Pwyllgor Newid Hinsawdd, yr Amgylchedd a Seilwaith

Climate Change, Environment, and Infrastructure Committee

11/10/2023

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Delyth Jewell
Huw Irranca-Davies
Janet Finch-Saunders
Jenny Rathbone
Joyce Watson
Llyr Gruffydd Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair

Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol

Others in Attendance

Helen Rowley Llywodraeth Cymru
Welsh Government
Lee Waters Y Dirprwy Weinidog Newid Hinsawdd
Deputy Minister for Climate Change

Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol

Senedd Officials in Attendance

Elizabeth Wilkinson Ail Glerc
Second Clerk
Lukas Evans Santos Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk
Marc Wyn Jones Clerc
Clerk
Samiwel Davies Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Legal Adviser
Stephen Davies Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Legal Adviser

Cynnwys

Contents

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau 1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions, and declarations of interest
2. Bil yr Amgylchedd (Ansawdd Aer a Seinweddau) (Cymru) - Trafodion Cyfnod 2 2. The Environment (Air Quality and Soundscapes) (Wales) Bill - Stage 2 Proceedings
Grŵp 1: Targedau ansawdd aer: Gofyniad i osod targedau ansawdd aer (Gwelliannau 19, 66, 67, 1, 20, 21, 68, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 35, 36, 37, 38) Group 1: Air quality targets: Requirement to set air quality targets (Amendments 19, 66, 67, 1, 20, 21, 68, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 35, 36, 37, 38)
Grŵp 2. Targedau ansawdd aer: Rhoi sylw i Ganllawiau Sefydliad Iechyd y Byd (Gwelliannau 69, 85, 86) Group 2: Air quality targets: Having regard to World Health Organization guidelines (Amendments 69, 85, 86)
Grŵp 3: Targedau ansawdd aer: Cynnal safonau ansawdd aer (Gwelliannau 2, 3A, 3, 12) Group 3: Air quality targets: Maintaining air quality standards (Amendments 2, 3A, 3, 12)
Grŵp 4: Targedau ansawdd aer: Adrodd, adolygu a monitro hynt (Gwelliannau 31, 33, 34, 70, 71, 39, 4, 13) Group 4: Air quality targets: Reporting, reviews and monitoring progress (Amendments 31, 33, 34, 70, 71, 39, 4, 13)
Grŵp 5: Teithio llesol (Gwelliannau 40, 73, 18, 41, 63, 64, 65) Group 5: Active travel (Amendments 40, 73, 18, 41, 63, 64, 65)
Grŵp 6: Segura llonydd (Gwelliannau 72, 50, 51, 80, 57, 81) Group 6: Stationary idling (Amendments 72, 50, 51, 80, 57, 81)
Grŵp 7: Strategaeth ansawdd aer genedlaethol: Gofynion pellach (Gwelliannau 5, 42, 74, 75, 43) Group 7: National air quality strategy: Further requirements (Amendments 5, 42, 74, 75, 43)
Grŵp 8: Rheoli ansawdd aer gan awdurdodau lleol: Adolygiadau a chynlluniau gweithredu (Gwelliannau 44, 76, 45, 46, 47) Group 8: Local authority air management: Reviews and action plans (Amendments 44, 76, 45, 46, 47)
Grŵp 9: Ardaloedd rheoli mwg (Gwelliannau 77, 6, 7, 8, 9, 48, 78, 59, 14, 15, 16, 60, 17) Group 9: Smoke control areas (Amendments 77, 6, 7, 8, 9, 48, 78, 59, 14, 15, 16, 60, 17)
Grŵp 10. Cynlluniau codi tâl ar ddefnyddwyr cefnffyrdd (Gwelliannau 49, 79, 62, 61, 82, 83, 84) Group 10: Trunk road charging schemes (Amendments 49, 79, 62, 61, 82, 83, 84)
Grŵp 11. Swyddfa Diogelu Ansawdd Aer (Gwelliant 52) Group 11: Office for Air Quality Protection (Amendment 52)
Grŵp 12: Seinweddau (Gwelliannau 53, 54, 55, 56, 10, 58) Group 12: Soundscapes (Amendments 53, 54, 55, 56, 10, 58)
Grŵp 13: Rheoliadau (Gwelliant 11) Group 13: Regulations (Amendment 11)
3. Papurau i'w nodi 3. Papers to note

Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Cyfarfu’r pwyllgor yn y Senedd a thrwy gynhadledd fideo.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:30.

The committee met in the Senedd and by video-conference.

The meeting began at 09:30.

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau
1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions, and declarations of interest

Bore da i chi i gyd. Croeso i Bwyllgor Newid Hinsawdd, yr Amgylchedd a Seilwaith Senedd Cymru. Mae'r cyfarfod hwn yn cael ei gynnal mewn fformat hybrid, ac, ar wahân i addasiadau yn ymwneud â chynnal y trafodion mewn fformat hybrid, mae'r holl ofynion eraill o ran y Rheolau Sefydlog, wrth gwrs, yn aros yn eu lle. Mae eitemau cyhoeddus y cyfarfod yma yn cael eu darlledu yn fyw ar Senedd.tv ac mi fydd yna gofnod o'r trafodion yn cael ei gyhoeddi yn ôl yr arfer. Mae hwn yn gyfarfod dwyieithog, felly mae yna gyfieithu ar y pryd ar gael o'r Gymraeg i'r Saesneg. A gaf i ofyn a oes unrhyw Aelod yn dymuno datgan unrhyw fudd? Na, iawn, ac mi fydd yna gyfle i wneud hynny wrth i ni fynd yn ein blaenau beth bynnag.

Good morning to you all and welcome to the Climate Change, Environment and Infrastructure Committee at the Senedd. This meeting is being held in a hybrid format, and, apart from adaptations with regard to holding proceedings remotely, all other Standing Orders remain in place. Public items of this meeting will be broadcast live on Senedd.tv, and a record of proceedings will be published as usual. This is a bilingual meeting, so simultaneous interpretation is available from Welsh to English. Can I also ask whether any Member has any declarations of interest to make? No, but we will have an opportunity to do that as we go on anyway.

2. Bil yr Amgylchedd (Ansawdd Aer a Seinweddau) (Cymru) - Trafodion Cyfnod 2
2. The Environment (Air Quality and Soundscapes) (Wales) Bill - Stage 2 Proceedings

Ocê, ymlaen â ni, felly, at brif eitem y cyfarfod bore yma, oherwydd heddiw mi fyddwn ni'n cynnal trafodion Cyfnod 2 Bil yr Amgylchedd (Ansawdd Aer a Seinweddau) (Cymru). Mae'r broses yma yn un sydd wedi cael ei gosod allan ar ein cyfer ni, felly rydw i'n hyderus y gallwn ni ddilyn hynny ac mi fyddwn ni'n gwneud hynny y gorau gallwn ni, yn sicr. Croeso, wrth gwrs, i'r cyfarfod i'r Dirprwy Weinidog Newid Hinsawdd, Lee Waters, a hefyd yn ymuno â ni mae Helen Rowley, sy'n gyfreithiwr gyda Llywodraeth Cymru. Rwy'n deall hefyd fod yna swyddogion eraill ar-lein a fydd ar gael, wrth gwrs, i gynghori'r Dirprwy Weinidog, os oes angen. Iawn, mi symudwn ni, felly, ymlaen at y Bil, ac mi fyddwn ni'n delio â phob grŵp o welliannau yn ei dro. 

So, we'll go on now to item 2, which is the main item this morning, because today we'll be holding Stage 2 proceedings for the Environment (Air Quality and Soundscapes) (Wales) Bill. This process has been set out for us, so I'm confident that we'll be able to follow it, and we'll be doing that to the best of our ability. Welcome, of course, to the meeting to the Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters, and also joining us we have Helen Rowley, who's a lawyer with the Welsh Government. I also understand that there are other officials joining virtually who will be available to give advice to the Deputy Minister, if necessary. We'll, therefore, move on to the Bill, and we will be dealing with every group of amendments in turn.

Grŵp 1: Targedau ansawdd aer: Gofyniad i osod targedau ansawdd aer (Gwelliannau 19, 66, 67, 1, 20, 21, 68, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 35, 36, 37, 38)
Group 1: Air quality targets: Requirement to set air quality targets (Amendments 19, 66, 67, 1, 20, 21, 68, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 35, 36, 37, 38)

We'll start, as we always do, with the first group. The first group of amendments relates to air quality targets and the requirement to set air quality targets. The lead amendment in this group is amendment 19, and I call on Janet Finch-Saunders to move and speak to the lead amendment and the other amendments in the group—Janet.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 19 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 19 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

Diolch, Chair. I would just like to start off by saying how happy I am that this Bill has finally been brought forward. We have waited over five years since the First Minister committed to bringing the Bill forward, which I think anyone would agree is too long, but it is here now, which is the most important thing. I'll be speaking to all amendments in the group, but I'll start by speaking to my own first.

So, amendment 19 seeks to amend the line, 

'The Welsh Ministers may by regulations set long-term targets in respect of any matter relating to air quality in Wales'

under the 'general air quality targets' section. The amendment changes the word 'may' to 'must', meaning that Welsh Ministers will be required to set long-term targets for air quality. Now, I understand some targets will be easier to reach than others, and so we'll have the opportunity for short-term targets. However, I also think it is important that we do not reach a short-term target and think, 'Job done'. We can always be improving the air around us. I submitted this amendment to ensure that we continue to be ambitious and continue to improve the air we breathe, and that we continue to have long-term aspirations.

Amendment 20 inserts a new section in regard to significant pollutants. This section will require Welsh Ministers to set a target for the following pollutants: PM10, ground-level ozone, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide. These are common pollutants here in Wales, and they need to be focused on also by Welsh Ministers. By placing a duty on Welsh Ministers to set a target, we'll ensure that none of these pollutants is deprioritised. This is, again, beneficial in the long term for the next Senedd Government, and ensures that each Government holds these pollutants to the same priority.

Amendment 22 inserts, in particular, the issue of transboundary pollutants, after

'Welsh Ministers must...have regard to scientific knowledge on air pollution'

before making regulations, under 'target setting'. So, I have submitted this amendment as I think it's worth noting the issue of cross-border pollution when setting targets. We know that pollutants don't stop at the border, and this needs to be considered by Welsh Ministers.

Amendment 28 will require Welsh Ministers to lay, through regulations, targets two years after the Bill receives Royal Assent. So, the amendment would also add in reference to the significant pollutants that I've mentioned before. These would also need to have a target published within two years.

Minister, I want to express some disappointment in the lack of urgency that this Bill has shown. I appreciate that it takes time to collect and analyse data, but I also appreciate that it needs to be done correctly to make sure that targets are attainable. I think it's completely unacceptable that it will take three years before we see any targets published. It will be the end of 2026 before we see any targets. Government action has been slow; there need to be targets published as soon as possible. You originally had planned for two years, so it would be really appreciated if you could explain why you originally thought two years and why you were not aware of the sheer amount of work needed to be undertaken. Do you agree that the Bill should've been brought forward sooner? I'm grateful that the Bill is here, but cleaning our air is taking too long.

My other amendments are all technical in nature and so I won't speak to those. Amendment 66 removes reference to long-term targets under the general air quality targets section. Amendment 67 adds back in reference to long-term targets through inserting a provision that states that a target under this section may be a long-term target, but need not be so in theory. I support what the amendment states. I will, however, be voting against this amendment. Like I said previously, I do think it's really important that we have long-term targets to ensure that we are ambitious and that we do not get complacent once a short-term target is met.

Amendment 1 essentially rewrites the requirement for defining 'ambient air' under the general air quality targets section. I support this amendment. It's important that we get well-defined definitions to remove any ambiguity, and so I cannot see a reason to disagree with this. Amendment 68 places a duty on Welsh Ministers to consult with a list of consultees ahead of setting targets. The named consultees are the natural resources body for Wales, every local authority in Wales, Public Health Wales, the national health service trusts, every local health board and the public. I fully support this amendment. Whilst I acknowledge that Welsh Ministers will be seeking advice and having regard to scientific knowledge, it is so important that we are transparent and allow for discussion. This Bill is significant in its making and it is only right that everybody gets their say. Thank you, Chair.

09:35

Diolch yn fawr iawn, Janet. Dwi'n galw ar Delyth Jewell.

Thank you very much, Janet. I call on Delyth Jewell.

Diolch, Cadeirydd. Gaf i ddechrau drwy ddweud, hefyd, fy mod i'n croesawu'r ffaith bod y Mesur yma o'n blaenau ni'r bore yma? Dwi'n gwybod bydd nifer o bethau y byddwn ni eisiau bod yn eu gwthio i wella, ond dwi rili yn croesawu'r ffaith ein bod ni wedi cyrraedd y pwynt hwn.

Thank you, Chair. May I say that I welcome the fact that this Bill has come before us this morning? I know that there will be a number of things we'll want to be urging change and improvement on, but I do welcome the fact that we have reached this point today.

I'd like to move amendments 67, 66 and 68, please, tabled in my name, Chair. These amendments, as has been set out briefly already, relate to air quality targets. Amendments 67 and 66 give the option of setting short-term and long-term targets for air quality, allowing the Welsh Government to accommodate for an expanded list of named pollutants. I believe that this would provide for the necessary flexibility in terms of capacity for the Welsh Government to go further with the Bill in terms of pollutants, ultimately delivering more results, albeit over a longer period, and that's the spirit in which the amendments were tabled.

Now, amendment 68, meanwhile, broadens the groups that must be consulted when setting targets, which I think would increase transparency and openness and ensure that a further range of experts and affected sectors can contribute to the process of setting targets. And I would say that I support the principle behind amendment 19 tabled by Janet and those other amendments in this group that are consequential to that. Though, on amendments 22 and 28, they cut across slightly some of the amendments that I've set later on. I think that those would go further, but a number of the amendments tabled in this group by Janet are ones that I would support as well.

Diolch yn fawr. Okay. Are there any other Members who wish to speak? No. Diolch yn fawr. Okay. I'll call on the Deputy Minister to address us then.

Great, thank you. I'd just like to say at the beginning that we do appreciate the way the committee has engaged with the scrutiny process so far. I think the spirit or the thrust of the amendments, we are in agreement with. The approach that I'll be setting out this morning will either explain why we don't think they need to be achieved in the way Members are trying to achieve them or that we think the way the amendments have been set out isn't the most practical way to do it, and in which case, as I'll indicate, on a number of occasions, we'll be very happy to work with Members to try and achieve your intention together in a different way through amendments at the next stage. So, we hope to be as amenable as possible, because I think this is an area, with the exception of road-use charging, where there is strong cross-party support.

So, to turn to amendment 19, tabled by Janet Finch-Saunders, which would turn Welsh Ministers' power to make long-term air quality targets in section 1 of the Bill into a duty, we feel that changing the discretion into a duty without specifying the pollutants to which a duty applies is vague. The reporting amendment I have tabled for Stage 2, which we'll come to later, provides a powerful mechanism, we feel, for the Senedd to hold Welsh Ministers to account on the exercise of their powers under section 1 of the Bill. For those reasons, we do not support amendment 19.

Moving on to amendments 66 and 67 by Delyth Jewell, the amendments would turn the Welsh Ministers' power in section 1 into a power to set long- or short-term air quality targets. The Bill builds on a very broad regulation-making power in section 87 of the Environment Act 1995, which enables the Welsh Ministers to make provision in relation to air quality that could include setting long- or short-term targets in relation to air quality. The provisions in the Bill build on this by providing specific rather than general powers to set long-term targets to provide a strong mechanism to deliver long-term environmental outcomes. So, for those reasons, we don't support amendments 66 or 67.

I have tabled Government amendment 1, which creates a new duty for the Welsh Ministers to ensure that 'ambient air' is defined in regulations setting a PM2.5 air quality target. This amendment allows Welsh Ministers the flexibility to have different definitions of ambient air for different targets. I've tabled this amendment following consideration of recommendations 18 and 19 in the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee report. I recognise the committee's position on the need for clarity but believe it would be too restrictive to define ambient air on the face of the Bill as targets for PM2.5 are still being developed, and I hear what Janet Finch-Saunders says about her disappointment about the length of time. We've set out in technical briefings why the current timescales are required, and we acknowledge that we originally said two years, but, as it has evolved, it's clear the timescales were too ambitious to deliver that effectively, and it's the efficacy that matters. We'd be very happy to discuss the process further with the committee if that would be helpful.

So, the amendment that we've tabled, we believe, delivers recommendation 19. It places a new duty on Welsh Ministers to ensure ambient air is defined in regulations setting a PM2.5 target. The amendment provides flexibility for Welsh Ministers to have different definitions of ambient air for different targets.

Amendment 20, tabled by Janet Finch-Saunders, stipulates that Welsh Ministers must make regulations for one or more of the following pollutants: PM10, ground-level ozone, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, or sulphur dioxide. There's a regulation-making power for Welsh Ministers to add to the list of pollutants. Amendment 21 is consequential to amendment 20.

The reporting amendment I've tabled in a later grouping provides a powerful mechanism for the Senedd to hold Welsh Ministers to account on the exercise of their powers under section 1 of the Bill. Introducing amendments that require the setting of additional pollutant-specific targets in advance of considering comprehensive evidence, expert advice and sufficient engagement poses risks that could lead to unintended consequences, with detrimental effects for society and the long-term well-being of future generations. For those reasons, I do not support amendments 20 and 21.

Turning to amendment 68, tabled by Delyth Jewell, which places a duty to consult on Welsh Ministers before making regulations under sections 1 or 2 of the Bill, the Welsh Government's already committed to consulting before making secondary legislation, and there will be a full public consultation before making regulations setting targets. These regulations are also subject to the affirmative procedure, so the Senedd will need to approve them before they are made. Therefore, we don't think amendment 68 is necessary and do not support it.

Janet Finch-Saunders's amendment 22 requires Welsh Ministers to have particular regard to scientific knowledge on the issue of transboundary pollutants when having regard to scientific knowledge for the purpose of setting target regulations. Transboundary pollutants have already been considered and included in scientific knowledge, advice and evidence. However, the explanatory memorandum will be updated to ensure the scientific knowledge, advice and evidence will include information about transboundary pollutants, and I hope that satisfies the spirit of the amendment, and I hope that the committee resists amendment 22 on that basis.

Amendments 23, 24 and 25 by Janet Finch-Saunders are consequential to amendment 20. Therefore, I'd ask the committee to resist those amendments for the reasons I’ve already set out I’ve already set out in relation to amendment 20.

Amendments 26, 27 and 28 are are all linked, and 26 places a duty on Welsh Ministers to lay regulations made under either section 1 or 2 within three years of Royal Assent. Amendment 27 is consequential to amendment 20 and places a duty on Welsh Ministers to lay regulations made under either sections 1, 2 or the new section ‘Air Quality Targets: significant pollutants’, within three years of Royal Assent. The effect of amendment 28 is to require Welsh Ministers to lay PM2.5 regulations within two years of Royal Assent rather than three. As I explained in Plenary and the Minister has set out through Stage 1 scrutiny, we accept we have substantial evidence on the benefits to public health and the environment in developing targets. However, this is just one part of the story; we have a responsibility to model potential future cross-sector emissions policy scenarios to understand feasible target levels and choices, their costs and benefits and socioeconomic impacts. Work is well under way to assess potential target options regarding PM2.5, ammonia and the other pollutants listed under amendment 20.

In terms of timescales, two years is simply not deliverable for PM2.5 and other pollutants, and I’ve shared this information—as I mentioned—with the committee previously and this position hasn’t changed. Therefore, I would ask committee to resist amendments 26, 27 and 28.

Amendments 29, 30, 32, 35, 36, 37 and 38 are all consequential on amendment 20, tabled by Janet Finch-Saunders. They're intended to ensure that regulations made under the provisions in amendment 20 would be subject to the same requirements as regulations made under sections 1 and 2.

The reporting amendment I have tabled in a later grouping provides a powerful mechanism for the Senedd to hold Welsh Ministers to account on the exercise of their powers under section 1 of the Bill. Introducing amendments that require the setting of additional pollutant-specific targets in advance of considering comprehensive evidence, expert advice and sufficient engagement poses risks that could lead again to unintended consequences, with detrimental effects for society and the long-term well-being of future generations. Therefore, I would ask committee to resist amendments 29, 30, 32, 35, 36, 37 and 38. Diolch, Cadeirydd.

09:45

Diolch yn fawr, Dirprwy Weinidog. Okay. I'll call on Janet Finch-Saunders, therefore, to reply to the debate.

Thank you, Chair. It was quite welcoming when you said that you're glad we've reached this point today and that you're in agreement with some of the amendments going forward, and then, obviously, clearly, you're going to resist a few of those. But, as far as I'm concerned, it's taken five years for this Bill to come forward. It has to be ambitious. It has to do as we're seeking to do, and that is to ensure that we clean up our air. There are far too many children and adults living with asthma, and people now with breathing conditions, all as a result of the pollutants in our air. I don't believe that we should be looking at it as a 'job done' if we reach short-term targets, and it is our work as lawmakers to ensure this Bill doesn't have unintended consequences, and I don't believe that my amendments would lead to those, so I will be moving my amendments.

There we are. Diolch yn fawr. Thank you very much. Okay, we'll move to the voting, then, and the question is that amendment 19, first of all, be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] There is an objection, so we'll proceed to a vote. So, all those in favour of amendment 19, please show. And all those against amendment 19, please show. Okay. That's equal. I therefore cast my casting vote, as Chair, against the amendment, and the amendment subsequently falls.

Gwelliant 19: O blaid: 3, Yn erbyn: 3, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 19: For: 3, Against: 3, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 66 (Delyth Jewell).

Amendment 66 (Delyth Jewell) moved.

09:50

Yes, you do. The question is that amendment 66 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] There is an objection. So, we'll proceed to a vote. All those in favour of amendment 66, please show. All those against. Okay. So, it's four against, two in favour. So, that amendment falls.

Gwelliant 66: O blaid: 2, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 66: For: 2, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 67 (Delyth Jewell).

Amendment 67 (Delyth Jewell) moved.

You move, yes. Thank you. The question is that amendment 67 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. So, we'll move to a vote. Those in favour of amendment 67, please show. Two. And those against amendment 67. Four. Thank you. Thank you. The amendment, therefore, falls.

Gwelliant 67: O blaid: 2, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 67: For: 2, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 1 (Lee Waters).

Amendment 1 (Lee Waters) moved.

So, I move amendment 1 in the name of the Deputy Minister. The question is that amendment 1 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] No objections. Therefore, in accordance with Standing Order 17.34(i), that amendment is agreed.

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 20 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 20 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

You move. There we are; thank you. If amendment 20 is not agreed, then amendments 21, 23, 24, 25, 30, 32, 35, 36, 37 and 38 all fall. So, the question is that amendment 20 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] There's an objection. So, we'll move to a vote. All those in favour of amendment 20, please show. Three. All those against. Three. So, that's equal, and, as Chair, my casting vote goes against. So, that amendment falls, as do the other amendments that I listed.

Gwelliant 20: O blaid: 3, Yn erbyn: 3, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 20: For: 3, Against: 3, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Methodd gwelliannau 21, 23, 24, 25, 30, 32, 35, 36, 37 a 38.

Amendments 21, 23, 24, 25, 30, 32, 35, 36, 37 and 38 fell.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 68 (Delyth Jewell).

Amendment 68 (Delyth Jewell) moved.

Yes, you move. Thank you. The question is that amendment 68 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. So, we'll proceed to a vote. All those in favour of amendment 68. Three. All those against. Three. I therefore need to cast my vote as Chair against, meaning that amendment 68 falls.

Gwelliant 68: O blaid: 3, Yn erbyn: 3, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 68: For: 3, Against: 3, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Grŵp 2. Targedau ansawdd aer: Rhoi sylw i Ganllawiau Sefydliad Iechyd y Byd (Gwelliannau 69, 85, 86)
Group 2: Air quality targets: Having regard to World Health Organization guidelines (Amendments 69, 85, 86)

Right, we move on to the second group of amendments, then, and these relate to air quality targets having regard to World Health Organization guidelines. The lead amendment in this group is amendment 69 and I call on Delyth Jewell to move and speak to the lead amendment and the other amendments in the group. Delyth.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 69 (Delyth Jewell).

Amendment 69 (Delyth Jewell) moved.

Diolch, Cadeirydd. I move amendment 69, which is tabled in my name, and, as you've set out, that relates to the need to have regard to World Health Organization guidelines. At this point, I'd like to put on record my thanks, please, to Healthy Air Cymru, to Joseph Carter, to Haf Elgar and others for their support, their encouragement of Members, their persistence in campaigning for this legislation to appear before the Senedd and for pushing for it to be as ambitious as it needs to be, so, I really think that their campaigning on this has been commendable.

Felly, diolch yn fawr iawn iddyn nhw.

So, thank you very much to them.

Now, to return to the amendment, I think that this is vital to ensure that future Governments deliver on the promise of a right to breathe clean air. I hope that the way that it's been drafted is open enough that it would allow for other international standards outside of the WHO to be benchmarked, but crucially ensures still that the WHO is seen as a minimum standard. Embedding WHO air quality guidelines when setting and when reviewing air quality targets, I think is fundamental, and there are numerous organisations with expertise in this area who believe that this is fundamental, to ensure that future Governments are not able to renege on their obligations. I'm confident that this Government would not wish to do that, but I'm concerned about the consequences for future Governments.

I welcome the Bill's inclusion of a target of PM2.5, but I am concerned that for other pollutants that have been identified as harmful to human health by the WHO—like PM10, nitrous oxide and ammonia and others—for those, timelines haven't been set out. And while I appreciate that the development of appropriate targets is a thorough process, it's a complicated process, I think that the Welsh Government needs to be bolder and commit to the delivery of targets with stated timelines for all pollutants covered by the air quality guidelines of the WHO.

Now, as well as that, in its current form, the Bill does not obligate the Welsh Government to be consistent with the latest WHO guidelines when setting targets, as I've already said. This means that there is no explicit assurance that targets that are set will be consistent with that guidance the Welsh Government has previously committed to, but that isn't something that is absolutely guaranteed in the future. In theory, without a change to the Bill, there would be nothing to prevent a future Minister from choosing a much less rigorous target.

Now, as a result, I think that amendments that would strengthen the Bill in these areas would lead to greater confidence in the Welsh Government's commitment to deliver clean air for Wales in a time frame that reflects the seriousness and the urgency that's required, and, similarly, an amendment that would ensure the Welsh Government had regard to the latest WHO air quality guidelines when reviewing such targets would instill further greater confidence in the Welsh Government's science-led approach in the longer term. I do note that there are other amendments tabled by Jenny in this group that are broadly similar, though I know that they do slightly different things, but I think that the impetus behind them is very much the same, and so I do support the impetus behind those amendments. Diolch.

09:55

Thank you. I'd like to move amendments 85 and 86 in this group. I agree with the sentiment of Delyth Jewell that we need to strengthen the purpose of the Bill and the outcome of the Bill, and I agree with you that the external organisations who've kept our feet to the fire are absolutely excellent. However, I think that the way that amendments 85 and 86 are framed makes it much clearer and stronger as to how we're going to do this, because it ties the Government's feet to the fire in the sense that, before making regulations under section 1 and 2, they 'must have regard to' any guidelines published by the WHO. Obviously, this, like yours, meets the requirements in our recommendation from the committee's deliberations at Stage 1, because the WHO is the gold standard. Without the WHO guidelines, Cardiff Council would not have shifted as fast as they have done on tackling the illegal levels of air pollution in parts of my constituency. By taking action, introducing electric buses rather than filthy diesel buses, it's hugely improved the air quality. Obviously, there's much more to do, but this has definitely had a serious impact on the way in which the citizens are protected. I think it's really important that we do have the WHO guidelines tied into this Bill, because they are the gold standard. It's important to remember that breaches of WHO guidelines have enabled civil society to challenge the UK Government and other public bodies in the courts, where there have been other areas of illegal levels of pollution. So, there may in the future be other guidelines available, but the WHO is most definitely the organisation to go to at the moment for their worldwide view of air pollution, and therefore I'm very pleased to ask you to vote for amendments 85 and 86.

Diolch, Jenny. Any other Members wish to speak to this group? No. There we are. Okay, I'll call on the Deputy Minister, then.

Thanks. I'd like to echo what Delyth Jewell said about the engagement of Healthy Air Cymru, both with the committee and directly with Ministers and officials. I think we have moved in the face of the arguments and the evidence, and engagement by civil society, I think, has been critical, and I think it's a sign of a mature democracy. As we all know, there's been extensive debate on whether the WHO guidance should be referred to on the face of the Bill. We have resisted that up until now, but we are now persuaded that the advantages of including reference to WHO air quality guidance on the face of the Bill outweigh the disadvantages.

So, turning first to amendment 69, laid by Delyth Jewell, my understanding of the effect of this amendment is that it would remove the current requirement the Bill places on the Welsh Ministers to have regard to scientific knowledge on air pollution before making regulations under sections 1 or 2. The amendment replaces that with a requirement instead to have regard to relevant internationally recognised guidelines and targets. The amendment also provides that this should be interpreted as including but not limited to the most recent WHO air quality targets. Whilst I can certainly understand the intention behind that amendment, which is to strengthen section 3 of the Bill on target setting, we are concerned that it could in practice have the opposite effect. Firstly, the reference to 'internationally recognised' guidelines and targets restricts in legislation the information we would seek to consider, as it excludes guidelines and targets recognised at a national and local level. These are essential for setting air quality targets that are right for Wales. I'm also concerned that taking out the reference to scientific knowledge on air pollution actually narrows what Welsh Ministers would be required to consider during the target-setting process. Therefore, we support the sentiment, but are concerned about some of the wording, so we'd ask committee to resist amendment 69.

Turning to amendments 85 and 86, tabled by Jenny Rathbone, amendment 85 amends section 3, target-setting process. Amendment 86 amends section 6 of the Bill, review of targets. Now, my understanding is that the effect of these amendments is before making regulations under sections 1 or 2 of the Bill for a particular pollutant, or in reviewing targets for a particular pollutant, the Welsh Ministers must have regard to any guidelines for that pollutant published by the World Health Organization, in its most recent global air quality guidelines. And, like amendment 69, the requirement to consider the World Health Organization guidelines is in addition to the existing requirement to have regard to specific knowledge on air pollution.

Recommendation 9 of the Climate Change, Environment and Infrastructure Committee report asks for the Bill to be amended to place a duty on the Welsh Government to have regard for WHO air quality guidelines when setting targets. Now, in my view, these amendments go beyond what was recommended, as a duty is applied when setting, amending or reviewing targets, and clearly, the Senedd would have a direct role in voting on those regulations for targets. I therefore encourage the committee to support recommendations 85 and 86.

10:00

Thank you, Deputy Minister. I can ask Delyth Jewell, then, to reply to the debate.

Diolch yn fawr iawn am hwnna.

Thank you very much for that.

I am gladdened to—. Well, I'm assuming that the committee will vote for amendments 85 and 86, as I'm gladdened to hear that there will be a reference explicitly now to WHO on the face of the Bill; I think that that will strengthen the Bill. I would welcome that certainly. I take on board some of the Minister's comments about some of the, perhaps, unintended consequences that might come about from amendment 69, and particularly what you were saying about how it might exclude the local dimension; that wasn't the intention in any way of that amendment. So, if amendment 69 is defeated, which I'm expecting it probably will be, I would be very, very pleased to support amendments 85 and 86.

Diolch, Delyth. Okay. Well, if amendment 69 is agreed, then amendment 22 will fall. So, the question is that amendment 69 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. We'll proceed to a vote, then. All those in favour of amendment 69, please show. Two. All those against, four. Amendment 69, therefore, falls. 

Gwelliant 69: O blaid: 2, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 69: For: 2, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 22 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 22 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

There we are. Janet moves. The question is that amendment 22 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection, so we'll proceed to a vote. All those in favour of amendment 22. One. All those against amendment 22. Five. Amendment 22, therefore, falls.

Gwelliant 22: O blaid: 1, Yn erbyn: 5, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 22: For: 1, Against: 5, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 85 (Jenny Rathbone).

Amendment 85 (Jenny Rathbone) moved. 

Yes, thank you. The question is that amendment 85 be agreed to. Does any Member object? We have no objections, therefore amendment 85 is agreed to in accordance with Standing Order 17.34(i).

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Now, amendment 20 wasn't agreed, therefore amendments 23, 24 and 25 will have fallen, so we go on to amendment 26, which is in the name of Janet Finch-Saunders. Janet, do you move?

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 26 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 26 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

There we are. The question is that amendment 26 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection, therefore we'll move to a vote. All those in favour of amendment 26, please show. Three. All those against. Three. It's equal. I therefore cast my vote as Chair against amendment 26, which subsequently falls.

Gwelliant 26: O blaid: 3, Yn erbyn: 3, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 26: For: 3, Against: 3, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Sorry, 27. I knew this was going to happen at some stage, so I might as well get it out the way now.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 27 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 27 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

Sorry, just a point to clarify: is amendment 27 consequential to amendment 20, which previously fell?

No, I don't believe it is, no. Although very many were, but 27 wasn't one of them, I'm afraid. So, the question is, given that Janet has moved amendment 27, that amendment 27 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] There's an objection, therefore all those in favour of amendment 27, please show. Three. And all those against. Three. My casting vote as Chair therefore goes against amendment 27, which therefore falls.

10:05

Gwelliant 27: O blaid: 3, Yn erbyn: 3, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 27: For: 3, Against: 3, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 28 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 28 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

Yes. There we are. The question is that amendment 28 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] There's an objection. We'll move to a vote. All those in favour of amendment 28, please show. All those against amendment 28. There we are. That's 5:1 against, so amendment 28 falls.

Gwelliant 28: O blaid: 1, Yn erbyn: 5, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 28: For: 1, Against: 5, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 29 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 29 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

There we are. The question is that amendment 29 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. We'll proceed to a vote. All those in favour of amendment 29. Three. All those against. Three. I therefore use my casting vote against amendment 29, so that amendment falls.

Gwelliant 29: O blaid: 3, Yn erbyn: 3, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 29: For: 3, Against: 3, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Grŵp 3: Targedau ansawdd aer: Cynnal safonau ansawdd aer (Gwelliannau 2, 3A, 3, 12)
Group 3: Air quality targets: Maintaining air quality standards (Amendments 2, 3A, 3, 12)

Okay. So, the third group of amendments relates to air quality targets: maintaining air quality standards. The lead amendment in this group is amendment 2.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 2 (Lee Waters).

Amendment 2 (Lee Waters) moved.

I therefore move amendment 2 in the name of the Deputy Minister and call on the Deputy Minister to speak to his amendments and the other amendments in this group.

Thank you. I ask the committee to support all the amendments in this group, and I think this is another example of the Bill being improved through scrutiny.

Amendment 3 inserts a proposed new section into the Bill on maintaining air quality standards. It operates to strengthen the Bill, as it places Welsh Ministers under an ongoing duty to ensure pollutants are maintained at the target levels set under section 1 or 2 after the target date has passed, and to prepare an annual report on ongoing compliance.

Amendments 2 and 12 are consequential to amendment 3. Amendment 3A amends amendment 3. It seeks to require Welsh Ministers to have regard to WHO air quality guidelines when making decisions about the ongoing maintenance of air quality standards. Therefore—. Forgive me, Chair.

Now—. So, regulations made under section 1 and 2 of the Bill must specify a standard to be met and a date by which the standard is to be met. The effect of the amendment is that, once both the specified date and the specified standard have been met, the Welsh Ministers will be required to make regulations under section 87(1) of the Environment Act 1995, to ensure Welsh Ministers are under a duty to maintain that standard and to put in place a reporting requirement.

Subsection (3) provides that Welsh Ministers may exercise their powers under section 87(1) of the Environment Act 1995 to replace or revoke the standard, but only if the conditions in paragraphs 3(a) and (b) are satisfied. This means being satisfied meeting the standard would have no significant benefit compared with not meeting it, or because of changes in circumstances since the standard was last set or lowered, the environmental, social, economic or other cost of meeting it would be disproportionate to the benefits.

Before making any regulation under subsection (3), subsection (4) requires the Welsh Ministers to seek independent expert advice, have regard to scientific knowledge on air pollution and lay a statement before the Senedd and publish a statement explaining why the conditions in subsection (3) are satisfied. These are the same conditions that must be satisfied before replacing or revoking a target set under sections 1 or 2.

Amendment 2 is consequential to amendment 3. Its purpose and effect are to amend section 4(2) of the Bill. It clarifies that nothing in Chapter 1 of Part 1 of the Bill limits the Welsh Ministers' powers to make regulations under section 87 of the Environment Act 1995, apart from subsections (3) and (4) of the proposed new section on maintaining air quality standards. They contain a minor restriction on the powers in section 87, to ensure any standards achieved in regulations made under sections 1 or 2 of the Bill cannot be lowered or revoked, unless specific criteria are met.

Amendment 12 brings the new section on maintaining air quality standards into force two months after Royal Assent. We've already discussed, in the previous grouping, amendments to the Bill that require Welsh Ministers to have regard to WHO air quality guidelines. My understanding of the effect of amendment 3A, tabled by Jenny Rathbone, is that it amends amendment 3. It requires Welsh Ministers, before making regulations under section 87 of the Environment Act 1995 to revoke or lower a standard, to have regard to any guidelines published by the WHO, in its most recent global air quality guidelines, for the pollutant to which the standard applies. This makes consideration of World Health Organization air quality guidelines consistent across the Bill when setting or reviewing targets or when making decisions about the ongoing maintenance of air quality targets.

The proposed new section on maintaining air quality standards strengthens the Bill as introduced. In policy terms, I do not think it would be right for compliance reporting to end once a target has been met and the date for achieving it is reached. The proposed new section places Welsh Ministers under an ongoing duty to ensure pollutants are maintained at the target levels set under sections 1 or 2, after the target date has passed, and to prepare an annual report on ongoing compliance. I ask committee members to support all the amendments in this group.

10:10

Thank you, Deputy Minister. Jenny, you have an amendment in this group; I invite you to speak.

Amendment 3A is reasserting the importance of having regard to the guidelines published by the WHO, which is obviously consistent with the earlier amendments that we've agreed. I'm assuming that this will go before the Minister lays anything before Senedd Cymru, but if, as at the moment, it's coming at the very end of that lengthy amendment 3, then that could be tidied up at Stage 3. The point is that we need to ensure that, before anything is debated by the Senedd, the Minister has considered the WHO guidelines as part of that rigorous assessment.

Thank you, Jenny. Are there any other Members wishing to speak to this group? No. There we are. I'll invite the Deputy Minister to reply to the debate.

Thank you. Obviously, we will want to ensure that Senedd Members vote in a fully informed way. So, I shall reflect to ensure that that is the case, and if it's not, we shall return to it.

Thank you, Deputy Minister. There we are. Okay. So, the question is that amendment 2 be agreed. Does any Member object? No objections. Therefore, amendment 2 is agreed in accordance with Standing Orders.

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Grŵp 4: Targedau ansawdd aer: Adrodd, adolygu a monitro hynt (Gwelliannau 31, 33, 34, 70, 71, 39, 4, 13)
Group 4: Air quality targets: Reporting, reviews and monitoring progress (Amendments 31, 33, 34, 70, 71, 39, 4, 13)

So, we'll move on to the fourth group of amendments, which relates to air quality targets: reporting, reviews and monitoring progress. The lead amendment in this group is amendment 31, and I call on Janet Finch-Saunders to move and speak to the lead amendment and the other amendments in this group.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 31 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 31 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

Thank you, Chair. Amendment 31 requires Welsh Ministers to publish a report on why a target has not been met within six months of the statement being laid. In the Bill's current form, this is 12 months. I submitted this amendment as I think a year is just too long. Again, there is no urgency, Minister. The requirements of the report include explaining why the target has not been met and the steps that will be taken to ensure it is achieved as soon as practicable. I just don't see how that can take 12 months. You should already have this information, and that is why I recommend it being brought down to six months.

Amendment 33 inserts a provision that, where a review is being carried out in relation to a long-term target, the review must contain at least one interim target that is to be achieved before the next review, which currently stands at five years. I've recommended this as I believe this will be beneficial in monitoring progress. It will also help us to identify whether measures are working. For instance, if you bring in a measure, and by the next review you see pollutant levels have decreased rapidly, you know that measure was successful. If there's been no change, you know it isn't. So, I simply think this is just a good way to keep us on track for targets, and keep our ambition.

Amendment 34 sets out requirements to be included in the review carried out by Welsh Ministers, although this is not an exhaustive list. Requirements include a summary of progress made towards achieving the target, steps taken to achieve the target, costs incurred, and an assessment of the economic effect on the local and national economy. Minister, I again want to highlight my disappointment with how ambiguous this Bill is—it lacks necessary detail. I appreciate a review does not need an exhaustive list of requirements, but there does need to be some substance behind it, and, at the moment, there is none. I believe the requirements I've set out are fair and would be disappointed if you did not think these were necessary to be included in the review.

Amendment 39 inserts

'as soon as is reasonably practicable'

after

'The Welsh Ministers must publish any data obtained under subsection (1)'

in the 'monitoring progress towards meeting targets' section. This is simply putting a sense of urgency on the face of the Bill for this section. 

Amendment 70 seeks to amend the time frame for the first review to be carried out from five years to 12 months. Amendment 71 seeks to reduce the time for subsequent reviews to be carried out from five years to 12 months. I disagree with these amendments. I believe there needs to be time for measures to have an impact. Twelve months is too frequent to see substantial changes. It opens up the possibility of measures being seen as ineffective because they haven't had ample opportunity to work.

Amendment 4 inserts a new section on the face of the Bill. It requires Welsh Ministers to, at the end of each reporting period, publish a report on the consideration given to setting long-term targets for ammonia, PM10, ground-level ozone, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide. The reporting period is two years after this section comes into force, and each subsequent period of 12 months. I disagree with this amendment. As I've said in one of my own amendments, the majority of those pollutants are significant pollutants in Wales. They need to have their own targets, and Welsh Ministers need to understand the urgency of improving the quality of our air. Simply considering setting targets is not doing enough. 

I also disagree with putting ammonia on the face of the Bill. I understand that ammonia is another pollutant issue that needs to be addressed. However, any targets will greatly affect our hard-working farmers, and there needs to be some significant discussions with them. I don't support this being on the face of the Bill because I simply do not believe that Welsh Ministers will balance out the needs of the environment and farmers. Farmers are already being penalised by the Welsh Government, and I will not support an amendment that does that any further. 

Amendment 13 is a technical amendment and consequential to amendment 4. Thank you, Chair. 

10:15

Diolch, Cadeirydd. I'm pleased to move amendments 70 and 71, which, again, relate to air quality targets and the need for reporting, reviews and monitoring of progress. I support the views that have been put forward by numerous organisations in the public health sector that are concerned that a five-year review process would mean that the Welsh Government would only be held accountable once every term for air pollution targets being met. I listened to what Janet was saying about the fact that yearly reviews would be too frequent. I think that actually having these more frequent reviews would instead put this in line with local reviews. They would improve accountability, they'd allow for year-on-year assessments of progress, and they would mean that relevant sectors, and, crucially, the public, could see progress and the results of this legislation in delivering cleaner air.

I think throughout not just the process of this legislation so far but what's been discussed in the clean air group and what's been discussed in civic society generally, there are so many examples of the public feeling that things are being done to them. And my fear is that if we had reviews that were too sparsely set apart, they wouldn't see the link between why—. It's not that these changes have been imposed on them, but they can see how the progress is being measured. I respect there'll be differing views on this in the committee, but that's why these have been tabled, because I think if we can strengthen public engagement with the issue, it would make all of this seem less remote. But I'm quite relaxed about supporting all of the amendments in this group. 

Diolch, Delyth. Do any other Members wish to speak? No. Diolch yn fawr iawn. I'll call on the Deputy Minister to address us. 

Thank you. Before I turn to the specific point, just to address Janet's point, because I think it is a significant point of principle here, on the impact on farmers. Let's just be very clear that the World Health Organization standards that she has supported and pushed us to put on the face of the Bill will have challenging consequences for farmers. That's a direct consequence of the amendments she is supporting and we are agreeing to. It's going to have a direct consequence on many different sectors of society. These are very stretching targets, and the idea that these can be done without challenges is naive, so I think we all have to accept the consequences of the points that we are supporting and making here. She's absolutely right that we have to engage with the sectors and help them to achieve those targets, and it's important we do that carefully, and we do it considerately. And that's why we've set out some of the timelines that we've set out, which she has also been resisting. 

This is a significant piece of legislation. It's very ambitious, and it's no good simply approving the high-level intent of it without being willing to follow through on the practical impact that has on all sectors. And I just make that point to her gently, because that, I think, has been a theme of the position of her and her party on climate change regulations, and I think it applies here as well. The high-level principles have consequences to sectors—one of those being farmers—so there's no point saying you support the high-level, but not the practical implication of them. But I don't think in principle we differ, because we all want to make sure these targets are applied in a way that is helpful for all sectors, including farmers, and that's why we need to do it with care and with consultation, and with debate and with scrutiny. 

Let's just turn specifically to amendment 31, which Janet Finch-Saunders has tabled, which has the effect of reducing the time to report on non-compliance with a target from 12 months to six months. Whilst we appreciate the committee would like to see information on non-compliance as soon as possible—quite right—six months would not give us enough time to gather and interpret the data required to report in sufficient detail. I therefore ask the committee to vote against this amendment. 

Amendment 33 tabled by Janet, again, adds a requirement to include at least one interim target when conducting a review of a long-term target under section 6(1). Reviews in this section are specifically about whether the target is still applicable. When setting and reviewing targets under the framework, the Bill requires Welsh Ministers to seek advice from relevant experts and have regard to scientific knowledge. The need for any interim target, the form it should take and when it should apply would be expected to form part of this initial and ongoing advice. Welsh Ministers already have existing powers to make interim targets where it is appropriate to do so, the same as we do for any short-term air quality target.

Target-setting analyses to understand feasible targets and dates will provide an indication of the types of action and scale of intervention that would be needed to achieve different concentrations by different dates in the future. However, the modelling of possible future cross-sector emission reductions over the long term will not necessarily represent Government policy or a prescribed pathway to target delivery.

A range of measures across different sectors will be needed in order to achieve long-term targets, each requiring suitable sectoral engagement and consultation, and again I refer to the point I made at the beginning. The setting of shorter term interim concentration targets may not always be an effective indicator of progress towards a long-term target when the policy landscape is undetermined and subject to legislative or technological changes. It is, however, important that progress towards the targets is regularly assessed so that policies and actions can be adjusted, taking into account the latest evidence. Reviewing measures being taken will be an important part of ensuring long-term targets are successfully met, which is already being delivered by the clean air plan.

Similarly, amendment 34 tabled by Janet Finch-Saunders adds a new subsection to section 6 of the Bill dealing with reviews. The effect of this amendment is to set out what must be included in a review under subsection (1). Whilst we are unable to support this amendment, I think the intention behind this amendment is to ensure that information about progress towards meeting targets is available to the public. I would like to reassure the Member that I consider it is important that progress towards the targets is regularly assessed so that policies and actions can be adjusted, taking into account the latest evidence, and I believe that is already being delivered by the clean air plan. I am happy to speak to the Member further about this amendment and to explore whether there is anything that could be brought forward at Stage 3.

Amendments 70 and 71 tabled by Delyth Jewell have the effect of reducing the time for first review of targets set under section 1 or 2 from five years to 12 months and the effect of amendment 71 is to reduce the cycle for review of targets under sections 1 or 2 from five years to 12 months. The early focus needs to be on the development and implementation of measures to achieve the targets rather than reviewing and changing the targets as soon as they've been set. Independent expert advice and scientific knowledge about air pollution are unlikely to have changed within 12 months of setting a target. I believe the most appropriate place to set out the actions is the national air quality strategy. I've committed to publish an update report on progress against actions within the national air quality strategy every year, and the strategy itself will be reviewed every five years. In my view, this is sufficient, and I recommend the committee vote against the amendments.

Next is amendment 39, tabled by Janet Finch-Saunders, which adds a requirement to publish data obtained under section 7(1) as soon as reasonably practicable. I agree it's important that end users have access to the best possible data. However, it is important that the right data is available at the right time. Data to measure progress towards meeting targets can take many forms, and, therefore, are likely to be available at different times. The requirement to publish data obtained to monitor progress against the targets as soon as reasonably practicable would therefore be subject to interpretation. So, I'd ask the committee not to support this amendment. However, I appreciate its ethos and recognise it is an important point. This is something we will look at again at Stage 3, and I'd be happy to work with the Member to bring forward a workable amendment at that stage.

Turning to the Government amendments in this group, the effect of amendments 4 and 13 is to add a new section, 'Reporting in relation to section 1', into the Bill to create a new reporting duty for the Welsh Ministers in relation to section 1. This places a duty on Welsh Ministers to lay before the Senedd and publish annual reports on the consideration they have given during the previous 12 months to setting long-term air quality targets under section 1. Amendment 13 is consequential to amendment 4.

There was a lot of discussion around additional pollutants during the committee stage, and this amendment has been drafted following consideration of recommendations 5 and 6 of the report from the committee, and recommendations 14 and 15 of the report from the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee. As outlined during the general principles debate, we are working to scope and develop the cases for change and potential target options, with work expected to be complete by spring 2025. We cannot pre-empt the outcome of this work.

Whilst we were not able to accept the committee recommendations on this point, the effect of amendments 4 and 13 is to place a duty on Welsh ministers to report annually on the consideration they have given during the previous 12 months to setting long-term targets in relation to the WHO air quality guideline pollutants and ammonia. This ensures that powers under section 1 do not lay idle in the Bill. It provides a powerful mechanism for the Senedd to hold Welsh Ministers to account on the exercise of their powers under section 1 of the Bill. I would ask committee to give their support to these recommendations.

10:25

Diolch yn fawr, Dirprwy Weinidog. I'll call on Janet Finch-Saunders to reply to the debate.

Thank you, Chair. Thank you, Minister. I disagree that reducing the time to report on non-compliance to six months is too short. My amendments also in regard to our farmers are specifically believing that they shouldn't be targeted further than they have been. We all remember the approach taken by the Welsh Government as regard to the nitrate vulnerable zones. Our amendments are to strengthen this Bill, but at the same time, balancing out the needs of our environment, and also the needs of our farmers. I am disappointed that, where those amendments are concerned, you cannot support them, but I do appreciate the points you made earlier about working with us on other amendments as part of Stage 3 proceedings, and I look forward to that work.

Thank you. It's a point of clarification. Because amendment 4 and amendment 13—the consequential amendment—are really important in light of the earlier discussions and the amendments that were pushed and were supported, which Jenny put. So, I just want to clarify here that we will have a report that the Government will produce each year that will update us on their consideration based on the scientific evidence, which this committee, or others, could bring in front of the Senedd and discuss—whether we agree with the Government or not, whether they've given proper consideration to ammonia or WHO, or not, there will be a report that we can get into. 

Yes. Just on that point that my colleague makes there, we are talking about a national air quality strategy. In the 12 years that I've been here, with hundreds of strategies—

Yes. That will, literally, just be a strategy; it won't be binding in any way, will it?

10:30

Well, our whole approach, Janet, is to set the detail in the strategies and to review them, because that can be kept up to date with the progress on the ground and with the changing evidence. So, we will be bound, but we won't be bound on the face of the Bill—they'll do it through strategies and regulations, which is far easier for the Senedd to update and scrutinise.

There we are. Okay, thank you for that clarity. Right, the question is, then, that amendment 31 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] There's an objection, so we'll proceed to a vote. All those in favour of amendment 31 please show. Three. All those against. Three. And my casting vote goes against amendment 31, which therefore falls.

Gwelliant 31: O blaid: 3, Yn erbyn: 3, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 31: For: 3, Against: 3, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Amendment 32 has fallen as a consequence of amendment 20 not being agreed, so we move to amendment 33. Janet, do you move amendment 33?

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 33 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 33 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

There we are. The question is that amendment 33 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. We'll move to a vote. All those in favour of amendment 33. Three. All those against. Three. There we are. I cast my Chair's vote against and amendment 33, therefore, falls. 

Gwelliant 33: O blaid: 3, Yn erbyn: 3, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 33: For: 3, Against: 3, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 34 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 34 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

There we are. The question is that amendment 34 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection, therefore we'll move to a vote. All those in favour of amendment 34 please show. Three. There we are. All those against. Three. I therefore cast my vote against as Chair, meaning that amendment 34 falls. 

Gwelliant 34: O blaid: 3, Yn erbyn: 3, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 34: For: 3, Against: 3, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 86 (Jenny Rathbone).

Amendment 86 (Jenny Rathbone) moved. 

You do, thank you. The question is that amendment 86 be agreed. Does any Member object? We have no objections, therefore amendment 86 is agreed. 

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Amendments 35 and 36 have fallen as a consequence of amendment 20 not being agreed, so we move on to amendment 70. Delyth, do you move amendment 70?

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 70 (Delyth Jewell).

Amendment 70 (Delyth Jewell) moved.

You do, thank you. The question is that amendment 70 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. We'll therefore move to a vote. All those in favour of amendment 70 please show. Two. All those against. Four. Amendment 70, therefore, falls.

Gwelliant 70: O blaid: 2, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 70: For: 2, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Again, amendment 37 has already fallen, so we'll move to amendment 71. Delyth, do you move?

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 71 (Delyth Jewell).

Amendment 71 (Delyth Jewell) moved.

You do. The question is that amendment 71 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] There is an objection, therefore we'll move to a vote. All those in favour of amendment 71. Two. All those against. Four. Amendment 71, therefore, falls. 

Gwelliant 71: O blaid: 2, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 71: For: 2, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Amendment 38 has fallen previously as a consequence of amendment 20 not passing, so we'll move on to amendment 39. Janet, do you move amendment 39?

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 39 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 39 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

Thank you. The question is that amendment 39 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] There is an objection. We'll move to a vote. All those in favour of amendment 39 please show. Three. All those against. Three. I use the Chair's casting vote against amendment 39, which therefore falls. 

Gwelliant 39: O blaid: 3, Yn erbyn: 3, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 39: For: 3, Against: 3, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 3A (Jenny Rathbone).

Amendment 3A (Jenny Rathbone) moved. 

There we are. The question is that amendment 3A be agreed. Does any Member object? No objections, therefore amendment 3A is agreed in accordance with Standing Orders. 

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Right, we've disposed of amendment 3, have we? [Interruption.] I see, of course. Yes, yes. 

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 3 (Lee Waters).

Amendment 3 (Lee Waters) moved.

So, I move amendment 3 as amended in the name of the Deputy Minister, isn't it? Yes, okay. So, does any Member object? Good, thank you. Okay, that makes it less complicated for me. So, amendment 3 as amended has been agreed.

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 4 (Lee Waters).

Amendment 4 (Lee Waters) moved.

I move amendment 4 in the name of the Deputy Minister. If amendment 4 isn't agreed, then amendment 13 will fall. So, the question is that amendment 4 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] There's an objection. We'll therefore move to a vote. All those in favour of amendment 4 please show. Five. All those against. One. Amendment 4 is therefore agreed.

Gwelliant 4: O blaid: 1, Yn erbyn: 5, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 4: For: 1, Against: 5, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Grŵp 5: Teithio llesol (Gwelliannau 40, 73, 18, 41, 63, 64, 65)
Group 5: Active travel (Amendments 40, 73, 18, 41, 63, 64, 65)

We move on to group 5, therefore, which are amendments relating to active travel. The lead amendment in this group is amendment 40, and I call on Janet Finch-Saunders to move and to speak to the lead amendment and the other amendments in the group. Janet.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 40 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 40 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

Thank you, Chair. Amendment 40 inserts a new provision under 'Promoting awareness about air pollution' that requires Welsh Ministers to promote awareness in Wales of the links between active travel and reducing or emitting air pollution. Considering that this Bill is focusing on air pollution, and actually has provisions relating to travel, it is so important that we do not overlook active travel in this Bill. Whilst I know we have the Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013, we've seen that that Act alone has not done enough. Only 6 per cent of people cycle once a week for active travel purposes and just over half walk—that is despite 10 years of the active travel Act. So, putting a duty on Welsh Ministers under this Bill to promote active travel and its benefits for the air we breathe can only be beneficial, and I would hope the Minister actually agrees with me on that.

Amendment 41 inserts a new section, which requires both Welsh Ministers and local authorities to take steps to promote active travel as a means of improving air quality. What I said just now for amendment 40 relates to this amendment as well. We do need to question ourselves, 'Are we doing enough to promote active travel—are we actually doing enough or are we just punishing drivers to force them to change their behaviour?' So, instead of penalising people, I believe we should be educating each other on the best transport options. That is the priority when it comes to active travel, and, again, I would be disappointed if the Minister disagreed on this.

Now, amendment 73 inserts a provision under 'Promoting awareness about air pollution' that would see active travel promoted insofar as it relates to tackling air pollution. Amendment 18 does similar, where it states that the existing subsection (1)(b) must include steps promoting awareness of the ways active travel may reduce or limit air pollution and defines active travel. I agree with these amendments; we clearly all feel the same way about how important active travel is and the need for its promotion. I support the principle of them, but I will be voting against them. As you can see, I submitted my own amendment promoting active travel within this section and believe it does its duty, so I hope you'll be supporting amendments 40 and 41.

Amendments 63 and 64 insert two new sections into the Bill. They amend the Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013 to place a duty on Welsh Ministers to issue guidance to local authorities within 12 months of this provision coming into force. Local authorities and Welsh Ministers must have regard to the guidance. I'd obviously support these amendments. I think that promoting active travel is so important and is something the Welsh Government as yet has not done enough on. It needs to become more of a viable option for the people of Wales, and not just through forcing them not to use their cars.

I really hope these amendments show the Minister and the wider Welsh Government how important a conversation around active travel is. We all have ideas and suggestions on how best to do this, and it would be great if we would all be able to come together and bring these ideas to the table. Amendment 65 is simply a technical amendment and is dependent on amendment 63 being passed. Thank you, Chair.

10:35

Diolch, Cadeirydd. I speak to amendment 73 but I'm not minded to move it to a vote, because I acknowledge that there are other amendments tabled in this section that might have more of an impact. I think that the Government amendment 18 would have more of an impact; I would support that. The rationale behind me tabling this amendment originally was to ensure that awareness of and promotion around active travel were explicitly referenced as a means of reducing air pollution from vehicle emissions and improving air quality. I am intrigued by the amendments tabled by Huw and I am persuaded by them, so if they were pushed to a vote I would support those as well.

Diolch, Cadeirydd. It's really good to see amendments down on active travel, because it was such a part of the evidence that we heard repeatedly. I just want to say right at the outset my thanks to the Minister for really good discussions that we've had on this. I'm not sure that we're totally there yet, but we've put some amendments down, and others have put amendments down, to—I've certainly put mine down to try to explore—. These might be the right ones, but I'd be interested in the Minister's response here. I should declare my role as chair of the cross-party group on active travel, but I think we have some members here on the committee as well; it's a very popular and cross-party-supported group there.

So, the case for seeing active travel as a key measure for reducing air and noise pollution has been made consistently. It's accepted right across what we've heard in evidence, and this is clearly evidenced by the tabling of amendments to include the promotion of active travel within this Bill by Welsh Government, indeed, as well as members of this committee. It was accepted by every contributor to the committee's hearings on the Bill as well. 

So, the question we have to address, I guess, is: why do we need a provision in this Bill, when the active travel Act contains a specific clause on promoting active travel, and it should already be requiring Welsh Government and local authorities to promote active travel? And that does exist. But the truth is that the 2013 active travel Act—which we've just celebrated the tenth anniversary of and Members here were on the steps of the Senedd and the Minister was as well and so on, and it was great to see how far we've come—was groundbreaking; it was innovative and it was experimental. Wales led the way. But it also had a flaw and this flaw was picked up initially when it was being debated at the time the Bill went through the then Chamber. A clause was included requiring a review of the operation of that Act. Now, the cross-party group conducted its own review last year of the Act, and the review found that the promotion duty was too narrow and it consequently had not been effective. Essentially, it only requires the promotion of active travel when active travel maps are being drawn up, i.e. once every three years, and when the network is being improved. And in neither of those cases is it backed up by statutory guidance.

So, the review that the cross-party group carried out called for the Act to be strengthened, either through a specific revision to that Act, or via a related Bill, such as the one that we're considering here today. Now, the Welsh Government, just to note, welcomed the independent report of the cross-party group, accepting its analysis and the thrust of its recommendations and that was great to see. I know the Minister is in the right space in his head and his officials as well on what that report tried to do. So, my amendment differs—and I'm intrigued by the Welsh Government's amendment in here—from the Welsh Government's and the other amendments in that it attempts to address this identified shortcoming in the original Act. So, by doing so, it avoids the need to confine the promotion of active travel to matters relating to air and noise pollution, because that flies in the face of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015—the duties there on integration of policy. Do we really want to separate out promoting active travel to reduce nitrogen oxide emitted by vehicles from promoting active travel to reduce carbon emitted by those same vehicles? My amendment also—and this is crucial—requires statutory guidance to be drawn up, giving detailed advice on how walking and cycling can be made a more attractive travel choice. No, we should not be dealing with inadequacies in the active travel Act by crowding our statute books with two pieces of legislation dealing with the promotion of active travel and both doing so inadequately. Welsh legislation has to be to a high standard. But this Bill offers an opportunity to put right the shortcomings of that earlier groundbreaking Act, something that the Act envisaged and actually provided for, and we're trying to take that opportunity.

So, having dealt with how we should deal with this issue, I want to turn now to the even more important issue of why we should, and I know that the Minister gets this. Active travel can make major contributions to tackling many of our most pressing problems. Aside from air quality and climate change, this amendment would help increase physical activity; these amendments—two different amendments here—are aimed at increasing physical activity, reducing congestion and relieving transport poverty as well. But the switch to walking and cycling for shorter journeys goes against decades of a transport culture that promoted the car as the default option, the commonense way of getting about, however short the journey. So, changing this culture is going to require more than footpaths and cycle lanes, it's going to need a thoroughgoing consistent campaign capable of changing the common sense, particularly about how we make short journeys. So, there is currently no clear requirement that new guidance produced by the Welsh Government's own transport department should be sympathetic to the aims of the active travel Act, and, unfortunately, we've seen examples of guidance produced in recent years that actually make active travel a less attractive choice, and I could list them.

There is a myriad of small, inexpensive ways that public services could make walking and cycling a practical option for their service users and also for staff. There've been some excellent initiatives, but, unfortunately, they're few and far between. You're usually dependent on having someone, in a part of that organisation, who is a convinced, evangelical advocate of active travel. Now, this is far too important a matter to be left to chance. Change will only happen if those key staff in areas where a knowledge of active travel should not be assumed are provided with straightforward, practical guidance on basic matters, such as providing information on how to arrive at public buildings by walking, cycling or public transport, not just by car. Similarly, signage in towns and cities generally assumes that people want to drive everywhere. I'm not suggesting we have fewer signs for vehicles, just that we make it easier for people to make a choice about how they get about on other modes of transport. Many cities outside Wales, and a few inside, and towns, provide signage that shows the best route to walk or cycle to key locations and how long it will take them. These are the practical implications of the amendments that I'm exploring here with the Minister.

I could cite many more examples, but time is pressing, Chair. Setting out these detailed points takes a bit of time, but the truth is making active travel an attractive option is all about getting the details right, and that has to be by guidance. If that guidance is going to be taken seriously across Welsh Government and local authorities, then it has to be statutory.

Now I really have had, and I applaud him for this, very constructive discussions with the Deputy Minister. I know he's very sympathetic to what we're trying to achieve. I'm more than happy to continue to work, if these are not quite right, with Government and with other members of the committee. I think we'd want to take up that opportunity to craft a more appropriate wording for a good amendment if these two amendments are not quite right, and if the others that are put forward are not quite right, so that we can get to an agreement. This is a great opportunity in this Bill to do what this Bill is trying to do and to rectify those flaws in the original active travel Act. We need to take the opportunity—if not here on these amendments today, let's come back at the next stage. So, Minister, I'm really interested in hearing your response.

10:45

Diolch yn fawr. Before we come to the Minister, Jenny, you want to speak to this group as well.

Yes. Very interesting to listen to Huw on the complexities of this issue, but I think Janet Finch-Saunders wants to face both ways, and I will definitely be opposing amendments 40 and 41, because you can't on the one hand say you want to promote active travel, but then describe it as a measure for punishing drivers and forcing people not to use their cars. Nobody can force anybody not to do something. What we need to do is to encourage people to do the right and rational thing when alternatives are available. We can't say to people who don't have a bus service, 'Don't use a car.' That's obviously not the case.

Speaking on the specifics of what happens every weekend in Cardiff, people insist on bringing their cars right up to the doorstep of the shops that they wish to visit instead of using the excellent train service that exists much further up the line that enables them not to be sitting in congestion that is polluting citizens who happen to live on these routes. So, there absolutely is a trade-off between the pollution created by congestion and the need to encourage people to do the right thing, both in terms of it being cheaper for themselves and their families, and also for citizens who are having to live on these main roads.

But we can't force people to do things if the alternatives don't exist, so that's why I think it's important that we get the spirit of what I think Huw Irranca is working on with Lee Waters right. But we can't be shilly-shallying and saying on the one hand we want more active travel, and on the other hand we don't want to inconvenience people in private motor cars, because what we're trying to do is getting better road use where alternatives are available.

Yes. I must say Janet Finch-Saunders has been a long-term supporter of measures to promote active travel, and this has been a cross-party consensus, and I hope it will continue to remain so. I was disappointed to hear her parroting some of the attack lines her party have alighted on as part of the culture wars. Nobody is penalising people and nobody is forcing people not to use their cars. That's just factually inaccurate, and it's really unhelpful to say so. This is about an agenda of giving people options and improving the choice people have. At the moment, people don't feel they have a choice other than to drive, and that's adding to the poor air quality that we're discussing today. Giving people genuine choices so they don't have to drive, they could walk or cycle or use public transport, is what this Government is trying to do, and that's why we want to try and use the clean air Bill to strengthen, and, in that regard, I want to thank the committee for the evidence it's gathered and the stakeholders for giving it and for the case it's made for including that within this Bill, which we have now accepted in principle that we wish to do, and I've worked very constructively with Huw Irranca-Davies as chair of the cross-party group and Chris Roberts as secretary of the cross-party group to try and get that intent expressed clearly in the Bill. Now, there are some complexities around it, and unfortunately the deadline for tabling amendments came before we were able to settle on an agreed way forward. So, we have tabled Government amendment 18, which we think is much clearer and more effective than amendments 40 and 41 and 73. I do think the spirit of what we're all trying to achieve is very similar, but it's the practical implications for Welsh Government and local authorities we need to be very careful about, and we need to make sure that there other ways of achieving this as well, beyond the Bill, and will be publishing shortly our active travel action plan, which again has been heavily influenced by the cross-party review of the way the active travel Act has worked in its first 10 years.

So, what I'd like to do, Chair, is to suggest that Members do not move their amendments, and we won't move our amendment, at this stage and we continue the constructive dialogue to try and reach something even better than amendment 18 at the next stage.

10:50

Well, I've got to be honest; I've sat through quite a few of these now and led on amendments, but, I have to be honest, I think this is the kind of spirit that I like to see law coming through. I'd like to thank Delyth for your contribution then, and, of course, you've given me a lot more to think about; and the points that you make, Jenny. But I will come back, because, as politicians, that's what we do. The reason that car owners are being penalised currently, and there's talk of road-use charges in the national transport plan, and, in fact, there's mention of it in here, but the thing is, I'll take my own constituency now—

Can I just remind Members? We have to address amendments in the way we speak.

Yes, yes, yes. Comments have been made; I have to be able to defend those comments.

So, basically, people have to use cars in the evening, say, in my constituency, because we don't have a bus service going from Llandudno coastal town to Conwy Valley. At the other end of my constituency, the furthest part, we don't have trains or bus services, so there are numerous cars driving up and down those roads that could be off the roads. In the lighter summer evenings in particular, people could certainly be using cycles; we have electric cycles now.

The point that I'm trying to get across here is that it's unrealistic at the moment to expect people not to use their cars, but we've seen only recently some where drivers—you know, with the 20 mph and things—. And even that in terms of air pollution is questionable, but, going back to the active travel, you're quite right, it is something that I really do support, and it's the point you've made about whether we could work with you, Minister, to address those. But I wouldn't like to not move my amendments today and find that it's severely diluted down, what we're trying to achieve, what I'm trying to achieve with my amendments.

Yes, just on a point of clarity, just to give some reassurance to Janet Finch-Saunders that we are committed not to table our amendment either and to work with the committee to get a better, a point we can all agree on. If at the point of Stage 3 we just haven't reached agreement, then obviously you are free to table further amendments.

Yes, it's a point of clarity, Chair, because I think we've just invented something called a Senedd stand-off, but it's a nice stand-off. I just want to be clear what the Minister is suggesting: that, if we withdraw our amendments, he'll withdraw his amendment, which I was quite intrigued with. If we all withdrew ours—this is like a moment in Pulp Fiction

—then we will work together in the spirit of this discussion to bring something forwards. We all put our amendments down, step away, and work together.

Or a stand-together, maybe. Yes. Okay, fine. Right. Do you therefore wish to move—? I mean, you have moved, actually, in opening the debate on this group, amendment 40. So, do you wish to withdraw, or not?

10:55

Okay. Thank you, Janet. Does any Member object to the withdrawal of amendment 40? No. There we are. Okay, the amendment is therefore withdrawn.

Tynnwyd gwelliant 40 yn ôl gyda chaniatâd y pwyllgor.

Amendment 40 withdrawn by leave of the committee.

We will come to the other amendments later on in our deliberations. I am aware that we've been diligently disposing of amendments for an hour and three quarters, so we will break for 10 minutes, and we will reconvene and kick-off with group 6 at 11:05 prompt. Diolch yn fawr. Just pause a moment whilst we stop the broadcast.

Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 10:55 a 11:06.

The meeting adjourned between 10:55 and 11:06.

11:05
Grŵp 6: Segura llonydd (Gwelliannau 72, 50, 51, 80, 57, 81)
Group 6: Stationary idling (Amendments 72, 50, 51, 80, 57, 81)

Croeso nôl, felly, i'r Pwyllgor Newid Hinsawdd, yr Amgylchedd a Seilwaith. Rŷn ni'n parhau i ddelio gyda gwelliannau i Fil yr Amgylchedd (Ansawdd Aer a Seinweddau) (Cymru) ac rŷn ni wedi cyrraedd y chweched grŵp.

Welcome back, therefore, to the Climate Change, Environment and Infrastructure Committee. We're continuing with our amendments to the Environment (Air Quality and Soundscapes) (Wales) Bill. We've reached the sixth group.

The sixth group of amendments relates to stationary idling and the lead amendment in this group is amendment 72. I call on Delyth Jewell to move and to speak to the lead amendment and the other amendments in the group.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 72 (Delyth Jewell).

Amendment 72 (Delyth Jewell) moved.

Diolch, Gadeirydd. I move amendment 72, and amendments 72, 80 and 81, as you say, are related to stationary idling. Every minute, an idling car produces enough exhaust emissions to fill 150 balloons with harmful chemicals, including cyanide and PM2.5 and a number of the others that have already been set out in earlier debates during Stage 2. 

A 2016 study found that one factor in people choosing to make journeys on foot was environmental aesthetics, including air quality and fresh air. With cleaner air, we can encourage people to travel actively and promote the benefits of outdoor physical activity. Now, these amendments partly link back to our committee's recommendation 3 in our report, which called on the Minister to use this Bill to encourage active travel and to ensure the Bill provides for the promotion of active travel as a means of reducing air pollution from vehicle emissions and improving air quality. Now, again, the rationale behind the lead amendment was to ensure awareness of and promotion around active travel as a means of reducing air pollution and improving air quality, as I've said, and that these would be directly linked back to stationary idling. In this regard, it was my view that there are a number of additional subjects that the Welsh Government should specify in the legislation, such as risks to human health as a consequence of vehicle idling and domestic burning, for example.

Now, on amendments 80 and 81, I believe these amendments would improve the Bill with regard to stationary idling offences. The sector raised the concern that there is a danger of some local authorities setting fixed-penalty notices at too low a level for the outlined approach to be effective. On this, there would need to be further consideration, given regard to the level of income that would be required, that is via idling charges, to incentivise effective levels of enforcement on idling. And I appreciate that we need to get the balance right here, because this needs to be done in a way that is equitable and that is not seen as punishing people who have the fewest choices available to them. We would want to see amendments to the Environment Act to make stationary idling an offence under section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

And just on some of the other amendments in this group, I do think, on amendments tabled by Janet, the focus on a priority location is commendable, but my concern is that setting charges on this might make it more difficult to review it in future years and the amounts might be too low, but I look forward to hearing other Members' comments.

Thank you. I would like to speak to two of my amendments, amendments 50 and 51. I submitted amendment 50, which seeks to remove section 21 relating to the new fixed-penalty provisions. I do not agree with what the Bill proposes. I think it is completely unacceptable that the value of someone's health will be completely different across the country. This section means the health of someone in my constituency in Conwy could be valued lower than someone in your own constituency, Minister. So, it baffles me how that is seen as a fair thing for legislation to do. I get the sentiment behind it. However, the real-life consequence of the section is worrying. My amendment seeks to bring forward a middle ground—where people are more prone to the impact of air pollution, like outside of schools, hospitals and care homes, we need to be more mindful. My amendment seeks to introduce a higher fixed penalty inside those areas. Outside of those areas, the fixed penalty remains at £20. I think that is a fair compromise, and, if not, I would really appreciate the Minister explaining why they now believe it is okay for health to be valued differently across the country. I would like to make it very clear that I do not support the section as it currently stands. I do not support the value of someone's health to be different dependent on where they live. Thank you.

11:10

Yes. I just wanted to challenge Delyth Jewell on amendment 72, because it seems to me that the best way of reducing idling, which I agree is a scourge on society, is through the air quality strategy and through better enforcement of this offence, which I think is covered in section 21 on page 11 of the original Bill. I'm not quite sure why it's popping up here, and therefore I don't think I'll be supporting this.

Well, thank you. Again, I think we support the spirit of what is trying to be achieved by some of these amendments. Let's begin with amendments 50 and 51, tabled by Janet Finch-Saunders. Amendment 50 would remove the provisions allowing for the settling of a penalty range for the offence of stationary idling, replacing these with new provisions through amendment 51. These amendments would substantially change our idling offence provisions, removing the flexibility of local authorities to determine a suitable penalty to meet individual circumstances. Amendment 51, along with 57, which would bring it into force, would limit the application of an upper penalty amount to a very restricted range of locations, and create a distance rule, which I think, in practice, would be very problematic to deliver. So, we're not able to support amendments 50, 51 or 57, and I think those would be far less effective in tackling this problem than the approach we have taken in the Bill.

On amendment 72, tabled by Delyth Jewell, which would require Ministers to take steps to promote awareness of how reducing idling can help tackle air pollution, I support the intention behind this. However, we are concerned that the legislation needs to be futureproofed. And with the fleet turnover and the shift to stop-start engines, the issue of idling may look very different in years to come. So, the promoting awareness duty is intentionally broad to enable us to promote awareness of a range of issues and adapt our focus as issues change or emerge. Now, the explanatory memorandum outlines our commitment to raising awareness, and we would be very happy to work with Delyth Jewell on amendments to the explanatory memorandum to strengthen the language on this issue, but we do not support the amendment as drafted.

Similarly, amendment 80 would require us to issue guidance to local authorities on factors that should be taken into account when enforcement action is being taken, and we've already committed in the explanatory memorandum to issuing guidance to local authorities, and this will complement and support the provisions in the Bill. So, again, I think we support the idea, but we have a slightly different view on how best to bring it into force. So, what I'd like to suggest is that we not support amendments 80 and 81, but would like to work with Delyth Jewell for Stage 3, to explore what opportunities there might be for a solution that could achieve our shared ambitions.

Diolch. Thank you very much for that. I would certainly welcome being able to work with the Government to find a better form of doing this, and I am grateful to you, Minister, for what you've just said. On your point, Jenny, the motivation, I suppose, behind putting this here was that it was almost seen as another bite of the cherry—another attempt to be able to encourage the public to be more engaged, to strengthen those links so that the public can understand the consequence, the reason why these things are being done, so that people don't feel as much that things are being done to them and that they can see what those links are. But, I appreciate, again, taking on board what the Minister has said, that maybe there's a way of doing this in an alternative or tidier way. So, I will push them to a vote, just to see, but I can anticipate that they probably won't be supported. But, I would do that in the spirit of wanting to work with the Government in advance of Stage 3.

11:15

Diolch yn fawr. Okay. The question is, then, that amendment 79 be agreed. Does any Member object? Seventy-two—I can't even read. Apologies. So, just for clarity, the question is that amendment 72 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection, so we'll move to a vote. All those in favour of amendment 72, please show. Thank you. That's three. All those against. Three. I therefore cast my vote as Chair against amendment 72, which falls. 

Gwelliant 72: O blaid: 3, Yn erbyn: 3, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 72: For: 3, Against: 3, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Ni chynigiwyd gwelliant 73 (Delyth Jewell).

Amendment 73 (Delyth Jewell) not moved.

No, you don't. That's why I was asking. Thank you. Amendment 18 is not moved.

Ni chynigiwyd gwelliant 18 (Lee Waters).

Amendment 18 (Lee Waters) not moved.

There we are. You are withdrawing that. There we are. Thank you. So, amendment 41 is not moved as well.

Ni chynigiwyd gwelliant 41 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 41 (Janet Finch-Saunders) not moved.

Grŵp 7: Strategaeth ansawdd aer genedlaethol: Gofynion pellach (Gwelliannau 5, 42, 74, 75, 43)
Group 7: National air quality strategy: Further requirements (Amendments 5, 42, 74, 75, 43)

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 5 (Lee Waters).

Amendment 5 (Lee Waters) moved.

Okay. We'll move on to the seventh group of amendments, then, which relates to national air quality strategy: further requirements. The lead amendment in this group is amendment 5, and I move amendment 5 in the name of the Deputy Minister, and call on the Deputy Minister to speak to his amendment and the other amendments in this group.

Well, in the interest of trying to be brief, Chair, given the amount of amendments we still have to go through, I'll just say, in summary, that our amendment 5 gives effect to your own recommendation 18, which we were happy to work with. We can't support amendment 42, to add the clean air advisory panel to the statutory list of consultees, as it is not a statutory panel. We'll take a further look at amendment 74, to add Transport for Wales to the list of consultees, but we need to speak with them first to see if that's a duty they're willing to take on, but in principle I'm happy to add them to it. So, thank you for that suggestion. 

We can't support amendment 75, which adds reporting requirements in relation to the national air quality strategy, as we've already committed to publishing an update report on progress towards actions within the national air quality strategy, and we will update the explanatory memorandum to reflect this commitment. Similarly, we can't support amendment 43, as issuing guidance regarding the strategy may not always be appropriate. In addition, this does not necessarily fit with existing guidance provisions. 

Thank you, Chair. So, I submitted two amendments under this group. The first one adds the clean air advisory panel to the list of consultees to those who will be consulted on for the review of the national air quality strategy. The Bill has an environmental body, it has governmental bodies, it has health bodies, but it doesn't have anyone related to clean air, despite this being a clean air Bill. To me, it's important that a body that focuses specifically on clean air is consulted on. It's odd that the Welsh Government do not think the same.

In terms of my second amendment, amendment 43, I really want to stress the importance of the Welsh Government providing support to local authorities. It's very important that local authorities receive guidance, and this amendment will place a duty on Welsh Ministers to do so in relation to the national air quality strategy. Leaving the Bill to make guidance optional will just result in the guidance being pushed down the priority list, and it just won't get done. Thank you.

Diolch, Cadeirydd. I move amendments 74 and 75, and I welcome what the Minister said on amendment 74. So, this relates to the national air quality strategy. When it comes to the consultation on the review of that strategy, I believe that Transport for Wales should be consulted. I do appreciate what the Minister just said, that there would need to be consultation with Transport for Wales ahead of that happening, but alongside every local authority in Wales, Public Health Wales, the national service trust and local health boards, given the impact of the transport sector on air pollution and public health, and their central role in reducing air pollution, I really would hope that that can be achieved, and I look forward to working with the Government on that.

When it comes to the further amendment, to 75, the motivation for that is that I believe the Bill would be improved meaningfully in sections dealing with the strategy, if it didn't rely so heavily on the amendment of the UK Environment Act 1995. For example, if the UK Government were to decide to amend that Act, this would have a significant effect on a future Environment (Air Quality and Soundscapes) (Wales) Act, and the wording in sections 22 and 23 of the current draft of this Bill dealing with soundscapes, provides a good model for how this could be achieved. I had thought initially it was evident that organisations in the public health sector wanted to see sections 9 and 10 replaced by provisions similar to those sections on soundscapes, so that the strategy was established in Welsh law rather than the Environment Act 1995. I believe that this amendment would create a distinctive Welsh section within the Bill with regard to the 1995 Act.

11:20

Diolch, Delyth. Do any other Members wish to contribute? No. Deputy Minister.

Thank you. Yes, so in terms of amendment 75, Delyth, we're already committed to publishing an update report on progress towards actions within the national air quality strategy, and we will update the explanatory memorandum to reflect this commitment.

Janet, on amendment 42, as I said, the clean air advisory panel doesn't exist as a legal entity, therefore it wouldn't be appropriate to refer to it as a statutory consultee. However, the members of the advisory panel are already captured by existing consultation requirements and are involved in the development and the review of the national air quality strategy. So, in effect, I think we would achieve the same thing.

And amendment 43, we already have powers to issue guidance to local authorities through local air quality management, and we don't feel that additional duties are necessary and will clutter up the landscape.

Yes. A point of clarity, if I could ask you, Minister. The point you're making in respect of amendment 42, Janet's amendment, those individuals on organisations that are statutory consultees already, they're on the clean air advisory panel, but in separate legally identifiable entities they do appear there. Was that the point that you're making, just for clarity on this? They happen to be on it by dint of being part of another organisation; they will be consultees.

So, they've been heavily involved, and continue to be heavily involved, in both the shaping and the executing of the policies. The legal advice I've had is that making a non-statutory body a statutory consultee wouldn't be appropriate.

Diolch yn fawr. Okay, we'll move to voting then. Amendment 5 has been moved, therefore the question is that amendment 5 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. We'll move to a vote. All Members in favour of amendment 5, please show. That's five. Any Members against? One. Amendment 5 is therefore passed.

Gwelliant 5: O blaid: 5, Yn erbyn: 1, Ymatal: 0

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 5: For: 5, Against: 1, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been agreed

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 42 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 42 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

You do. The question is that amendment 42 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. We'll move to a vote then. All those in favour of amendment 42, please show. And all those against. That's 5:1 against, so amendment 42 falls.

Gwelliant 42: O blaid: 1, Yn erbyn: 5, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 42: For: 1, Against: 5, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 74 (Delyth Jewell).

Amendment 74 (Delyth Jewell) moved.

Yes. Thank you. The question is that amendment 74 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection, so we'll move to a vote. All those in favour of amendment 74. Three. All those against. Three. So, given that it's equal, I use my casting vote as Chair against amendment 74, meaning that amendment 74 falls.

Gwelliant 74: O blaid: 3, Yn erbyn: 3, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 74: For: 3, Against: 3, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 75 (Delyth Jewell).

Amendment 75 (Delyth Jewell) moved.

The question is that amendment 75 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] There's an objection. We'll move to a vote. All those in favour of amendment 75. Two. Janet, is that for?

Okay. So, it's two in favour of amendment 75. All those against. Three—four. Right, four Members. Okay. So, amendment 75 falls.

Gwelliant 75: O blaid: 2, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 75: For: 2, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 43 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 43 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

The question is that amendment 43 is agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. Therefore, we'll vote on amendment 43. All those in favour of amendment 43, please show. One. All those against. Three. Any abstentions? Two. There we are. So, amendment 43 falls.

11:25

Gwelliant 43: O blaid: 1, Yn erbyn: 3, Ymatal: 2

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 43: For: 1, Against: 3, Abstain: 2

Amendment has been rejected

Grŵp 8: Rheoli ansawdd aer gan awdurdodau lleol: Adolygiadau a chynlluniau gweithredu (Gwelliannau 44, 76, 45, 46, 47)
Group 8: Local authority air management: Reviews and action plans (Amendments 44, 76, 45, 46, 47)

That brings us on to the next group of amendments, the eighth group of amendments, which relates to local authority air management: reviews and action plans. The lead amendment in this group is amendment 44, and I call on Janet Finch-Saunders to move and to speak to the lead amendment and the other amendments in this group.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 44 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 44 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

Thank you, Chair. Now, amendment 44 inserts a new provision under local authority air quality reviews. Before conducting a review, local authorities may seek advice from Welsh Ministers in relation to estimating costs of implementing the findings of the review. Again, the aim of this amendment is to improve transparency over measures, and ensure that the financial costs of improving air quality are not ignored. Measures need to be financially viable. We need to make sure those costs are understood and that local authorities are not suddenly inundated with financial costs without acknowledgement or support from Welsh Ministers.

So, amendment 45 places a duty on local authorities to publish their action plan when in an air quality management area within 12 months. Amendment 47 requires Welsh Ministers to publish their decision in relation to this action plan within three months of receiving the plan. I've submitted these amendments as I really do believe there should be time frames for this section. We need to emphasise the urgency of this Bill, and to make sure clean air remains a priority for both local authorities and Welsh Ministers. A time frame prevents these action plans from falling down the priority list. Without a set deadline, it is possible the plans won't even get done.

Amendment 46 inserts a provision that requires the action plan to state what steps the local authority has taken to engage with persons it considers appropriate to achieve air quality standards and objectives. I really cannot stress the importance of the need to work together on improving Welsh air quality. We need to make sure everyone is included in these discussions. Particularly in the case of air quality management areas, we need to be speaking to industry to understand appliances and how efficient they are in cutting emissions. I hope, through this amendment, that local authorities will speak to industry, to ensure an understanding of how the two can work together.

Amendment 76 would require a local authority to publish an air quality strategy, alongside its annual air quality review. I will be voting against this amendment. Local authorities are already under immense pressures, with diminishing capacity. I understand, however, the sentiment behind the amendment, but I am worried that we would be putting further duties on local authorities when they simply do not have the resource or the funding needed. Thank you.

Diolch, Cadeirydd. I move amendment 76. I think the role of local authorities in the delivery of clean air is going to be pivotal—well, it already is pivotal—and they're going to be one of the main actors taking forward this legislation. I welcome the Bill's requirement for local authorities to undertake an annual review of local air quality, but I think that the Bill would be strengthened if it required local authorities to illustrate the steps that they intend to take to deliver clean air. This clarity about ongoing and future actions wouldn't just be useful for effective scrutiny, I also think that it would be one of the other steps that could help to inform the public, for them to be able to see again the links about what is happening that could affect their daily lives, that they can be part of, how they can be empowered at a local level further. So, I think that—. I do take on board what Janet was saying, but that is the impetus behind the amendment. It's really in order to—. Yes, for scrutiny, but also to empower the public indirectly. This amendment would seek to achieve those goals, and it's supported by organisations in the public health sector. So, I hope that it will be supported, but we will see.

Thank you. So, on amendment 44, proposed by Janet Finch-Saunders, we appreciate the intention behind this amendment, but we resist it for two reasons. Firstly, local authorities are funded to review local air quality through their core funding. Additional funding is available through the local air quality management support fund, which invites bids annually, and therefore enables discussion on funding between local authorities and Welsh Government.

Secondly, the Bill introduces a requirement for Welsh Ministers to approve air quality action plans. In the explanatory memorandum, we set out that our intention behind this is for quality assurance, alongside ensuring Welsh Government considers whether there are any national levers that can be used to help local authorities. In my view, the Bill is already facilitating dialogue between Welsh Ministers and local authorities. I therefore resist the amendment for those reasons, but would be happy to discuss potential non-legislative options for strengthening dialogue between local authorities and Welsh Ministers on this matter.

Now, on amendment 76 proposed by Delyth Jewell, I am supportive of the principles underpinning this amendment. However, I propose we deliver this change by improving the existing annual progress report mechanism, rather than adding a new duty to publish strategies. The reporting mechanism provides a practical way to drive local action to improve air quality in a proactive and collaborative way. Improving this process can deliver a more agile regime that ensures communities are able to provide feedback and support decision making on an annual basis. I note that the committee provided two recommendations related to this matter. The first was to bring forward an amendment requiring local authorities to publish an air quality strategy, and the second was that in the absence of an amendment, we should strengthen the local air quality management guidance to set a strong expectation for local authorities to develop air quality strategies. I accepted this second recommendation in full, as this will enable us to set out our intention clearly, while giving local authorities the powers to decide how best to drive action in their area. While I do not support this amendment, I am happy to work with the Member to ensure the underpinning principles are embedded into the updated local air quality management guidance and annual progress report process.

Turning to amendment 45 proposed by Janet Finch-Saunders, I appreciate that we want to see air quality action plans in place as quickly as possible. However, I don't support the amendment because the timescale proposed would be very difficult for local authorities to meet. The current timescales set out in statutory guidance require local authorities to submit a draft plan within 18 months of declaring an air quality management area, and adoption of the final plan within 24 months. The timescale is already challenging, as authorities must undertake several steps including plan development, public consultation and submitting a draft plan for independent appraisal. Reducing this timescale to 12 months would place a significant burden on local authorities, so I hope she understands why I resist this amendment. However, we have committed to updating and consulting on the new local air quality management guidance, and I'd be happy  to work with the Member and local authorities to review the action plan timescales through that process.

Can I turn to amendment 46, also from Janet, and I'm supportive of the intention behind this duty? [Interruption.] Pardon me. I had an oat biscuit during the recess, Chair, and it's come back to visit me. [Laughter.] In the White Paper, we consulted on options to include provisions regarding partnerships and collaboration to help local authorities improve air quality. There was support for the idea, but concerns were raised as to how a legislative duty would work in  practice. We decided not to bring forward provisions in the Bill, but to work with local authorities to embed a collaborative approach and practical advice in our updated statutory guidance. Given the feedback to the White Paper consultation, I hope again she'll understand why I resist this amendment, but would be happy to work, again, with the Member on including the underpinning principles into statutory guidance.

Finally, I turn to amendment 47 proposed by Janet Finch-Saunders. The current process for appraisal is that action plans are reviewed by an independent appraiser before being reviewed by Welsh Government. If any issues are identified or changes required, these should be made and the plan resubmitted for final appraisal before publication. I appreciate the intention behind this amendment, but feel that timescales are best placed in statutory guidance so that it's easier for us to amend them in future if required. As with amendment 45, we can review the timescales as part of the process to update the statutory guidance. I don't support the amendment, but would be happy to explore this further as we update the guidance.

So, while we have resisted the amendments proposed in this group, I think we are broadly aligned on the fundamental principles we want local air quality management to operate within, and I look forward to working further with Members to deliver the improvements we all want to see.  

11:35

Just before I reply, could I ask a question of the Minister for clarification?

You mentioned, with regard to amendment 44, that there are already national levers in place to help local authorities. Could you just elaborate on that, please?

The national levers to help local authorities—that's a very good question. Bear with me a second, I just need to refresh my memory. As I said at the beginning, actually, Janet, there's the local—. Let me find the page in my notes—apologies.

There is funding available through the local air quality management support fund, which invites bids annually and enables discussion between local authorities and the Welsh Government on what's appropriate.

But you also said that there are national levers, so you're assuming that the levers are here. Is that—?

Well, we already have guidance and we already have funding, and we have the flexibility, through the process we've set out, to amend that in consultation with local authorities, based on what we think will work best in practice.

Yes. Whilst I agree that you can't support our amendments, I have to say that I'm really heartened by the approach with which you're bringing this Bill forward, and that you are willing to work with us. Not supporting the amendments is one thing, however, the fact that we can have these discussions and work with you on statutory guidance and things like that—. I actually believe that this is a really positive way to bring forward law. I'd like to see this replicated with other Ministers when other laws are coming forward. It's been quite refreshing.

Diolch yn fawr. Thank you. Janet has previously moved amendment 44. The question is that amendment 44 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection, we'll move to a vote. All those in favour of amendment 44. One. All those against. Five. Amendment 44 is therefore rejected.

Gwelliant 44: O blaid: 1, Yn erbyn: 5, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 44: For: 1, Against: 5, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 76 (Delyth Jewell).

Amendment 76 (Delyth Jewell) moved.

You move. The question is that amendment 76 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection, so we'll move to a vote. All those in favour of amendment 76, please show. Two. All those against. Four. Amendment 76, therefore, falls.

Gwelliant 76: O blaid: 2, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 76: For: 2, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 45 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 45 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

The question is that amendment 45 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] There is an objection. We'll have a vote on amendment 45. All those in favour. Three. All those against. Three. That's equal, so, in accordance with Standing Orders, I need to use my vote against the amendment, meaning that amendment 45 falls.

Gwelliant 45: O blaid: 3, Yn erbyn: 3, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 45: For: 3, Against: 3, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 46 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 46 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

The question is that amendment 46 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. We'll move to a vote. All those in favour of amendment 46. Three. All those against. Three. Again, therefore, I cast my vote as Chair against amendment 46 and it falls.

Gwelliant 46: O blaid: 3, Yn erbyn: 3, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 46: For: 3, Against: 3, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 47 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 47 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

The question is that amendment 47 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] There's an objection. We'll have a vote on amendment 47. All those in favour, please show. Three. All those against. Three. Again, I use my casting vote as Chair against amendment 47, therefore, which falls.

Gwelliant 47: O blaid: 3, Yn erbyn: 3, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 47: For: 3, Against: 3, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Grŵp 9: Ardaloedd rheoli mwg (Gwelliannau 77, 6, 7, 8, 9, 48, 78, 59, 14, 15, 16, 60, 17)
Group 9: Smoke control areas (Amendments 77, 6, 7, 8, 9, 48, 78, 59, 14, 15, 16, 60, 17)

That brings us to the next group of amendments, the ninth group, which relates to smoke control areas. The lead amendment in this group is amendment 77 and I call on Delyth Jewell to move and speak to the lead amendment and the other amendments in the group. Delyth.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 77 (Delyth Jewell).

Amendment 77 (Delyth Jewell) moved.

Diolch, Cadeirydd. I move amendments 77 and 78. One of the flaws of the current system is that the Welsh Government can't control where smoke control areas are. These amendments would correct this issue and give Ministers the power to tackle toxic air caused by domestic burning in any or in all parts of Wales. 

I do welcome the Bill's inclusion of sections dedicated to smoke control measures, but I'm concerned that they don't go far enough. In particular, the Bill isn't strong enough in tackling the significant public health issues that domestic burning presents. I'd like the Bill to roll out smoke control restrictions across Wales, giving everyone the protection they need from the dangers of burning the most polluting fuels. I agree with views put forward by this committee that this needs to be undertaken equitably. For example, regulations could provide for a system of exemptions for people who live in very remote areas, but domestic burning in the rest of Wales should be minimised, and only use dry or smokeless fuels.

On amendment 78, this amendment relates to the need for the Minister to ensure that section 18 of the Clean Air Act 1993 outlines the circumstances where local authorities should declare a smoke control area. I think that this amendment strengthens section 17, which requires a local authority to have regard to any guidance published by the Welsh Ministers about the exercise of the authority's functions under this Part. The amendment would require Welsh Ministers to issue guidance to local authorities in Wales in relation to how an authority must exercise its functions, as I've said, and specify that guidance published under this section must set out circumstances in which a local authority should declare the whole or any part of the authority to be a smoke control area. The amendment would also meant local authorities must have regard to this guidance in exercising their duties.

11:40

Thank you. I would like to speak to my amendments. Amendment 48 would require Welsh Ministers through regulations to provide a list of exempt fireplaces. This is so important. There needs to be transparency over this list. It is not worth while having a list published and Wales told that it needs to be abided by without any discussion. That does nothing to improve compliance.

Having a list be brought forward through regulations and discussed here in the Senedd enables us to scrutinise the Welsh Government and its decisions. It gives us a chance to represent the industry and to discuss with them their views. It would be great to know if the Minister has yet spoken to industry representatives already in relation to exempt fireplaces. I have spoken to the Stove Industry Alliance, who were very passionate and are willing to work with you closely on this. It really did provide some eye-opening insights. Minister, could I ask if you have taken on board their recommendations? Have you considered the benefits of the clear fire scheme and taken that on board when looking into fireplace exemptions?

I have to stress and put on record here that for some living in rural, isolated parts, sometimes their only means of heat is by the use of a conventional fire or a log burner. We actually know that evidence shows that dry wood burning—and this is the important bit—in ecodesign-compliant stoves emits less PM2.5 emissions than cigarette smoking. I really hope we're not going down a route of simply banning things without truly understanding their impact on emissions.

I've had some other advice provided to me only this week, where I'm given to understand that, actually, if you're using the right fire and the right fuel, it's quite environmentally friendly in terms of the emissions. So, that's why I have brought forward this amendment—to ensure we are listening to the experts and we can allow them to be heard. It also gives you a chance to explain your decisions, which would help improve compliance by people.

My second amendment simply calls for local authorities, when smoke control areas are coming into operation, to publish a notice on their website. This is simply trying to improve transparency and improve accessibility of information. This will help with the education of people in the area and, hopefully, reduce instances of accidental offences that should reduce the workload on local authority enforcement. I would hope everyone here today would agree that improving accessibility to information is going to be crucially important in this regard.

Thank you, Chair. I only speak in this because I think the amendments are provoking quite an interesting debate. I know that on the cross-party air quality group—again, several members of the committee are on that group—we've had some interesting evidence over the last 12 to 18 months from leading authorities within air quality to do with wood burning appliances—that there is clear evidence growing about the impact of them in particular settings, in particular locations, but also internally as well within homes. So, it's not simply the external emissions, it's internally. So, the points, curiously, that Janet was making about the right appliances and so on are very valid ones to make.

But I'm speaking because I just want to test the Minister's thinking a bit on this about where we are with the science, with the evidence and with, actually, curiously, working with some of the stakeholders out there on air quality, but also with some of those who will say, 'Well, we are developing appliances that can be better, both for external emissions and also for in the house', because it's one of the great unsaid things in this that those people who rely on inefficient smoke-burning appliances could well be poisoning themselves with poor air quality inside their homes. But I'm not quite sure—I'm saying this genuinely—we're there quite yet on the evidence to ram everything on the front of the Bill. But I do think there's work to be done in this space.

11:45

Diolch, Huw. There are no other speakers, so we'll come straight to the Deputy Minister.

Just on that, I think Huw Irranca-Davies is absolutely right to point to internal air quality. I think I attended the cross-party group where one of the leading experts talked in quite alarming terms of how potent that is and the impact it has and that it has been neglected as an area of policy debate. We're not addressing that in this Bill, but it is definitely an area that we need to—all of us—turn to.

Can I just also address Janet's point? I don't want scaremongering to start that we are about to stop people living in rural areas from burning wood at home; that is not the case. This only applies in smoke control areas, which the local authority would declare. So, I hope you're not going to start spreading that as a latest lot of misinformation; that is just not true. [Interruption.] Well, it's important we're accurate, Janet, and people would be concerned—

Well, you're not accurate in implying that this would affect people living in rural areas, unless that rural area would be declared a smoke control area by the local authority, which seems to me unlikely in the present circumstances. So, I think it's important that you don't suggest otherwise.

We have proposed two sets of amendments of our own as a result of the recommendations made by the committee. First, can I turn to amendment 9 by Janet Finch-Saunders, as this affects amendments 48 and 60? Amendment 9, along with consequential amendments 6, 7, 8 and 15, removes the power of the Welsh Ministers to exempt certain fireplaces from the scope of the new civil sanctions for emission of smoke in a smoke control area. This is to help local authorities implement and enforce the new civil sanctions regime. Currently there is no power of entry, so local authorities are unable to disprove any claim made by the householder that they are using an exempt fireplace. This amendment will provide consistency with the approach taken in the Bill in relation to authorised fuels. Removing this uncertainty will allow local authority officers to determine if smoke is being emitted and base their actions upon this fact alone. We will encourage local authorities, through our guidance, to use the advice-led approach with householders to encourage behaviour change, by explaining what they can do to prevent smoke emissions and comply with the new legislation—for example, cleaning their chimney. It’s worth noting that we haven’t removed the powers of Welsh Ministers to exempt certain classes of fireplaces in relation to the existing criminal offences of the sale and acquisition of unauthorised fuels.

This brings me on to two of the amendments proposed by Janet, numbers 48 and 60. Amendment 60 is consequential to amendment 48. Government amendment 9 renders both of these unnecessary. Furthermore, the Environment Act 2021, via amendments to the Clean Air Act 1993, made provision for the Welsh Ministers to move away from established authorised fuels and exempt fireplaces via statutory instruments and to move towards an online approval system, as used by England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. We are in the process of establishing this with DEFRA and HETAS—unfortunate name—the organisation that holds the contract for the online approval system. The Bill provisions, and amendment 9, maintain this approach by replacing provisions in the Clean Air Act 1993 with provisions that will allow the Welsh Ministers to publish lists of authorised fuels and exempt fireplaces for the purposes of the criminal offences related to the sale and acquisition of unauthorised fuels. Amendment 48 would represent a reversal of this position. With this in mind and the support of amendment 9, I’d like to ask the committee to vote against amendments 48 and 60.

On amendment 59, supported by Janet, which relates to the publishing of notices relating to proposed smoke control orders, my understanding of the amendment is that it would require a local authority to publish a notice about any smoke control order it proposes to make on its website. I imagine the local authority would do this anyway, but I have no problem with supporting an amendment to put this provision on the face of the Bill, as it’s a sensible approach to improving public awareness. The amendment, as tabled, has not been inserted in the appropriate location in the Bill, but I'm willing to work with the Member to bring forward a new amendment at Stage 3. And while I'm on it, I'd just like to assure her that we have, in fact, been working with the industry groups and I'm working with them on a communications plan as well.

Now to turn to Delyth Jewell's amendments 77 and 78, 77 seeks to give Welsh Ministers the power to create smoke control areas themselves. This is a tricky one. Welsh Ministers are already able to direct local authorities to create smoke control areas and, throughout the scrutiny process, we've indicated our preference to let local authorities decide the best course of action for their local air quality management, as they know their local circumstances and problematic areas.

We stand by this view and our position is to maintain the text as currently drafted in the Bill. And so I'd encourage the committee not to support amendment 77. But we are willing to work with the Member to see how we can best support local authorities to undertake their role without changing the provisions of the Bill. The smoke control guidance will play a big role in this. In principle, it's a question of: should we be directing the local authorities centrally and the nature of the respectful agenda we have with them?

This brings me on to amendment 78, also proposed by Delyth Jewell, which relates to smoke control guidance. We've committed to produce this guidance and will develop the specific content in co-operation with relevant stakeholders, especially local authorities. The amendment, as drafted, doesn’t work, in our view, but I am happy to consider further with the Member before Stage 3. I'm keen to link it to the discussion in relation to amendment 77, as mentioned earlier.

Now, Chair, if you'll bear with me—still going—I turn to amendment 14, and we've left this till last as it carries the strongest signal that we wish to remove barriers for local authorities to create new smoke control areas. Amendment 14, along with consequential amendments 16 and 17, proposes to remove the provision for reimbursement of adaptation costs for pre-1964 homes when a new smoke control area is created.

With the prompt from committee members, we looked for potential barriers within the legislation to extending smoke control areas across Wales. The provision for adaptation costs for pre-1964 homes has been identified as such a barrier. As it currently stands, home owners can claim back a minimum of 70 per cent of the adaptation costs from their local authority once a smoke control order has been made. And this could lead to significant financial and administrative burden for local authorities and disincentives, and we feel it will prevent the establishment of new smoke control areas and curtail the ambitions of the Bill.

Keeping this provision could result in the unintended consequences of public funds being used to support increased installation or replacement of solid fuel stoves, where there are other forms of heating available. This could have a knock-on effect of increasing emissions. Financial support for domestic solid fuel burning should no longer factor in today’s climate. Encouraging an uptake of domestic burning goes against the Welsh Government’s ambitions for net zero and the desire to transition to cleaner fuels. And it is worth noting that we have retained adaptation costs in certain situations, but if we fail to pass this amendment, the cost burden on society and the negative impact on air quality could increase. So, I strongly recommend supporting amendment 14.

11:50

Thank you, Deputy Minister. Before we come to Delyth to reply, I think, Joyce, you've asked for some points of clarification.

Yes, if I could just have clarification, Minister, on the last point that you've made and reverse it around, and is there help for those people—? Do you envisage help for those people who want to take out what would become an illegal burning device, but it's the only device they've got in their home, and install something that would meet the requirements of this Bill? I agree with you that we can't fund people to install wood burners or solid fuel that won't comply, but I want to understand that if people want to comply, but they have no means necessarily to afford that and they need to change the system they have—.

There are a range of options that local authorities can use to work with households and I'd be happy to write to the Member or to the committee to set them out. The Warm Homes scheme is the most obvious, but I'll follow that up.

11:55

Thank you, okay. Diolch yn fawr. Right, Delyth, then, to reply to the debate.

In the interest of time, Chair, I welcome what the Minister has said in terms of working with me on the amendments that were tabled in my name, although I appreciate the Minister saying that it would be better to do some of this in the form of guidance instead, and I do support the Government amendments in this section. I understand that some of those amendments would remove the sections that are referred to in some of Janet's amendments.

Yes, just quickly on that. On amendment 59, Minister, rather than it just be guidance, you said you would work with us on amendment 59. Am I correct?

Right, well we'll come to that in a minute. Thank you very much. Okay, so amendment 77 has been moved by Delyth, as she opened the debate, so the question is that amendment 77 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have objections. Therefore, we'll proceed to a vote. All those in favour of amendment 77, please show. Two. And all those against. Four. Amendment 77, therefore, falls.

Gwelliant 77: O blaid: 2, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 77: For: 2, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 6 (Lee Waters).

Amendment 6 (Lee Waters) moved.

I move on the Minister's behalf amendment 6. The question is that amendment 6 be agreed to. Does any Member object? No objections. Therefore, amendment 6 is agreed to in accordance with Standing Orders.

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 7 (Lee Waters).

Amendment 7 (Lee Waters) moved.

I also move amendment 7 in the name of the Deputy Minister. The question is that amendment 7 be agreed. Does any Member object? Amendment 7 is therefore agreed.

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 8 (Lee Waters).

Amendment 8 (Lee Waters) moved.

I move amendment 8 in the name of the Deputy Minister. The question is that amendment 8 be agreed. Does any Member object? No objections. Therefore, amendment 8 is agreed.

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 9 (Lee Waters).

Amendment 9 (Lee Waters) moved.

If amendment 9 is agreed, then amendments 48 and 60 will fall. So, I move amendment 9 in the name of the Deputy Minister, and the question is that amendment 9 be agreed. Does any Member object? No objection. Therefore, amendment 9 is agreed, and that means that amendment 48 has fallen, and we'll come to 60 in a minute.

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Methodd gwelliannau 48 a 60.

Amendments 48 and 60 fell.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 78 (Delyth Jewell).

Amendment 78 (Delyth Jewell) moved.

The question is that amendment 78 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. All those, therefore, in favour of amendment 78 please show. Three. All those against. Three. As Chair, I cast my vote, therefore, against the amendment, meaning that amendment 78 falls.

Gwelliant 78: O blaid: 3, Yn erbyn: 3, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 78: For: 3, Against: 3, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Ni chynigiwyd gwelliant 59 (Janet Finch-Saunders). 

Amendment 59 (Janet Finch-Saunders) not moved.

You do not move amendment 59. There we are. Thank you. So, we'll move on to the next amendment.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 14 (Lee Waters).

Amendment 14 (Lee Waters) moved.

I move amendment 14 in the name of the Deputy Minister. The question is that amendment 14 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] Yes, there's an objection. We will, therefore, vote. All those in favour of 14, please show. Five in favour. And against. One. Amendment 15, therefore, is carried. 

Gwelliant 14: O blaid: 5, Yn erbyn: 1, Ymatal: 0

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 14: For: 5, Against: 1, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been agreed

Right, I move amendment 16 in the name of the Deputy—[Interruption.] Oh, sorry, we haven't done 15. I move amendment 15, therefore, in the name of—

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 15 (Lee Waters).

Amendment 15 (Lee Waters) moved.

I move amendment 15 in the name of the Deputy Minister. The question is that amendment 15 be agreed. Does any Member object? No objections, therefore amendment 15 is agreed in accordance with Standing Orders.

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 16 (Lee Waters).

Amendment 16 (Lee Waters) moved.

I move amendment 16 in the name of the Deputy Minister. The question is that amendment 16 be agreed. Does any Member object? No objection. Therefore, amendment 16 is agreed.

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 17 (Lee Waters).

Amendment 17 (Lee Waters) moved.

We move, therefore, to amendment 17, which I move in the name of the Deputy Minister. The question is that amendment 17 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. Therefore, we will vote on amendment 17. All those in favour, please show. Five. And against. One. Amendment 17 is therefore agreed.

Gwelliant 17: O blaid: 5, Yn erbyn: 1, Ymatal: 0

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 17: For: 5, Against: 1, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been agreed

Grŵp 10. Cynlluniau codi tâl ar ddefnyddwyr cefnffyrdd (Gwelliannau 49, 79, 62, 61, 82, 83, 84)
Group 10: Trunk road charging schemes (Amendments 49, 79, 62, 61, 82, 83, 84)

And that brings us to the tenth group of amendments relating to trunk road charging schemes. The lead amendment in this group is amendment 49, and I call on Janet Finch-Saunders to move and speak to the lead amendment and the other amendments in this group. Janet.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 49 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 49 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

Thank you, Chair. Amendment 49 removes the section 'Trunk road charging schemes' from the Bill. This removes the new provision that will widen Welsh Ministers' powers in relation to road charging. Minister, I am disappointed. Every single local authority in Wales has at least 30 per cent of people in transport poverty. That's quite outrageous. In your Government's budget, you announced nothing to reduce this, so I think it's well out of order that, when so many people are in transport poverty, you're bringing forward measures that will only increase it. I would really like to understand your thought process behind this. We all understand that transport emissions need to be reduced—we're not arguing about that. We need to cut down on our reliance on cars and walk and cycle, and we need to be able to use public transport where we can. But for some people, cars are their only option. So many people commute from areas where public transport is poor, and that is because of your Government's failure to adequately support public transport. Bus services are being cut, and they are resulting in isolating our communities. You have decided to then charge them for having to drive to where they work. That is simply morally wrong. I do not support new provisions on road charging. I think the Bill lets down the people of Wales. The Welsh public do not even agree with these provisions. The Climate Change, Environment and Infrastructure Committee's public survey found that 92 per cent of respondents disagreed with Welsh Ministers having wider powers to introduce trunk road charging schemes; 92 per cent disagreed with the road charging provisions in this Bill. Yet, you are still continuing with widening your powers despite the Welsh public disagreeing. It's so frustrating, Minister, that your Government continues to introduce policies that people simply do not want.

Now, amendment 62 removes the section reference, further provisions in Schedule 2. Amendment 61 removes Schedule 2 of the Bill. I won't repeat what I've just said, but, again, I think these provisions are simply to punish drivers who have no other option. Clearly, if this Bill was being brought before us when we had improved bus services and we had reliable and improved train journeys, then you could be forgiven for this, but on this one we cannot have a money-making scheme for the Welsh Government out of our motorists.

Amendment 79 amends the Transport Act 2000 to place a duty on Welsh Ministers to consult on charging schemes. At the moment, this is optional for Welsh Ministers. In theory, I agree. If this provision is to be passed, which I hope it does not, there needs to be consultation on the matter. However, for today, I am going to vote against this amendment at this stage, as I don't want to see the expansion of powers in the Bill, and I want them actually removed.

Amendment 82 seeks to place a provision on net proceeds made by Welsh Ministers on road charging to be hypothecated to air quality, including active travel. Again, I will be voting against this amendment. I asked the First Minister a question on this, only the other day, and he was very careful in his answer—he talked about trunk roads. But the thing is, we should not be looking at generating revenue at the expense of our motorists.

Amendments 83 and 84 are technical and so I will not be speaking to them. Thank you, Chair.

12:00