Y Pwyllgor Deisebau
Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol
Committee Members in Attendance
|Buffy Williams MS|
|Jack Sargeant MS||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
|Joel James MS|
|Luke Fletcher MS|
Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol
Senedd Officials in Attendance
|Kayleigh Imperato||Dirprwy Glerc|
|Samiwel Davies||Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol|
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 yn y Senedd.
Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 14:02.
The committee met in the Senedd.
The meeting began at 14:02.
Croeso cynnes ichi i gyd i gyfarfod y Pwyllgor Deisebau.
A warm welcome to you all to this meeting of the Petitions Committee.
This meeting is being broadcast live on Senedd.tv, and all participants will be joining this meeting today, for the first time in the sixth Senedd, in person. I welcome all Members to join in person, and our clerking teams and additional committee team members. The meeting is bilingual, translation is available, and the Record of Proceedings will also be published after the end of this meeting. In terms of housekeeping arrangements for this committee, the usual arrangements: if there is a fire alarm, Members should leave through the marked fire exits and follow the instructions. If I can request all mobile devices to be switched to silent. Again, the Senedd operates in a bilingual format, and translation is available through your headsets on the table. Just another last piece of important housekeeping arrangements: microphones do not need to be touched; they will be automatically turned on and off when you indicate to speak. Item 1 on the agenda is apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest. No apologies have been received, and committee members should note any declarations of interest either now or at the appropriate time during today's proceedings.
Item 2 on today's agenda is new petitions. I start with 2.1, P-06-1173, 'Give legal protection to designated Special Landscape Areas in Wales':
'In response to our Climate Emergency we ask the Welsh Government to safeguard Special Landscape Areas for future generations.
'SLAs are areas of high landscape importance for environmental, physical, visual, cultural or historical value and may be unique, exceptional or distinctive but they are NOT PROTECTED.
'Their ancient woodlands, rare species, special areas of habitat or the setting in which they exist are vulnerable to new roads, business parks or other damaging developments.'
This was submitted by Vale Communities for Future Generations, with 416 signatures. Can I invite Members to discuss this petition and any action they may wish to take? Joel.
The only thing I can say is that I've had experiences with SLAs as a councillor myself, and it is frustrating, because when you look at SLAs, it looks as if there's quite a lot of protection with them in place. Because it's a special landscape area, more often than not, there are special habitats, landscapes there, and so, automatically, people will think, 'Well, that gives it protection'. But the housing developments we've had in my area, they're just running roughshod over that, and I definitely do think there's scope to see if there's anything that can be done just to give them a bit more meat. Because when you say, 'That's a special landscape area', to some people, that means a lot, but then to planners, it doesn't necessary mean much; it's something that can be overcome. I definitely think there might be scope just to take this to the relevant Minister to raise these concerns, to see whether or not it should be looked at to give them a bit more protection, really. Because I know we had an application in my area that is—I imagine it's come up quite a bit—about the marsh fritillary butterfly. It's a habitat that supports it, and, as a result, it's a special landscape area, but the application that was approved by the council—thankfully, the Welsh Government overturned it—would have seen the entire habitat destroyed, really. And you just think what's the point of having that as a special landscape area if an application can be registered just to build on it.
Could we possibly, then, write to the relevant Minister and see if there's anything we can do in strengthening these SLAs?
Okay. So, there's been a suggestion with that. Do Members—Luke—agree? We can write back to the Minister, Clerk, and move forward.
Moving on to 2.2, P-06-1179, 'Paint the trains on the mid Wales line to resemble caterpillars to encourage tourism':
'To boost tourism in mid Wales have the two carriage trains painted to look like caterpillars. Children from Birmingham and the West Midlands would love to go on the caterpillar line to the coast. It would also bring a smile to everybody who saw them going down the track something much needed in these difficult times.'
This was submitted by Geoff Hill, with 186 signatures. Can I ask Members to discuss this petition and any action they may wish to take?
It's a beautiful idea, isn't it? It is a beautiful idea, but these trains are used on other lines as well, aren't they? So, maybe that's something that should be considered too.
Okay. I think the Minister has given quite a clear response that this isn't something that they will take forward. But I do thank the petitioner—
We can close the petition and thank the petitioner, especially for bringing a smile that's much needed to this committee session on a Monday afternoon.
Diolch yn fawr, Geoff.
Thank you very much, Geoff.
Item 2.3, P-06-1183, 'Implement a 20MPH speed limit 100 metres either side of the new pedestrian crossing in Glan Conwy':
'Thanks to the Minister for Transport, Glan Conwy now has a much needed pedestrian crossing and recent road improvements have increased visibility, however, many residents are concerned about the speed of vehicles which over a 2 week period were recorded by North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agent (NMWTA) averaging 32.8 MPH. The crossing is used by school children and adults to reach a bus stop and local sporting facilities as well as part of a cycle route. There have been many media reports of near misses and vehicles failing to stop.'
This was submitted by Daniel Worsley, with 85 signatures. Again, I'll ask Members to discuss this petition and action to take. Buffy.
There are plans in place now to reduce the default speed limit to 20 mph; it's being rolled out across Wales. Maybe the Chair would like to go for a visit there just to see the issues.
I'll take that suggestion; I'd be delighted to visit Glan Conwy to do that. Joel.
Thank you, Chair. It was just a quick question—again, I'm speaking with my councillor hat on. A lot of the funding for traffic calming, councils can't afford it, so they put in grant bids to the Welsh Government. Is there any scope to look at that process a bit further? I don't know if that's something we can do as a Petitions Committee. Because, more often than not, funding will be released if there are fatalities. If there are fatalities, that means that the scoring is quite high, but then, ideally, we want traffic calming in place to stop fatalities ever happening. Is that something that could be looked at? Is it in the Petitions Committee's remit to look at that—how the funding for traffic calming can be—? I don't know.
I would suggest we take the first suggestion from Buffy. I will happily meet and visit the petitioner and see where they are on this. But let's keep that under consideration. Perhaps we can bring that to the next meeting and ask the clerking team to see if there's any scope for us to do that following our meeting. Luke.
I just wanted to come in and say that once you've been for a visit, we will need to think about what actions we can take as a committee, and I think that would be ideal. One of the things we can consider is what Joel has said, but perhaps there'd be scope for us to have a further conversation as well, in the future, about what we can do as a result of your visit.
Absolutely. Happy to do that. Great. It's great to be visiting a north Wales petitioner as well.
Item 2.4, P-06-1188, 'Start a Welsh student Erasmus Scheme for students who study in Wales with European Union countries':
'When we were members of the European Union we were on the Erasmus scheme.
'Now we are out we would like to start a Welsh student version of the Erasmus scheme.'
This was submitted by Thomas Aled Canter, with 1,486 signatures. Can I ask Members to discuss this petition? Luke.
Diolch, Chair. I'm aware that the Welsh Government has announced its international learning exchange programme in March, so I'd jot this down as a pretty successful petition. Of course, we can close the petition and thank the petitioner, but I think we should be shouting from the rooftops that another successful petition has come through this committee.
I can see Members smiling with agreement on that, and I would fully support your recommendation. I do believe this is, again, a successful petition and a successful area that we all are pleased to see across the Chamber. So, if we can thank Thomas and, hopefully, the committee can share the success of the petition in its wider formats.
Moving to 2.5, P-06-1189, 'Provide tuition grants to support medical students studying medicine as a second degree':
'Students studying undergraduate medicine courses having previously studied the first degree are having to pay £9,250 upfront for tuition, totalling £37,000 by the start of their fourth year of studies.
'Many students are having to work part-time jobs during their intense studies and have to try to find external support. Provide these medical students with tuition fee grants to avoid students being unable to focus on and being unable to fund their studies.'
This was submitted by Trystan Gruffydd, with 54 signatures. I will ask Members to discuss this further. Luke.
Diolch, Chair. I can sympathise with the lot of medical students; I myself had to work a part-time job during uni in order to study, and I wasn't doing medicine, so I can imagine it's 10 times worse for them. I think we can all agree that, really, education shouldn't be something that people are charged for. However, I do see that the Government have responded and made it quite clear that this isn't something that they're looking to go forward with. So, unfortunately, I think we should definitely thank the petitioner and close the petition, but also, as well, remember our roles as Members of the Senedd in the Chamber and that we hold the Government to account on this in particular.
I would agree with that. I can see nodding from across the Members here.
Item 2.6, P-06-1190, 'Ban the use of peat in horticulture and all growing media by 2023':
'Peat bogs and moors are extremely important in the fight against the climate emergency; sequestering carbon better than many natural landscapes, reducing flooding and providing biodiversity. We need to ban the use of peat in horticulture and all growing media by 2023, including imports.'
This was submitted by Jake Rayson, with 1,014 signatures. I will ask Members to discuss this petition and any actions they may wish to take. Luke.
Diolch, Chair. If I'm correct in thinking, the Minister has begun a consultation on this particular issue, so I think we should encourage the petitioner and the supporters of the petition to feed into that consultation now that it's ongoing, thank the petitioner and close the petition.
Okay. I would agree with that. I think the consultation is being worked on; it's not open yet. But I do still agree. Joel.
Thank you, Chair. I agree with what Luke was saying there, but the only slight difference with me then is: because it's the consultation that's happening, is there a possibility that we just keep the petition open until the consultation has happened? Because I note from the report that the petitioner has made comments like, 'Yet another consultation, do we need—?' It might be best, rather than just to close it, that we wait to hear from the outcomes of the consultation, if that makes sense, and then go back to the petitioner and say, 'Well, this is what the conclusions were, are you happy?' And then the petitioner might say, 'Well, yes, it addresses all the concerns I have,' and then the petition closes naturally like that.
We can keep a watching brief on this petition if Members are content to do so.
Yes, that's a good point.
Okay. Thank you for that. Thank you for that, Joel.
Item 2.7, P-06-1192, 'Ensure that centre assessment grades contribute towards final GCSE and A Level grades':
'We must support year 10 and year 12 students that have been negatively affected by the latest announcement on the grading measures set by Qualifications Wales.
'Being a year 12 student who has put their blood, sweat and tears into continuing their study in this difficult period, I understand how devastating the announcement has been outlining that the hard work we have put in and will continue until the end of the year will NOT be counted towards our final GCSE/A-level grade. DO BETTER!!!'
And this was submitted by Klaudia Kalinowska, with 112 signatures—and I apologise if I got your surname wrong there, Klaudia. Can I invite Members to discuss this petition? Buffy, I can see, wants to come in.
COVID has caused a huge amount of disruption to our learners and teaching staff as well, so with that in mind I think that we should take on board everything that the petitioner has said. I have three children who went through education, and it was really dreadful last year watching them struggle. So, I think that now things are—the children are back in school, things are evening out, I think we should thank the petitioner and close this petition.
I can see Members in agreement with that. I think that was very well put, Buffy, and I agree with exactly what you've said, and we wish all students in Wales well in their studies.
Item 2.8, P-06-1196, 'The inauguration of an Honorary National System of Awards; The Cymru Knighthood Award'.
'We the Welsh public dearly wish to bring Dignity to our Nation's Achievers
'It is a sheer tragedy that so many of our Nations' achievers lie buried, forgotten and uncelebrated in graves around the World.... throughout our proud and long history
'Long it has been my wish to honour these beautiful souls, here in Cymru who have passed into history and who's hearts must have been broken knowing that they did not get their true recognition in........ "The Land of Our Mothers & Fathers"'.
And this was submitted by Neil ap Jones, with 84 signatures, and I will look to Members to discuss the petition. Luke.
Diolch, Gadeirydd. I sympathise completely with the petitioner, to start with, but unfortunately I can't see what more we can do as a committee. I note that the UK honours system isn't a devolved matter, however we do have the St David's Day awards, so I would encourage the petitioner to nominate anyone he thinks might be worthy of a St David's Day award.
Thank you, Luke. Joel.
Thank you, Chair. It was just a quick thing, really, on reading the blurb of the petition, it's sort of like there's a two-pronged thing that the petitioner is trying to say. It's almost as if those—and I don't necessarily see the point of a Cymru knighthood award in addressing it, because as I read the blurb, it's almost as if those who have already gone before us haven't had the recognition, whereas a system here now would just honour those going forward, if that makes sense. Is there scope to look more into that to see whether or not—because I know it was recently in the news now about the Welsh curriculum and the BAME agenda in that; is there scope there, in education, to look more at achievers who we feel have been forgotten, if that makes sense? I don't know.
Okay. I'll bring Luke back in. Thank you for that, Joel.
Yes, just to build on Joel's point, really, I think that's where the importance of Welsh history comes into the curriculum more than anything else. So, I think again it's on us as Members of the Senedd now to really scrutinise the Government and make sure that Welsh history, and that includes of course people in the BAME community and all of the communities that have contributed to life in Wales, is really recognised in the curriculum, going forward.
I'll make one suggestion, because I think the suggestion of the St David's Day awards, the First Minister's prestigious awards—I would encourage anyone who sees fit to nominate to do so. I've nominated in the past and I think it's a great set of awards. Perhaps the committee can write to the First Minister highlighting this petition and perhaps asking what the St David's Day awards are doing to address history as well. It may already, and I may not be fully clear on the rules; but it may not. Perhaps we could write to suggest that. But, on taking that note, I think we could also close this petition. Joel.
I agree with you, Chair, in the sense of posthumous awards and whether the St David's Day awards take that into account.
Great. Happy with that, Clerk? Okay. Thank you.
Item 2.9, P-06-1198, 'Welsh Government Ministers should save the trees, hedgerows, and fields in Cefn Yr Hendy, Miskin'.
'We urge the Welsh Government to stop their plans to sell the 49 acres of green fields they own in Miskin for 460 houses. We ask they do not sell the land for house building and to desist in their plans for the development. We urge Welsh Ministers to take heed of the Climate Emergency, to adhere to the principles of the Future Generations Act and withdraw plans for these fields. As no new school will be provided on the site, this will also cause increased traffic on the roads and pollution.'
This was submitted by Sophie Seymour, with 344 signatures and again, I will ask Members to discuss this petition. Joel.
Thank you, Chair. It's just to say that with my councillor hat on, I've been involved with this application in the past and I've met with—I've not met with the petitioner, but I've met with people involved in the committee about that. The difficulty has always been that it's land that's within the local development plan of the council that's been specifically earmarked for residential development. And that's the thing, and the problem is it's taken so long for that to come to fruition that people have started using the fields for recreational purposes; walking, and especially what happened last year, well, what's happening this year, currently with COVID and that, it's been extremely well used.
But I note that there's probably not much we can do now. It looks like from the notes that we have exhausted what we can do as a committee. I'm unsure if this application was called in by the Government; I think it might have been, and I think they did find for the applicant. But yes, I do sympathise, but I think there's not much more we can do, really.
Okay, thank you for that, Joel. And I look to Members for other comments, but I think we're in agreement with that. I agree, unfortunately, as the Petitions Committee, there is a limit to what we can do as to what we've already done. So, therefore, it is a planning matter; I would urge the petitioner to make contact with their local authority and local representatives, and on that note, thank the petitioner for submitting this petition and close the petition on that basis.
Item 2.10, P-06-1199, 'Place Cardiff Children's Services into special measures and conduct an urgent independent review'.
'Cardiff Social Services and in particular Children’s Services are in complete meltdown. A recent inspection by CIW'
—which is the Care Inspectorate Wales—
'has been described as a whitewash with staff being told "to toe the party line". Families are being failed and torn apart, children are being removed from loving parents and victims of domestic abuse then forced to have contact with the abuser.'
This was submitted by Stephen Pearce with 325 signatures and I will ask Members to discuss this petition and take any action. Luke.
Diolch, Gadeirydd. This is clearly a very sensitive issue, and I haven't been involved in any of this. I can't really speak to any of the evidence that's been put there, but I do note that there is a specific role for Care Inspectorate Wales here in assessing the performance of local authorities, and of course, as part of that, there is a clear process for Care Inspectorate Wales to get in touch with Ministers and Welsh Government directly, so I would think that would be the more appropriate route for this. But I do think we should note the petition and thank the petitioner, of course, and close it.
Yes, and I can see nodding from Members on that, and I would strongly agree with what you have to say, so if we can note and thank the petitioner and close on that basis. Thank you, Luke.
Item 2.11, P-06-1203, 'Do not roll out Covid 19 vaccine passports for retail, hospitality or other premises'.
'We want the Welsh Government to commit to not rolling out any e-vaccination status/immunity passport to the Welsh public. Such passports could be used to restrict the rights of people who have refused a Covid-19 vaccine, such as preventing them from accessing shops, supermarkets or other premises, which would be unacceptable.'
This was submitted by John William Gates with 336 signatures. Again, I will ask Members to discuss this, and I note the Senedd will soon be considering these types of regulations in Plenary this week, I believe. Buffy, and then Luke.
Thank you, Chair. This is something that changes weekly almost, now, isn't it, on COVID restrictions and rules, and like you said, it's going to be discussed tomorrow in Plenary. So, we could close the petition now, or bring it back to our next meeting on 1 November, and then report back to the petitioner just to see what happens tomorrow.
Thanks, Buffy. Luke.
Yes, just to build on what Buffy said there, I can sympathise with the petitioner, having worked in hospitality for five years before becoming a Member of this place. I think, with the fact that we're having that debate in the Chamber tomorrow, it would be useful for us to keep this petition open for the time being, to feed back then to the petitioner on what is said in the Chamber tomorrow, and bring this back, then, to our next meeting—I think it was on 1 November.
Joel, did you want to come in?
It was just to agree with what has been said in the sense I think the best course of action would be to bring it back to the next meeting rather than just to close it now.
Okay, I'm happy to do that, and we could let the petitioner know the outcome of the vote at the end of tomorrow's session.
Okay, moving on to petitions that may be resolved, the closing dates on these petitions have been brought forward at the request of myself, as Chair of the committee, as either the action the petition was calling for has been implemented, or the time frame noted in the petition has already lapsed. Therefore, I would invite members of the committee to look at the following petitions, and they may wish to agree with me that there's little work we can do further on these petitions, and also agree to thank and close them. For the record, I will read out the petition and the petitioner, but a note to Members that the description of the petition is in your papers, and is also available online for those interested.
Item 2.12, P-06-1214, 'Ban the use of face masks in the classroom'. That was submitted by Eleanor Cartwright, with 207 signatures.
Item 2.13, P-06-1215, 'Restart Welsh parkruns at the same time as english ones', and that was submitted by James Bruce, with 155 signatures.
And item 2.14, P-06-1216, 'Reduce costs for PCR test in Wales when returning from abroad and end isolation for vaccinated', and that was submitted by Jonathan Thomas with 203 signatures.
On the back of that, then, can I ask Members if they agree with me to thank the petitioners and close these petitions on the basis that I've set out already? Agreed?
Moving on to the next item on the agenda, item 3, these are updates to previous petitions the committee has already considered. Item 3.1, P-05-1046, 'Reconsider lockdown and investigate scientific evidence that it does not work and causes more harm'. This was submitted by Anne Ellis with 2,189 signatures, and I will ask Members to discuss the petition and take any action they wish. Buffy.
Most of the restrictions now have been lifted in Wales. I think that most of the adult population now has been vaccinated, and I know a lot of the teenagers, and also vaccinations have been offered to 12-year-olds. So, I think we should thank the petitioner and close this petition. Like I said, it's another emotive subject, again, isn't it?
Yes, thank you, Buffy. Luke, you wanted to come in as well.
Yes, just to add some comments, really, to what Buffy said, I think the Minister in the Chamber last week in health questions mentioned that this is very much a balancing act in terms of balancing what the negative effects of lockdown would be, but also of not implementing lockdown. I do sympathise a lot with what the petitioner says. Lockdown hasn't been pleasant for anybody, really, but I would say that the Welsh Government, in all fairness, has published information regarding the scientific advice that they've had from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and the technical advisory group. So, I would agree with Buffy; I think we should thank the petitioner and close the petition.
Thank you, Luke. Thank you to Members, who are in agreement with that, and I would fully agree with that proposal to close as well.
Item 3.2, P-05-1056, 'Give Local Authorities powers to control the housing market in rural and tourist areas of Wales'. This was submitted by Osian Jones with 5,386 signatures. Would Members like to contribute on this? Luke.
Diolch, Gadeirydd. I think I should start by saying I might actually know Osian Jones, which I think will be the first time I've said that in this committee.
I was about to say, yes. So, it's the first time in this committee that I've actually said that I know somebody, so I'm going to be catching up with Joel's numbers now.
But, I sympathise completely with what the petitioner is getting at here, the fact that local people, especially young people, are being priced out of their communities is a disgrace, and the effect that that's having as well on Welsh language communities to boot. I think we should write to the Chair of the Local Government and Housing Committee to ask them to consider issuing, or at least consider this in their programme of work here.
Yes, I would—
I can see full agreement. Joel.
Yes, thank you, Chair. No, it's just for want of transparency, I'm on that Local Government and Housing Committee, but, yes, I agree with Luke there. I think it would be a good idea to write to them.
Okay. Thank you, Joel, and I can see Buffy also agrees with that. And I too agree with that, and note that this petition was debated earlier this year, so I think it's as far as the committee can take it, and the best action will be to write to them, who I believe will be looking to consider some of this work. So, hopefully, they can include some of the petitioner's input to that.
Item 3.3, P-05-1129, 'Apply legislative measures now to enact the Law Commission's recommendations to abolish Leasehold'. This was submitted by Mark Habberfield, with 425 signatures. And again, I'll ask Members to discuss this petition and any action they may wish to take. Buffy.
I sympathise with the petitioner, but it does look very unlikely that the Minister will take these proposals forward. Given the approach by Welsh Government, it's difficult to see what more the committee could do. I don't know if other Members agree, but I think we should thank the petitioner and close this petition.
I can see nodding on that. Luke, did you want to come in or just to agree?
I agree with Buffy, yes.
Thank you. I agree and we'll thank the petitioner and close that petition. Sorry, before we—. Joel.
Sorry, Chair, it was just to come in. I agree with Buffy. The problem is I don't think that we could ever be in a position where abolishing leaseholds altogether can happen. I think, from reading the notes and from reading some of the stuff from the research, it looks likely that there will always have to be some circumstances where leaseholds would have to be in place.
Okay, thank you for that, Joel, and we can note that for the record and action the proposal to thank and close this petition.
Item 3.4, P-05-1094, 'Stop the erosion of Pontypridd's heritage—save the White Bridge', and this was submitted by Councillor Mike Powell with 304 signatures, and I believe that Joel James, our good colleague, will tell me that he knows Councillor Mike Powell—
I know him too.
—and Buffy as well, so I'll save him that job for the record of transparency. But I do invite Members to discuss this petition and any action they may wish to take. Joel.
Thank you, Chair. The only thing to add now is that I think, in one way, we could close the petition because the white bridge now is starting to be reopened. The council has worked with Cadw to get the funding to maintain it. I agree with this. When it was started, I think we should have done everything possible to have saved the bridge, and it looks like it is moving in that way now.
The only other thing, maybe—again, I don't know if it's the remit of the committee—it's just like, again, when we touched earlier upon the special landscape areas, people think because something's listed that protects it from being demolished or you need to go that extra length to save it, but that's not necessarily the case, and listed buildings or listed structures can be knocked down with the right planning permission. So, I don't know if that's something we want to look further at. It's always been a frustration of mine. I remember sitting on one application for a housing development. It was pulled because the council received notification that it had been listed, but then, the very next meeting the application came back in to still knock it down, so—.
Perhaps we could consider that under the previous petition, and look at this within the scope of that petition and, obviously, as Members of the Senedd ourselves away from this committee. But in terms of this actual petition, I think you're right, I think we should congratulate Councillor Powell. The committee, back in February, did write to Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council for an update on this situation as well. On this particular petition, I think we should close and congratulate, but note your good concerns and right concerns, and perhaps we can take that forward in another area of our work as a committee in the future.
Item 3.5, P-05-1142, 'Workout To Help Out Scheme'. This was submitted by Jamie Price, with 261 signatures. Again, I will ask Members to discuss this petition and any actions you'd wish to take. Luke.
Diolch, Gadeirydd. I can sympathise with this petition. I've got a bit of lockdown weight that I need to shift myself. But I can see that there is work being undertaken at the moment between Welsh Government and some sporting organisations to work out how we can support and encourage more physical activity post pandemic. So, I think we should thank the petitioner and close the petition. And I think we can all sympathise with what the petitioner is asking for there.
I can see smiling again and nodding after Luke's contribution. I would certainly agree with that, but no-one would say you've put any lockdown weight on—you look great.
Item 3.6, P-05-1010, 'An independent inquiry into the 2020 flooding in Rhondda Cynon Taf so that lessons are learned'. This was submitted by Eleri Griffiths with 6,017 signatures, and you can see from our papers that this has been considered a number of times by the committee and also debated quite a lot in the Senedd Chamber as well, but I will ask Members to—. I can see Buffy wants to come in.
I'll have to declare an interest here, Chair. Obviously, I live in Pentre; I'm part of the community that was most affected by the flooding. I'd like to send this back to the Minister one more time, just simply because the section 19 reports have now all been published, and I think it would be really good for the Minister to give us another overview of what Welsh Government are going to do to take this forward. I definitely don't want to close this yet. I definitely want this to go back to the Minister, if Members are in agreement.
Okay, thank you, Buffy. I'll bring in Luke and then Joel.
Well, I'll have to declare an interest, I suppose, as well, Chair, in the fact that I know the petitioner. So, as I said, I'm catching up with Joel now in terms of the people I know.
It's my understanding that not all of the section 19 reports have been released yet. We're still waiting for the vast majority of them, and I believe the petitioner has also told us as well that, from local surveying that she's done, there are still large numbers of residents who want to see an independent flooding inquiry, so that they can get some peace of mind at least as to knowing what happened in those months, because the devastation that was caused was absolutely terrible, and I know of people as well who are unable to sleep at night when the rain comes in.
So, I would agree that I think we should write to the Minister one last time, asking the Welsh Government to bring together an overview, really, of the section 19 reports once they've all been released, because again I emphasise they haven't all been released yet. But I think we should also look to write to the Chair of the Climate Change, Environment, and Infrastructure Committee because I know that they're looking to do an inquiry into flooding at some point this term, and so I would be grateful if they would take some of the evidence of this petitioner into consideration when they're doing that inquiry.
Thank you, Chair. Yes, it was just for want of transparency, I suppose, because I agree with everything that has been said. I'm a councillor on RCT council, and I believe the petitioner is as well, so there's that link there. But, yes, I agree with what's been said. I support that.
Okay. So, there were two proposals there, and I think we can certainly write to the Minister to do that, and also we can make the climate change committee aware of this petition. But, of course, we will continue with our own work as a Petitions Committee at this point and certainly write to the Minister on the points made by Buffy and Luke.
Item 3.7, P-05-1097, 'Ban game bird cages'. This was submitted by the League Against Cruel Sports, with 5,287 signatures, and I will ask Members to discuss this petition and any action they may wish to take.
Again, just for the want of transparency, I'm a member of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, and I think that's probably relevant for this and for the next petition. But I note from the possible actions that we could write to the Minister for rural affairs, just highlighting the petition and the concerns raised, and what the Welsh Government could do to address them. Yes, I'd be happy with that.
Okay. I can see nodding there on the action. I do agree we should write to the Minister for rural affairs to seek a response to the questions raised by the petitioner, and they also call for a clear time frame on that.
Moving on to 3.8 then, P-06-1159, 'Finally ban the manufacture, sale and use of animal snares in Wales'. This was submitted by Robert Curtis, with 6,514 signatures. And I will, for the record, already note your declaration of interest there, Joel, but I will ask Members to discuss this petition further and any action they may wish to take. Buffy.
The Welsh Government already has a commitment to ban the use of snares in Wales, and I'm really pleased to note that. I think we should write to the petitioner explaining this and then close this petition. It's another emotive subject as well, isn't it, especially when it involves animals.
I would agree with that. Luke, do you want to come in?
Yes. Just for transparency, more than anything else, I think I might have actually signed this petition, or at least a similar petition—so, just for transparency's sake. But I would agree with Buffy: the Welsh Government have committed to ban snares. It would be useful to know a timeline, if it hasn't been published already. But I think we should definitely congratulate the petitioner and then close the petition.
I agree with Luke. I think if we could have a timeline of when this is going to materialise, it would be really good.
Perhaps we could take that up as individual Members, away from the committee, but certainly we can congratulate the petitioner. Again, it's a successful petition. Perhaps Members may wish to note a written question in their time as Members, away from the committee, to try and find that information.
Item 3.9, P-06-1161, 'Routine collection and publication of data of how many babies/children return to their care-experienced parent's care at the end of a Parent and Child Placement'. This was submitted by Nicola Jones, with 60 signatures, and I will ask Members to discuss this petition. Luke.
Diolch, Gadeirydd. I would be very much interested in exploring this further. I know we're quite bogged down at the moment in terms of our own investigations, so I think, as a primer, or at least to get a base understanding, we could ask the Research Service to provide a scoping paper for us, and see where we can take it from there then.
I can see nodding in agreement on that, and I would tend to agree with that as well. So, Clerk, if we could commission that work and bring it forward to the committee for future recommendation.
Moving on to 3.10, P-06-1164, 'Make bullying and harassment in schools a criminal offence from the age of criminal responsibility', submitted by Alanna Louise Virk with 94 signatures. And, again, I will ask Members to discuss this petition. Buffy.
Thank you, Chair. Laws already exist when bullying and harassment occurs in school. Given that legislation already exists, maybe we could thank the petitioner and close this, because it doesn't look like Welsh Government intend to legislate further on this subject.
Okay. I can see Members in agreement with that, and perhaps we could also, for the record, make a statement that bullying is not acceptable—
Yes, definitely not.
—in Wales and harassment is not acceptable in Wales, and our committee will say that with the strongest possible voice. But again, thank Alanna Louise Virk for submitting this important petition, and raising important awareness of that.
Item 3.11, P-06-1167, 'Support Welsh travel and tourism businesses', submitted by Matthew Sutton with 138 signatures. Again, I will ask Members, in our final petition of today, to discuss and for any actions they may wish to take. Luke.
Diolch, Gadeirydd. I can see that there have been no further questions submitted by the petitioner after Welsh Government gave its response, and I do sympathise a lot with this petition—the Welsh travel and tourism sector has been particularly hit by the pandemic—but I do think now, and specifically for me, as well, as Plaid Cymru's economy spokesperson, it's for us now, as individual Members, to really take the Welsh Government to task on this and to scrutinise in our role as Members of the Senedd, and, of course, thank the petitioner and close the petition as well.
I would agree, and I can see Members in agreement with that as well. And I note, for the record, that tourism and hospitality businesses have been on the agenda a number of times in recent months, and I'm sure will continue to be so, from across the Senedd Chamber. So, I would agree with your action.
Moving on to item 4, paper to note. Can I ask Members to formally note the letter from the Llywydd and the Business Committee confirming that our Petitions Committee will now be meeting on Monday afternoons, instead of the Monday mornings, as we previously did, at the request of all committee members, in order to allow the committee to meet in person, if it should wish to do so? But also I think we should make it clear that, if we do hold inquiries, we are flexible in terms of meeting virtually and also hybrid, but are hopeful that we can continue to meet in person as and when. Happy to note? Good.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(ix).
that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(ix).
Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
Item 5, then. Well, it does conclude public business today, so we will go into private session and consider data on petitions to inform our forward work plan as a committee and set our strategy as a committee. So, I do propose, in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(ix), that the committee resolves to meet in private for item 6. Are Members content to do so? Diolch yn fawr.
I thank all Members. I will thank our wonderful stand-in clerking team this afternoon. I wish our normal clerking team all the best wishes, as they are recovering from illness. Just for the record, the committee will meet again, now, on 1 November. I look forward to that meeting. Diolch yn fawr, all. And I therefore declare this meeting closed.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 14:47.
The public part of the meeting ended at 14:47.