Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru
The National Assembly for Wales



Y Pwyllgor Deisebau
The Petitions Committee


Dydd Mawrth, 29 Mai 2012
Tuesday, 29 May 2012




Cyflwyniad, Ymddiheuriadau a Dirprwyon
Introduction, Apologies and Substitutions


P-04-341 Gwastraff a Llosgi
P-04-341 Waste and Incineration


P-04-341 Gwastraff a Llosgi—Trafod y Dystiolaeth Lafar a Gyflwynwyd Hyd Yma
P-04-341 Waste and Incineration—Consideration of Oral Evidence Received to Date


Deisebau Newydd
New Petitions


Y Wybodaeth Ddiweddaraf am Ddeisebau Blaenorol
Updates to Previous Petitions


Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i Benderfynu Gwahardd y Cyhoedd o’r Cyfarfod
Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to Resolve to Exclude the Public from the Meeting



Cofnodir y trafodion hyn yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir cyfieithiad Saesneg o gyfraniadau yn y Gymraeg.


These proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, an English translation of Welsh speeches 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



Eraill yn bresennol
Others in attendance


Yr Athro/Professor Vyvyan Howard


Prifysgol Ulster
University of Ulster


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

Gwyn Griffiths

Uwch-gynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Senior Legal Adviser

Sarita Marshall

Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk

Abigail Phillips



Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 9.29 a.m.
The meeting began at 9.29 a.m.


Cyflwyniad, Ymddiheuriadau a Dirprwyon
Introduction, Apologies and Substitutions


[1]               William Powell: Bore da, a chroeso cynnes i bawb.


William Powell: Good morning, and a warm welcome to everyone.

[2]               Welcome to this session of the Petitions Committe. The normal housekeeping rules apply. Participants can speak in English or Welsh as they prefer and are able. We have no apologies this morning so we will get straight down to business. I welcome members of the public and, in particular, Professor Vyvyan Howard of the University of Ulster, who IS joining us by video-conference. Good morning, Professor Howard.


[3]               Professor Howard: Good morning.


9.30 a.m.


P-04-341 Gwastraff a Llosgi
P-04-341 Waste and Incineration


[4]               William Powell: We are considering P-04-341 on waste and incineration, and we will move straight to the evidence session on this petition, which, as you recall, was submitted by Terry Evans back in November 2011 with 21 signatories, but with an associated petition that enjoyed the support of more than 13,000 people. This is the third and final evidence session that we have taken on this important topic. It is particularly appropriate that we should be having the final session with Professor Howard, who is an acknowledged expert in the field, a professor at the University of Ulster and a fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists. Professor Howard, as I indicated previously, Members may choose to speak in Welsh, and I understand that all the necessary translation facilities are in place, which we look forward to using as appropriate. Members will, on this occasion, go straight to questions, and there will be an opportunity for you to make any final comments that you may have at the end of the questions. I hope that that is in order. I am William Powell, Chair of the committee, and I will ask my colleagues to introduce themselves briefly to you before we go into questions.


[5]               Joyce Watson: I am Joyce Watson, Assembly Member and a member of the committee.


[6]               Bethan Jenkins: Bethan Jenkins, Plaid Cymru.


[7]               Russell George: Russell George.


[8]               William Powell: We will open up with questions from Joyce, who has some areas that she would like to lead on.


[9]               Joyce Watson: Good morning, Professor Howard. Can the health risks, or lack thereof, be proven conclusively in your opinion?


[10]           Professor Howard: The only thing that we have available is epidemiology for human health. As most of these plants are nowadays situated in big industrial areas, there are many different factors. Under such circumstances, particularly if you are changing the incidence of common diseases, such as heart attacks or strokes, you need very big studies to try to show an association, and they are generally very difficult to do. In the early days, a number of incinerators were situated on their own, and some effects from some of those were shown. Epidemiology can be a very blunt instrument when trying to sort out complex, multifactorial problems. We know that, in industrial areas, there are many sources of particle pollution, for example, and teasing out which one is causing which effect is difficult because, first, we do not have enough basic information about the types of emissions coming out of the different plants and their toxicological effects and, secondly, we are looking at things that have multicausal origins. So, it is quite difficult.


[11]           Bethan Jenkins: Bore da. Pan gawsom dystiolaeth gan Matthew Farrow, sy’n gweithio i Asiantaeth Diogelu Iechyd y Llywodraeth, dywedodd:


Bethan Jenkins: Good morning. When we took evidence from Matthew Farrow, who works for the Government Health Protection Agency, he said:

[12]           ‘The consultant who did the work could not find any robust evidence showing any association.’


[13]           Hynny yw, o ran yr effeithiau ar iechyd. Beth yw eich barn chi ar hynny? A oes digon o ymchwil i ddangos bod effaith glir ar iechyd?


That is, with regard to health effects. What is your opinion on that? Is there sufficient research to determine a clear effect on health?


[14]           Professor Howard: Part of the answer includes what I said before. We are dealing with mixtures from different sources, and we are dealing with diseases that are known to have many different factors that can influence their onset. I personally do not think that enough work has been done on the basic science. For example, on the particles coming from a municipal waste incinerator, from what we know about the different inputs going into the waste incinerator, as a toxicologist, I would predict that they would be more toxic than the particles coming out of a conventional power station, because there are heavy metals and synthetic plastics such as PVC, all of which will contribute. A study has never been done to compare the toxicology of the particles coming out of a municipal waste incinerator as opposed to a conventional power source. The technology to do that, namely the experimental paradigms to allow us to do that, is in place and has been for a decade or more, but a study has never been done, so there are a lot of missing data. However, as I said, a priori, we know that many of the pollutants coming out of municipal waste incinerators would be expected to damage our health. The argument is that they are not there in high enough concentrations, and we will perhaps return to that point at the end. Municipal incinerators, for a given mass of pollutant, might be more toxic than a more conventional source. We do not know that, although if the basic science work had been done, we could know it.


[15]           Bethan Jenkins: Rydych yn dweud bod y gwaith heb gael ei wneud ond oni fyddai rhywun fel chi yn gallu gwthio i sicrhau bod yr ymchwil hwn yn digwydd? Mae’n anodd deall sut mae pobl yn gallu dadlau bod hyn yn gallu effeithio ar iechyd mewn ffordd wael os nad yw’r ymchwil penodol hwn wedi cael ei wneud.


Bethan Jenkins: You say that the work has not been done, but would someone such as yourself not be able to bring pressure to bear to ensure that this research is undertaken? It is difficult to understand how people can argue that this can have a detrimental effect on health if this specific research has not been undertaken.

[16]           Professor Howard: This sort of research is expensive. We applied for grants to do work. We have had a couple of big European Union grants to look at the toxicology of small particles, but to do this sort of research you would need to be able to collect samples from working plants and then use those to look at the toxicology. That would need the collaboration of a number of different agencies and it would be quite expensive research. So, those things, to my knowledge, have not come into place. Our laboratory and, I am sure, a number of other laboratories would be happy to collaborate on such research, but, to date, it has not happened.


[17]           Bethan Jenkins: I orffen y rhan hon o’r cwestiynau, rydych wedi gofyn o’r blaen am ohirio datblygiadau newydd nes y cynhelir prawf o ba mor wenwynig yw all-lifoedd perthnasol llosgyddion gwastraff o’u cymharu â phrosesau hylosgi eraill. Beth fyddai’r amserlen bosibl i gyflawni hyn?


Bethan Jenkins: To conclude this part of the questioning, you have called in the past for a moratorium on new developments until a test of the relative toxicity of the effluvia from waste incinerators compared with other combustion processes is carried out. What possible timescales might be involved in such an undertaking?


[18]           Professor Howard: This is exactly what I was saying in my response to your previous question: this testing should be done. I would think that it would take in the order of two or three years for a properly constructed trial and, as I said, it would need the collaboration of a number of different players, but it is perfectly doable.


[19]           With incineration, there are two questions, and they are sequential. The first is whether it is safe, and I guess that that is what we are addressing today. I am not convinced that it is. If you can show that it is safe, there is a second question, namely whether it is sensible, and that is all to do with sustainability. I am sure that you have been looking at that as well. However, on the first question, I am not convinced. It is accepted, for instance, that there is no safe level of exposure to particles of less than 2.5 microns in diameter. We know that they will contribute to the local loading of that sort of particle. So, there is still homework to be done and, in the meantime, I would suggest that, on a precautionary basis, it would be better not to add more plants to the list.


[20]           William Powell: To move to the issue of European Union regulation, I believe that you have an opening question, Joyce. I would then like to follow up on some relevant areas.


[21]           Joyce Watson: In your opinion—and I can almost guess the answer to this—are the European emissions limits set at the right level?


[22]           Professor Howard: The emission limits that are placed are definitely a public health measure that helps. They are levels that are informed by science but are the consequence of political decisions. For certain pollutants, it is known scientifically that there are no safe levels of exposure. So, committees are considering scientific information and then making a political decision whereby they say that the amount of damage will be minimal and, therefore, acceptable. If a risk is avoidable, and there are different technologies for dealing with the same problem, such as waste arisings, on a precautionary basis, it would be preferable to go for a less pervasive technology. The limits help, but they are not completely protective and cannot be.


[23]           William Powell: Are the adverse health impacts that relate to incinerators of the older variety universally agreed, or is there still some debate in that area?


[24]           Professor Howard: In 1996, virtually every incinerator in the UK had to close or be refurbished. Only four were left running after the new EU regulations came in. They were primarily driven by dioxin levels. There is no doubt that what has been done since has reduced the emissions to air of dioxins. I am particularly expert in the field of particles. There is a problem with incinerators in that they have a massive throughput of gases to operate normally, and they put an aerosol of very small particles into the air. There is nothing that they can do about that; that is just a fact of life. They can supress them to a certain extent, but very little can be done to supress the levels of the very small ones, which are the ones that worry us on a health basis. There are a few points that I would like to make about that, if we have time.


[25]           William Powell: I hope that we will have time. In relation to the risk assessments of incinerators, what improvements are needed to make them more fit for purpose?


[26]           Professor Howard: Risk assessment goes through four phases: the first is hazard identification; the second is hazard characterisation, which is the hard science where you do experiments to show whether the hazards that you have identified are real; the third is exposure assessment, which is usually the flakiest part of a risk assessment—the argument would go that it does not matter how hazardous substance X is if no-one is exposed to it; and the fourth step is risk assessment. So, as we have already discussed, scientists have identified hazards. We know that breathing particles in, for example, is not good and will have negative health consequences. However, in step 2, which is hazard characterisation, the science has not been done to show whether effluvia from municipal waste incinerators, for example, is rather more toxic than from other things. So, that step is lacking. On the third step, which is exposure assessment, I have some data, which I have put before the committee and which I would like to discuss with you. There are some big question marks over the modelling that is being presented to you. There are deficiencies in the hazard characterisation step and in the exposure assessment step. That means that the final risk assessment is only as good as the other three components that have preceded it, and there are deficits in two of those.


[27]           William Powell: Could you outline how you would propose such improvements be made?


9.45 a.m.


[28]           Professor Howard: Yes. The first thing would be to do the science that we have already discussed. That is important. The other thing directly impinges on what I want to say to the committee. Do you have the environment statement in front of you?


[29]           William Powell: Just give us a moment to turn to that.


[30]           Professor Howard: I refer you to table 6.11 on page 626.


[31]           William Powell: I am just checking that we are on the same page. What is the relevant subheading please, Professor Howard?


[32]           Professor Howard: It is ‘Atmospheric Dispersion Modelling Results’.


[33]           William Powell: We will be with you very soon. We are just checking with our clerks that we have the relevant paper in the substantial body of written evidence that we received in preparing for today.


[34]           Professor Howard: This is not my environmental statement. It is the statement for the incinerator application in your area.


[35]           William Powell: I am sorry but that is not available to us today, but we will follow your comments carefully.


[36]           Professor Howard: I can talk you through it. There is a line in table 6.11, which is entitled PM2.5. That provides the annual mean environmental standard, which is 25 micrograms per cubic metre. Then it provides what it predicts will be the average level, which is 8.8 micrograms per cubic metre. Then it provides what it has modelled will be coming out of its plant, which is 0.054 micrograms per cubic metre. What that means is that it is predicting that a quarter of 1% of the particles, PM2.5 particles, in the local environment will have come from its incinerator. One of the things I want to emphasise today is that a model is simply a model. It is usually a mathematical model run on a computer. These models are actually rather simple. If I may use a technical word, these models, by and large, are not ‘parameterised’, that is to say that they do not know what the sampling distribution they are using actually is. It is very typical when you publish a scientific paper that you provide a result and a measure of the uncertainty in the result. It is called the ‘confidence envelope’. With these models, they never do that. You are given these facts as facts as though this is what is going to happen. I want to examine that in one other aspect. Please remember that the developers are proposing that only a quarter of 1% of the PM2.5 in the environment of this incinerator will have come from the incinerator.


[37]           Turning now to the paper by Aboh, which I know you have because it is one of the papers I submitted. Table 4 on page 108—


[38]           William Powell: Yes, we are with you on this one, Professor.


[39]           Professor Howard: We are looking at table 4, which shows that, in a medium-sized Swedish town, they collected some samples of particles. Then they went to an electron microscope and used a technique that tells you what the particles are made of—the elements. In doing that, they could speciate the particles and attribute where they came from. These are physical measurements. What you will see, in the first column of table 4, is that they reckon, depending on which statistical model they used and how many variables they looked at, that between 17% and 32% of all the particles of PM2.5 in the town came from the incinerator. The model that you are being presented with locally is saying that a quarter of 1% of the particles will come from the incinerator. That model is clearly—measured against these physical data—hopelessly optimistic. As they use unparameterised models, you are given a hard number as if it is the law of the Medes and Persians but, in fact, it is just someone’s opinion dressed up in numbers. The models can be tweaked to predict the outcome. In my opinion, data, which are represented in table 4 of this paper by Aboh, trump models. Models are subordinate and should be informed by data. In this particular case, we can see that they are miles apart—they are out by a factor of over 100. You cannot ignore that. I have very little confidence in the modelling that is presented. I think that it is very naive in many respects, and it does not match up to reality. This is the exposure assessment part that we discussed when thinking about risk assessment. There are certainly big gaps in the hazard characterisation part of the risk assessment, and these data demonstrate quite clearly that there is a large area of doubt over the exposure modelling that they present.


[40]           William Powell: Thank you, Professor, for the thoroughness of that answer and also for cross-referencing it with the evidence that you previously submitted. We will now move to the issue of the transportation of hazardous waste. I call on my colleague, Russell George, who wishes to lead on that topic.


[41]           Russell George: Good morning, Professor Howard. Could you tell us what health risks, if any, are associated with transporting the hazardous material, such as bottom ash or fly ash?


[42]           Professor Howard: There are acute short-term possible problems. It is widely accepted now that, if you are exposed to small dusts, they carry health implications. I do not think that there are many people who do not accept that. The big studies of Pope, Dockery, Kunzli and others have shown that quite conclusively. If there are fugitive dust emissions, which are highly suspendable, they would pose a risk. If they go into landfill, there are possibilities of leachate, which is a more long-term problem. The acute problems associated with transport would be of emissions of dusts that are then inhalable.


[43]           Russell George: What about the risks associated with storing the material, as proposed?


[44]           Professor Howard: Once again, they tried their best, as I understand it, to have negative pressure inside buildings so that it is unlikely that dust will blow out, but once it is stored outside, it must be kept damped down.


[45]           I am just getting a message stating that I am due to be cut off in four minutes. I do not know whether that is a problem and whether the session can be extended.


[46]           William Powell: I do not believe that that is strictly the case. We have a few minutes—there is no cause for panic.


[47]           Professor Howard: Okay.


[48]           So, you must take great care in keeping the dust damped down, so that it cannot be raised by wind or things like that. The designers of these machines are aware of the problem, and there have been reports that dusts can get suspended. Given the content of these dusts—they contain quite high levels of heavy metals, such as lead—it is quite important that they are suppressed. So, those are the potential risks, but I am not in a position to state how well those preparations for suppressing dusts are carried out.


[49]           Bethan Jenkins: Dywedodd Cyfeillion y Ddaear y bydd cynghorau sir, wrth ddefnyddio’r dechnoleg hon, mewn contractau hir gyda chwmnïau perthnasol, ac y bydd hynny’n tanseilio unrhyw dargedau ailgylchu—oherwydd bod ganddynt y llosgyddion hyn, bydd angen eu defnyddio. Beth yw’ch barn chi am hynny?


Bethan Jenkins: Friends of the Earth have said that county councils, in using this technology, will enter into long-term contracts with relevant companies, and that that will undermine any recycling targets—they will have these incinerators so they will need to use them. What is your opinion on that?

[50]           Professor Howard: I said that there were two questions. We have addressed the first question, which is ‘Is it safe?’, and now we are moving on to the second question, which is ‘Is it sensible?’ The way I look on this is that we are all part of the problem. We all buy and use things and we all produce wastes, and if we are to get a sensible solution, we all need to be part of that solution. Making people think about their waste stream, for example by separation at source, is a very good way of making them aware and, maybe, changing their purchasing arrangements.


[51]           A number of cities, particularly in California and places like that, are achieving 60% to 70% diversion from landfill by separation at source and through recycling and reuse. If you do that, there is little left to burn, which means that there is less of an argument for an incinerator. Of course, at the end of that process, you will be left with some wastes that make you think, ‘What am I going to do with this?’, because they are problematic. Some plastics fall into that category. The manufactures of those wastes would definitely prefer for them to be incinerated, because the evidence is then gone and you are just left with ash. There is no attributability to what came from where.


[52]           The sensible and sustainable solution would be to say, ‘Okay, this waste is really a problem for us; we’re going to go to the front end of this waste stream and get the manufacturers to substitute for something else so that we get rid of it from the waste stream’. One of the problems over the past 100 years is that the waste stream has become progressively more toxic. There are more heavy metals, more synthetic plastics containing chlorine, more fluorinated compounds and all these things. That is why waste is such a problem for us now. Everything was biodegradable in medieval times, when it was all wood, wool, natural fibres and things like that, but waste has become progressively more toxic. That is why we need to have a virtuous circle of removing toxics from the waste stream before they go in, by substituting manufacturing processes. Incineration stops all that in its tracks. It just tells people ‘Business as usual—you can make what you want because we can get rid of it’. That is—


10.00 a.m.


[53]           William Powell: The video-conference with Professor Howard has been cut off. Our apologies for this. There is a problem at the University of Ulster’s end. He may be subject to booking restrictions at the other end. I reassured him without the benefit of knowledge.


[54]           I think that we should adjourn the meeting while we try to resolve this problem. The bulk of the issues have been covered, but it is a shame that we did not finish.


Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 10.01 a.m. a 10.02 a.m.
The meeting adjourned between 10.01 a.m. and 10.02 a.m.


[55]           William Powell: That was an excellent session with Professor Howard, who was able to make hugely complex things understandable and concrete, which is admirable. However, because of the unfortunate loss of the connection from the other end, we will have to request that Professor Howard make his final statements in written form, so that we can benefit from his thoughts. We are extremely grateful to him for having cleared the time to be with us this morning and for the quality and depth of his answers.


P-04-341 Gwastraff a Llosgi—Trafod y Dystiolaeth Lafar a Gyflwynwyd Hyd Yma
 P-04-341 Waste and Incineration—Consideration of Oral Evidence Received to Date


[56]           William Powell: The committee now needs to identify a dedicated session to evaluate what we have just heard with the benefit of having the transcript and the opportunity to refresh our memories of the other evidence that was referenced. My feeling is that we should move towards issuing a report on this matter that takes account of what we have heard. What is your view on that?


[57]           Joyce Watson: I agree absolutely.


[58]           Bethan Jenkins: Rwy’n cytuno bod angen inni ddrafftio adroddiad sy’n seiliedig ar farn pawb, ond hoffwn ysgrifennu ato i gadarnhau rhai o’r pwyntiau technegol, oherwydd credaf ei fod yn cwestiynu’r modelu, ac nid ydym wedi crybwyll y pwynt hwnnw gyda’r bobl sydd wedi rhoi tystiolaeth inni eisoes. Felly, os yw holl waith modelu cynghorau ac asiantaethau wedi’i seilio ar hynny, credaf fod angen inni ailystyried.


Bethan Jenkins: I agree that we need to draft a report that is based on everyone’s opinion, but I would like to write to him to confirm some of the technical points, because I think that he is questioning the modelling, and we have not discussed that point with the people who have already given evidence to us. Therefore, if all the modelling work of councils and agencies is based on that, I think that we need to reconsider.

[59]           William Powell: Yes, I think that the issues that were raised cause concern, so we probably need to go back to the individuals and bodies that gave evidence earlier in the inquiry. I agree with that. I hope that we will also be able to move, in time, to a debate on these matters. However, it is clear that the first step is to have a draft report, which we can consider at the earliest time possible. Thanks very much for that, and we express regret again that we are having to go to plan B, but it is clearly the only option before us.


[60]           It would probably be useful if we were to write to the Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development on the issue of the call-in. I remind you that we have written, asking that the Cardiff proposals be called in. I think that it would be useful for us to write to take that point further with the Minister. Would you support sending a further letter on that matter? I see that you would. Excellent.


10.06 a.m.


Deisebau Newydd
New Petitions


[61]           William Powell: The first petition under this item is P-04-393, which relates to the Llanymynech and Pant bypass action group. This new petition was submitted by Duncan Borthwick, and it has collected 84 signatures. It calls on the Welsh Government,


[62]           ‘to reinstate plans for the bypass of the villages of Pant and Llanymynech which straddle the English/Welsh border.’


[63]           The text of the petition is quite substantial, and it flags up the particular reasons that the group is highlighting for bringing the petition to us. Russell, I believe that you may have some background information on this matter, or something to speak to briefly in this regard.


[64]           Russell George: What we should do is write to the Minister, Carl Sargeant, as the first port of call. There are two issues to this. One is that this is a cross-border issue, Llanymynech being on the Welsh side, while Pant is in England. So, co-operation is needed between the Welsh Government and the UK Government or the regional authority.


[65]           The other issue is that there were plans for this bypass to go ahead not too long ago, and it was not far off getting the green light. For various reasons, it seems that things have gone back to square one. So, if we write to the Minister, Carl Sargeant, we should ask him for his perspective on the background and why the plans were not brought forward in the past. Also, this is largely an issue for the English side, in that substantial money would need to come from there. So, should the relevant authority on the English side be agreeable to moving forward with this, it is worth our asking the Minister whether he would, in principle, be prepared to give the same commitment. It would be useful if we could incorporate that into the letter that we send him.


[66]           William Powell: Is it the committee’s wish that we write just to Carl Sargeant, urging him to liaise with Justine Greening, who I think is the opposite number on the English side?


[67]           Joyce Watson: Given that it is a cross-border issue, that we are hoping to determine something on behalf of the petitioners, and that it needs both sides to work together, we need to write to both.


[68]           William Powell: In that case, we will write to Carl Sargeant and to Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for Transport.


[69]           Russell George: I think that the chair of the petitioners will be pleased with that. When I suggested to them that they go through the petitions route, I said that our work could be limited on the Welsh side, so the petitioners will be very pleased that we are taking that extra action.


[70]           William Powell: Okay. May I suggest that we copy in Owen Paterson, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, as I think that he is the MP for the immediate part of Shropshire that this would pass through, in the cause of taking a joined-up approach? I see that we are happy with that. Good.


[71]           Russell George: I was going to ask whether we wanted to copy in the MP on this side, but perhaps this is an issue—


[72]           William Powell: I am sure that Mr Glyn Davies will take a keen interest in this matter.


[73]           Russell George: I am sure that this is more a matter for the Assembly Members, actually.


[74]           Joyce Watson: I am sure that devolution allows us to take care of ourselves.


[75]           William Powell: Indeed.


[76]           Next on the agenda is P-04-394, Save our Services—Prince Philip Hospital. The submission of this petition was a very memorable occasion, which had a very high media impact and also had some influence on subsequent Plenary proceedings last week. This petition was submitted, as we recall, by the Prince Philip Action Network, which has in excess of 24,000 signatures, which is really quite something. It was agreed at the last meeting that the associated petition, which was P-04-367 Save our Hospital Services, which also had 9,000 signatures, should be grouped with this one, naturally, because of the subject matter. The Minister responded to our earlier correspondence on this, advising the petitioners to engage with the forthcoming consultation exercise by the Hywel Dda Local Health Board. We have written to the health board to make it aware of what it is already pretty aware of, I would imagine, from the wider context, namely the strength of feeling on this issue, not only in Llanelli but well beyond. The petitioners of P-04-367 are also aware of the steps that we have taken. What additional steps do you feel it would be sensible for us to take at the moment?


[77]           Joyce Watson: For consistency’s sake, we can never assume that people know something, so we need to do exactly the same and write to these petitioners to let them know about the engagement. You are probably right that there is no doubt that they know about it; otherwise this would not be on the table. However, we have to do it, just because it has to be done. We have to start with some base principles, that is, whether we are going to refer this on or deal with it here. There is a consultation process that we are in the middle of and we may need to take legal advice on how that will make a difference, if at all, to our recommendations. So, we may need to start from there.


[78]           William Powell: Gwyn, we would all welcome your input.


[79]           Mr Griffiths: Diolch, Gadeirydd. Hyd yn oed os oes ymgynghoriad yn mynd ymlaen ar hyn o bryd, nid yw hynny’n rhwystro’r Cynulliad ac Aelodau’r Cynulliad rhag mynegi barn. Efallai y byddai’n amhriodol i’r Gweinidog ymateb os yw’r mater o dan ystyriaeth ac yn fater ymgynghoriad, ond nid yw hynny’n rhwystro’r pwyllgor hwn rhag edrych i mewn i’r peth ac ystyried ei farn a chymryd sylw o sylwadau aelodau’r cyhoedd.


Mr Griffiths: Thank you, Chair. Even if there is a consultation taking place now, that does not prevent the Assembly and Assembly Members from expressing an opinion. It might make it inappropriate for the Minister to respond if the matter is still under consideration and is the subject of a consultation, but it does not prevent this committee from looking into the matter and considering its opinion and taking account of representations from the public.

[80]           Bethan Jenkins: Pam na allem rhoi tystiolaeth fel rhan o’r ymghyghoriad? Byddai hynny’n ychwanegu at yr hyn sy’n cael ei drafod ar hyn o bryd. Nid oes rhaid inni fynegi barn ond gallem gymryd tystiolaeth gan bobl a fyddai’n cael eu heffeithio a chynnwys y dystiolaeth honno. Ni wn pryd mae’r ymghynghoriad yn gorffen, ond efallai y byddai honno’n opsiwn i ni fel pwyllgor os nad yw’r Pwyllgor Iechyd a Gofal Cymdeithasol yn cymryd y gwaith drosodd.


Bethan Jenkins: Why could we not submit evidence as part of the consultation? That would be in addition to what is being discussed now. We do not have to express an opinion, but perhaps we could take evidence from people who would be affected and include that evidence. I do not know when the consultation period ends, but that might be an option for us as a committee if the Health and Social Care Committee does not take over the work.

[81]           William Powell: I am aware that the health committee’s forward work programme is quite packed and, following that advice, it may well be best for us to take ownership of this. Bethan, were you advocating that we go to Llanelli to take evidence, or did I misinterpret that?


[82]           Bethan Jenkins: Na, cynnig syniad oeddwn i. Os oes ymgynghoriad ar hyn o bryd, gallwn gymryd rhan yn y broses honno fel y Pwyllgor Deisebau, os nad ydym yn mynd i roi’r ddeiseb hon gerbron pwyllgor arall. Pa mor hawdd fyddai gwneud hynny, oherwydd amseru ac yn y blaen, nid wyf yn gwybod, ond cynnig syniad ydwyf. Nid oes barn emosiynol gennyf am y peth.


Bethan Jenkins: No, I was suggesting an idea. If a consultation is taking place now, we could take part in that process as a Petitions Committee, if we are not going to hand over this petition to another committee. How easy it would be to do that, in terms of timescales and so on, I do not know, but I am just offering an idea. I do not have an emotional opinion on the matter.

[83]           William Powell: It would be very helpful for us to write to the chief executive of Hywel Dda, Trevor Purt, also copying in Chris Martin, the chair, indicating our wish to be involved in the consultation and to make a submission in the light of what has been brought to us. Would that enjoy the support of the committee?


10.15 a.m.


[84]           Joyce Watson: This is complex because the consultation does not just involve the Prince Philip hospital.


[85]           William Powell: It is very much intertwined, is it not?


[86]           Joyce Watson: I am more than happy to look, as a committee, at the issues on the table in respect of the hospital, but if we are to do our job properly, we cannot look at Prince Philip hospital in isolation, because it is part of a bigger consultation. We would be charged with not looking at the whole. For me, therein lies one of the issues that we need to be aware of. Also, in my opinion, if we are to look at this as a committee, we will have to invite the authors of the consultation in in the first place. We will have to have that evidence, which frames it, before we can go anywhere.


[87]           William Powell: They are working on their assumptions, and so on. So, we should write to the chairman and chief executive inviting them to come and share the premise of their consultation.


[88]           Joyce Watson: We would have to do it or we would not be doing our job.


[89]           William Powell: That is probably the right order of events, is it not?


[90]           Bethan Jenkins: Nid wyf yn deall beth yw’r amserlen. Oes rhywun yn gwybod beth yw amserlen yr ymgynghoriad? Wedyn, gallaf ddeall os oes gennym ddigon o amser i wneud hyn i gyd. Rwy’n deall beth mae Joyce yn ei ddweud, ond rydym wedi cael deiseb am y mater penodol hwn. Efallai os cawn gyngor oddi wrth y bobl a ysgrifennodd yr ymgynghoriad, gallent ddweud a fyddem yn gallu siapio ein cyfraniad ni ar hyn yn benodol, neu a fyddai hynny’n hollol amhosibl. Yn amlwg, mae hwn yn ymateb pwysig. Ni fyddwn eisiau gwneud dim na fyddai’n helpu’r sefyllfa.


Bethan Jenkins: I do not understand the timetable. Does anyone know the timetable of the consultation? Then, I could understand whether we have enough time to do all this. I understand what Joyce is saying, but we received a petition on this particular issue. Maybe if we had advice from the people who wrote the consultation they could say whether we could shape our contribution on this specific matter or whether that would be completely impossible. Evidently, this is an important response. We would not want to do anything that would not help the situation.

[91]           William Powell: A clouding factor is that there has been an extensive period of informal consultation and then a move to the statutory period of consultation. The terminology is probably a little confusing. On the precise dates of the beginning and the end of the formal consultation, I am not certain enough to put that on the record today. However, this is an issue of relevance to Joyce and me as regional Members, and also in terms of Bronglais and the implications for Russell George as the Montgomeryshire Member. We can clarify that. We need to send a specific letter to the chief executive and chairman of the health board to get clarity on the issue of the consultation and we need to ask them to submit evidence, or hopefully to come before the committee, given the extraordinary strength of feeling in Llanelli, with two sets of petitioners and the extraordinary level of activity that we have witnessed.


[92]           Joyce Watson: When I received this petition, I said that we would inform the petitioners all the way through about everything that we are doing. You are right, 24,000 people have signed the petition; it is the biggest petition we have ever had. There is a huge strength of feeling behind it and we would be doing it a disservice if we did not do something with that strength of feeling. However, the time frame is critical here. We need to know about capacity. We do not want to promise something that we cannot deliver. We will have to be mindful of that from the start, because that would do a disservice to the 24,000 people who signed the petition.


[93]           William Powell: I am happy to write to the lead petitioner outlining this. I would also take advice from you, Joyce, given your involvement in some of the preparatory aspects of this particular matter. It might be useful to write to the editor of the Llanelli Star, which has taken a lead role in this matter, to give a simple factual account of what we are doing and noting that it has not gone into a black hole and we are getting on with considering this petition. Would colleagues find that a useful, simple step to take?


[94]           Joyce Watson: We will take advice.


[95]           Mr Griffiths: Gadeirydd, a gaf i awgrymu ein bod yn gwneud ymdrechion i ddarganfod union sefyllfa’r amserlen cyn bod y pwyllgor yn cytuno gwneud unrhyw beth penodol, yn arbennig cyn cysylltu â’r wasg, rhag ofn ein bod yn codi gobeithion pobl yn y gymuned a bod yr ymgynghoriad wedi mynd heibio’r camau y byddem yn ystyried eu bod yn briodol? Ni fydd yn cymryd gormod o amser i ddarganfod beth yw’r amserlen ac efallai y gallai’r swyddogion gysylltu â’r Aelodau i gadarnhau’r sefyllfa o ran yr amserlen fel y gallwch gytuno’r ffordd orau ymlaen.


Mr Griffiths: Chair, may I suggest that we make efforts to find out the exact position as regards the timetable before the committee agrees to take any specific steps, particularly before contacting the press, in case we raise the hopes of people in the community only for the consultation to have gone beyond the steps that we might consider appropriate? It will not take too long to find out what the timetable is and perhaps officials could contact Members to confirm what the position is with regard to the timetable so that you can agree on the best way forward.


[96]           William Powell: That is very helpful advice. The only reason I mentioned that particular newspaper was because it has been taking a lead role in enabling people to participate, and among the different forms of petition were coupons that had come from that source; hence, my reference to it.


[97]           Russell George: I was only going to suggest, Chair—and I take the legal adviser’s point, too—that rather than write to that particular newspaper, perhaps a press release should be issued by the Petitions Committee, which that paper would receive as well. That is my suggestion.


[98]           William Powell: I am happy to run with that.


[99]           Joyce Watson: I firmly believe in consistency of approach and I start everything from there. So, do we, in normal circumstances, write press releases? If we do, that is fine in this case, but if we do not, we have to question why we are doing it. What is our normal approach to petitions? Is it that we liaise only with the lead petitioner, and if it is, that is what we should do here? If we start changing the way we do things with the best of intentions—and I know that they are the best of intentions—we will have to change the way we do things from this moment forth. That is the only note of caution that I would bring to the table. Let us do what we normally do so that other people who have gone through this route will not feel somehow disadvantaged.


[100]       William Powell: I entirely support the need for consistency. The only reason I mentioned the newspaper is because it has become involved in the dissemination of the petition, but I am happy to do that.


[101]       Russell George: We issue press releases as a Petitions Committee, and it is up to us as a committee to decide whether we do that. Is that right?


[102]       William Powell: Yes. We have done so from time to time, particularly if we are dealing with long-standing issues or undertaking some particular new initiative. In the context of Joyce’s first remarks about communicating effectively, I think that that is what we need to consider doing. Thank you very much for your participation on that and for keeping us on the right side of the line on the legal side.


10.23 a.m.


Y Wybodaeth Ddiweddaraf am Ddeisebau Blaenorol
Updates to Previous Petitions


[103]       William Powell: We have P-03-220 on lowering the speed limit on the A40 near Abergavenny. This was submitted by Councillor Maureen Powell as long ago as May 2009, with 229 signatures and quite a pithy text. It seeks greater safety for pedestrians on that particular stretch of road, feeling that it is imperative that the 40 mph speed be reduced to 30 mph. We have seen the ministerial response from Carl Sargeant in our packs. At this point, the response is clear. I suggest that we close the petition and that a letter be sent, again, in the spirit of keeping petitioners informed, restating the Minister’s commitment to undertaking engineering works that, at least, should go some way towards meeting the petitioner’s aspirations, even though the speed limit is not to be reduced. Do you support that, colleagues? I see that you do.


[104]       P-04-363, on a town centre improvement scheme for Fishguard, was submitted in February by County Councillor Bob Kilmister. It has just over 1,000 signatures and calls upon the National Assembly for Wales to support:


[105]       ‘the call on the Welsh Government to work with Pembrokeshire County Council to ensure that investment is made in a Town Centre Improvement Scheme for Fishguard’.


[106]       Again, we have seen the letter from the Minister, and we also have correspondence from Pembrokeshire County Council that sets in context its programme of works, some of which have been delivered fairly recently through local investment. What are your thoughts on how we should proceed with this?


[107]       Joyce Watson: There is now a whole group involved in this regeneration and there was a meeting a week last Monday, I think. We need to find out a bit more about that, as I could not attend the meeting.


[108]       William Powell: A week last Friday, from memory, there was a session in Fishguard. I was also elsewhere, but I was represented there.


[109]       Joyce Watson: There will be stuff coming out of that. Clearly, since the Dewhirst clothing factory shut in 2002, the Welsh Government has put some investment into the people, because it was the major employer in the area, and they were affected quite badly at the time. We have had a reply from the Minister and we know that projects move about a bit in the run-in. I think that it was 2003 when a statement was given. There are many factors behind this, and it might be worth our teasing some of them out. A new school has been built, and all sorts of things happened, and there were all sorts of delays for many reasons. It is not as simple as promising something in 2003 but not delivering it. There was a compulsory purchase order and all sorts of things—I was a Pembrokeshire councillor, so I know a little about this. We need a little more background information than is here. That would help us in the first place to understand the complexities that exist. We have seen the Minister’s reply, and we have seen Pembrokeshire County Council’s strategic plan, and the proposed marina development. However, I do not think that we have enough on the table, so my suggestion would be to take some more evidence to enlighten us a little further.


[110]       William Powell: I would very much like to know the outcome of the meeting a week last Friday. If we write to Councillor Bob Kilmister, who was instrumental in working with the local chamber of trade and others who were present at the meeting, it would possibly be helpful. I also understand that, at the recent election, some new representatives were elected in Fishguard, and the council has a new leader as a result of the retirement of John Davies, so there are a number of issues that have changed recently in relation to this particular matter. If we can get clarity on the outcomes and action points of that meeting 10 days ago, that would be very helpful. We will write to the lead petitioner and that will inform our next steps. Are we happy with that?


[111]       Bethan Jenkins: Rwy’n credu bod y frawddeg olaf yn llythyr Carl Sargeant yn rhoi agoriad inni, gan ddweud nad yw’n stopio’r gwaith cychwynnol rhag digwydd yn y maes hwn. Felly, rwy’n credu y dylem ysgrifennu yn ôl at y Gweinidog i ofyn a allai sefydlu grŵp, efallai, i edrych i mewn i syniadau ar gyfer y fenter hon. Rwy’n parchu’r ffaith bod arian yn brin, ond gallai o leiaf ystyried gwneud ymchwiliad pellach iddo.


Bethan Jenkins: I believe that the last sentence of Carl Sargeant’s letter gives us an opening, saying that he is not preventing preparatory work from happening in this area. Therefore, I believe that we should write back to the Minister to ask whether he could set up a group, perhaps, to look into ideas for this initiative. I respect the fact that money is in short supply, but he could at least consider a further review into this.


[112]       William Powell: That would be an encouraging step for those local stakeholders who want to take this forward. We can do this step by step, with the first point being what we have previously suggested—writing back to the lead petitioner.


[113]       Joyce Watson: I am a bit baffled about the suggestion of Carl Sargeant setting up a group because I do not know where that is going, and the point is that there is already a group of people sitting around a table, so I cannot support that.


10.30 a.m.


[114]       Bethan Jenkins: What is the group called, then?


[115]       Joyce Watson: I cannot remember, but it is something like ‘Fishguard regeneration’. All the players are sitting around the table. That is the point. It involves Pembrokeshire County Council councillors, the developers of the marina and businesspeople. So, that is why I said that we need the detail first. There is a huge amount of activity in this area at the moment. Setting up an alternative group will not add anything but might take a lot away.


[116]       William Powell: If we could write to the lead petitioner to get clarity on that, it could then be that Carl Sargeant would be keen to engage with that local group.


[117]       Joyce Watson: He might already be engaging with it.


[118]       William Powell: Yes, exactly.


[119]       Bethan Jenkins: Nid oeddwn am greu grŵp arall dim ond er mwyn creu grŵp, yn enwedig os yw’r Gweinidog wedi dweud bod gwaith ymchwil yn gallu cael ei rannu. Os nad yw’n rhan o’r grŵp hwn, a yw’n bosibl iddo fod yn rhan ohono?


Bethan Jenkins: I did not want to create another group for the sake of creating a group, especially if the Minister has said that research can be shared. If he is not part of this group, would it be possible for him to be involved?

[120]       William Powell: Indeed. As soon as we have clarity on what the group is doing, we will seek to get ministerial involvement so that it is all much more cohesive and joined up. Excellent.


[121]       We will move on now to agenda item 4.3, which relates to P-04-377. Here, we have another situation where we have decided to group the petitions because we had the previous P-04-392 community transport petition. P-04-377 was submitted by Betsan Caldwell in March and collected 4,900 signatures. The petitions states


[122]       ‘We ask that the Welsh Government takes account of the recommendations in the externally commissioned evaluation of the Community Transport Concessionary Fares Initiative (CTCFI) and that the scheme is rolled out to community transport schemes across Wales on a separate fares basis, to ensure equality for our most vulnerable citizens’.


[123]       The petition on a similar theme, on community transport, was submitted by Joan Smith in May and was supported by 495 signatures. It reads


[124]       ‘We call upon the Welsh Government to continue to fund Community Transport Schemes currently funded by the Community Transport Concessionary Fares Initiative.’


[125]       I have written to the Minister and, as you are aware, we have heard back. In addition to that, we have a very useful paper from WRVS and Age Cymru, which is included in our papers today. We are still awaiting the outcome of the reflection exercise that the Minister has put in place. What are your views on how we should take this forward at the moment?


[126]       Bethan Jenkins: Mae angen inni aros i’r Gweinidog wneud yr asesiad hwnnw.


Bethan Jenkins: We need to wait for the Minister to make that assessment.

[127]       Joyce Watson: Yes, I agree.


[128]       William Powell: Yes, I think we have to.


[129]       Bethan Jenkins: Gallwn wedyn ofyn i’r deisebwyr am eu barn am yr hyn y mae’r Gweinidog yn ei ddweud yn ei ymateb.


Bethan Jenkins: We can then ask the petitioners for their opinion on what the Minister says in his response.

[130]       William Powell: I think that that is our only option in this situation. Is that agreed? I see that it is.


[131]       Item 4.5 relates to P-04-380 against the removal of scheduled bus services from East Lampeter, Cwmann and Pencarreg. A number of us were present to receive this petition and there was a particularly lively presentation of the petition, which enjoys a lot of public support. It was submitted by Sharon McNamara in March 2012 and has 505 signatories. It requests


[132]       ‘the urgent implementation of a properly scheduled & timetabled bus service in these affected areas & would urge those governmental agencies concerned, to commit to this on our behalf, at the earliest possible opportunity.’


[133]       We have received correspondence, as you will have read, from the Minister and, indeed, from TraCC, and we have also had feedback to the ministerial response from the petitioner. These papers are all available in our public pack. We have also become aware in the last day or two of further feedback via Facebook comments on this issue, regarding the functionality of Bwcabus and whether it represents value for money. There seems to be some uncertainty as to whether there will be a further change in the bus provision, so I suggest that we write to Arriva to get clarity on that matter, because there seems to be a lot of alarm out there at the moment. As well as that, there seems to be real unease as to whether this is delivering good value for the Welsh pound, to use that expression. In the meantime, a lot of communities are in turmoil, as we all witnessed in the vehemence of the various petitioners on that day. Would you support writing to Arriva to get clarity on the latest suggestions, so that we can then operate on the basis of knowledge? Clearly, we need to dig deeper into this, because some really solid points have been made by the petitioner in their response.


[134]       Bethan Jenkins: Rwyf hefyd yn credu y dylem gysylltu â Chomisiynydd Pobl Hŷn Cymru, gan fod nifer fawr o’r bobl a ddaeth i gyflwyno’r ddeiseb yn dweud, ‘Ni’n hen, a ni’n gorfod bwcio bws i nôl pethau syml fel llaeth a bara’. A yw hyn yn tanseilio eu hawliau fel dinasyddion i wneud pethau normal bob dydd? Byddai’n dda cael barn y comisiynydd ar hynny. Dylem hefyd ysgrifennu’n ôl at y deisebwyr yn gofyn beth maent yn ei feddwl o lythyr Carl Sargeant, achos mae fel pe bai yn cymryd cam yn ôl gan ei fod yn dweud, oherwydd y sefyllfa gyda Deddf Trafnidiaeth Leol 2008, nad yw’n gallu newid y sefyllfa rhyw lawer. Byddwn yn meddwl y byddai’n anodd i’r bobl sydd wedi cael eu heffeithio arnynt i gydymdeimlo â hynny.


Bethan Jenkins: I also think that we should contact the Commissioner for Older People in Wales, as many people who came to submit the petition said, ‘We’re old, and we have to book a bus to fetch simple things such as milk and bread’. Does this undermine their rights as citizens to do normal everyday things? It would be good to hear the commissioner’s view on that. We should also write back to the petitioners asking what they think of Carl Sargeant’s letter, because it is as if he is taking a step back because he says that, because of the situation with the Local Transport Act 2008, he cannot change the situation much. I would think that it would be difficult for the people affected to sympathise with that.

[135]       William Powell: That would be helpful. We would normally say that anecdotal evidence has limited value, but, given that there is so much of it and that there are consistent messages here, I think that we need to act.


[136]       Joyce Watson: As someone who lived in the area for over 20 years, I know the route. There are two parallel roads going to the same place, starting in the same place and ending up in the same place. The point is that the Minister made it quite clear that No. 41 was a subsidised bus paid for from the public purse. When the No. 40, which is the current bus, came on track—no pun intended—because it is a private business, we could not fund another route in direct opposition to it. So, those are the facts; they are not fabrications by the Minister. Those are the rules as they are written. We have now heard that No. 40 is under threat from July. We need to establish whether that is the case or not, because July is just round the corner—no pun intended again. Those people will be left isolated if that service is removed and nothing at all is put in its place. We need to examine the Bwcabus scheme, which does not seem to be working in this case.


[137]       Those are the things that we have to unpick, and the first thing that we have to unpick, in my opinion, so that we actually do something for these people and the rural location they reside in, is to see whether there is any merit or substance to the suggestion that the existing service that took over from the previous service is going to stop in July, because that has been brought to our attention. That is the very first thing that we have to do.


[138]       William Powell: We should write to the operator on that, which I am happy to do. I am also very happy to pick up on Bethan’s point regarding contacting the older people’s commissioner. I take it that that also enjoys support.


[139]       Bethan Jenkins: Nid oedd ond yn bobl hŷn, ond roedd llawer o bobl hŷn yn rhan o gyflwyno’r ddeiseb. Rydym wedi cael deisebau tebyg yn y gorffennol, ac mae llawer o bobl wedi sôn bod y sefyllfa wedi cael ei hachosi oherwydd dadreoleiddio gwasanaethau bysiau. Dyna’r pwynt gwleidyddol yn hyn. Rwyf yn credu y dylem ysgrifennu at Carl Sargeant i weld a yw’n mynd i geisio gwneud unrhyw beth i wella’r system, achos mae wastad problemau rhwng Arriva, First Cymru Buses Ltd a’r Llywodraeth. Efallai y gallem ailagor y drafodaeth ar a oes gan y Llywodraeth unrhyw gynlluniau i edrych i mewn i’r sefyllfa honno.


Bethan Jenkins: It was not just older people, but many older people were part of submitting the petition. We have had similar petitions in the past, and many people have mentioned that the situation has been caused because of the deregulation of bus services. That is the political point here. I think that we should write to Carl Sargeant to see whether he intends to do anything to improve the system, because there are always problems between Arriva, First Cymru Buses Ltd and the Government. Perhaps we could reopen the debate on whether the Government has any plans to look into that situation.

[140]       William Powell: I agree entirely. We have two good, concrete steps that we are going to take.


[141]       I am conscious of the time, so we will move to the next petition, P-04-366, Closure of Aberystwyth Day Centre. We have received correspondence from Ceredigion County Council social services department and we have had a further inquiry from the petitioners as to how this is progressing. As you are aware, on 15 June we will have an opportunity to view the situation on the ground with our own eyes. That will give us greater clarity. We will also have the opportunity to revisit this at our next meeting following the 15 June visit.


[142]       Joyce Watson: I went there about 15 months ago with the then mayor of Aberystwyth, Richard Boudier, and I spoke to the staff and the people who are now in the current place, the Aberystwyth Day Centre. So, I certainly know where it is and I do not need to view it on the ground in that respect. I also had some correspondence with the then cabinet member and officers, which you have now received anyway; you have the same response. However, I have not been to the proposed new venue, which is the town hall, I think.


[143]       William Powell: Until very recently, visits were restricted because of building work and other things, but now we have the green light to go to see it. I think that it is important for us to take that opportunity to consider it in the round.


[144]       The final update is on petition P-04-376, which relates to the reorganisation of education in Powys and was submitted by Sarah Wheeler in March of this year, with 1,177 signatures. As you may be aware—as two of us certainly are—there has recently been a change of regime, if I can use that expression, in Powys and it is on the public record that the new cabinet may be reconsidering some aspects of this matter. In that context, it may well be appropriate for us to write to the new portfolio holder on Powys County Council, who is Mike Williams of Machynlleth, to apprise him of the situation and to seek his views. Do colleagues agree with that as a step forward? I see that you do. Excellent.


10.43 a.m.


Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i Benderfynu Gwahardd y Cyhoedd o’r Cyfarfod
Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to Resolve to Exclude the Public from the Meeting


[145]       William Powell: I now propose that we move into private session to consider our draft report on the windfarm noise petition. I move that


the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order No. 17.42(vi).


[146]       I see that the committee is in agreement.


Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Motion agreed.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 10.43 a.m.
The public part of the meeting ended at 10.43 a.m.