Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru
The National Assembly for Wales



Y Pwyllgor Deisebau
The Petitions Committee



Dydd Mawrth, 30 Mehefin 2015

Tuesday, 30 June 2015






Cyflwyniad, Ymddiheuriadau a Dirprwyon

Introduction, Apologies and Substitutions


Deisebau Newydd

New Petitions


Y Wybodaeth Ddiweddaraf am Ddeisebau Blaenorol

Updates to Previous Petitions


Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd.


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.


Aelodau’r pwyllgor yn bresennol
Committee members in attendance


Russell George

Ceidwadwyr Cymreig
Welsh Conservatives

Bethan Jenkins

Plaid Cymru
The Party of Wales

William Powell

Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru (Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor)
Welsh Liberal Democrats (Committee Chair)

Joyce Watson



Swyddogion Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru yn bresennol
National Assembly for Wales officials in attendance


Kayleigh Driscoll

Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk

Steve George


Lisa Salkeld

Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Legal Adviser

Kath Thomas

Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk


Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:46.
The meeting began at 09:46.


Cyflwyniad, Ymddiheuriadau a Dirprwyon
Introduction, Apologies and Substitutions


[1]               William Powell: Bore da, bawb.


William Powell: Good morning, all.

[2]               Welcome to this meeting of the Petitions Committee. We have a full complement of Members this morning and the normal housekeeping arrangements apply. So, with no further ado, I’d like to thank you, Members, for your attendance at the site visit that we had earlier at the Coal Exchange in pursuit of petition P-04-539, ‘Save Cardiff Coal Exchange’. We’re grateful to Mr Jon Avent, lead petitioner, and colleagues for making the arrangements. It certainly has helped to give us considerable insight into the particular motivation behind that petition, and we look forward to returning to that at an early future time.




Deisebau Newydd
New Petitions


[3]               William Powell: Agenda item 2: new petitions. We start with agenda item 2.1, P-04-640, ‘Bring Down the Age of Smears to 18’. This petition was submitted by Julie Bradford and collected 525 signatures online. A UK-wide petition on this issue, on an external e-petitions website, has collected in excess of 100,000 signatures to date. The text begins as follows:


[4]               ‘My 18 year old daughter has cervical cancer and we do not want this to happen to any other women just because of the age limit on smear tests. We would like to call on the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to bring the age down on the tests from 25 to 18.’


[5]               ‘In March 2014 my daughter Jessica Bradford aged only 18 was diagnosed with cervical cancer.  Because of her age she was not allowed a smear test.  Jessica had all her cervical cancer injections in school.  Jessica attends Velindre cancer hospital in Wales where her treatment was carried out - 5 chemotherapies, 30 radiotherapies and 3 internal radiotherapies.  Due to this treatment Jessica can never carry her own children. Myself and Jessica have set up a page on Facebook to raise awareness, called Jess Bradford’s cervical cancer awareness. Since doing the page we have met lots of mothers who have lost their daughters from cervical cancer’.


[6]               ‘We are also currently collecting signatures on petitioning the UK Government on the same issue.  Approximately 96,000 signatures have been collected so far.’


[7]               And that number has since risen. Colleagues will recall our meeting Jess, in the company of Julie Bradford and her partner, a couple of weeks ago when this petition was received. I wrote on behalf of the committee to the Minister for Health and Social Services, and his response is available in the public papers. At this time, we haven’t heard back, and I don’t think we’ve heard back since the agenda was closed from the Bradfords in response to the Minister’s comments. So, I’d welcome your steer on this or any comments you may have on the Minister’s report. Bethan.


[8]               Bethan Jenkins: I just wanted to ask whether we could find out from the UK national screening committee the details of the public consultation that they conducted that informed the Minister’s decision to put the age up. When I was talking to the petitioners, I wasn’t aware of that public consultation. So, it just may be worth us looking at that to see how they came to that conclusion. Also, the Minister says in the final paragraph that the number of young women diagnosed with cancer is expected to decrease over the next 10 years due to the HPV vaccination programme. I just wondered whether we could ask the Minister for the stats that they have now. Because, obviously, between 2008 and 2015, there must be some stats available to see how and if it’s decreased, so that we could have some knowledge for us to see if, again, that backs up his claim. Because, obviously, the petitioner had cancer regardless of the fact that the vaccinations were available for her at an earlier age. So, those are the two issues that sprang out at me from that.


[9]               William Powell: Yes. I’d be very happy to write in that vein, particularly to get fuller details of the consultation. While we await feedback from the original Minister’s letter, I think there’s no reason why we shouldn’t seek that further detail from the Minister. Joyce, you’ve indicated.


[10]           Joyce Watson: Yes, I have. The first thing I’d like to say is that I want to, and I’m sure we all do, wish Jessica good health in the future. It is a traumatic situation that she finds herself in at such a very young age. But I think, if it is the case that this HPV vaccine is the answer for some people—it won’t be all people—the question that springs to mind, for me, is making sure that young women are informed, first of all, about the dangers of infection and, secondly, the availability of that vaccine, if it is going to act as some prevention. I agree with all the things, also, that Bethan has said.


[11]           William Powell: Yes, I think communications play a vital role in this. I think that will become clear as we go further into our consideration of this petition. So, I think we’ve agreed a suite of actions there, and we look forward to hearing from Julie Bradford, hopefully in the near future with regard to the Minister’s initial response.


[12]           The following two petitions are to be considered together. Those are P-04-643, ‘Save Croeserw Flying Start’, and P-04-645, ‘Save Glyncorrwg Flying Start’. Item 2.2, that’s P-04-643, ‘Save Croeserw Flying Start’ was submitted by Donna Taylor. It collected 169 signatures online and a further 125 signatures on a paper petition, totalling, therefore, 294 signatures.


[13]           ‘The undersigned residents object to any planned removal or reduction in services for the Flying Start programme in the Croeserw community.  Any changes to this service will have an adverse effect on our children's education’.


[14]           Now, this petition was received by Bethan and other members of the committee in my absence recently on Wednesday, 24 June. Prior to that, I had sent a first consideration letter to the Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty. We’ve got a response from the Minister. We’ve also received comments from Action for Children, who currently run both this service and the equivalent service in Glyncorrwg, and that relates to petition P-04-645 also. So, if I just go through the brief synopsis of that, we can then consider the actions in the round.


[15]           The latter petition was submitted by Sophie-Kate Reacord and collected 148 signatures, with a further 343 signatures collected on paper, so 491 in total.


[16]           ‘This petition has been started to save Glyncorrwg Flying Start. Parents of children who are in Flying start, or have children coming to the age they are able to attend Flying start have received letters stating Flying start will be taken away from our community in July 2015. Why should our children miss out? Flying Start is a stepping stone for young children, to get them on the learning ladder and ready to start school. It is meant to be provided to those who are in ‘deprived areas’, which we are, and yet they are taking it away. It’s wrong.’


[17]           Again, this was received on the same occasion by colleagues. Similarly, the same action applies, that I sent a letter to the Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty on this wider issue. Colleagues, I’d be very keen to have a steer from you on this. Bethan, I believe you’ve got some familiarity with the case also.


[18]           Bethan Jenkins: Yes, I’ll declare an interest because I’ve been helping the petitioners with this as a local Assembly Member. I mean, it’s entirely viable for us to write to the Minister to ask for a response from Action for Children and to ask how the funding they supply to local authorities is calculated. I know that we deal with national issues, but I think that the main issue here is about how the council administer the funding from the Welsh Government. Our colleague, David Rees, has had a letter back from Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council saying that alternative provision will be made available but no plans to introduce a replacement service, particularly in Glyncorrwg and Croeserw, are being made available. So, it’s all about how it’s operated locally. So, I would want to write to the council to ask them what they’re planning to do, because I think the plan is for them to move the children to other services that are already in existence but not in their direct communities, and that’s an issue for them.


[19]           William Powell: So, that would bring a transport issue also.


[20]           Bethan Jenkins: There’s a transport issue and other issues for mothers and families in the area, especially due to the fact that Action for Children had given notice last October and then a written notice in January. So, the questions for the council need to be around why it is a situation where there are no plans, when Action for Children did give you prior warning as to the fact that they were not going to be able to carry on with this particular work.


[21]           William Powell: And that’s borne out in their correspondence, isn’t it?


[22]           Bethan Jenkins: Yes. I mean, I don’t think it’s so much the Welsh Government in the sense that the Welsh Government are still giving the money and the budget, but, clearly, Action for Children are saying it’s not sustainable, and then the council, from the letter that I’ve just referenced, are putting it in Action for Children’s court as opposed to taking the responsibility for a replacement service in those two areas. I’m sorry if that’s going straight into the deep end with this, but I know that the petitioners will know what I’m talking about.


[23]           William Powell: No, I think, in the context, we mustn’t bring any unnecessary delay in. So, I’d be happy to write to councillor Ali Thomas who, I believe, is the leader of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, and to the chief executive.


[24]           Bethan Jenkins: Well, I mean, the chief executive is the one that’s been dealing with it. The lady that’s in charge of Flying Start is on annual leave at the moment. That’s why we haven’t been able to have clear answers. But it comes down to the fact that they can decide locally how they administer the childcare element of Flying Start. From the letter that I’ve seen, that means that they’re deciding not to replace it in those areas and to make the families go elsewhere, which isn’t really what they want at all.


[25]           William Powell: And there’s no evidence, as far as I can divine, of any kind of consultation with the communities, with the service users.


[26]           Bethan Jenkins: No, there was no consultation. Actually, Action for Children as well did not tell their staff before the parents knew. So, that was another failure, which we’ve raised as Assembly Members. I think there’s a procedural issue there that perhaps we can mention with the council as well, and Action for Children, in terms of how the public are involved in the process.


[27]           William Powell: Okay. Just to summarise, with colleagues’ support, I’ll be happy to write to Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council to detail some of these points. I think we’ve also got some questions still for Action for Children really in terms of some of the points that have been made by the petitioners in response. So, we need to share that back. And I think, probably, we need to share the petitioner’s responses back with the Minister who gave the original feedback to us after the first consideration. So, we’ve got a suite of actions there. I’ll try to make sure that this happens without delay given the importance and time sensitivity of all of this. Are colleagues happy with that approach? Yes. Thank you.


[28]           Agenda item 2.4 has actually been withdrawn from today’s agenda, and I hope that the situation will allow us to consider it at our next meeting. So, if colleagues are happy with that approach, we’ll move straight away now to agenda item 3.




Y Wybodaeth Ddiweddaraf am Ddeisebau Blaenorol
Updates to Previous Petitions


[29]           William Powell: These are the updates to previous petitions. We start with agenda item 3.1, P-04-552 ‘Child Protection’. Now, this petition was submitted by Montessori Centre Wales and was first considered on 13 May 2014 and has the support of 40 signatures. Colleagues will recall that the petitioners are calling on us to,


[30]           ‘urge the Welsh Government to review and strengthen child protection criteria and consider establishing a regulatory body for Wales.’


[31]           They feel that, at the moment, the situation leaves some exposure to risk. Now, we last considered this on 28 April this year and we considered correspondence from the petitioner and agreed to seek the views of the Minister for Health and Social Services. In the event, it was the Minister for Public Services, Leighton Andrews, who has picked up this issue, as it relates to elected representatives. You can see a clear statement from Leighton Andrews on these matters. The petitioner has been asked for further comments, but none have been forthcoming at this time. So, colleagues, I’d appreciate your approach here. I think there seems to be limited scope for us to take this matter much further forward. Russell George, you’ve indicated.


[32]           Russell George: Well, do we accept that what the Minister is saying is correct and that he doesn’t have any power—the Welsh Government has no power? Is there any legal advice or opinion we can seek on that?


[33]           William Powell: I’d be happy to seek the advice of our colleague.


[34]           Ms Salkeld: The Minister is saying that, currently, he’s got no powers, because it’s under a UK Act. Whether the National Assembly has any powers or any legislative competence might be a different matter, but it is something I could prepare a note on for the committee if it would be helpful.


[35]           William Powell: If you could prepare a brief on that that would be really helpful to us, I think.


[36]           Russell George: When did we last write to the petitioner? What was the date? Was it recently?


[37]           Mr George: When the agenda was sent out.


[38]           William Powell: Quite recently, yes.


[39]           Russell George: Quite recently. So, we can wait until we have the legal advice.


[40]           William Powell: Yes. The two of them will come together. Joyce, you had indicated.


[41]           Joyce Watson: Yes. I’ve got a bit of sympathy with this petitioner, I have to say, and I would be interested in the response that we get from legal in terms of where we might be able to take this forward. It is my own personal view that it would be common sense for anybody who is constantly in touch with children and young people and vulnerable adults to have a DBS check, because it would do two things: it would help the individual and also just assure the public, especially—


[42]           William Powell: It’s to everyone’s benefit, really.


[43]           Joyce Watson: It’s a win-win, in my view. It’s an absolute win-win. And, we all know that history tells us that it’s probably advisable to go down this path. So, I would be interested in the remit, but if we come back to what the Minister has said and the fact that the petitioner needs to respond to us, I will await those responses. But I do think it’s a good petition and I do support it.


[44]           William Powell: Yes. Well, I think it would be quite useful to get full feedback from Montessori Centre Wales and then, hopefully, that will come in around the same time as the legal brief to enable us to look at the issue in the round. So, thank you, colleagues, for that.


[45]           Agenda item 3.2 is P-04-589, ‘Reduce the Number of Councillors and Executive Members in Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’. This petition was submitted by Julian Price and was first considered on 23 September 2014, with the support of 40 signatures. We recall the wish to take the sword to significant numbers of councillors and executive members in Blaenau Gwent. Well, the situation has moved on fairly rapidly in terms of the proposals that now have been brought forward by the Minister for Public Services. This committee last considered this particular petition on 20 January and agreed to write to the petitioner asking for confirmation of receipt of original correspondence and whether he had any comments to make, and advising him also that we were minded to close the petition. So, in the light of there being no response from Mr Price—


[46]           Russell George: Chair, can I propose we close the petition?


[47]           William Powell: I think that’s probably the best way forward, because the work is being undertaken as part of a much more comprehensive exercise. So, I think we’ve got unanimity there to close the petition.


[48]           Agenda item 3.3 is P-04-602, ‘Personalisation of Graves’. This petition was submitted by Elizabeth Haynes and Catherine Board, and was first considered on 25 November 2014, with the support of 120 electronic signatures and 1,486 paper signatures, so totalling 1,606. I’m sure we recall the occasion of receiving this petition from Ms Haynes and Ms Board, particularly in the context of some of their comments about their experiences of what appear to be desecration, in many ways, or certainly great insensitivity on the part of various cemetery officials and others. We last considered this petition on 3 February and agreed to write to the petitioners again seeking comments, and indicated that we were likely to move to close. Now, that letter was sent in April, but we haven’t received a response. It appears that maybe—


[49]           Russell George: It looks like the petitioners also agree that this has been completed, so I think we should close the petition.


[50]           William Powell: So, I’d be happy to close the petition, but also in this case and the previous case to write to the respective petitioners thanking them for bringing their concerns to us and for enabling us to consider their issues. So, again, I think we’ve got agreement there.


[51]           Agenda item 3.4 is P-04-616, ‘Please Prevent Fireworks From Being Sold to the General Public’. This petition was submitted by Kathy Peart and was first considered on 3 February this year, with the support of 110 signatures. We can refresh our memory as to the detail of the petitioner’s concerns, particularly with regard to the welfare of domestic animals in the context of fireworks being used in an inconsiderate way. We first considered this on 3 February and agreed to write to the Minister, setting out the legal advice that we had received and asking for his views. The Minister’s response is, again, contained in the public papers and, also, we’ve got the original legal advice that we received, just as an aide-mémoir. We’d not received any further comments from the petitioner when we were assembling the agenda for today. I think, probably, it would be sensible for us to send a chaser letter for consistency on this occasion, because it’s a relatively recent petition.


[52]           Russell George: Why don’t we do that, Chair, but it does move us towards closing, because the Minister’s answer is quite clear?


[53]           William Powell: Again, we’ve got a pretty emphatic view from the—


[54]           Russell George: So, why don’t we agree, if we haven’t had a response from the petitioner within six weeks, we close the petition.


[55]           William Powell: Yes, I’d be happy to do that, if colleagues are content. Good. Thank you. 


[56]           Agenda item 3.5 is P-04-494, ‘Robotic assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy must be made available to men in Wales now’. This procedure is ‘the 21st Century Gold standard’—so reads the petition from Professor Kevin Davies MBE. It was first considered by us on 16 July 2013, with the support of 2,090 signatures. We most recently considered this on 10 March this year, and we agreed to write to the Minister to ask what plans are in place to provide Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board with equipment to carry out robotic-assisted procedures, and also we sought clarity on the system that’s currently in place for treatment in Manchester. We also requested clarity on the cost implications and sustainability of the health board’s ongoing system of referring to Manchester. We’ve got a response in the public papers from the Minister, but we haven’t at this time actually heard back from Professor Kevin Davies, so I think there’s obviously something that we need to do there in terms of seeking his views. Do colleagues think that there would be other things we could usefully do at this stage? Joyce.


[57]           Joyce Watson: I think we have to wait for the petitioner, and it’s been an ongoing, nationwide petition, and, you know, movement has happened—there are facilities now available in Wales that weren’t available before, so in that respect it’s been really good. I do think that we need to understand and write, as the Minister suggested, to BCUHB for the clarity, as you’ve just described, and see if we can get a response, then, from the petitioner.


[58]           William Powell: Okay. So, we’ll get back in touch with Professor Davies, but also it should be possible to get clarity, particularly on the funding issue, and in these times that’s going to be a central concern, as well as the convenience for service users.


[59]           Joyce Watson: Indeed.


[60]           William Powell: Good. I think we’ve got an agreement on the way forward there.


[61]           Agenda item 3.6 is P-04-588, ‘Charter for Children and Fathers’. This petition was submitted by FNF Both Parents Matter Cymru and was first considered on 23 September 2014 and has collected 653 signatures. Colleagues will have had the opportunity to refresh their memory about the particular objectives of this group of petitioners with regard to the access and participation of fathers within the life of their children. We last considered this on 9 December 2014 and we agreed a number of actions: to seek further comments from the Minister on the petitioners’ earlier comments, in particular around the issue of the Welsh Government considering collecting data about male engagement and also providing further information about why the children and adolescent welfare assessment checklist, known as CAWAC, cannot be shared more widely. And we also considered the potential that the petition was drawing to a conclusion.


[62]           A response has been received in the meantime from the Minister for Health and Social Services and is available here. We’ve also now got further comments from FNF Both Parents Matter Cymru, the lead petitioner. I think it would be really helpful for us to share those comments back with the Minister for Health and Social Services; I think that’s clearly something that I will seek to do on the committee’s behalf. Are there any other actions that would be useful for us to undertake at this time? Bethan.


[63]           Bethan Jenkins: I just wanted a clarification from the petitioner. I’m just interested to understand why they are concerned about the CAWAC—if that’s how we say it—assessment tool and its openness, if they say that it’s not an effective tool anyway. They say it’s fair to say that they have very little confidence in the outcomes from the use of the CAWAC assessment. Is that because of the fact that they don’t operate it the same way as in England? I just want to understand that.


[64]           William Powell: It would be useful to drill down as to whether or not that’s the source of their scepticism.


[65]           Bethan Jenkins: Because, obviously, England put it on the website and it’s open for people to see. Wales doesn’t do that, but the letter says that it’s not effective. Is it because of the fact that they can’t get to see any of the surveys or the tools for that?


[66]           William Powell: It may be that that’s why they’re sceptical. I think we can—.


[67]           Joyce Watson: But, it also says, Chair, in the Minister’s letter, that the reason that they keep the integrity of the CAWAC is because it can’t be used in advance.


[68]           William Powell: For people to be drilled up and—


[69]           Joyce Watson: To be coached or influenced.


[70]           Bethan Jenkins: Yes, I get that; it was just—


[71]           Joyce Watson: But, I agree with you; let’s ask the question.


[72]           William Powell: I think in the second paragraph of their letter, FNF Both Parents Matter Cymru do say that, at least in part, that scepticism is down to the lack of access to the information.




[73]           Bethan Jenkins: It was only that when I read it, I couldn’t see—. If I can just get clarification on that.


[74]           William Powell: Yes. I think if we write to them in that vein, we’ll know more about that, but also, in the meantime, we should share back their thoughts on this with the Minister, because, clearly, they’ve given us some significant consideration and I think, realistically, our earlier thoughts of potentially closing the petition was rather premature. There are clearly some outstanding issues here that we need to explore, perhaps.


[75]           Agenda item 3.7, P-04-577, ‘Reinstate Funding to the Real Opportunities Project’. This petition was submitted by Aled Davies and was first considered on 15 July 2014. It’s got the support of 25 signatures, but an associated e-petition collected a further 226 signatures. The petition was last considered by us on 24 February this year and we agreed to inform the petitioner of the Minister’s advice—that they should contact the Welsh European Funding Office direct, as she had no role in approving projects, but also to seek comments from the petitioner before moving to close. We do have comments from the petitioner now and those are in our public papers. What is the best way forward, colleagues? I think, probably, we do need to write to WEFO direct.


[76]           Russell George: Yes, let’s do that.


[77]           William Powell: I’m happy to do so. Should we copy this to the Minister as a courtesy, or would that be superfluous?


[78]           Russell George: I can’t see why not.


[79]           William Powell: Yes, okay, just to keep her in the picture of what we’re taking forward. Good. Item 3.8 is P-04-511, ‘Support for children and young people participation standards’. This petition was submitted by Powys youth forum and was first considered on 11 November 2013 and has the support of 39 signatures. We recall the concerns of Powys youth forum with regard to the participation standards and also the significance of the kite mark award. We last considered this matter on 28 April and agreed to write to the Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty and also Children in Wales to seek their views on the points made by the petitioners. We’ve got responses from both in our papers, together with some further comments from Powys youth forum. Would it be sensible to write to Children in Wales to take up the specific points that are raised by the petitioners?


[80]           Russell George: Yes.


[81]           Joyce Watson: Yes, definitely.


[82]           William Powell: Are Members happy with that? Good. Excellent. Agenda item 3.9 is P-04-573, ‘Call on the Welsh Government to Investigate the Residential Leasehold System in Wales’. This petition was submitted by the residents of Elba estate and was first considered on 15 July, 2014, almost a year ago now, having collected 263 signatures, calling on the National Assembly for Wales


[83]           ‘to urge the Welsh Government to instigate an investigation into the way in which the residential leasehold system is operating in Wales despite the changes made by the Leasehold Reform Act and to consider whether there should be a cap on increases to leasehold agreements in Wales.’


[84]           We last considered this as a committee on 24 February this year and we agreed to seek comments from the petitioner before moving to close. Now, the petitioners, the residents of Elba estate, have come forward with their thoughts. I think it’s fair to say the situation is not ideal, but there has been some significant progress made and I don’t see that we can really add anything further to this. Would colleagues be supportive of our moving to close this petition?


[85]           Joyce Watson: Yes.


[86]           William Powell: In the light of that, if colleagues are content, I will write to the petitioners thanking them for having brought the issue forward. We will recall, amongst other colleagues, that the former Assembly Member for South Wales West, Byron Davies, took a keen interest in this matter, so maybe we’ll have the opportunity to share this legacy with him at his new office. But, we’re very grateful to the petitioners for having raised this matter with us and I think we’ve learnt something from that particular issue.


[87]           Joyce Watson: Indeed.


[88]           William Powell: Agenda item 3.10 is P-04-538, ‘Involving Lecturers to ensure a Further Education Inspection Framework that is fit for purpose’. This petition was submitted by Ian Whitehead-Ross, first considered on 11 March 2014, and had the support of 145 signatures. We most recently considered this petition as a committee on 23 September 2014, and we agreed to seek comments from the lead petitioner. No response was forthcoming then, and the petitioner has also subsequently been alerted to the fact that it’s on today’s agenda, and the fact that we are, at this stage, minded to close the petition. That hasn’t prompted any response.


[89]           Russell George: Can I suggest we close the petition?


[90]           William Powell: I think we’ve probably got unanimity to close this petition. And, again, I’d be happy to write to Mr Whitehead-Ross, thanking him for bringing this important issue to our attention, and enabling us to air it.


[91]           Bethan Jenkins: Just to say, I think events overtook it, in relation to this. I’m not going to quote what the petitioner would say, because he hasn’t responded.


[92]           William Powell: No, sure.


[93]           Bethan Jenkins: But I think events have progressed, so that this is something that didn’t happen, and so stages have progressed since that.


[94]           William Powell: Yes, that was the sense I got.


[95]           Bethan Jenkins: That’s the worry—you can’t go back on what’s been done now. They weren’t involved, and they wanted to be, but things have moved on now.


[96]           William Powell: But they’ve raised our awareness, and raised the awareness of the issue, so I think that’s got merit in itself. Yes, absolutely. Good.


[97]           Agenda item 3.11 is P-04-319, ‘Newtown traffic petition’. This petition was submitted by Paul Pavia, and was first considered on 21 June 2011, with the support of 10 signatures. But, an additional petition collected approximately 5,000 signatures. I see Russell George indicating.


[98]           Russell George: Thanks, Chair. I’ll just declare an interest as being heavily involved in this petition. The Minister has said she’d keep us updated in the past, and she’s keeping us updated. So, I just think we need to wait for further updates.


[99]           William Powell: Yes, absolutely, and see how the land acquisition progresses, and other matters. But things are moving in very much a positive direction, I think it’s fair to say. Yes? Excellent.


[100]       Russell George: I made a note, Chair, to write to Powys County Council myself on this issue.


[101]       William Powell: Absolutely. Good.


[102]       Agenda item 3.12 is P-04-373, ‘School Exclusion Zones for Mobile Hot Food Vans’. This petition appears to have been around for quite a while. It was submitted by Arfon Jones, and was first considered by us, actually, on 13 March 2012. It’s got the support of 43 signatures. It simply calls upon


[103]       ‘the Welsh Government to consider legislation to exclude Mobile Fast Food Vans from operating within a 400 metre exclusion zone around all schools in Wales during the hours of 8am to 4.30pm weekdays during term time.’


[104]       In our time, I think we’ve sought views from Carl Sargeant on the matter of these mobile hot food vans, in his capacity as planning Minister. I think it’s been raised in the Chamber with the Minister for Education and Skills, Huw Lewis, but now the issue has been adopted—because it sort of relates to issues around trading in the highway, presumably—and has now fallen to the Minister for Economy, Science and Transport to deal with it, and she has suggested that we raise the issue with another relevant Cabinet colleague, the Minister for Health and Social Services. I’d be very happy to seek his views on the petition, because, clearly, in terms of the wellness agenda, and issues around active lifestyles, he might well have a view. Bethan.


[105]       Bethan Jenkins: I just wanted to ask—I don’t sit on the Health and Social Care Committee—whether this is something that could be included in the Public Health (Wales) Bill. I don’t know whether that’s something that could be included there. I was only in the Chamber for the first part of the debate on that. I won’t be scrutinising the Bill; I just thought it could sit there.


[106]       William Powell: Yes, potentially. I’d be happy to extend that correspondence, not just to the Minister for health, but also to our colleague David Rees, as Chair of the committee, suggesting maybe that that discrete issue be looked at.


[107]       Bethan Jenkins: But also, the Minister says local authorities are responsible for local roads. Perhaps you could write to the Welsh Local Government Association about the non-trunk-road element, to see whether they’ve got any plans in this regard as well.


[108]       William Powell: Yes, absolutely. I’d be happy to write, both to David Rees, Chair of the health committee, but also to Steve Thomas of the WLGA, asking for him to share that with his relevant colleagues. Good.


[109]       Agenda item 3.13, P-04-514, ‘A Welsh clean coal and/or renewable energy power station instead of the proposed Wylfa B nuclear plant at Anglesey’: this petition was submitted by Sovereign Wales and first considered by us on 26 November 2013, having collected 104 signatures. We recall the detailed concerns of Sovereign Wales with regard to the appropriateness of the development of Wylfa B. I’m sure those of us who were present for the former Japanese Prime Minister’s address to a meeting in Pierhead a couple of months ago will have had all of these issues brought in very sharp focus to us. That said, we last considered this as a committee on 28 April. We agreed to ask for an update from the Minister on the latest developments with regard to Wylfa B and also the development of clean coal technology, including any dealings with Hitachi. The Minister’s letter is available in the public papers and obviously that speaks for itself. I’m struggling to see how—. We are grateful to Sovereign Wales for submitting this latest detailed paper regarding some of the technological developments that have taken place and appear to be good news in themselves. I’m not clear what further we can do here, colleagues. Any proposition? Joyce.


[110]       Joyce Watson: We can’t. Whether we desire to do any more or whether we don’t isn’t the issue. The issue on the table in front of us is: can we do anything else? No, we can’t, as far as I’m concerned. We’ve taken it as far as we can. It’s been a good petition in as much as it’s highlighted issues and raised answers. But I can’t actually see anything else that can be done.


[111]       William Powell: No, absolutely. I think it may be something that we could informally bring to the attention of the Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee, just for his interest, as we move to close this. I’d be very happy to write on behalf of the committee to Sovereign Wales, thanking him for the time and effort he’s committed to this petition, as indeed to other petitions that he brings to us from time to time.


[112]       Joyce Watson: Agreed.


[113]       William Powell: Okay. That concludes today’s agenda. I would, however, ask Members, if they’re able, to attend the petition presentation today at 1 o’clock on the steps of the Senedd, and that is on the future of further education, which, hopefully, we’ll be considering at our next meeting. So, diolch yn fawr iawn—thank you very much indeed for your attendance and for your participation, both in the meeting and at the earlier site visit at Cardiff Coal Exchange. Diolch yn fawr.


Daeth y cyfarfod i ben am 10:28.
The meeting ended at 10:28.