Environment and Sustainability Committee – work for the Autumn term 2014

Environment and Sustainability Committee – work for the Autumn term 2014

This term the Environment and Sustainability Committee is busy with a number of inquiries and scrutiny work of proposed legislation underway. Here’s a snapshot of its work for this Autumn term.

One of the key tasks faced by Assembly Committees each autumn is scrutiny of the Welsh Government’s draft budget for the financial year beginning the following April. The Committee has held a session with the Minister for Natural Resources and the Deputy Minister for Farming and Food. It will be publishing its view, in the form of a letter to the Finance Committee, on 6 November.

The Committee is currently preparing to report on its inquiry into Recycling in Wales. This inquiry sought to look at current local authority household waste recycling practices and arrangements, including the information available to householders and how recycling rates can be improved. It covered all waste materials, including food and garden waste.

A public consultation was held as part of the Inquiry to gather evidence between 9 May 2014 and 10 June 2014 and a fantastic response was received from people all ages and areas in Wales. Thank you to all who completed questionnaires and online surveys, shared pictures of recycling in your area, tweeted views on recycling in Wales or responded in a number of other ways. Your input and contribution to the Committee’s work is so important.

To keep an eye on the latest developments for this inquiry please take a look at the Inquiry into Recycling Storify. The Committee is hoping to publish its report on this inquiry before Christmas.

You can also view the YouTube playlist for the Inquiry here.

This term, the Committee faces a heavy load of legislation, with two Bills to consider – the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Bill and the Planning (Wales) Bill.

The Committee is nearing the end of the first stage of its scrutiny of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Bill. The purpose of the Bill is s to put sustainable development at the heart of government and public bodies, with the aim of ensuring that current needs are met without compromising the needs of future generations .

It sets 6 national goals to improve the well-being  of people in Wales  of by tackling generational challenges such as climate change,  poverty, and health inequalities.

The Committee has completed gathering evidence on this Bill, having heard from a range of stakeholders and the Minister for Natural Resources, Carl Sargeant AM. The Committee is currently in the process of drafting  the  report on its  Stage 1 consideration of  the Bill. , Updates will be available on the Committee’s web page.

Read more about the Future Generations (Wales) Bill

Recently the Committee began its consideration of general principles (also known as Scrutiny Stage 1) of the Planning (Wales) Bill. This Government Bill was introduced by the Minister for Natural Resources, Carl Sargeant AM, following work by the Welsh Government into how planning processes can be improved in Wales.

Consideration of the Bill is now underway by the Committee to assess if it should become law, and to ensure that it reaches the highest standards if it does. A consultation on this Bill opened on 10 October and interested people and organisations will need to submit their responses by 7 November.

Please note that this Bill does not deal with any individual planning cases or approaches to any one type of planning, but with the processes involved.

Following this consultation the Committee will invite individuals and organisations to give evidence during meetings of the Environment and Sustainability Committee before compiling a report and making any recommendations it may wish to make in order to improve the Bill.

If you’d like to share your views on the processes by which planning decisions are made, and how you think this could be improved, please respond to this consultation by Friday 7 November 2014: public consultation on the Planning (Wales) Bill.

More information on the Planning (Wales) Bill

Most of the Committee’s time is dedicated to its scrutiny of the two Bills mentioned above, but it is fitting in some inquiry work too, when time allows. The Committee is holding a number of short inquires and one-off sessions. They are:

  • A short inquiry into the European Commission proposals for organic farming;
  • A round table discussion of animal welfare issue;
  • Continuing its inquiry into Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency; and
  • A presentation on the lessons for Wales from the German Energiewende.

The organic farming inquiry is examining the potential impacts new proposals by the European Commission on organic products could have for Wales.

Read more about the inquiry into organic production and labelling of organic products

The session on animal welfare will cover issues such as control of dogs legislation, non-stun slaughter of animals; animals in circuses and the regulation of animal sanctuaries.

Continuing with the inquiry it began last summer, the Committee is hearing from energy companies in relation to Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency.

The Committee is also taking a presentation on the potential lessons for Wales from the German experience of developing community energy.

If you’d like to book a seat to view any Committee meeting, contact the Booking Team on 0845 010 5500 / 01492 523 200 or assembly.bookings@wales.gov.uk . You can also view the Committee through the Assembly’s broadcasting channel Senedd.tv.

If you’d like to keep up to date with this Committee’s work, why not follow its progress on its Twitter feed? Follow @SeneddEnv for all the latest information.

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