Pwyllgor Newid Hinsawdd, yr Amgylchedd a Seilwaith

Climate Change, Environment, and Infrastructure Committee

09/11/2022

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Delyth Jewell MS
Hefin David MS Dirprwyo ar ran Huw Irranca-Davies
Substitute for Huw Irranca-Davies
Huw Irranca-Davies MS
Janet Finch-Saunders MS
Jenny Rathbone MS
Joyce Watson MS
Llyr Gruffydd MS Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair
Mike Hedges MS Dirprwyo ar ran Huw Irranca-Davies
Substitute for Huw Irranca-Davies

Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol

Others in Attendance

Hefin Gill Llywodraeth Cymru
Welsh Government
Julie James MS Y Gweinidog Newid Hinsawdd
Minister for Climate Change
Nick Howard Llywodraeth Cymru
Welsh Government
Richard Clark Llywodraeth Cymru
Welsh Government

Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol

Senedd Officials in Attendance

Andrea Storer Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk
Craig Griffiths Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Legal Adviser
Elizabeth Wilkinson Ail Glerc
Second Clerk
Marc Wyn Jones Clerc
Clerk

Cynnwys

Contents

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau 1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions, and declarations of interest
2. Bil Diogelu'r Amgylchedd (Cynhyrchion Plastig Untro) (Cymru) – Trafodion Cyfnod 2 2. The Environmental Protection (Single-use Plastic Products) (Wales) Bill - Stage 2 Proceedings
Grŵp 1: Ystyr cynnyrch plastig untro a chynhyrchion plastig untro gwaharddedig (Gwelliannau 25, 61, 62, 26, 1, 2, 27, 63, 3, 4, 5) Group 1: Meaning of single-use plastic product and prohibited single-use plastic products (Amendments 25, 61, 62, 26, 1, 2, 27, 63, 3, 4, 5)
Grŵp 2: Canllawiau, codi ymwybyddiaeth ac addysg (Gwelliannau 6, 28, 34, 36, 37, 66, 46, 47, 49, 50, 80) Group 2: Guidance, raising awareness and education (Amendments 6, 28, 34, 36, 37, 66, 46, 47, 49, 50, 80)
Grŵp 3: Esemptiadau mewn perthynas â gwellt (Gwelliannau 18, 19, 20, 21, 22) Group 3: Exemptions in relation to straws (Amendments 18, 19, 20, 21, 22)
Grŵp 4: Gweithgynhyrchu cynhyrchion plastig untro gwaharddedig (Gwelliannau 81, 83, 84, 67, 68, 40, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 44, 51) Group 4: Manufacture of prohibited single-use plastic products (Amendments 81, 83, 84, 67, 68, 40, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 44, 51)
Grŵp 5: Esemptiadau mewn perthynas â bagiau siopa (Gwelliannau 82, 57, 85, 86) Group 5: Exemptions in relation to carrier bags (Amendments 82, 57, 85, 86)
Grŵp 6: Cynhyrchion a wneir o blastig ocso-ddiraddiadwy ac ocso-fioddiraddadwy (Gwelliannau 54, 55, 58, 59, 60, 24) Group 6: Products made of oxo-degradable and oxo-biodegradable plastic (Amendments 54, 55, 58, 59, 60, 24)
Grŵp 7: Dehongli (Gwelliannau 23, 56, 17) Group 7: Interpretation (Amendments 23. 56, 17)
Grŵp 8: Cynhyrchion plastig untro gwaharddedig: pŵer i ddiwygio (Gwelliannau 7, 29, 30, 31, 64, 32, 33) Group 8: Prohibited single-use plastic products: power to amend (Amendments 7, 29, 30, 31, 64, 32, 33)
Grŵp 9: Trefniadau polisi yn y dyfodol: Strategaeth llygredd plastig untro a Thasglu Cynhyrchion Amldro (Gwelliannau 35, 65, 48, 79) Group 9: Future policy arrangements: Single-use plastics pollution strategy and Reusable Products Taskforce (Amendments 35, 65, 48, 79)
Grŵp 10: Trosedd cyflenwi cynnyrch plastig untro gwaharddedig (Gwelliannau 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 38, 13, 14, 39, 15, 16) Group 10: Offence of supplying prohibited single-use plastic product (Amendments 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 38, 13, 14, 39, 15, 16)
Grŵp 11: Camau gorfodi gan awdurdodau lleol (Gwelliannau 41, 42, 43) Group 11: Enforcement action by local authorities (Amendments 41, 42, 43)
Grŵp 12: Adolygu gweithrediad y Ddeddf (Gwelliannau 45, 52) Group 12: Review of operation of Act (Amendments 45. 52)
Grŵp 13: Dod i rym (Gwelliant 53) Group 13: Coming into force (Amendment 53)
3. Papurau i'w nodi 3. Papers to note
4. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 (vi) a (ix) i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod heddiw 4. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 (vi) and (ix) to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of today's meeting

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

Croeso, bawb, i gyfarfod Pwyllgor Newid Hinsawdd, yr Amgylchedd a Seilwaith Senedd Cymru. Mae'r cyfarfod hwn yn cael ei gynnal mewn fformat hybrid ac, ar wahân i addasiadau sy'n ymwneud â chynnal y trafodion o bell—trafodion mewn fformat hybrid, dylwn i ei ddweud—mae'r holl ofynion eraill o ran y Rheolau Sefydlog yn aros yn eu lle. Mae'r eitemau cyhoeddus yn y cyfarfod yma'n cael eu darlledu yn fyw ar Senedd.tv, ac, fel arfer, wrth gwrs, mi fydd Cofnod o'r Trafodion yn cael ei gyhoeddi. Mae e'n gyfarfod dwyieithog, ac felly mae yna gyfieithu ar y pryd ar gael o'r Gymraeg i'r Saesneg. Os bydd yna larwm tân yn canu, yna mi ddylai Aelodau adael yr ystafell drwy'r allanfeydd tân a dilyn cyfarwyddiadau gan y tywyswyr a'r staff, er nad ŷm ni'n disgwyl ymarfer tân heddiw. A gaf i ofyn hefyd i Aelodau sicrhau bod yr holl ddyfeisiau symudol wedi eu distewi? Ac a gaf i ofyn a oes gan unrhyw un unrhyw fuddiannau i'w datgan? Nac oes. Ocê, diolch yn fawr iawn. 

A very warm welcome to this meeting of the Climate Change, Environment and Infrastructure Committee at the Senedd. This meeting is being held in a hybrid format and, aside from adaptations relating to conducting proceedings in a hybrid format, all other Standing Order requirements remain in place. The public items in the meeting are being broadcast live on Senedd.tv, and, as usual, there will be a Record of Proceedings published. It is a bilingual meeting and simultaneous interpretation is available from Welsh to English. In the event of a fire alarm, then Members should leave the room by the marked exits and follow instructions from the ushers and staff, although we're not expecting a fire drill today. Could I ask Members to ensure that all mobile devices are switched to silent? And can I ask if there are any declarations of interest? There are none. Thank you very much. 

2. Bil Diogelu'r Amgylchedd (Cynhyrchion Plastig Untro) (Cymru) – Trafodion Cyfnod 2
2. The Environmental Protection (Single-use Plastic Products) (Wales) Bill - Stage 2 Proceedings

Iawn, wel, mi symudwn ni at brif ffocws y cyfarfod y bore yma, felly, sef trafodion Cyfnod 2 Bil Diogelu'r Amgylchedd (Cynhyrchion Plastig Untro) (Cymru). A gaf i groesawu Julie James, y Gweinidog Newid Hinsawdd, i'r cyfarfod atom ni'r bore yma? Mi wnaf i nawr symud, felly, at, fel yr oeddwn i'n ei ddweud, brif ffocws y cyfarfod, ac mi wnawn ni ddechrau delio gyda'r gwelliannau Cyfnod 2 ar y Bil yma.

We'll move to the main focus of our meeting this morning, namely Stage 2 proceedings of the Environmental Protection (Single-use Plastic Products) (Wales) Bill. May I welcome Julie James, the Minister for Climate Change, to our meeting this morning? I will now move to the main focus of the meeting, and we will deal with the Stage 2 amendments on this Bill.

Grŵp 1: Ystyr cynnyrch plastig untro a chynhyrchion plastig untro gwaharddedig (Gwelliannau 25, 61, 62, 26, 1, 2, 27, 63, 3, 4, 5)
Group 1: Meaning of single-use plastic product and prohibited single-use plastic products (Amendments 25, 61, 62, 26, 1, 2, 27, 63, 3, 4, 5)

So, we'll start, as we do, with group 1. Group 1 relates to the meaning of single-use plastic product and prohibited single-use plastic products. The lead amendment in this group is amendment 25 in the name of Janet Finch-Saunders. Amendment 61, tabled in the name of Delyth Jewell, is identical to amendment 25, tabled in the name of Janet Finch-Saunders. Amendment 61 is therefore inadmissible. If Janet Finch-Saunders moves amendment 25 when she's called to do so, I will not call Delyth Jewell to move amendment 61, but Delyth can, of course, speak to amendment 61 and any other amendments in this group.

So, first of all, I call on Janet to move amendment 25 and to speak to this amendment and other amendments in this group. Janet. 

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 25 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 25 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

Thank you, Chair. Good morning, everybody. Now, evidence submitted by stakeholders to the climate change committee's call for evidence made it inherently clear that definitions in the Bill need to be consistent with existing legislation across Great Britain. Different definitions provided by Governments can make adhering to legislation more complex than it needs to be. The existing single-use plastic legislation in England and Scotland uses the same definitions, creating an easier and more seamless approach for businesses to adhere to and understand when operating across jurisdictions. While the Minister may think that we all know what we mean by 'single-use plastic', it is vital that the legislation sets this out very clearly. Businesses that try to conform to the legislation should not find themselves prosecuted because their interpretation of the definition was different to the Welsh Government's. It is important that the legislation that we put through echoes the approach taken by the UK and Scottish Governments.

Now, amendment 25 seeks to bring the definition of 'single use' in line with the existing Scottish legislation. Currently, the Bill proposed by the Welsh Government acknowledges that a single-use product is a product,

'not designed or manufactured to be used for the purpose for which it was designed or manufactured more than once'.

Amendments 25 and 61 propose inserting the term 'conceived' alongside 'designed or manufactured' to provide further clarity behind why the product was established. These amendments align the Bill's definition of 'single use' with Scotland's single-use legislation. Amendment 26 has a similar purpose to the amendments just mentioned, reiterating the importance of having consistent definitions amongst Governments. This amendment amends the definition of 'plastic' to follow the wording of both the UK and Scottish Governments' definition. It is perplexing why the Welsh Government has used a different definition to the existing legislation. Businesses affected by the changes in legislation deserve consistent definitions to avoid confusion, whilst the Welsh Government should be trying to prevent possible loopholes. It is further disconcerting that the Minister for Climate Change's amendments in this group do not acknowledge in any way the concerns raised by numerous stakeholders. Thank you. 

09:35

Thank you, Janet. I call on Delyth Jewell now to speak to the amendments in this group as well. 

Diolch, Cadeirydd. My amendments in this group would also serve to tighten the definition of 'single use' in this legislation. I start with amendments 61 and 62 to ensure that 'single use' would cover all possible scenarios, in a similar way to what's been set out by Janet Finch-Saunders, so that the word 'conceived' would appear alongside 'designed or manufactured', and amendment 63 would ensure that multisized or family-sized products that are made up of multiple individually packed items are explicitly captured under the definition. I do understand that these amendments are very similar in scope to those already discussed. 

I don't think that this meets the bar of clarity and enforceability. Just because the Scottish Parliament has done something doesn't mean to say that it's right. I think we have to look at it ourselves. So 'conceived' has multiple interpretations. If you look it up in a thesaurus, it can be 'perceived', 'considered'. So, I would find it very difficult to understand how we could enforce this law if we could easily have people saying, 'Oh, well, I didn't think it was a single-use plastic; I thought it was something else, and I wasn't intending to use it for that purpose.' I just think that we are tying ourselves up in knots on this one, and it would be much better if we just left it as it was. So, I'm planning to vote against. 

Thank you, Jenny. Any other speakers? No. There we are. I therefore call on the Minister to speak. Minister. 

Diolch, Cadeirydd. I turn first to amendment 25, which is proposed by Janet Finch-Saunders, and amendment 61, proposed by Delyth Jewell, which appear to be identical, as you've said. In common with amendment 62, also by Delyth Jewell, they suggest adding to the definition of single use by including the word 'conceived' in addition to 'designed' and 'manufactured'. This, as everyone has acknowledged, brings the definition into alignment with that in Scotland. 

This is very similar to the discussions that we were having at the Climate Change, Environment and Infrastructure Committee, as everybody will remember, where Members felt that the key definitions of the Bill should reflect, word for word, those used in the EU single-use plastics directives. We have carefully considered the amendments and tested them against the whole Bill as drafted, and I can assure Members that we are confident that the intended practical effect is delivered more effectively using the definitions we've developed because of the Welsh context. The drafting is not identical, as we have sought to clarify text or remove wording we consider to be unnecessary. This is in accordance with our normal drafting practice. 

Similarly, amendment 26 proposed by Janet Finch-Saunders seeks to amend the definition of plastic by referencing the EU's registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals directive rather than including a description on the face of the Bill. Again, this is not in line with best drafting practice, or with our aim to make legislation more accessible. I maintain that the definition in the Bill is sufficient and worded to provide certainty and clarity. Amendment 27, which is another of Janet Finch-Saunders's, is consequential to the amendment. So, for the reasons I've just said, I oppose recommendations 25, 26, 27, 61 and 62. 

And, then, turning to the Government amendments in this group, amendment 1 clarifies that the definition of plastic excludes plastic and adhesive paint or ink. Similarly, amendment 2 is a minor technical change to the definition of plastic to achieve consistency of drafting throughout the Bill. We intend removing the word 'additive' and replacing it with 'substance'. Amendment 2 is consequential to amendment 24, which is being considered in group 6. The aim is to create consistency throughout the Bill, and I recommend these to you. 

Amendments 3, 4 and 5 can be considered together as they concern amendments made under section 2 of the Bill. Amendment 5 makes it clear that, in the future, Welsh Ministers may wish to amend the table in the Schedule to the Bill to include an exemption that applies in respect of the circumstances where a product may be offered for supply. Amendment 3 is consequential to that amendment. Amendment 4 allows an exemption listed in column 2 of the table in the Schedule that may apply to a particular type of the product listed in the corresponding entry in column 1. This amendment is a consequence of amendment 5. I think these are all useful and sensible refinements of the changes that can be made by regulation, which will, of course, be scrutinised by Members. I therefore recommend that, in addition to amendments 1 and 2, you join me in supporting amendments 3, 4 and 5. 

The issue of multipacks was raised in the committee stages. I'm pleased to have the opportunity to consider them again, presented by Delyth Jewell's proposed amendment 63, seeking to clarify how multipacks of cutlery in particular will be handled in the Bill. On this occasion, I am persuaded that there is a value in making such a change and would like to offer to work with her on this proposal, with a view to introduction at Stage 3, so I hope that the committee will support me in this. Diolch.

09:40

Thank you, Minister. Janet, would you like to reply to the debate?

No. I think that both Delyth and I have made very clear our views that we should be lining up more with Scotland and we should be looking, whenever we're passing laws, to have clear definitions, and we believe that inserting the word 'conceived' would actually do this.

There we are. Thank you very much. So, Janet, do you wish to proceed to a vote on amendment 25?

Yes, there we are. Okay, so the question is that amendment 25 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] Okay, there is an objection. We therefore will put this amendment to a vote. The question is that amendment 25 be agreed. Those in favour, please raise your hands. And those against, please raise your hands. There we are. Okay. So, that's a tied vote, and as there is a tied vote, I use my casting vote in the negative. That is against the amendment in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii). Therefore amendment 25 is not agreed.

Gwelliant 25: 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 25: 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

As I indicated previously, amendment 61 is inadmissible, and we will therefore proceed to amendment 62. Delyth, do you wish to move amendment 62? Yes, okay.

Roedd gwelliant 61 yn annerbyniadwy yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 26.61(iv).

Amendment 61 was inadmissible in accordance with Standing Order 26.61(iv).

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 62 (Delyth Jewell).

Amendment 62 (Delyth Jewell) moved.

There we are. The question is therefore that amendment 62 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] There is an objection, so we'll move to a vote. The question is that amendment 62 be agreed. Those in favour, please raise your hands. And those against, please raise your hands. There we are. As there is, therefore, a tied vote, I use my casting vote in the negative, that is against the amendment, in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii). Therefore amendment 62 is not agreed.

Gwelliant 62: 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 62: 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 26 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 26 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

There we are. If amendment 26 is agreed, then amendment 2 falls, so the question is that amendment 26 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] Okay, we have an objection, so we'll move to a vote. The question is that amendment 26 be agreed. Those in favour, please raise your hands. And those against, please raise your hands. There we are. That, again, is a tied vote, and as there is a tied vote, I use my casting vote in the negative. That is against the amendment in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii). Therefore amendment 26 is agreed, and as a result amendment 2 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

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 1 (Julie James).

Amendment 1 (Julie James) moved.

I move amendment 1 now, in the name of the Minister. The question is that amendment—. Sorry, let's start that again. I move amendment 1 in the name of the Minister, and the question is that amendment 1 be agreed. Does any Member object? No objections. There we are. That amendment is therefore agreed.

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

So, amendment 2, as I explained earlier—[Interruption.] Oh, amendment 2 has not fallen—sorry, you are right. Yes. Okay.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 2 (Julie James).

Amendment 2 (Julie James) moved.

So, I move amendment 2 in the name of the Minister. The question is that amendment 2 be agreed. Does any Member object? No objections. Therefore amendment 2 is agreed.

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 27 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 27 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

There we are. The question is, therefore, that amendment 27 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] There is an objection, so we'll move to a vote. The question is that amendment 27 be agreed. Those in favour, please raise your hands. And those against, please raise your hands. There we are. That vote is tied again, and as there is a tied vote, I use my casting vote in the negative. That is, against the amendment, in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii). Therefore, amendment 27 is not agreed.

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 63 (Delyth Jewell).

Amendment 63 (Delyth Jewell) moved.

I would wish to move it to vote, please, but I do appreciate very much what the Minister has said about working together on this for the future stages.

Fine, okay, so it will be moved, therefore, and the question is that amendment 63 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] There is an objection. We will therefore move to a vote, and the question is that amendment 63 be agreed. Those in favour, please raise your hands. There we are. And those against, please raise your hands. Thank you. All Members have therefore voted. That's tied again. As there is a tied vote, I use my casting vote in the negative, that is against the amendment, in accordance with Standing Order 6.22. Therefore, amendment 63 is not agreed. 

09:45

Gwelliant 63: O blaid: 3, Yn erbyn: 3, Ymatal: 0

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

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 63: 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 3 (Julie James).

Amendment 3 (Julie James) moved.

I move amendment 3 in the name of the Minister. The question is that amendment 3 be agreed. Does any Member object? There are no objections. Amendment 3 is therefore agreed. 

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 4 (Julie James).

Amendment 4 (Julie James) moved.

I move amendment 4 in the name of the Minister. The question is that amendment 4 be agreed. Does any Member object? Amendment 4 is therefore agreed with no objections. Thank you.

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 5 (Julie James).

Amendment 5 (Julie James) moved.

I move amendment 5 in the name of the Minister. The question is that amendment 5 be agreed. Does any Member object? No objections. Therefore, amendment 5 is agreed.

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Grŵp 2: Canllawiau, codi ymwybyddiaeth ac addysg (Gwelliannau 6, 28, 34, 36, 37, 66, 46, 47, 49, 50, 80)
Group 2: Guidance, raising awareness and education (Amendments 6, 28, 34, 36, 37, 66, 46, 47, 49, 50, 80)

We move on to group 2, which relates to guidance, raising awareness and education. The lead amendment in this group is amendment 6 in the name of the Minister.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 6 (Julie James).

Amendment 6 (Julie James) moved.

I move amendment 6 in the name of the Minister and call on the Minister to speak to her amendment and the other amendments in this group. 

Diolch, Cadeirydd. I am bringing forward amendment 6 to insert a new subsection in section 2 of the Bill that will place a duty on Welsh Ministers to produce guidance about single-use plastic products prohibited under the Act and exemptions listed in column 2 of the Schedule. The inclusion of this duty follows our agreement to accept recommendation 13 of the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee report to place a duty on Welsh Ministers to produce guidance. We recognise that clear guidance is a key component for successful compliance, and work has already begun on this.

I welcome the Senedd’s interest in the guidance, however I’m afraid I’ve decided not to take forward the committee’s request to consult with the Senedd on its development. Given the guidance will be developed in stages to reflect different commencement phases of the bans, I believe it’s just impracticable. Given there is also the potential for future changes as and when new products are added or existing ones amended, a formal role for the Senedd at this stage could risk introducing delays on the implementation of the bans. Instead, to enable scrutiny of the Welsh Government’s action on single-use plastic, I’ve committed to producing an annual report highlighting the products we are considering. I welcome the views of the relevant committees in relation to these reports, which will be published soon after they have been drafted.

Amendment 28, proposed by Janet Finch-Saunders, proposes to insert a new section to list the manufacturers of single-use products in Wales and places a responsibility on Welsh Ministers to maintain this list. Amendment 46 is in consequence to amendment 28 and would bring the new provision inserted by amendment 28 into force on the day after the Bill receives Royal Assent. I’ve given really balanced consideration to amendment 28. On the one hand, it may help to improve engagement with industry as we take our plans for plastic forward. However, as most manufacture of plastic products occurs outside Wales, we consider this amendment will be of very limited benefit. Implementing a mandatory register of businesses would require regulations, which would add to costs and also require a further inspection regime. We already have plans in place to build on our existing positive relationship with Wales-based manufacturers to look at non-legislative solutions to achieving our policy aims. This includes potential grant support and extended producer responsibilities. I would be happy to further engage with the Senedd on the issues at hand in relation to Wales-based manufacturers. Industry clearly has an important part to play, and we support innovation in this area. We will continue to explore more sustainable options that deliver multiple benefits with our manufacturers. On this basis and the fact that the Bill tackles the supply side of the chain rather than manufacturing, I do not support amendment 28 and the consequential amendment 46.

The purpose of amendments 34 and 36 proposed by Janet Finch-Saunders is to include a section to require the Welsh Ministers to issue guidance to suppliers that also explains the exemptions in relation to straws and how a supplier can be satisfied that they reasonably believe a straw is required for health or disability purposes, that the guidance can be withdrawn and revised as required, and that the Welsh Ministers take appropriate steps to promote the published guidance to suppliers. Amendments 47 and 49 are in consequence to amendments 34 and 36 respectively and bring the new provisions inserted by amendments 34 and 36 into force on the day after the Bill receives Royal Assent.

Amendment 6, which I have tabled, places a duty on Welsh Ministers to develop guidance. Business organisations have already been approached to be involved in developing the guidance and will be engaged as part of the communication and awareness-raising campaign. I believe this amendment is broader than that specified in amendments 34 and 36, requiring the guidance to go beyond the specifics of those amendments. It would be better to allow the guidance to be developed to meet the requirements of those who will use it. I therefore do not support amendments 34 and 36 and consequential amendments 46 and 49, and recommend instead your support for amendment 6.

Amendment 37, proposed by Janet Finch-Saunders, inserts a new section, which would require the Welsh Ministers to promote awareness of the Act and potential changes to Schedule 1, including when bans on products would come into force. It also places a requirement on the Welsh Ministers to develop a programme of education and publicity on the Act, covering the need to reduce pollution from single-use plastic products. Campaigns must highlight the risks of alternative single-use plastic and should be aimed at people in Wales, single-use plastic suppliers and businesses. Amendment 50 is a consequence of amendment 37 and would bring the new provision inserted by amendment 37 into force on the day after the Bill receives Royal Assent.

We are working with stakeholders to develop comprehensive guidance to help businesses, consumers and local authorities understand the various legal definitions and requirements in the Bill. We are actively engaging with stakeholders from all sectors and local authorities to work collaboratively with us as we develop the guidance and other awareness-raising materials. This engagement has provided stakeholders with the opportunity to participate and understand the impact of the bans on each other's sectors and also understand the purpose of the exemptions the Welsh Government has included to mitigate these impacts. Genuinely seeking views and understanding has resulted in breaking down barriers between sectors, which will result in a coherent change in behaviour and a willingness to work to meet the overarching agenda to fight the plastic, nature and climate emergencies in the most effective and efficient way possible.

The guidance and awareness-raising materials will clarify which products are included in the bans, suitable alternatives and details on when the banned products will come into force. We continue to work closely with the Welsh Local Government Association as the guidance develops to ensure it provides clarity and the right messaging for individuals and bushiness on how the Bill will work in practice. Therefore, I have taken the decision not to accept amendment 37.

Amendment 66 proposes a duty is placed on Welsh Ministers to make regulations to establish a single-use plastics awareness and education taskforce for Wales. This taskforce would provide advice to the Welsh Ministers on how a prohibition of single-use plastic products could be included within the school curriculum in Wales, raising public awareness of the Bill and public engagement in relation to the Bill. Amendment 80 is consequential to this.

Work is already under way to develop our communication and awareness-raising materials. The work will be undertaken with a wide-range of stakeholders and we intend it to be a collaborative process. This will ensure we utilise a wide range of communication mechanisms and help target specific sectors—takeaway and fast-food businesses et cetera. The implementation of the Bill will be further supported by targeted awareness raising and communications materials. These will be published following the Bill’s passing in the Senedd, to provide sufficient time for businesses and individuals to prepare for the bans coming into force.

Our engagement with eco schools and plastic-free schools will highlight to all schools in Wales the impact of plastic pollution and how that relates to the new Curriculum for Wales, which supports our children and young people to be ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world. Establishing a new taskforce, I believe, would divert resources and time away from working on these important aspects of the Bill’s implementation. I’m afraid I’m therefore unable to accept amendments 66 and 80. Diolch.

09:50

Thank you, Minister. I call on Janet Finch-Saunders to speak.

Thank you. When introducing any legislation, it is vital the Welsh Government understands the effect this legislation is going to have. In this instance—. Sorry, we’ve moved on. Where am I? Yes. As I mentioned previously, the Minister did admit the Welsh Government is not currently aware of the number of single-use plastic manufacturers in Wales. As such, the Minister is unable to be aware of who these—am I on the right section? Yes—manufacturers are. Prohibiting manufacturing in this Bill would impact businesses that the Welsh Government aren't even aware exist. It simply would not be the right thing to do.

I addressed in amendment 28 earlier the need for the Welsh Government to establish and maintain a list of single-use plastic manufacturers. These manufacturers can therefore be welcomed into future debate surrounding the legality of manufacturing single-use plastic products in Wales. I therefore introduced amendments 40 and 51—

Can I stop you there? I think you're speaking to the wrong amendments.

Sorry. Yes. Right. Okay. We'll go back. So, when introducing any legislation, it is vital the Welsh Government understands the effect this is going to have. In this instance, it is inherently important the Welsh Government understands the impact that this legislation will have on businesses and manufacturers. It is worrisome that the Welsh Government has failed to produce a list of manufacturers of single-use plastic in Wales. Whilst I can acknowledge the Bill does not prohibit manufacturing of such products in Wales, maintaining a list is important for any potential future legislation that could impact manufacturers more directly. It is further worrisome that the Minister admitted they did not know of all the single-use plastic manufacturers in Wales. Amendment 8 would ensure the Welsh Government not only establishes but maintains a list of single-use manufacturers in Wales. With—

09:55

I'll have to stop you again; you're speaking to the wrong group again. We're not discussing amendment 8 at the moment. We're on group 2, which is amendments 6, 28, 34, 36, 37, 66, 46, 47, 49, 50 and 80. You're able to speak to those amendments in this particular group.

Right. Okay. Amendments 34 and 36—. I don't know what's happened here. I'm speaking to amendments 34 and 36.

You may speak to amendments 34 and 36, yes. Thank you.

Yes. Sorry, I was moving on to that now. It relates to publishing guidance and engagement with businesses that supply single-use plastic products to consumers in Wales. As always, with any piece of any legislation, it is important that businesses understand what is expected of them, and Welsh Ministers must do all they can to support them. Whilst the Minister may believe businesses have had ample time to prepare and become aware of the Bill, going as far as to say those who are not aware must have been living under a rock is not satisfactory. It is important that Welsh Government publishes adequate guidance about how to adhere to the Bill. It is the responsibility of the Welsh Government to raise awareness to businesses affected, including to those located outside of Wales. It should not be the responsibility of local authorities to somehow raise awareness to businesses in the rest of the UK, Europe, or indeed internationally. I believe amendment 37 is appropriate and establishes fair responsibility to the Welsh Government.

Diolch, Gadeirydd. I speak to amendment 66 and consequential amendment 80. The purpose of these probing amendments would be, as the Minister has already touched on, to establish a taskforce centred on improving awareness raising and education about the perils of single-use plastic. The reason that I tabled these amendments, Cadeirydd, was because of the issue we keep coming up against in committee, also in Plenary, that even when people realise on some level that they should be doing more for the environment, bad and easy habits are really hard to kick. So, we need to improve awareness of the impact that these habits have on the natural world. Compelling people to do things or not to do them is one thing, but persuading them themselves at source, so to speak, that they shouldn't want to do things in the first place would be even better. I'd be interested to hear what other people think about this. I don't by any means think that this is the only way of getting to grips with this really knotty, complicated issue. I tabled these amendments as an attempt to get us speaking about how we could improve people's awareness, but I do take on board what the Minister has said on this as well.

Thank you, Delyth. Are there any other Members who wish to speak? Jenny.

Thank you very much. Obviously, the whole Bill requires a huge change in behaviour in manufacturing processes, and we need to support industry to adapt their processes to meet Wales's overarching objective to reach net zero as quickly as possible.

I very much welcome the Minister's commitment to produce an annual report on the guidance that she's going to be establishing about the speed with which we're able to proceed in banning new products as alternatives become available. I think that's a very important commitment, because it enables us as Members of the Senedd to ensure that the Government is moving as fast as possible without causing major upheavals that were unintended.

I think that Delyth Jewell raises an important point in amendment 66, but I think we're in a good position with the eco committees that exist in schools already, who are the leaders of their peers, to ensure that we work with pupils and staff to develop plastic-free schools as fast as possible, without, as I say, causing unforeseen consequences. So, I think Delyth Jewell makes an important point, but I'm not sure that I'm going to necessarily support the amendment, because I think there may be alternative ways of approaching this. I think it's an important issue, and we absolutely need to take the public with us, but I don't necessarily think we need put it into legislation. I think the Minister has made a commitment orally, earlier this morning, to really work with all our stakeholders on this important issue.

10:00

Again, I don't want to echo everything that Jenny has said, but I agree with everything that Jenny has said, and the fact that the Minister mentioned working with the Welsh Local Government Association is of significance to me, particularly because the local authorities will be playing a major part here in awareness raising and also setting a good example by some good housekeeping on their part. We know already that they played a major part in the recycling, which sees us right at the top, so they're well placed to do that, that those messages have gone out. So, I agree, I don't think we need to be overly zealous here. The Minister has given her commitment, I trust that commitment, and we'll see it in the annual report, as Jenny has said.

In terms of manufacturing, we do have to keep our eye on that ball, we can't be exporting a problem. I fully support that and agree with that, and we've signed up to legislation that tells us that, in any case. But, again, we must watch the unintended consequences of that by moving too quickly, and the Minister, again, has said quite clearly that she'll support the manufacturing at this crucial time to adapt their processes.

Thank you, Joyce. I don't see any others wishing to speak, so I'll call on the Minister to reply to the debate. Minister.

Diolch, Cadeirydd. I completely agree that comprehensive guidance and awareness-raising materials are required to fully inform both businesses and individuals of the bans being brought forward by the Bill and how the bans will impact them. I agree with everyone that it's vital we get this right to ensure the successful implementation of the bans. So, just to reiterate that the guidance we will publish will help businesses, consumers and local authorities understand the various legal definitions in the Bill, and that this guidance is being developed collaboratively and in advance of any bans coming into effect, which is why we think what we've set out in the Bill is the right way to do it.

I also very much appreciate the points made by Delyth about children and the curriculum, but just to remind everyone that the curriculum sets out that our students should be ethical, informed citizens of the world, and this is very much part of that already. So, just to say that, whilst I absolutely agree with the sentiment expressed by Delyth, I don't think this Bill needs to do everything; there are other pieces of legislation that do that already. Diolch.

Thank you, Minister. I've previously moved the amendment on your behalf. Just to confirm that you wish to proceed to a vote.

Yes, there we are. Okay the question is, therefore, that amendment 6 be agreed. Does any Member object? No objections. There we are, amendment 6 is therefore agreed.

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Grŵp 3: Esemptiadau mewn perthynas â gwellt (Gwelliannau 18, 19, 20, 21, 22)
Group 3: Exemptions in relation to straws (Amendments 18, 19, 20, 21, 22)

We move on to group 3, which relates to exemptions in relation to straws, and the group is made up of amendments 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22. The lead amendment in the group is amendment 18 in the name of the Minister.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 18 (Julie James).

Amendment 18 (Julie James) moved.

I therefore move amendment 18 in the name of the Minister, and call on the Minister to speak to her amendment and the other amendments in this group. Minister.

Diolch, Cadeirydd. Members will appreciate the task of preparing this Bill over a relatively short period and in a way that is intellectually coherent and legally robust has been quite a formidable challenge. So, I would like to just start by paying tribute to those officials who have worked so very hard to bring it forward. Since introducing the Bill, we have continued to test its robustness in delivering our desired outcomes. Amendments 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 have resulted from this further consideration and address purely technical issues within the current draft.

The principal amendment in this group is amendment 18, which provides clarity on exemption 1 in relation to straws. This exemption allows for straws to be sold by a pharmacy to a person who declares they need the straw for health or disability reasons. The exemption provision is complex, not due to the nature of the exemption itself, but rather due to the need to refer to existing provisions concerning pharmacy businesses. Our amendment will restructure this provision so that it provides further clarity and technical accuracy in relation to different types of retail pharmacy businesses. Most importantly, the text still enables a retail pharmacy business to sell a straw to a person who declares that they or someone they will give it to needs it for health or disability reasons.

Amendments 19, 20, 21 and 22 are minor technical amendments that will provide clarity and consistency throughout the Bill. The purposes of amendments 19 and 21 are to remove the word 'person' and replace it with 'consumer'. The inclusion of amendments 20 and 22 provides further clarity to the exemption that states an individual can purchase a straw from a pharmacy on behalf of the person who requires it. These amendments represent an important improvement in the clarity of the Bill and I therefore urge Members to support them. Diolch.

10:05

Thank you, Minister. Are there any other Members who wish to speak to this group? Janet.

As I mentioned previously, the Minister admitted the Welsh Government is not currently aware of the number—oh, sorry. No, I don't wish to speak.

Just to say that I support the amendments that the Minister has proposed, which help to clarify that we're not trying to make it more difficult for those who actually need a plastic straw for medical or disability reasons. I think it's something that came out of the scrutiny of the Bill, in the evidence we heard from witnesses, that we need to take a precautionary approach to this to ensure that we're not legislating on something that has unforeseen consequences and penalises somebody with a disability. So, although it is in theory possible that somebody might present themselves at a pharmacy and say, 'I'm trying to acquire this straw on behalf of person X who I'm looking after', it's not very likely and it's something that we can close a loophole on later on if that was perceived to be a particular problem. So, I'm happy to suggest that we do actually amend the Bill to ensure that no disabled person or person who needs to use a plastic straw for medical or disability reasons—. Using the word 'consumer' where we mean the person who's actually going to use the straw is helpful in clarifying exactly what we're talking about. So, I support the amendments.

Thank you, Jenny. Any further speakers? No. There we are. Minister, would you wish to reply to the debate?

There we are, and I presume that you wish to proceed to a vote on amendment 18.

Yes, there we are, okay. The question is, therefore, that amendment 18 be agreed. Does any Member object? No objections. Therefore, amendment 18 is agreed.

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 19 (Julie James).

Amendment 19 (Julie James) moved.

I move amendment 19 in the name of the Minister. The question is that amendment 19 be agreed. Does any Member object? No objections. Amendment 19 is agreed.

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 20 (Julie James).

Amendment 20 (Julie James) moved.

I move amendment 20 in the name of the Minister. The question is that amendment 20 be agreed. Does any Member object? No objections. Amendment 20 is, therefore, agreed.

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 21 (Julie James).

Amendment 21 (Julie James) moved.

I move amendment 21 in the name of the Minister. The question is that amendment 21 be agreed. Does any Member object? No objections. Amendment 21 is agreed.

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 22 (Julie James).

Amendment 22 (Julie James) moved.

I move amendment 22 in the name of the Minister. The question is that amendment 2 be agreed. Does any Member object? No objections again.

Twenty-two, yes—sorry. I see no objections to amendment 22. Therefore, amendment 22 is agreed.

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Grŵp 4: Gweithgynhyrchu cynhyrchion plastig untro gwaharddedig (Gwelliannau 81, 83, 84, 67, 68, 40, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 44, 51)
Group 4: Manufacture of prohibited single-use plastic products (Amendments 81, 83, 84, 67, 68, 40, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 44, 51)

We move on to group 4, which relates to the manufacture of prohibited single-use plastic products. The lead amendment in the group is amendment 81 in the name of Delyth Jewell. I therefore call on Delyth to move amendment 81 and speak to this amendment and other amendments in the group. Delyth.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 81 (Delyth Jewell).

Amendment 81 (Delyth Jewell) moved.

Diolch, Cadeirydd. Yes, I move these amendments. The purpose of my lead amendment 81 and the consequential amendments to it—83, 84, 67 to 78—would be to bring this legislation in line with Scottish legislation, by banning the manufacture of the items listed in the legislation as well as the supply of them. This is something that has come up a lot as we were taking evidence: the idea would be to ensure that products can't be manufactured in Wales and then exported to other parts of the world. These amendments would be in keeping—. The spirit in which they've been tabled is that they would be in keeping with Wales's global responsibility under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 to ensure that plastic waste isn't simply offshored. I look forward to hearing what other Members have to say. I hope that these amendments will be supported. Thank you.

Thank you, Delyth. I call on Janet Finch-Saunders to speak.

Thank you. As I mentioned previously—. Sorry. The Minister admitted the Welsh Government is not currently aware of the number of single-use plastics—. Providing manufacturing in this Bill would impact businesses that Welsh Government are unaware even exist. It is simply not the right thing to do. I addressed in amendment 28 earlier the need for the Welsh Government to establish and maintain a list—. I think—. Sorry. I think my notes—

10:10

Yes. As I mentioned previously, the evidence submitted by stakeholders showed unanimous support for standardised definitions across legislation. In England's single-use plastics legislation, dieticians, occupational therapists and physiotherapists are included in the definition of a health professional. For unknown reasons, these professions have been omitted from the Bill. Including these provisions under the definition of a health professional not only acknowledges that they can issue medicinal products, but also brings the Bill's definition in line with the existing English legislation.

Definitions don't seem to be the subject of these amendments.

I'm not sure that you're speaking to the right group, Janet.

Nothing else to say? Okay. Are there any other Members who wish to speak? Jenny Rathbone.

Just in response to Delyth Jewell, the point you're making in amendment 81 is an important one: we don't want unforeseen consequences of people suddenly running around manufacturing straws, even if they're to be used elsewhere. However, we have to bear in mind that we will, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, have a Bill to tackle extended producer responsibility, and it seems to me that that is the better place to tackle this matter, rather than tying up this relatively straightforward Bill in a lot of knots.

There we are. Thank you, Jenny. Any other Members wish to speak? No, there we are. I'll call on the Minister, therefore, to speak to this group.

Diolch, Cadeirydd. Ever since the arguments for the inclusion of manufacturing in the Bill, it does go to the very heart of the principles underpinning this particular legislation, which are already settled. This Bill focuses on the reduction of environmental harm by limiting the supply of unnecessary single-use plastic products to consumers. There will be other opportunities to look at the manufacture of single-use plastics in Wales, and I'll just repeat what I said in the previous group: this isn't the only Bill, the only provision or the only Act that looks at these kinds of issues in the Senedd.

So, turning first to the proposals from Janet Finch-Saunders, who proposes amendment 40, which is a new section to place a duty on Welsh Ministers to consider, within five years of the Bill receiving Royal Assent, whether to amend this Act to prohibit the manufacture of single-use plastic products in Wales. It also stipulates the report must be laid before the Senedd as soon as possible after the end of this period. Amendment 44 is consequential to amendment 40 and clarifies the starting point for the five-year period as Royal Assent. Amendment 51 is also consequential to amendment 40, and proposes that the new section to be inserted by amendment 40 would also come into force a day after Royal Assent.

Turning to Delyth Jewell's amendment 67, which also proposes to introduce a new section to make manufacturing of prohibited—sorry, I've put my teeth back in—which proposes to introduce a new section to make manufacturing of prohibited single-use plastic products an offence under the Bill. I've considered the merits of this very carefully. The regulatory impact assessment found that most manufacturing of single-use plastic products banned on the face of the Bill takes place outside of Wales. The ban on manufacture would therefore would have a very limited effect on the use on these single-use products day to day. I do, however, take her point about us not exporting problems, and I'm very happy to work with her to see what we can do to make sure that we aren't exporting difficulties across the world.

Amendment 68 to 78, also proposed by Delyth Jewell, are consequential to amendment 67, adding in provisions for manufacturing, mirroring those for the offence of supply of a prohibited single-use product. The proposal includes granting powers to local authorities to authorise persons to investigate complaints that a person is manufacturing one of the products. There are also proposals to give powers to local authorities to enter premises, including dwellings, if they have a suspicion that an offence of manufacturing is being committed, and to bring prosecutions, if their investigation concludes this is the case. Delyth Jewell's proposals include, in amendment 78, the ability for Welsh Ministers to make regulations to introduce civil sanctions in relation to the committing of the proposed offence of manufacturing banned single-use plastic products. So, as manufacturing is outside the Bill, if Members accept my recommendations, I can't recommend the acceptance of these proposals for inclusion in this Bill either. 

Amendment 81 proposes that if a straw was manufactured for health and disability reasons, or for the reasons already outlined in exemptions in the table in the Schedule, then that manufacturing would be exempt from the offence of manufacture. Amendment 83 seeks to exempt the manufacture of plastic single-use carrier bags for the specific purposes for which supply is permitted. These are also consequential to amendment 67, and I therefore suggest these are not required, as manufacture would be outside the scope of the Bill.

Finally, in this group, Delyth Jewell's proposed amendment 84 sets out to ban the manufacture of all oxo-degradable products in Wales. Again, as these amendments are, I would suggest, outside the scope of the Bill, I cannot agree them.

As indicated earlier, the Bill focuses on the reduction of environmental harm by limiting the supply of unnecessary single-use plastic products to consumers. As manufacturing of the items in the Bill largely takes place outside Wales, I do not consider that there would be a substantial benefit to banning manufacture in this Bill, and it would overcomplicate a Bill that I think is very necessary and we need speedily onto the statute book. This would be doubling up on the resource requirements for the regulators to additionally inspect the manufacturing side of the supply chain for the same products, at a time when public funding of regulators is under severe pressure also.

For these reasons, I can't recommend any of these proposals, but I can assure you that we have plans in place to build on our existing positive relationship with Wales-based manufacturers to look at non-legislative solutions to achieving our policy aims as speedily as possible. This will include potential grant support, innovative schemes and extended producer responsibility. I'll be happy to further engage with the Senedd on the issues at hand in relation to Wales-based manufacturers. Diolch.

10:15

Thank you, Minister. I call on Delyth Jewell to reply to the debate.

Diolch, Cadeirydd. Thank you to Jenny for your comments. The purpose of it was not to be knotty—[Laughter.]—but I do take the point that you were making with that. I welcome the Minister's comments, particularly about what you've offered in terms of working with me to see if there is any way of including provision relating to exporting waste or preventing the exporting of waste, and I would welcome working with you on this. 

I'm reading the mood of the room that it's unlikely that these provisions will pass. I will put them to a vote when it comes to that—I will move them—because of the fact that we are meeting during COP27, when global responsibility is something that we're discussing so much, but I do recognise that these are unlikely to pass at this stage and I will welcome being able to work with the Minister on the specifics about exporting. I think I said 'exploiting' earlier—I meant to say 'exporting' waste. Forgive me, I can't read my own handwriting, sorry.

Thank you, Delyth. Okay, well, you've indicated that you wish to proceed to a vote, therefore, on amendment 81. So, the question is that amendment 81 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] There is an objection, yes, so we will move to a vote. The question is that amendment 81 be agreed. Those in favour, please raise your hands. Okay. And those against. Okay. So, we have two in favour, four against. And therefore that amendment falls.  

Gwelliant 81: O blaid: 2, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 81: For: 2, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Grŵp 5: Esemptiadau mewn perthynas â bagiau siopa (Gwelliannau 82, 57, 85, 86)
Group 5: Exemptions in relation to carrier bags (Amendments 82, 57, 85, 86)

Okay, we move to group 5, which relates to exemptions in relation to carrier bags. The lead amendment in this group is amendment 82, again in the name of Delyth Jewell, and I call on Delyth to move amendment 82, and to speak to this amendment and other amendments in the group—Delyth.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 82 (Delyth Jewell).

Amendment 82 (Delyth Jewell) moved.

Diolch, Cadeirydd; hello again. The purpose of lead amendment 82, which I move, and the consequential amendments to it, or the related amendments, would be to remove the current exemption that exists for carrier bags used in medical settings. Friends of the Earth have researched this extensively—they gave evidence to us as a committee on this—and I'm indebted to them in much of what I'm saying now. Friends of the Earth have pointed out that pharmacies still hand out millions of small plastic bags each year, and their small size doesn't make it practical for households to use those particular size single bags for other uses afterwards. 

Many pharmacies, like my own, have moved to paper bags. From a privacy perspective, paper works just as well; you can't see what's inside the paper. In terms of bag strength, which is another possible objection to this, Friends of the Earth have canvassed different pharmacies on this issue, and they found that the larger paper bags that are available can be strong enough even for quite heavy items.

The other principal reasons that they found as to why some pharmacies would object to this relate mainly to their internal distribution processes and storage in their premises and retail design. I do see those points, but they don't strike me as being good enough reasons to include this exemption in law. So, I look forward to hearing what other Members think, but I hope that this exemption can be removed.

Thank you, Delyth. I call on Janet Finch-Saunders to speak. 

Thank you. As I mentioned previously, the evidence submitted by stakeholders showed unanimous support for standardised definitions across legislation. In England's single-use plastic legislation, dieticians, occupational therapists and physiotherapists are included in the definition of a 'health professional'. For unknown reasons, these professions have been omitted from the Bill. Including these provisions under the definition of a 'health professional' not only acknowledges that they can issue medicinal products but also brings the Bill's definition in line with the existing English legislation. 

10:20

There we are. Thank you. Any other Members wish to speak? Jenny.

Well, I'd just like to say that I support Delyth Jewell's amendment 82. In my experience, nearly all medicinal products are dispensed by pharmacists in paper bags. I wasn't aware that they were continuing to use plastic in some cases. It does the job that's required, it keeps the items together for that particular individual, and it maintains confidentiality by not being transparent, so I support your amendment. 

I'm going to also support it and, like Jenny, I wasn't aware that people were still using plastic bags. An awful lot of what they are dispensing and what they're handing over already exist in plastic bags in any case, so would just be double-wrapping plastic, and it's not all in any way necessary. So, I will be supporting. 

Thank you, Joyce. I don't see any other requests to speak, so I'll call on the Minister to speak. 

Diolch, Cadeirydd. I will address Delyth Jewell's amendment No. 82 and it's consequential amendments, 85 and 86, first. Amendment 82 would reduce the number of exemptions of plastic single-use carrier bags from the ban introduced by the Bill. Specifically, it removes the exemption that applies when a patient received a plastic single-use carrier bag when dispensed with a prescribed medicine or medical device defined as a 'listed appliance' in the Bill. Amendments 85 and 86 are consequential to amendment 82 and deal with the removal of the legal definition of 'listed appliance' from the Bill, which would no longer be necessary.

I'm pleased to note that NHS Wales recently launched the greener primary care framework, and one of its actions for community pharmacies is to avoid the use of plastic bags wherever possible. The majority of prescriptions are indeed given to patients in paper bags, so it is clear that a feasible alternative to single-use plastic is readily available. I am therefore very happy to recommend amendments 82, 85 and 86. However, even if these amendments are passed, the Bill will still permit single-use plastic bags for a pharmacy medicine where it is not supplied in accordance with the prescription issued by a health professional. I will therefore remove the exemption for a non-prescription pharmacy medicine to bring this also in line with amendment 82, and I will seek to introduce this at Stage 3.

Turning now to Janet's amendment No. 57, this amendment would add registered dieticians, occupational therapists and physiotherapists to the definition of 'health professional' in the Bill. The original categories of health professional listed in the Bill, which includes physiotherapists, may lawfully prescribe some prescriptions medicines or listed appliances and may use single-use plastic carrier bags to dispense them. However, I'm unaware of any legislation in Wales that would permit registered dieticians or occupational therapists to prescribe medicines or medical devices, and therefore I oppose amendment 57. Diolch. 

Thank you, Minister. Delyth, therefore, to reply to the debate. 

Diolch, Cadeirydd. Well, I really welcome everyone's comments on this. Jenny, I thank you for your comments. I agree that paper does the job. Joyce, I agree with you about the principle of double wrapping here, and, Minister, I really welcome what you've just said, so I'm very pleased with this outcome. Thank you very much.

Thank you very much. I presume, therefore, Delyth, that you wish to proceed to a vote on amendment 82.

Yes, there we are. Okay, the question is that amendment 82 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection, therefore we will move to a vote. The question is that amendment 82 be agreed. All those in favour, please raise your hands. There we are. And all those against. There we are. Five in favour, one against, therefore the amendment is agreed. 

Gwelliant 82: O blaid: 5, Yn erbyn: 1, Ymatal: 0

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 82: For: 5, Against: 1, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been agreed

Delyth, do you wish to move amendment 83, which was debated in group 4? Yes. 

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 83 (Delyth Jewell).

Amendment 8 (Delyth Jewell) moved.

There we are. Diolch yn fawr. The question is that amendment 83 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. We will therefore take a vote. The question is that amendment 83 be agreed. Those in favour, please raise your hands. And those against. So, we have two in favour, four against. The amendment is therefore not agreed. 

Gwelliant 83: O blaid: 2, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 83: For: 2, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Grŵp 6: Cynhyrchion a wneir o blastig ocso-ddiraddiadwy ac ocso-fioddiraddadwy (Gwelliannau 54, 55, 58, 59, 60, 24)
Group 6: Products made of oxo-degradable and oxo-biodegradable plastic (Amendments 54, 55, 58, 59, 60, 24)

And we move on to group 6, which relates to products made of oxo-degradable and oxo-biodegradable plastic. The lead amendment in this group is amendment 54 in the name of Janet Finch-Saunders, and I call on Janet to move amendment 54 and speak to this amendment and other amendments in the group.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 54 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 54 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

Thank you, Chair. I speak on behalf of amendments 54 to 24. Oxo-degradable plastics are a contentious issue, with both the term and usage striking debate. Stakeholders have raised during their evidence submissions that 'oxo-degradable' is not a term used by suppliers, with the idea of oxo-degradable in itself up for debate. Many in the industry do not view 'oxo-degradable' as a real term. Whilst I recognise the explanatory memorandum addresses concerns around 'oxo-degradable', it is disheartening that the Welsh Ministers failed to research 'oxo-degradable' further. With industry admitting the term is not used and with many businesses wrongly labelling their products as biodegradable in attempt to greenwash their products, it poses the question as to how the Welsh Government can even enforce the prohibition of this material. 

Now, Ministers also admitted in the explanatory memorandum that oxo-degradable plastics were not included in the impact assessments, nor were any alternative materials included. The unit price of oxo-degradable plastics was not included due to the range of products it encompasses, according to the explanatory memorandum. Despite this, the explanatory memorandum has claimed the economic impact of banning oxo-degradable plastics would be minimal.

Now, further, the Welsh Government has actually ignored the National Farmers Union, which said in their response to the 2020 consultation that cost-effective alternatives were required before the Welsh Government consider banning oxo-degradable products. The Welsh Government admitted in the explanatory memorandum that although it claims that agricultural mulch is made from oxo-degradable plastic, it lacks the data to state how much is used in Wales. It appears that the Welsh Government has included oxo-degradable plastic in the Bill without even understanding what it even is, the usage, alternatives or the cost of alternatives.

It cannot be right that a section of legislation is even supported when it is not clearly understood. That, to me, sets an unwelcome precedent. If oxo-degradable plastic is to be prohibited under the Bill, then it is vital that the definition is considered accurate. The definition I proposed is that from the European Committee for Standardization. Further, it is important to then provide suitable exemptions. Oxo-biodegradable plastics break down past microplastics with the help of micro-organisms, so a big difference between what's been described as 'oxo-degradable' and the real terminology of 'oxo-biodegradable'.

It is important that when creating legislation and bringing forward regulations we are realistic in what we can do. This legislation will not ban plastic. It will not prevent the littering of materials. Plastic will continue to, unfortunately, be littered into the environment. By providing an exemption for oxo-biodegradable plastics, we can ensure that we begin to turn the tide on plastic and its impact on the environment and our health. The plastic that is littered, as single-use products commonly are, will break down quicker, and will not leave microplastics. We must not prohibit materials that are able to break down and leave no trace. And this was explained to me. For instance, farmers making silage, at the moment, they use the oxo-biodegradable, and that breaks down into molecules and does degrade. And I think this whole argument now—. We have to have correct definitions once again. They need to be understood clearly, and we also need to realise the impact that banning oxo-biodegradables would have just on farmers alone, and that's where we know it is used immensely so. Thank you. 

10:25

Thank you, Janet. Before I invite any other speakers, I understand that Hefin David needs to leave us at 10:30, so can I thank you, Hefin, for your attendance this morning, and invite Mike Hedges to take your place on this committee whilst—? There we are. A seamless swap there. Thank you, Hefin, diolch yn fawr, and welcome, Mike. Okay, any other Members wish to speak on this particular group of amendments? Jenny Rathbone. 

10:30

I don't think that this is well thought through, Janet Finch-Saunders, because you admit in what you say that there is no underlying definition of exactly what we're talking about here. What we learnt from the consultation was that there is no clear definition of what biodegradable actually is. And, in my book, allowing oxo-degradable plastic to be littering the environment, when it can take 200 years or more for the product to disappear—. The countryside is littered with scraps of that black plastic that farmers wrap their silage or hay in, and that is because it is not biodegradable in the sense that I understand it, which is that it's not soluble, it doesn't disappear, to not pollute the environment with something that is not natural. So, I think we are right in taking a precautionary approach to this and saying that we do not want to have this Bill create a new industry in so-called biodegradable products, which aren't actually what it says on the tin.

I do cover the majority of rural Wales, and I do see, as Jenny's just described, bits of plastic—pink, or blue, or green, whatever colour it might be—on the hedgerows. And I think the precautionary principle here is sensible; it's the only way to go forward. That isn't to say, of course, that there won't be conversations with people, with the Minister, and other Ministers, to see a way forward and work together, because absolutely that will happen, and I'm sure we'll have those reassurances. But I can't support this amendment, simply because, as Jenny's already said, there aren't clear definitions—Janet has said that. We can't take a chance—this is a major issue of plastic usage, and therefore it will be major to the production of it as well. So, I'm afraid I can't support it.

Thank you, Joyce. Any other Members wish to speak on this group? No. There we are. Okay. I'll call on the Minister, therefore, to speak. Minister.

Diolch, Cadeirydd. I'll address amendments 54 and 55 first. Amendment 54 seeks to remove oxo-degradable products from the list of prohibited products in schedule 1, and amendment 55 would exempt any product made of oxo-biodegradable plastic from the list of prohibited single-use plastic products in Schedule 1. As I noted in an earlier committee appearance, oxo-degradable plastic is a complex area still being researched. At this stage, we are satisfied there is credible evidence of the harm oxo-degradable plastic causes to the environment. In our view, this justifies including the ban on the face of the Bill. I hear what Janet says about the breakdown, but there's clear evidence that nanoplastics could be even worse than the microplastics we're currently used to. And just to say—[Inaudible.]—but, obviously, oxo-degradable or oxo-biodegradable film is not used for silage; it's not stable enough. Anything that degrades in sunlight is clearly not going to be okay for use for that kind of farming implementation. So, this isn't something that we're—. This isn't a farming practice; this is about using, making sure that oxo-degradable and oxo-biodegradable—and I agree with Janet that the terms are very ill-defined—are things that we need to do further research on. So, what the Bill does is—. At the point in time that we have the evidence available, we will be able to include it.

So, just to reiterate that, then, Chair, we're satisfied currently that there's credible evidence of the harm oxo-degradable plastic causes to the environment, and that justifies the ban on the face of the Bill at the moment. But we recognise the need to consider certain evidence further—so, whether there are sub-categories of oxo-degradable plastic that ought to be exempt before the ban is brought into force. Commencement of the ban, therefore, on oxo-degradable plastics is being phased, to enable that particular piece of work to be completed. The regulation-making power permits exemptions for oxo-degradable products to be added or for this category of plastic to be removed entirely from the Bill, should new, robust evidence indicate such a course is advisable. So, just to reassure Members, the Bill is wide enough to be able to do either of those.

Amendments 59 and 60 would insert a new definition of 'oxo-degradable plastic' into the Bill, while amendment 58 inserts a definition of 'oxo-biodegradable plastic'. In our view, there is not yet a settled scientific opinion that oxo-biodegradable plastic behaves differently to oxo-degradable plastic in nature, therefore, based on current evidence, we see no reason to treat this sub-category of oxo-biodegradable plastics any differently. We continue to monitor emerging evidence prior to commencing a ban, to see whether there is a case for including specific exemptions, although, as Members of the committee have pointed out—Joyce in particular—we don't think so at the moment; we see a lot of plastic littered across the countryside already, so we take that point entirely, Joyce. So, the revised definition of 'oxo-degradable plastic' is a plastic that is subject to degradation that is identified as resulting from oxidative cleavage of macromolecules. This would include almost all plastic, as most conventional plastics degrade by oxidative cleavage of macromolecules to a degree over time. So, we can't accept that amendment, as it would capture everything. We therefore oppose amendments 54, 55, 58, 59 and 60.

Turning, then, to Government amendment 24, this would add clarity to the current definition of 'oxo-degradable plastics' in the Bill. I remind Members this amendment is linked to amendment 2, which is being considered in group 1, and seeks to harmonise the language used throughout the Bill. Many additives are added to plastic, and it's possible that some can accelerate the oxidation and fragmentation of a plastic, even if that is a relatively minor side effect and not why they were added to the plastic in the first place. Replacing the phrase 'additives which accelerate' with 'any substance added for the purposes of accelerating' avoids inadvertently drawing other plastics into the scope of the Bill. It focuses on plastics that are designed and manufactured as oxo-degradable, and so makes the ban clearer and therefore much easier to enforce, and therefore I recommend, Members, amendment 24. Diolch, Cadeirydd.

10:35

Yes, as I've said throughout, it is a fact, and it's already been admitted previously by Ministers, that oxo-degradable plastics were not included in any impact assessment, and the definition that I propose is one from the European Committee for Standardization, and oxo-biodegradable plastics do break down past microplastics, with the help of micro-organisms, and I am really, really concerned if these amendments are not supported. That's it, really. Thanks.

Thank you, Janet. I presume, therefore, that you wish to move to a vote on amendment 54.

There we are. Okay. If amendment 54 is agreed, then amendments 55 and 84 will fall. So, the question is that amendment 54 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. We will therefore move to a vote. The question is that amendment 54 be agreed. Those in favour, please raise your hands. Those against, please raise your hands. There we are. Okay. So, we have five against and one in favour. Amendment 54 is therefore not agreed.

Gwelliant 54: O blaid: 1, Yn erbyn: 5, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 54: For: 1, Against: 5, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 55 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 55 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

There we are. The question is, therefore, that amendment 55 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. We will therefore take it to a vote. The question is that amendment 55 be agreed. Those in favour, please raise your hands. Those against, please show. One in favour, five against. That means that amendment 55 is therefore not agreed.

Gwelliant 55: O blaid: 1, Yn erbyn: 5, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 55: For: 1, Against: 5, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Delyth, do you wish to move amendment 84, which was debated back in group 4?

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 84 (Delyth Jewell).

Amendment 84 (Delyth Jewell) moved.

Yes, there we are. Okay. The question is that amendment 84 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. We will therefore vote. The question is that amendment 84 be agreed. Those in favour, please raise your hands. And those against, please show. Two in favour, four against. Amendment 84 is therefore not agreed.

Gwelliant 84: O blaid: 2, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 84: For: 2, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Grŵp 7: Dehongli (Gwelliannau 23, 56, 17)
Group 7: Interpretation (Amendments 23. 56, 17)

And we come on to the next group of amendments, which is group 7, and that group relates to the interpretation of terms. The lead amendment in the group is amendment 23, in the name of the Minister. 

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 23 (Julie James).

Amendment 23 (Julie James) moved.

I move amendment 23 in the name of the Minister and call on the Minister to speak to her amendment and to the other amendments in this group. Minister.

Diolch, Cadeirydd. Government amendments 17 and 23 run together and are technical in nature. Amendment 17 removes the definition of 'carrier bag' from the general interpretation provision in section 20 of the Bill. However, amendment 23 then inserts the definition into paragraph 2 of the Schedule to the Bill, where we believe it needs to be. This is consistent with the structure of the Bill. This change will allow the Government to amend the definition of 'carrier bag' if needed in the future by regulations made under section 3 of the Bill.

Turning to amendment 56, which was tabled by Janet Finch-Saunders, it proposes to omit text that currently restricts the prohibition on single-use plastic cotton buds to those that are designed to be used for cosmetic application or personal or animal hygiene. The effect of this amendment would be to broaden to prohibition so that it would capture any cotton bud made of any single-use plastic, irrespective of its intended use. Our policy intention is to capture cotton buds used in a domestic setting and which are potentially disposed of incorrectly by being flushed down the toilet. While we believe that sticks with cotton ends used in medical, laboratory or forensic settings that are disposed of correctly would be considered 'swabs', additional context has been provided to the definition. This ensures that cotton buds used in a medical setting are exempt from the provisions, in line with our policy. On this basis, our position is to maintain the text as it is currently drafted in the Bill and reject amendment 56. Diolch.

10:40

Thank you, Minister. I'll call on Janet Finch-Saunders to speak.

Reiterating my previous comments, standardised definitions are incredibly important between legislation passed in the UK. By removing reference to cosmetic application and personal or animal hygiene, amendment 56 brings the definition of cotton buds in line with the legislation in England. Further, the amendment broadens what is then encompassed by 'cotton buds', preventing a potential loophole where a supplier can claim it was not for cosmetic or hygiene purposes. We must ensure that this is not the case. 

Thank you, Janet. Are there any other Members who wish to speak? Jenny.

I would oppose the amendment proposed by Janet Finch-Saunders to delete the words 'designed to be used for cosmetic application or personal or animal hygiene' because these are then potentially going to be disposed of in the general waste system, whereas the things that, obviously, cause major problems, if they're used in a medical setting, they're going to be disposed of in a completely different way, normally by incineration. So, I would oppose your limitation of the definition of cotton buds. 

Thank you, Jenny. Any other speakers? No. There we are. Thank you very much. I therefore call on the Minister to reply to the debate.

Thank you, Minister. I presume that you wish to proceed to a vote on amendment 23.

Yes. Thank you so much. The question is that amendment 23 be agreed. Does any Member object? No objections. Amendment 23, therefore, is agreed.

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 56 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 56 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

The question is that amendment 56 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection, therefore we will take it to a vote. The question is that amendment 56 be agreed. Those in favour, please raise your hands. And those against, please raise your hands. Five against, one in favour. That means that the amendment is therefore not agreed. 

Gwelliant 56: O blaid: 1, Yn erbyn: 5, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 56: For: 1, Against: 5, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Janet, do you wish to move amendment 57, which was debated back in group 5? 

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 57 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 57 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

Thank you. The question is that amendment 57 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] There has been an objection, therefore we will vote. The question is that amendment 57 be agreed. Those in favour, please raise your hands. Thank you. And those against, please raise your hands. One in favour, five against, which means that this amendment has not been agreed.

Gwelliant 57: O blaid: 1, Yn erbyn: 5, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 57: For: 1, Against: 5, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Delyth, do you wish to move amendment 85, which was debated in group 5? 

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 85 (Delyth Jewell).

Amendment 85 (Delyth Jewell) moved.

Yes, thank you. The question is, therefore, that amendment 85 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. We will therefore vote. The question is that amendment 85 be agreed. Those in favour, please raise your hands. And those against, please show. Five in favour, one against. Therefore, the amendment is agreed. 

Gwelliant 85: O blaid: 5, Yn erbyn: 1, Ymatal: 0

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 85: For: 5, Against: 1, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been agreed

Janet, do you wish to move amendment 58, which was debated in group 6?

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 58 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 58 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

You do indeed. There we are. Thank you. The question is therefore that amendment 58 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. The question therefore is that amendment 58 be agreed. Those in favour, please raise your hands. And those against, please raise your hands. One in favour, five against, which means that the amendment is not agreed. 

Gwelliant 58: O blaid: 1, Yn erbyn: 5, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 58: For: 1, Against: 5, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Janet, do you wish to move amendment 59, which was debated with group 6?

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 59 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 59 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

Thank you. If amendment 59 is agreed, amendments 60 and 24 fall. The question is that amendment 59 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. We will therefore vote on this amendment, which is amendment 59. So, those in favour, please raise your hands. And those against, please raise your hands. One in favour, five against, which means that this amendment is not agreed.

Gwelliant 59: O blaid: 1, Yn erbyn: 5, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 59: For: 1, Against: 5, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

10:45

Janet, do you wish to move amendment 60, which was debated with group 6?

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 60 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 60 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

Yes, there we are. If amendment 60 is agreed, amendment 24 falls. The question is that amendment 60 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. We will therefore vote. The question is that amendment 60 be agreed. Those in favour, please raise your hands. And those against, please raise your hands. One in favour, five against, which means that that amendment is not agreed.

Gwelliant 60: O blaid: 1, Yn erbyn: 5, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 60: For: 1, Against: 5, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 24 (Julie James).

Amendment 24 (Julie James) moved.

I move amendment 24 in the name of the Minister, and the question is that amendment 24 be agreed. Does any Member object? No objections. Amendment 24 is therefore agreed.

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Delyth, do you wish to move amendment 86, which was debated with group 5?

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 86 (Delyth Jewell).

Amendment 86 (Delyth Jewell) moved.

Yes, thank you. The question is that amendment 86 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. We will therefore move to a vote, and the question is that amendment 86 be agreed. Those in favour, please raise your hands. And those against, please raise your hands. We have five in favour and one against, which means that the amendment is agreed.

Gwelliant 86: O blaid: 5, Yn erbyn: 1, Ymatal: 0

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 86: For: 5, Against: 1, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been agreed

Janet, do you wish to move amendment 28, which was debated with group 2?

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 28 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 28 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

Thank you. If amendment 28 is not agreed, then amendment 46 falls. The question is that amendment 28 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. We will therefore vote, and the question is that amendment 28 be agreed. Those in favour, please raise your hands. Those in favour—. Let's just do this again. Those in favour, please raise your hands. Thank you. Those against, please raise your hands. There we are, okay. So, we have  one in favour and five against, which means that amendment 28 is not agreed. 

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

Methodd gwelliant 46.

Amendment 46 fell.

Grŵp 8: Cynhyrchion plastig untro gwaharddedig: pŵer i ddiwygio (Gwelliannau 7, 29, 30, 31, 64, 32, 33)
Group 8: Prohibited single-use plastic products: power to amend (Amendments 7, 29, 30, 31, 64, 32, 33)

Right, we come on to group 8, which relates to the power to amend. The lead amendment in this group is amendment 7 in the name of the Minister. 

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 7 (Julie James).

Amendment 7 (Julie James) moved.

I move amendment 7 in the name of the Minister, and call on the Minister to speak to her amendment and the other amendments in this group—Minister.

Diolch, Cadeirydd. I'm bringing forward Government amendment 7 which places a duty on Welsh Ministers to consult local authorities, Natural Resources Wales, and any other relevant bodies before making regulations under the powers in section 3. Section 3 of the Bill makes provision about the powers of the Welsh Ministers to make regulations amending the list of products banned by the Bill. Amendment 7 will add in a new sub-section containing a requirement to consult on such regulations. During Stage 1, recommendations were put forward by the committee to include a requirement to consult. I've listened to the recommendations and tabled amendment 7 as a result.

Amendment 29 was proposed by Janet Finch-Saunders and stipulates that any amending regulations under section 3 of the Bill will not come into force for at least 12 months. The powers within section 3 add products to column 1 of the table to restrict or ban items. They also allow for the removal of products, adding, removing or amending exemptions, and adding, removing or amending a definition. Therefore, a set timescale may not be appropriate for some elements of this process. For example, we may wish for an exemption to come in before the set 12-month period. With regard to regulations for new products, we will be following due process, including extensive consultations and engagement with businesses and other stakeholders. Sufficient time will be provided for a transition to other products, and commencement dates will be used to reflect this. For the reasons outlined, I cannot support amendment 29.

Moving on to amendment 30 by Janet Finch-Saunders, the amendment would place obligations on the Welsh Ministers to conduct a life-cycle analysis, cost analysis, and prepare a regulatory impact assessment before amending the list of banned and restricted single-use plastic items. Preparing a full regulatory impact assessment is an inherent part of the regulation-making process and is required by Standing Orders. This means that there is no need to place this requirement on the face of the Bill. Consideration of life-cycle analysis of products is already part of our approach to conducting impact assessments. Many good-quality life-cycle analyses already exist, which we can rely on, and we would only commission additional ones if these were necessary. Commissioning new life-cycle analyses as a mater of course would add to the cost and time for bringing in new regulations, unnecessarily increasing the administrative and financial burden on the Welsh Government. Similarly, a full impact assessment would evaluate the cost of disbenefits of switching to alternative materials as a matter of principle. Given that the requirement of a full impact assessment is part of the standard regulation-making process, I do not believe that amendment 30 is needed, and for this reason, I cannot support the proposal.

Amendment 31, tabled by Janet Finch-Saunders, also proposes to amend section 3 of the Bill. The Government has already tabled amendment 7, which places a duty on the Welsh Ministers to consult before new regulations are introduced. Although our amendment does not specifically reference disabled people, this has been and will continue to be an integral part of our work. Representatives of protected groups have been involved in the policy development of this Bill, and we will continue to engage with them regarding any future work and proposed regulatory changes. However, I recognise that this is an important point, and I accept amendment 31 in principle. This is something that we will look for at Stage 3, and I would be very happy to work with the Member to bring forward a workable amendment at that stage. 

Amendment 64 seeks to place a duty on the Welsh Ministers under section 4 to take into account emerging trends relating to the use of single-use plastic products in considering whether to exercise their powers to make regulations under section 3 of the Bill. The amendment is proposed by Delyth Jewell. Section 4 of the Bill places duties on the Welsh Ministers to issue a report under section 79(2) of the Government of Wales Act 2006 when considering any changes to the Schedule to the Bill, as per the section 3 powers. Any proposed regulatory change would be based on extensive evidence gathering, which would naturally include consideration of emerging trends in relation to single-use plastic products. As you are aware, we have already tabled amendment 7, which will require the Welsh Ministers to consult with all relevant stakeholders and interested parties when policy and regulatory changes are being considered. I believe that the proposed amendment is unnecessary, as section 4 and the Government amendment sufficiently covers this aspect. 

Next is amendment 32 by Janet Finch-Saunders. The amendment seeks to amend section 4(2) of the Bill to require the Welsh Ministers to consider adding sauce sachets to the items prohibited under the Bill when considering whether to exercise a section 3 regulation power to amend the Schedule. The reference to wet wipes was included in the section to signal the intention for Welsh Ministers to focus on these products as a priority. It was not intended to be an exhaustive list, and additional products will be included and are likely to be ranked in order of priority, based on their environmental impact, availability of alternatives and other relevant criteria. However, I am content to extend the current list. I note that sauce sachets were included in the 60 additional products suggested by stakeholders and the public during the original consultation in 2020. I'm therefore supportive of the amendment. 

The last amendment to consider in group 8 is amendment 33 by Janet Finch-Saunders. Section 4 of the Bill currently provides that, in the report that they are required to publish under section 79(2) of the Government of Wales Act, the Welsh Ministers must explain their consideration of any plans to exercise the regulation-making powers in section 3 to add further single-use plastic products to the Bill. Amendment 33 seeks to amend section 4, so that, in such a report the Welsh Ministers are also required to explain their consideration to remove any single-use plastic products from column 1 of the table in paragraph 1 of the Schedule, and to add further exemptions to column 2 of the table in paragraph 1 of the Schedule. It also requires the Welsh Ministers to keep under review the necessity of products and exemptions under Schedule 1, considering the negative impacts of plastic pollution. 

The main reason we are not accepting the amendment at this stage is because the power in section 4(2) of the Bill relates directly to the duty in section 79(2) of the Government of Wales Act 2006. This is for Welsh Ministers to publish a report containing a statement of the arrangements made in pursuance of promoting sustainable development. However, given that this amendment seeks to require Welsh Ministers to consider removing single-use plastic items from the table, and adding in further exemptions, it would seem contrary to promoting sustainable development. Therefore, we believe that further consideration is needed in relation to this amendment, and I would be very happy to work with the Member to look at this for Stage 3. Diolch. 

10:50

Thank you, Minister. I call on Janet Finch-Saunders to speak. 

Thank you, Chair, and thank you, Minister. There was quite some encouragement there that you are happy to work, going forward to Stage 3, on some part of the amendments that we've put forward. But I'll speak to amendments 29 to 33.

I genuinely believe that suppliers must be given sufficient time to adapt to the regulations proposed in the Bill. Now, I also recognise that suppliers will be given six months to prepare, thanks to the World Trade Organization. It's a bit disappointing to know that Welsh Government is giving businesses, including Welsh businesses, the bare minimum period to adapt. Amendment 29 would double the period suggested by the Welsh Government to 12 months. This also takes into account businesses outside of Wales that are likely to become aware of the Bill once it comes into force—to only become aware of the Bill once it comes into force—or, further, when the Welsh Government starts to raise awareness on the Bill. Whilst we can acknowledge that single-use plastics are detrimental to the environment, we cannot turn a blind eye to the damage caused by alternative materials. 

Amendment 30 proposes that the Welsh Government must carry out life-cycle analysis for any alternative materials that it proposes as replacements. What we don't want to do is replace one problematic material with another. This provision will ensure that replacement materials do not cause more environmental harm throughout their extraction, production, use and breakdown than the plastic that they are replacing. It is also necessary for Ministers to hold public consultations to ensure that, when proposing alternative materials, appropriate exemptions are put into place. Therefore, amendment 31 would put this provision into the Bill, ensuring explicitly that groups representing disabled persons would be consulted for every proposed material. I am appreciative that the Minister has made reference to wet wipes in the Bill, ensuring prohibition of the material will be considered in the future. Whilst wet wipes are problematic to our sewerage systems as well as to the environment, I have listened to our manufacturers who claim that the innovation is not yet there in creating plastic-free wet wipes to match the current standard of wipes. In the Welsh Government's consideration in the future, they must ensure that manufacturers are listened to and that the adequate time is provided for them to switch to plastic-free. I do know of companies now in Wales that are really working around the clock to bring these forward, but currently, that isn't the case.

I echo this statement also for sauce sachets, which was included in amendment 32. By having a provision in the Bill to consider these materials in the future, we are providing adequate time for research to be conducted by manufacturers and suppliers as well as the Welsh Government. The purpose of this Bill includes the need to tackle the negative impacts of plastic pollution on our environment. Amendment 33 inserts a provision for Welsh Ministers to consider the extent to which the single-use plastic products and the exemptions contained in the Bill are necessary to tackle the negative impacts from plastic pollution. This is supported by a later amendment that seeks a pollution strategy. The Welsh Government must remember the purpose of the Bill and understand that banning items does not necessarily change consumer behaviour. Thank you.

10:55

Diolch, Gadeirydd. I speak to amendment 64. The Minister has set out the purpose of the amendment in her own remarks. It would require Ministers, when they're determining whether and how to expand the scope of the items listed, to take into account any emerging trends. It would ensure that, had we had this legislation at the beginning of 2020, for example, single-use masks, which became so prevalent during the pandemic but before that, they weren't really anything like as commonly used, they would have been captured. I do take into account what the Minister has said—that Government amendment 7 captures some of the same spirit of this. Amendment 64 would make it more explicit about emerging trends. Thank you.

Thank you, Delyth. Are there any other Members who wish to speak? Yes, Jenny.

I think if you want to trade in Wales, you've got to adhere to Welsh law. So, I welcome amendment 7, which, it seems to me, isn't putting the cart before the horse. It is a legislative commitment to consult all stakeholders to ensure that we're not introducing things with unforeseen consequences. So, I think amendment 7 is a very important proposal, and I think it makes amendment 64 not necessary, because I think the obligation is already captured in amendment 7. Clearly, our overarching objective is to reduce, reuse and recycle all materials to save our planet, so I'm happy to support amendment 32, which eliminates sauces in sachets, as an addendum to the list of things that are not going to be permitted under this Bill, because this is not a substantive issue, after all. So, I think the whole thing is a work in progress. We have to proceed carefully, and I think amendment 7 gives us that framework for ensuring that we're not introducing aspects of this Bill without having fully considered the consequences. 

Thank you, Jenny. Any further speakers? No. There we are. Okay, I'll call on the Minister, therefore, to reply to the debate.

Diolch, Gadeirydd. I'm very grateful to Members for their remarks on the group. I do want Members to support Government amendment 7, which obviously arises directly from recommendations proposed by committees and very specifically from the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee at Stage 1. Amendment 7 is also in line with amendment 31. I am opposing amendment 31 in its current form, but just reiterate my offer to work with Janet Finch-Saunders to bring forward a Stage 3 amendment that would better line up with the rest of the Bill. Diolch.

Thank you, Minister. Do you wish to proceed, therefore, to a vote on amendment 7?

11:00

Thank you. The question is that amendment 7 be agreed. Does any Member object? We have no objections. Therefore, amendment 7 is agreed. 

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 29 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 29 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

The question is that amendment 29 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. We will therefore vote, and the question is that amendment 29 be agreed. Those in favour, please raise your hands. Those against, please raise your hands. One in favour, five against, which means that the amendment is not agreed. 

Gwelliant 29: O blaid: 1, Yn erbyn: 5, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 29: For: 1, Against: 5, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 30 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 30 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

Thank you. The question is that amendment 30 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] There is an objection, so we will vote. The question is that amendment 30 be agreed. Those in favour, please raise your hands. And those against, please raise your hands. One in favour, five against, which means that the amendment is not agreed. 

Gwelliant 30: O blaid: 1, Yn erbyn: 5, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 30: For: 1, Against: 5, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 31 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 31 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

Yes, please.

The question is that amendment 31 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. We will therefore vote. The question is that amendment 31 be agreed. Those in favour, please raise your hands. And those against, please raise your hands. That's a tied vote. Therefore, I use my casting vote in the negative, that is, against the amendment, in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii). Therefore, amendment 31 is not agreed. 

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

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 64 (Delyth Jewell).

Amendment 64 (Delyth Jewell) moved.

Thank you. The question is that amendment 64 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. The question, therefore, as we vote, is that amendment 64 be agreed. Those in favour, please raise your hands. And those against, please raise your hands. So, that's a tied vote again and, as there is a tied vote, I use my casting vote in the negative, that is, against the amendment, in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii). Therefore, amendment 64 is not agreed. 

Gwelliant 64: 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 64: 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 32 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 32 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

The question is that amendment 32 be agreed. Does any Member object? We have no objections. Therefore, amendment 32 is agreed. 

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 33 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 33 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

The question is that amendment 33 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. We will therefore vote, and the question is that amendment 33 be agreed. Those in favour, please raise your hands. And those against, please raise your hands. One in favour, five against, which means that this amendment is not agreed.  

Gwelliant 33: O blaid: 1, Yn erbyn: 5, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 33: For: 1, Against: 5, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Janet, do you wish to move amendment 34, which was debated in group 2? 

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 34 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 34 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

Thank you. If amendment 34 is not agreed, amendment 47 falls. The question is that amendment 34 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. We will vote. The question is that amendment 34 be agreed. Those in favour, please raise your hands. And those against, please raise your hands. One in favour, five against. That amendment is therefore not agreed.  

Gwelliant 34: O blaid: 1, Yn erbyn: 5, Ymatal: 0

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 34: For: 1, Against: 5, Abstain: 0

Amendment has been rejected

Methodd gwelliant 47.

Amendment 47 fell.

Before coming on to group 9, I think it's fair that we take a short break, and we will reconvene at 11:15 to continue with these amendments. Diolch yn fawr. 

Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 11:03 a 11:15.

The meeting adjourned between 11:03 and 11:15.

11:15
Grŵp 9: Trefniadau polisi yn y dyfodol: Strategaeth llygredd plastig untro a Thasglu Cynhyrchion Amldro (Gwelliannau 35, 65, 48, 79)
Group 9: Future policy arrangements: Single-use plastics pollution strategy and Reusable Products Taskforce (Amendments 35, 65, 48, 79)

Croeso nôl i'r pwyllgor. 

Welcome back to the committee.

Welcome back to the committee, everybody. If I can call you all to order, we will continue with Stage 2 of the single-use plastics Bill. And we're currently moving on to group 9 of amendments, which relates to future policy arrangements. The lead amendment in this group is amendment 35 in the name of Janet Finch-Saunders. I therefore call on Janet to move amendment 35 and to speak to this amendment and other amendments in this group.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 35 (Janet Finch-Saunders).

Amendment 35 (Janet Finch-Saunders) moved.

Thank you. Now then, one of the purposes of this Bill is to reduce the negative impacts of plastic pollution on our Welsh environment. There is considerable data available to show that plastic is a problem in our landscape. We are aware that, in 2019, 92 pieces of plastic were found per 100m on our Welsh beaches. We are also aware of the impact of plastic on our wildlife and in our oceans. It is believed that less than 10 per cent of single-use plastics have been recycled globally; 90 per cent of sea birds tested have plastic in their stomachs. By 2050, it is predicted that there will be more plastic than fish in the sea. Whilst it is welcomed that this Bill prohibits types of single-use plastics, banning plastics simply does not go far enough in tackling pollution. Pollution is a behavioural problem that also needs to be addressed.

Now, amendment 35 would ensure the Welsh Government establishes a single-use plastic pollution strategy. The amendment requires Welsh Ministers to set out the key priorities in tackling single-use plastic pollution as well as the opportunities and initiatives to do so. The success of this Bill relies on a successful pollution strategy and, as such, the amendment would require the strategy to be published within 12 months of the section coming into force. Thank you.

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