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Summary

  1. Plenary begins at 1.30pm with Questions to the First Minister
  2. Business Statement and Announcement
  3. Statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children: The Abolition of the Right to Buy and Associated Rights (Wales) Bill
  4. Statement by the Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language: Welsh in Education Strategic Plans - the way forward
  5. Legislative Consent Motion on the Digital Economy Bill
  6. Debate: Municipal Waste and Recycling

Live Reporting

By Alun Jones

All times stated are UK

Hwyl

That brings today's proceedings in the Siambr to a close. 

Senedd Live will be back tomorrow for plenary.

Senedd
BBC

'Honours even'

'Shocking food waste'

Cardiff Central AM Jenny Rathbone says "it is nothing short of shocking that one third of food produced never reaches the table or the plate". 

Jenny Rathbone
BBC

'A more circular economy'

Conservative Darren Millar calls for "sustainable development outcomes to be achieved through a more circular economy based on the innovative use of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 ."

'Adopt best practice to increase recycling rates'

Plaid Cymru's Simon Thomas recommends initiatives such as a deposit return scheme for plastic, glass and cans and a ban on polystyrene packaging.

He says that "local authorities need to adopt best practice to increase recycling rates, learning from authorities such as Ceredigion where 68.1 per cent of municipal waste was recycled in 2015/16". 

Simon Thomas
BBC

'Recycling rates vary considerably'

UKIP's Gareth Bennett expresses "concern that recycling rates vary considerably across local authority areas in Wales, partly owing to differences in waste collection and recycling schemes used in each local authority area".

He "regrets that there were 36,000 reported incidents of illegal fly tipping in Wales in 2015/2016, costing local authorities over £2.1 million in clearance costs".

UKIP calls on the Welsh Government to "ensure that local authorities collect residual household waste no less frequently than fortnightly, to protect public health, and deter fly-tipping".

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Council recycling rates rise to 62%

Recycling rates for Welsh councils have risen in the past year, according to provisional data.

They reused, recycled and composted 62% of municipal waste in the 12 months to September 2016, compared to 58% in the previous year.

Ceredigion was the best performing authority with a rate of 70%, while Blaenau Gwent was the worst at 52%.

The Welsh Government has set all councils a target of recycling 70% of waste by 2024-2025.

The data also showed  a quarterly rise in recycling rates, with 66% of waste recycled between July and September 2016 - an increase of 5% when compared to same quarter in 2015.

But the total amount of waste generated in Wales increased from 411,000 tonnes to 425,000 tonnes during the same period.

Recycling
BBC

Wales to become the best recycling nation in the world?

The final item today is a debate on municipal waste and recycling. The Welsh Government propose that the assembly:

"Agrees that Wales is a world leader in municipal waste recycling and supports the intention for:

a) further initiatives to achieve the best overall sustainable development outcomes and the objectives of Taking Wales Forward

b) Wales to become the best recycling nation in the world".

Carl Sargeant used to say that Wales was the ' Real Madrid of recycling '.

recycling
BBC

Legislative Consent Motion approved

Members approve the motion without objection.

Provisions in the Digital Economy Bill relating to data sharing

The Welsh Government is now proposing that the assembly agrees that provisions in the Digital Economy Bill , relating to data sharing in so far as they fall within the legislative competence of the National Assembly for Wales, should be considered by the UK Parliament.  

The bill:

  • Introduces a new "Universal Service Obligation" entitling consumers to a minimum broadband speed
  • Updates intellectual property rules for digital industries
  • Makes Ofcom responsible for regulation of BBC activities and gives the BBC the power to maintain or remove concessions on TV licences relating to age.
  • Introduces age verification for online pornography with penalties for non-compliance.
  • Establishes a new statutory code for direct marketing to strengthen enforcement action.
Digital Economy Bill
PA

Changes have proved controversial

The Welsh Government has a target to achieve  1m Welsh speakers by 2050 .  

Changes to Welsh medium education have proved controversial in counties such as  Carmarthenshire  and  Powys .  

'Common sense and realistic approach'

UKIP's Neil Hamilton commends Alun Davies on his "common sense and realistic approach".

'Business as usual is not good enough'

Llyr Gruffydd says on behalf of Plaid Cymru that the statement "gives us more confidence that the Welsh Government takes its responsibility with regard to the growth of Welsh medium education seriously, and that the government realises that business as usual is not good enough".

Llyr Gruffydd
BBC

'Lack of ambition'

"There is a lack of ambition in some of the current plans", acknowledges Alun Davies in response to Conservative Darren Millar. 

Welsh
Thinkstock

Statement by the Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language

We move on to a Statement by the Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language, Alun Davies on Welsh in Education Strategic Plans. 

Plans by councils to boost Welsh medium education are to be reviewed to see if they are ambitious enough.

Welsh Language Minister Alun Davies said the current set of plans were "not as effective as we need it to be", asking former Liberal Democrat AM Aled Roberts to lead a "rapid" review.

"This rapid review will be the first phase of implementing change," Mr Davies said.

"The actions we take now will influence the Welsh speakers of the future," he added.

"Whoever is standing here in my shoes in 2050, I want him or her to look back on this time as a period of change, the catalyst that really made a difference to the language and its speakers."

Aled Roberts
BBC
Aled Roberts

'We are not in England yet'

"We are not in England yet" says Carl Sargeant. "We have to concentrate on what we can do here".

Carl Sargeant
BBC

'Recognise the practical difficulties'

Gareth Bennett says UKIP "broadly support the Right to Buy but we also recognise the practical difficulties the policy has led to". 

Gareth Bennett
BBC

Plaid Cymru supports abolishing the Right to Buy

Bethan Jenkins says Plaid Cymru supports abolishing the Right to Buy, meaning it is unlikely Labour will have trouble getting the law passed by AMs.

Plaid Cymru has also expressed regret that the Labour Welsh Government has taken so long to abolish the policy.

Bethan Jenkins
BBC

'Very sad day for Wales'

The Welsh Conservatives have long opposed the proposal by the Welsh Government to abolish the scheme.

The party's housing spokesman, David Melding, says this is a "very sad day for Wales".

He says there is a severe shortage of affordable housing in Wales because Labour hasn't built enough affordable homes, and not because council tenants have had a chance to buy theirs.

David Melding
BBC

139,000 council and housing association homes have been sold

Tenants will get at least one year to apply to buy homes under the old rules after the bill becomes law.

Labour had promised it would abolish the Right to Buy as part of its pitch for the May 2016 assembly election.

Since the scheme was introduced in 1980, 139,000 council and housing association homes have been sold - resulting in a 45% reduction in housing stock.

To remain compliant with human rights legislation, the Welsh Government will give tenants at least a year to exercise their rights if they want to buy their home.

Councils will also still be able to sell housing stock once the abolition comes into force, but only on a voluntary basis and at the market rate without the discounts that were seen under the compulsory Right to Buy scheme.

The rights will be abolished across the housing sector - including housing associations and council homes.

A number of local authorities have already suspended the scheme in their area.


          The King family in Milton Keynes were among the first to receive the deeds to their council house
Getty Images
The King family in Milton Keynes were among the first to receive the deeds to their council house

Statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children

Carl Sargeant now makes a statement on the Abolition of the Right to Buy and Associated Rights (Wales) Bill.  

The Welsh Government's bid to end the right of social housing tenants to buy their homes begins its journey through the assembly.

A new bill, if passed, will abolish the iconic Thatcher-era policy in Wales.

The Welsh Government hopes the ban on the Right to Buy  will reduce pressure on social housing.

The Welsh Government has set a target of creating 20,000 affordable homes during the current assembly term.  

Houses
PA

Business Statement and Announcement

Now we have the Business Statement and Announcement where the Leader of the House, Jane Hutt outlines the future business of the Assembly.   

'Astonishing data security breach'

Clwyd West AM Darren Millar says he was concerned as the breach happened in October but some staff were only formally told at the start of March.

"This really is an astonishing data security breach," he says, adding that the delays in informing those who've been affected are completely unacceptable.

The cabinet secretary for health, Vaughan Gething, says the number of staff affected is now 4,700. 

He also said that not all employees affected have yet been contacted to tell them that their personal details have been compromised. 

Darren Millar
BBC

Urgent Question 4 - data security breach

To the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-Being and Sport

Darren Millar (Clwyd West)?:  Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement on the data security breach affecting NHS staff using radiation dose meters?

Details of thousands of medical staff in Wales have been stolen from a private contractor's computer server .

Names, dates of birth, radiation doses and National Insurance numbers of staff who work with X-rays were copied as hackers accessed Landauer's system.

The Welsh NHS described the data breach as "deeply disappointing" and it has started an investigation.


          Velindre NHS Trust is responsible for running the Radiation Protection Service in Wales
GEOGRAPH/MICK LOBB
Velindre NHS Trust is responsible for running the Radiation Protection Service in Wales

Urgent Question 3 - north-south air link

To the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure:

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central):  Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement on the long-term future of the subsidised north-south air link in light of news that Citywing has gone into liquidation?

A new operator has been appointed to take over the Cardiff to Anglesey air service after the previous one went into liquidation.

Citywing was liquidated after  Van Air's permission to fly was suspended .

But Economy Secretary Ken Skates said on Saturday evening that Eastern Airways would take over the route and there would be no disruption.

All tickets for the Cardiff-Anglesey Citywing service for travel next week will be honoured.

north-south air link
BBC

'Strong candidates were available'

Alun Davies says "strong candidates were available. The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport [Karen Bradley] refused to discuss them with me". 

Mr Davies told AMs he had received an e-mail from the permanent secretary at the DCMS conceding that there were stronger candidates available. 

 He also said he had been given 24 hours' notice of the intention to appoint Dr Bell, and his request to discuss other candidates had been rejected. 

The non-appointment of a Welsh member is a "textbook example of how not to do it", he tells AMs.  

Alun Davies
BBC

Urgent Question 2 - Welsh representative on the BBC board

To the Minister for Life-Long Learning and Welsh Language:

Lee Waters (Llanelli):  Will the Minister make a statement on the failure to appoint a Welsh representative on the BBC board?

 It emerged the Welsh Government had  vetoed the preferred candidate to represent Wales on the new BBC Board last week.


          The candidate to represent Wales on the BBC board who was vetoed by the Welsh Government was Dr Carol Bell.
BBC
The candidate to represent Wales on the BBC board who was vetoed by the Welsh Government was Dr Carol Bell.

Urgent Question 1 - Ffos y Fran opencast coalmine

The first of today's three urgent questions is to the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children:

Dawn Bowden (Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney):  Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement on the potential health impacts of the Ffos y Fran opencast coalmine, following the announcement last week by the UN special rapporteur on hazardous substances and waste?

A UN report will urge an independent investigation into the potential health impacts of the UK's largest opencast coalmine, BBC Wales has learned.

Residents living alongside Ffos-y-Fran near Merthyr Tydfil have led a long campaign, alleging that they are affected by air and noise pollution.

The report's author said complaint handling raised "many concerns" about the UK's approach to regulation.

The mine operator defended its record and claimed the report was biased.

The UN's special rapporteur on hazardous substances and wastes Baskut Tuncak  met campaigners in Merthyr Tydfil as part of an official visit to the UK in January.

Mining at Ffos-y-Fran started in 2007 with a 17-year plan
BBC
Mining at Ffos-y-Fran started in 2007 with a 17-year plan

Wales a 'tax haven' in the UK?

UKIP's Neil Hamilton raises last week's budget. 

"Spreadsheet Phil needs lessons from us," Jane Hutt tells AMs. 

Mr Hamilton asks if the Welsh Government should consider making Wales a "tax haven" in the UK.  

Jane Hutt does not directly answer the question, so Mr Hamilton asks again if lower tax rates can generate higher revenues. 

Ms Hutt says the budget undermined the UK Government's mission to promote the UK as a place to start a business.  

Neil Hamilton
BBC

Substance misuse in north Wales

Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies raises the images of drug use in Wrexham seen in the media and asks what action the Welsh Government is taking.

Jane Hutt says £4.9m is provided to tackle substance misuse in north Wales. 


          Gavin Rodda posted more than 20 images of needles and drug paraphernalia as well as people apparently under the influence of drugs.
GAVIN RODDA
Gavin Rodda posted more than 20 images of needles and drug paraphernalia as well as people apparently under the influence of drugs.

Committed to the union

Leanne Wood claims there are AMs that supported No in the first Scottish independence referendum that would be uncomfortable doing so in a second one. 

Jane Hutt says that her party and the Welsh Government remain committed to the union.  

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Expect to be consulted on the Article 50 letter

The Welsh Government expects to be consulted on the Article 50 letter to trigger Brexit, says Jane Hutt.   

Jane Hutt
BBC

Wales 'a strong exporting nation'

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood says that Wales "is a strong exporting nation". 

She asks, "What future do you see for our EU trade surplus if we are taken out of the single market?"

Jane Hutt says "Wales benefits hugely from integration with the EU single market".  

Leanne Wood
BBC

Welcome to Senedd Live

Plenary begins as usual with Questions to the First Minister. 

Carwyn Jones is not there for "family reasons", so Leader of the House Jane Hutt takes questions instead. 

The tabled questions are here .

Senedd
BBC