Y Pwyllgor Deddfwriaeth, Cyfiawnder a’r Cyfansoddiad
Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee17/10/2022
Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol
Committee Members in Attendance
|Alun Davies MS|
|Huw Irranca-Davies MS||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
|James Evans MS|
|Rhys ab Owen MS|
Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol
Senedd Officials in Attendance
|Gerallt Roberts||Ail Glerc|
|Kate Rabaiotti||Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol|
|P Gareth Williams||Clerc|
|Sarah Sargent||Ail Glerc|
|Sian Giddins||Dirprwy Glerc|
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 drwy gynhadledd fideo.
Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 13:30.
The committee met by video-conference.
The meeting began at 13:30.
Prynhawn da a chroeso i chi i gyd.
Good afternoon and welcome to you all.
Welcome, everybody, to this afternoon's meeting of the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee. We've got quite a busy afternoon ahead of us this afternoon, with a fair bit of business in front of us here to get through. We'll first of all just start with the normal housekeeping arrangements. So, we have no apologies—once again, a full turnout from committee members. Thank you all very much for being here with us today. The meeting is being broadcast live on Senedd.tv and we'll publish, of course, the Record of Proceedings as usual. Adapt from the adaptations for conducting proceedings in a virtual format, all of the other Standing Order requirements remain in place. If I do have any technical difficulties, then my colleague Alun Davies will be able to step in to take over while I try and reconnect. So, as per normal, we have Welsh and English translation and interpretation available, and we don't need to mute and unmute ourselves—that will be done for us.
With that, we'll move straight on to item No. 2, which, as per normal, is instruments that raise no reporting issues under Standing Order 21.2 and 21.3. The first of these, for which we have a draft report, is item 2.1, SL(6)265, the Building (Amendment) (Wales) (No. 2) Regulations 2022. These apply requirements relating to onsite electricity generation systems and the commissioning of onsite electricity in non-domestic buildings from 29 March 2023. It amends transitional provisions of the Building Regulations (Amendment) (Wales) Regulations 2022 to correct a number of errors, but we have no reporting points identified by our lawyers. So, colleagues, any comments, or are we happy to agree that? We're happy to agree it. Okay, thank you.
That takes us straight on to item No. 3, instruments that do raise issues to be reported to the Senedd under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3. The first of these is item 3.1, and it's a draft affirmative instrument, SL(6)260, the Marine, Fisheries and Aquaculture (Financial Assistance) Scheme (Wales) Regulations 2022. These regulations establish a scheme for the giving of grants and the making of loans by the Welsh Ministers. In making the regulations, Welsh Ministers are exercising powers conferred by the Fisheries Act 2020. The regulations also confer an enforcement function on marine enforcement officers appointed by Welsh Ministers under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. Now, our lawyers have identified five technical and three merits points for reporting, and I think we have not yet received a Welsh Government response, but, if we have, our clerks will let us know, or our lawyer will let us know. Kate, over to you.
Thank you. On the technical points, then, two of these set out inconsistencies between the Welsh and English texts of the regulations. For example, the Welsh definition of 'marine enforcement officer' in regulation 14(3) is significantly wider than the English language equivalent. The other three technical points all relate to issues of defective drafting.
The first merits point seeks further information from the Welsh Government as to why no regulatory impact assessment has been carried out in respect of these regulations. The explanatory memorandum explains that this was not considered necessary because the regulations do not amount to a significant change in policy, and they simply provide for comparable assistance to that previously available under an equivalent EU-funded scheme. The explanatory memorandum also states that it would be difficult to assess the likely costs of the scheme because the intention is that it's more flexible than its predecessor. So, the draft report notes that, in light of this increased flexibility and the change in the source of the funding, perhaps this suggests that would it have been appropriate to carry out a regulatory impact assessment, and it's also not clear why a forecast of the potential costs could not have been produced using experience of the previous scheme and the take-up of that scheme as a comparator.
Finally, then, there are two merits points noting, first, that the regulations may result in a charge on the Welsh consolidated fund, and, secondly, that no formal consultation has been carried out. So, we've requested a response in relation to each of the technical points and also the first merits point, and we're waiting to receive that from Welsh Government.
Thank you very much, Kate. Colleagues, any comments on that? No. I think, then, Kate, we're happy to agree those reporting points and the actions that flow from them. Thank you for that.
We will go on, then, to item 4: instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Senedd under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3 that we have previously considered. And the first of these is item 4.1, SL(6)242, the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 (Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2022. And we have in your pack a letter of 7 October and the report. This we considered at our meeting on 26 September, and we laid our report the following day, and our report included several technical reporting points. So, if I could draw Members' attention to the letter from the Minister for Climate Change, stating that the Government is withdrawing the regulations following the committee's helpful report, and new regulations will take into account our committee's comments. So, just to let Members know, the replacement regulations were laid on 11 October, so we'll consider them at a later meeting. Kate, any comments from a legal perspective?
No. We'll obviously provide you with comments on the next version of these regulations.
That's great. Thank you. Okay, are we happy to wait until we see the next regulations then, colleagues? We are. Okay, thank you very much. Item 4.2, then, in the same section is SL(6)266, the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development etc.) (Amendment) (Wales) Order 2022. And again, we have a report and a Welsh Government response under papers 5 and 6. We considered this instrument at last week's meeting on 10 October, and we laid our report the following day. So, again, I'd invite Members to note the Welsh Government response to the report which has since been received, and I'm going to hand again to Kate for any comments you have, Kate.
Just to say it's a helpful response, and it confirms that the Welsh Government are going to correct the issues that were identified in the committee's report.
That's really good and helpful. Thank you. Any comments, colleagues? No. Okay, in which case, we're happy to note that, Kate and our clerking team.
It brings us on to item No. 5, notifications and correspondence under the inter-institutional relations agreement—a regular part of our weekly agenda. The first of these, item 5.1, is to note the letter from the Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd, which states that she's giving consent to the Secretary of State to make and lay the Control of Mercury (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2022. The Minister indicates for us that the regulations are due to be laid on 19 October. The Minister states that she's giving consent to ensure
'a coherent and consistent statute book with the regulations being accessible in a single instrument',
and states that the amendments have been considered fully. The Minister also states that legislating separately for Wales would be, in her quote,
'neither the most appropriate way to give effect to the necessary changes, nor a prudent use of Welsh Government resources given other important priorities.'
So, colleagues, are you happy to note that? We are.
That takes us on to item 5.2. Again, this is another piece of correspondence from the Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd in respect of the Biocidal Products (Health and Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 2022, with the Minister indicating that the regulations are due to be laid on 18 October. So, just to remind Members, this is the fifth letter our committee has considered over two meetings where the Minister has confirmed she is consenting to the UK Government making regulations in devolved areas. Now, again, the Minister states that she's giving consent to these regulations to ensure, in those familiar words now,
'a coherent and consistent statute book with the regulations being accessible in a single instrument',
and that legislating separately for Wales would be
'neither the most appropriate way to give effect to the necessary changes nor a prudent use of Welsh Government resources given other important priorities.'
Just to note as well, the Minister also states that
'These Regulations do not have implications for the Programme for Government.'
So, with that, are we happy to note that? We are. Okay.
That takes us on to item No. 6, which is our papers to note, and the first of these is item 6.1, where we have the letter from the Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution informing the committee he has published the electoral administration and reform White Paper. Now, I'm going to go through these, but just shout at me, colleagues, if there's anything you want to raise on these before we go into private.
Item 6.2, we have correspondence from the Finance Committee to the Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution, confirming that it is satisfied with the details provided regarding the financial implications of the Historic Environment (Wales) Bill. The letter also indicates that the Finance Committee is grateful to this committee, our committee, for sharing relevant information.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).
that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).
Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
So, that takes us on to item No. 7. We've gone at quite a pace there, but we've got a lot to discuss now in private as well. So, colleagues, can I ask whether, under Standing Order 17.42, you're happy to exclude the public for the remainder of this meeting? And we are. So, I'll wait for our clerking team to let us know that we are in private.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 13:41.
The public part of the meeting ended at 13:41.