible location, so that the public can go in and have a look and learn about the important contribution of the community in what is called Cardiff Bay now, but it was called Tiger bay at the time.

10:40

Thank you, Luke. I'm in agreement with that and I can see that Joel wanted to come in.

Yes, thank you, Chair. It's only a quick thing, really. Since I received the agenda, I've been trying to rack my brains, because I'm pretty sure that there was a museum at one point down in Cardiff Bay that was about the history of Tiger bay and about the involvement that the immigrant community had within the history of Wales, but I don't know why it ceased. That's the only concern; if it stopped, there was probably a reason why. Maybe it was, for want of a better term, uneconomical for the museum to continue and that's why the archives were moved to the national—you know, the archives, the Glamorgan Archives. So, that's the only concern that I would have there in the sense of how could the museum survive now if it didn't previously, you know—that's one of the concerns there. But obviously, I'm happy to support Luke's recommendation that we continue this further, but that's the only concern that I have. I might be wrong but I remember there being a museum like this once in Cardiff, and it's not there anymore. 

You may well be right, I'm not sure, but there certainly was an event in the Pierhead building in the last Senedd around Tiger bay. I know this—and I'll place it on the record—because it was a good friend of mine who had a lot of involvement with that. But, Luke, I can see that you want to come in to respond to some comments.

I think Joel is right. I think there was a museum at some point, and I was actually about to say exactly what you did there, Chair, in terms of something being in the Pierhead in the last Senedd. I think it's important, though, even if it's an economical consideration. I don't think that the budgetary stuff should come into cultural stuff. I think it's important that we remember where we come from and remember, as well, the contributions of various communities in making Wales what it is today. So, I think we should really push the Welsh Government for an answer on this if I'm totally honest.

Okay. Buffy, I can see you're in agreement with that too. So, I think we can go to the Welsh Government with the points raised by Luke, but also note the comments made by Joel as well. Thank you.

Item 3.13, P-05-1069, 'Save the farmland and green fields at Cosmeston', submitted by Michael Philip Garland, with 5,272 signatures. I'll invite Members to discuss this petition. Again, this petition has been in front of the committee a number of times and the previous committee too, so, any comments from Members? Joel.

Thank you, Chair. I suppose it touches upon what we mentioned about the previous planning application that we've just discussed, and essentially, how far do we wish for it to continue with there being no clear outcome visible, I suppose? I note, with the Cowbridge one, there was still that opportunity to write to the Minister. It looks like, with this application, we've written to the Minister and have had a response, and I don't think there's much left to do, unfortunately. I know that there's talk about maintaining a watching brief over it and obviously, I would be supportive of that if that's what the committee wants to do. But I don't necessarily know that that will achieve much, though. 

Any other comments from Members? Buffy. Buffy first and I'll bring Luke in afterwards.

I agree with Joel. I think that we've exhausted all avenues here, and like Joel said, we could end up to-ing and fro-ing again, but for how long? So, I'd be happy to close the petition if other Members would be.

Thank you, Chair. I think, again, it's one of those difficult decisions that we have to take as a committee and they're never pleasant. But reading up on this last night and what the Petitions Committee has done, I am finding it difficult to see what else we can do. It is an unfortunate situation and it is, again, as I said, a difficult decision to make, but as you said, Chair, we’re here to make those difficult decisions, unfortunately for us. It is a very unfortunate situation.

10:45

Thank you, Luke. I think the suggestion there is to close this particular petition, and I support that too. Are Members in agreement? I think so, yes. If we could close that petition, Clerk, and thank the petitioner too.

Moving on to petitions that have now been resolved. The following three items are grouped together for consideration: item 3.14, P-05-856, ‘Ban the sale of puppies by pet shops and all commercial 3rd party dealers in Wales’, Lucy’s law, submitted by CARIAD, with 11,195 signatures; item 3.15, P-05-915, ‘Call for better enforcement of puppy farms in Wales’, submitted by Laura Clays, with 112 signatures, from my constituency of Alyn and Deeside; and 3.16, P-05-939, ‘Immediate embargo on new dog breeding licences, licence renewals and planning applications until regulations are fit for purpose and enforceable’, again submitted by CARIAD, with 1,738 signatures. I’m pleased to say we have a success story early on in this new committee, where regulations were passed by the Senedd in March 2021. So, I think the committee could welcome this particular news. I believe that I’m right in saying—I think Luke helped me out with this—it was actually last Friday where it came into law and practice. I can see smiling faces from Members on the screens. I’d like to say ‘well done’ to all those who signed this petition and pushed this forward. It was an extremely important petition, and I think we can take this one as a success. If we could write to the two petitioners who submitted the petitions, we’ll thank them for all their work in this important agenda.

Item 3.17, P-05-1068, ‘Allow socially distanced meets in private gardens to follow science and avoid isolation’, submitted by Rachel Emma Ovett with 273 signatures. I’ll ask Members to discuss this petition. Joel.

Thank you, Chair. As you mentioned before, with the changes in legislation now, we can do this now. Hopefully we’ll still be able to do this in a couple of months' time. It’s difficult to say at the moment, unfortunately, with the rise in infection rates. But I think, for the time being, it’s probably worth closing the petition and thanking the petitioner.

Thank you, Chair. I agree with Joel, but I can see there are some additional comments as part of the petition; I think we as a committee could tell the petitioner that we will take this into account as we develop our work programme.

We can certainly do that. I can see that Members are in agreement with both comments there.

Moving on to item 3.18, P-06-1191, ‘Abolish social distancing measures at all Welsh weddings this Summer following July 15th 2021’.

‘Weddings are significant life events for many couples who are looking to begin their family lives. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, many couples have had to postpone their wedding plans several times as they do not want to lose the weddings of their dreams. This has subsequently put many lives on hold and has significantly impacted the mental health of thousands. Could wedding guests provide negative test results, or evidence of two vaccinations in order to attend unrestricted weddings?’

This was submitted by Owain Evans, with 809 signatures. I know this is an extremely important petition for many people across Wales and the United Kingdom. I’ll say ‘congratulations’ to a good friend of mine who I went to school with, who finally got married on Sunday. So, congratulations to Mr and Mrs Worrall, who had to postpone their wedding a number of times due to restrictions as well. But, on that, I'll invite Members to speak further to the petition. Luke.

10:50

Cheers, Chair. I completely sympathise with the petition. I'm going through the whole process myself of organising my wedding, and it has been a hell of a headache—probably more of a headache than the election was, if I'm honest. But I won't go any further on that. I think, given where we are at now with the pandemic, it might be worth us considering closing this petition for the time being, and, of course, thanking the petitioner as well for highlighting the issue, because, I'm sure—well, as you've already said, Chair, there have been many people who have been in this position, and I can really sympathise with that as well, because I've been in that position as well. But it's important, I think, to thank the petitioner, because this is a very important issue for a lot of people.

Thank you for that, Luke. I can see Members in agreement, and I'm sure we all look forward to congratulating you when the time comes too.

4. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42(ix) i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o’r cyfarfod ar gyfer eitem 5 o’r cyfarfod.
4. Motion under Standing Order 17.42(ix) to resolve to exclude the public from item 5 of the meeting.

Cynnig:

bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o'r cyfarfod ar gyfer eitem 5 yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(ix).

 Motion:

that the committee resolves to exclude the public from item 5 of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(ix).

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

Moving on, that concludes today's public business, so I thank Members and the clerking team and the back-room team for that. We will now go into private session to discuss our ways of working and our strategic approach to the remit we have as a committee. Therefore, I propose, in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(ix), that the committee resolves to meet in private for item 5. Are Members content? They are. Diolch yn fawr. Just before we do close, finally, just so the public are aware, our next committee meeting will be on 20 September. So, next week, same time. We look forward to seeing you there. I'll formally close this meeting now. Diolch yn fawr.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 10:51.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 10:51.