Pwyllgor Newid Hinsawdd, yr Amgylchedd a Seilwaith
Climate Change, Environment, and Infrastructure Committee21/06/2023
Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol
Committee Members in Attendance
|Delyth Jewell MS|
|Heledd Fychan MS||Dirprwyo ar ran Llyr Gruffydd|
|Substitute for Llyr Gruffydd|
|Huw Irranca-Davies MS|
|Janet Finch-Saunders MS|
|Jenny Rathbone MS|
|Joyce Watson MS|
Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol
Others in Attendance
|Dame Glenys Stacey||Swyddfa Diogelu'r Amgylchedd|
|Office for Environmental Protection|
|Dr Nerys Llewelyn Jones||Asesydd Interim Diogelu'r Amgylchedd Cymru|
|Interim Environmental Protection Assessor for Wales|
|Mark Roberts||Safonau Amgylcheddol yr Alban|
|Environmental Standards Scotland|
|Natalie Prosser||Swyddfa Diogelu'r Amgylchedd|
|Office for Environmental Protection|
Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol
Senedd Officials in Attendance
|Elizabeth Wilkinson||Ail Glerc|
|Lukas Evans Santos||Dirprwy Glerc|
|Marc Wyn Jones||Clerc|
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 09:34.
The committee met in the Senedd and by video-conference.
The meeting began at 09:34.
Bore da a chroeso i gyfarfod y Pwyllgor Newid Hinsawdd, yr Amgylchedd a Seilwaith heddiw yma ar 21 Mehefin. Diolch i'r Aelodau am ymuno efo ni. Mi ddylwn i egluro bod y cyfarfod hwn yn cael ei gynnal mewn fformat hybrid, ac mae eitemau cyhoeddus y cyfarfod hwn yn cael eu darlledu'n fyw ar Senedd.tv ac mi fydd yna gofnod o'r trafodion yn cael ei gyhoeddi yn ôl yr arfer. Mae'r cyfarfod hwn yn ddwyieithog ac mae cyfieithu ar y pryd o'r Gymraeg i'r Saesneg ar gael, a chroeso i unrhyw un gyfrannu yn un ai'r Gymraeg neu'r Saesneg. Gaf i ofyn i Aelodau i ddechrau: a oes yna unrhyw fuddiannau i'w datgan? Na. Diolch yn fawr iawn.
Good morning and welcome to this meeting of the Climate Change, Environment and Infrastructure Committee today on 21 June. Thanks to the Members for joining us today. I should clarify that this meeting will be held in a hybrid format. This is a public meeting and it will be broadcast live on Senedd.tv and a record of the proceedings will be published as usual. This meeting is bilingual and interpretation is available from Welsh to English, and anybody is welcome to contribute in either Welsh or English. May I ask Members to start whether there are any declarations of interest to make? No. Thank you very much.
Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at eitem 2, felly. Rydyn ni'n edrych heddiw ar graffu blynyddol ar weithrediad mesurau interim diogelu’r amgylchedd. Ac rydym yn cychwyn y bore yma gyda sesiwn dystiolaeth gyda Safonau Amgylcheddol yr Alban a Swyddfa Diogelu'r Amgylchedd.
We will move on therefore to item 2. Today, we will be looking at the annual scrutiny of operation of interim environmental protection measures. And we're starting this morning with an evidence session with Environmental Standards Scotland and the Office for Environmental Protection.
Can I please welcome our witnesses this morning? Thank you so much for joining us. Could I please ask you to introduce yourselves in turn for the record? If we can perhaps start with you, Dame Glenys?
Thank you very much. I'm Dame Glenys Stacey. I'm chair of the Office for Environmental Protection. Can I just explain to committee members that I'm not in the room I anticipated being in because of an echo? So, I'm actually in a coffee bar area of a conference centre, so, please forgive me if the noise level behind gets a bit difficult. I'll move if that happens. Thank you.
Thank you very much, and welcome to you. If I can move on now, perhaps, to Natalie.
Thank you. My name is Natalie Prosser. I'm the chief executive officer of the Office for Environmental Protection, and I'm very happy to be here today.
Thank you for joining us. And finally, Mark.
Good morning. My name is Mark Roberts, I'm the chief executive of Environmental Standards Scotland.
You're very welcome, the three of you. If you don't mind, we'll got straight into questions, and if I can start with a specific question for the OEP, just to ask, really, whether the interim environmental governance secretariat role, if you believe it was effective in logging and passing complaints to the OEP once established.
Shall I start, Natalie, and then you can follow on? So, yes, we do think they were enormously helpful, those arrangements. The team we had were very good. They worked assiduously to do the right thing and not cross the line into actually investigating complaints. But there's a lot of work, as you receive a compliant, to make sure that it is at the appropriate place and in the appropriate format. And all that was done very carefully for us by that interim arrangement. And it also gave us a chance to test out our embryonic complaints procedures, so, it was a bit of a testing bed as well.
What I would add to that is that there was a reasonably considerable delay between establishing the IEGS and the establishment of the OEP on a statutory footing, and for those complainants who had to essentially wait for the OEP to be a on a statutory footing, we had to take a lot of care to support and manage them because there was a delay, and I'm sure that that was the cause of some frustration. But I agree with Dame Glenys's assessment—it was very helpful having that function in place to allow complaints to be received and triaged before they were passed over to the OEP proper.
Thank you, both. Both Janet Finch-Saunders and Huw Irranca-Davies have indicated that they have a supplementary, so, I'll come to you first, Janet.
Thank you and good morning. I just picked up on the comments that you made on not crossing the line to investigate the complaint.
Yes. So, the interim body did not have the statutory powers of investigation. We had to wait for those to be enabled. That was the difficulty.
Okay. Now you have those powers, you've followed on through now with a number of investigations, then.
Yes. We've had 86 complaints; we've had over 700 general inquiries, and we have commenced two investigations.
Two investigations. Thank you.
Thank you. And if I can bring Huw in.
Thank you very much, Chair. I just want you, briefly, to reflect on what lessons we might take as a committee now that we have a slight delay here in Wales. So, how do we overcome those hurdles that you've had, particularly with that lag between the powers you needed? What would you say to us as a committee?
Right. Well, again, I'll start, Natalie, and perhaps you'll come in. So, of course, the lag that we experienced wasn't just a problem in relation to complaints, it was the other powers and duties that we hoped to have as well as a statutory body. And during that period, I do think it's right that we were able to receive complaints and that people were then kept informed. And, as Natalie said, we worked hard at making that happen.
But we were also able to make progress in other respects. So, for example, Government was persuaded to set up the OEP on an interim footing. So, there was this intermediate stage, if you like. We initially had the secretariat, then we became the interim OEP, and then we became the enacted OEP proper. And in that interim OEP period, we were able to make progress in a number of ways. We were able to, for example, complete the appointments process for members of our board. And that's a sizeable amount of our intellectual capital, and they were able to steer and shape the way the organisation would be in the way that they should. So, being able to get key senior staff and board members in early, before enactment, if you like, did enable us to hit the ground running, I would say, Natalie, didn't it, and it gave us thinking time. There's no point in having thinking time if you haven't got the right people doing the thinking. You don't want an interim secretariat doing that thinking for you, when you're thinking about how you prioritise matters or what your approach to enforcement might be, or what the priorities might be for you. You need the people who will be the bedrock of the organisation doing that thinking with you, and we were able to get those on board.
Thank you very much. If I can bring Joyce Watson in.
Thank you. Good morning, both. I think quite a few of the questions have been asked, but you started talking about your reflections on establishing the interim OEP prior to the legislation. Do you have anything further to add?
Natalie, would you like to start?
The material benefit of the OEP being on an interim footing is, as Dame Glenys mentioned, the ability to do the building of the organisation, which is a substantial resource investment of recruiting, establishing all of your operational protocols, finding premises and so on. That space did enable us to progress.
The other lesson I learned from the interim OEP was that we worked very closely with our sponsorship department, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to scope out a governance arrangement that allowed OEP to take further steps forward in that establishment. That was developed in partnership, ahead of the legislation being finalised. For example, that allowed us to deliver a first report, assessing the Government's progress, which is our 'Taking stock' report, and it allowed us to provide advice to Government while we were in the interim phase. We didn't have all the powers that the statutory OEP had, but it allowed us to start doing that job in earnest while we were still building the organisation, and it allowed us to straight away start performing our role and supporting those statutory functions before they came online. So, I do think the interim arrangements were very valuable. I think the lesson from us is that there is real merit in establishing an interim body while the necessary legislative process happens. It's important that that legislation is subject to the right thinking and scrutiny, but in the meantime, we were able to crack on in getting the organisation up on its feet.
Okay, and where did you manage to find your staff and your expertise, and how did you go about doing that?
Shall I start?
It was incredibly valuable that the appointments process for our board had been commenced early, and our board was appointed in interim form in July. That brought a guiding and informed board to allow the shaping of the organisation. I think that was a very prudent and wise decision to make to get the board up and running. The board, then, were able to commence recruitment and appointment, which we started almost straight away, and the interim arrangements with DEFRA meant that we could recruit staff on an interim basis into DEFRA, and the legislation then enabled those staff to be ported over into OEP. That was a very helpful enabling bit of legislation in the Act that happened.
We are based in Worcester in England and Northern Ireland, and we progressed with our England-based recruitment initially. We advertised through the normal civil service channels. We found an enormous amount of interest from a broad range of skilled individuals in the organisation, so we were able to bring on board relatively quickly some very high-calibre staff. Through the transition period, we retained that supporting group of seconded staff from DEFRA, some of whom elected to apply and stay with the organisation on a permanent basis, and some of whom went back to DEFRA. That allowed a smoother transition from interim to statutory form.
Thank you. Janet.
Thank you. A very quick one first: how many staff do you have, and how many are on your board, please?
Do you want to go with the board, Dame Glenys, and I'll pick up staff?
Yes, I'll deal with board. So, our board membership isn't as large as it could be. The statutory provisions would allow us to have a couple more board members. The statutory provisions also provide that our chief exec is a board member, as indeed she is, and that at least one other member of our executive staff should be on the board as well. And we deal with that by rotating—[Inaudible.]—on and off on a sort of six-monthly basis, so they each get a chance to do that, and that's working quite well. We followed the model set up there by the National Audit Office, actually, in approaching that in that sort of fashion. Other than that, there is myself, there is a board member dedicated, well, from Northern Ireland; by statute, we need that member, although he plays his full part across the whole range of other work. And then we have four other board members, bringing a mix of expertise, understanding of environmental law and wider environmental matters, and a good amount of policy experience as well. If I could say, they've proved to be excellent, and there are no one-trick ponies on our board; they all bring much more than one thing.
Oh, fantastic. So, what would you say are the lessons for Wales if we build—or they build—an interim body in anticipation of legislation to establish a Welsh environmental governance body?
Okay. So, I'll start, Nat, and you can pick up what I forget. So, first of all, there'll be a large debate about the extent to which this body would be independent, as there was in our country, and you can expect that debate to play through. It is important, in my view, that the relevant parliament or assembly is comfortable, ultimately, with the level of independence to be given to the body, although, in my experience, independence is all in the doing, in any event. So, you can expect that debate and the to-ing and fro-ing that would come with that. And you need to ensure that the body is sufficiently independent, in my view. That's the first thing.
The second thing is that the quality of those board members, if you set it up in that way, is so important. You need a really good board for something like this, particularly where the board has statutory powers reserved to it, for example, to commence investigations. So, making sure that you attract a good cadre—we had almost 200 applicants, I think—and that the process is thorough and fair, and making sure that you get the best possible people, I think, is important as well, and get them in quickly so they can start to do the thinking that needs to be done.
Thirdly, it is really important, in my view, to think carefully about the design of the organisation. Now, that is a matter for the organisation; it's not for a Government department, in my view, to do the detailed organisational design, but design matters, because this will be a cerebral organisation; it needs to do a good amount of proper thinking. It needs to be expert as well. It can't be expert in all areas of the environment, so it will need to bring in expertise, and also it will need to be remarkably flexible as an organisation, and you do need to think that through. It needs an embarrassing number of lawyers, because it's a very legalistic territory. You need to think about how those things are going to be designed to best effect. So, that's important.
The last thing I would say is: get yourself a really good interim chief executive. If you've got someone that you actually do know can do the job, as we have the luxury of having Natalie, it does make it possible.
Thank you very much. And also what are your reflections on the establishment of Environmental Standards Scotland? And that's—
Oh, sorry, that's—. We're going to a different section there.
I do apologise.
Sorry, apologies. Yes. Mark, thank you for your patience. And thank you for answering so fully on the OEP there. If we can move on just for some questions on the ESS, and I think Jenny's going to kick us off, and, then, you're going to come in, Janet.
Very good. Hello, good morning, Mark Roberts. We've heard some very cogent arguments from the OEP about the importance of establishing a shadow or interim board, and I wondered if Scotland followed the same model, or, if you did things differently, what were the reasons for that.
Thank you, and good morning. So, first of all, it might be helpful if I just set out some of the chronology in terms of how things operated in Scotland. I should also say that I joined after the events I'm about to describe, so I'm reliant on my team's history here to a certain extent. So, the Bill that established ESS was passed by the Scottish Parliament in December 2020, and then, during the early part of 2021, ESS, in its shadow or interim form, came into being, and that included, in a very similar way to OEP, the establishment of the board.
Our board is currently five members, all of whom are non-executive. I'm not a member of the board. It is about to become seven; we're about to have two new board members join us, which will take us up to our maximum number. During that interim or shadow period, the transition team, who had been established to start the process of setting up ESS, worked very, very hard—a very small number of people—around three key areas: firstly, the establishment of the organisation and its governance; secondly, around setting up about what our investigatory processes would be; and, thirdly, setting out our scope in a draft strategic plan that would set the backdrop for our work over the coming years.
That interim or shadow phase ended on 1 October 2021, when ESS came into being and we adopted our full statutory powers. So, there was a comparatively short period of time when the board was operating in that shadow capacity. We were receiving enquiries. We were getting information coming in from the public and from organisations. But, similar to OEP, without our statutory powers, there was not a lot of work that we could really take on or do a significant amount of work with until 1 October 2021, when we came into our full mode of operation. And since then, we have gradually been growing and establishing the organisation, and that work is an ongoing process. We are currently about a head count of 20. I envisage that, fairly shortly, becoming about 25, and that's where we have got to at the moment.
The last question from me, before I hand over to somebody else, is: how good a job did the Scottish Parliament do in establishing in the public's mind that the ESS is independent from Government, given that one of your major roles is to scrutinise public bodies?
I think the short answer to that is, 'I think it did a very good job.' And I think the fact that we are established as a non-ministerial office, the appointment of board members has to be approved by the Scottish Parliament, every year we have to make a statement as part of our annual reporting that we have sufficient resources in order to deliver our functions to the Scottish Parliament—. And I think there's real clarity, both within Government and beyond, that we are independent of Government, and our main accountability, our primary accountability, is to the Scottish Parliament. And if you have an opportunity to look at our strategic plan, independence is one of the key values of the organisation; it's one of the key principles. And for me, it's one of the major priorities. My responsibility is ensuring that accountability to Parliament and that independence is maintained and demonstrated.
Many thanks. Can I bring in Janet?
A similar question to before: where did you find your good staff and expertise? And how many staff do you have?
So, the initial transition team was brought in to concentrate on those three priorities that I mentioned previously, and they came from both Scottish Government and also from the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, so, bringing that investigatory perspective to bear. Since then, we've recruited people from a really quite diverse range of backgrounds. So, we have people who have come from a local authority environmental health background, from environmental consultancy, from regulators such as Natural England, from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, from the civil service itself, both at a UK level and at a Scottish level; we have people from the third sector, from environmental charities, and even someone like me, who has come from an audit perspective.
And how many staff do you have?
So, at the moment, we have a head count of 20. We have active recruitment campaigns going on, so I anticipate that, fairly shortly, becoming about 25, which is about where we want to be.
Thank you. That's me done.
Thank you very much.
Oh, sorry, I beg your pardon. What's the kind of resource that you've needed for its establishment?
So, in the transition year of 2021-22, our budget was £1.3 million. That grew in 2022-23 to £2.2 million. And during the current year, we have about £2.8 million.
Thank you very much. If I can bring in Huw.
Thank you. I'm going to switch back, for a moment, to the OEP, but we're coming back to you, don't worry, as well—to our colleague in Scotland as well. But, just for the OEP at the moment, can I just ask for your reflections on the remit of the OEP now that it's fully operational?
Natalie, do you want to go first, and I'll come in later?
Thank you. That's a very good question. I would say that now that we have been operating for over a year, we've used all of the functions that we have, with the exception of bringing our own legal proceedings. If I summarize the main functions the OEP has, we have a role to scrutinise environmental improvement plans and targets, and we've now published two reports doing that, and our most recent report, published in January this year, I think has been extremely influential and important in assessing the progress that Government has made, and that's a key part of our programme and something that we will be investing in in future. I think that has been a very valuable exercise for us and for wider government.
We are scrutinising environmental law, and we published our first statutory report in this regard very recently in relation to Government's completion of something called PIRs, which is assessment of the effectiveness of regulation. And we've got two major programmes under scrutiny going on at the moment, one in relation to laws for nature, with protected sites and environmental impact assessments, and one in relation to the regulation of water. Those will report later this year, and we'll see the effect of that. It's very pleasing to be able to have that function, because it allows us to really focus on the gap between the setting of laws and the delivery of them in practice. So, it allows us to see how things are working on the ground, which I think will be very insightful, particularly should those laws be reformed.
We advise Government in relation to proposed changes to environmental law and other matters, and we've provided a number of advices in that respect, including, for example, in relation to biodiversity net gain, in relation to a Green Paper in terms of marine net gain, and a number of others, and those advices, we think, and hope, have been influential, but they've also built our bank of knowledge of these laws, and that has fed into the understanding in both our monitoring and scrutiny functions and our scrutiny of environmental law.
And we have complaints investigations and enforcement, and Dame Glenys has already mentioned that we've had over 80 complaints and over 700 enquiries, which are essentially pre-complaint discussions with members of the public. We've taken two of those through to investigations, one of which will conclude fairly imminently. We've also exercised our power to intervene in legal proceedings; there is a case in front of the Supreme Court today where the OEP's a statutory intervener.
Some of these powers and functions relate or are not hugely dissimilar to the role that the commission had, but, actually, in large part, they go much, much further, and in a way that we have found has enabled us to focus with a forensic-type intensity on issues that are really topical and issues that are really important to Government. So, in practice, I think the suite of responsibilities that we have are a very useful and comprehensive set of roles and responsibilities. The biggest challenge we face as an organisation is the sheer breadth of our remit; it means we have to be very targeted and very selective in the matters that we take forward, and we've invested a considerable amount of time in setting our strategy and deciding how we're going to choose topics to focus on, because the list of topics we could focus on is a very, very long one.
That's a lovely, comprehensive answer, and, as I turn to Dame Glenys, if you've got anything to add, could I ask you: it's been described there by your colleague as a very comprehensive set of tools that you have in terms of regulatory functions, statutory functions and so on. Is there anything at this moment that you think is still a gap that frustrates you that you don't have within your remit, that you have quiet conversations with the Secretary of State about? Or, alternatively, is there anything that you would say to us as a committee, 'Well, as you look to establish something down here, you should do something different'?
Thank you. So, it does look like an unusually broad range of powers and responsibilities when you look at it, and, at first sight, it's hard to envisage how it would work. What we have found in practice is we've set out to make the biggest possible impact, and so what you can do then is take the issue that is of most significance and look across your entire range of powers, duties and responsibilities to see how you best tackle it, and that's the approach that we generally take. It becomes very clear then: you've got an issue, you need to deal with it, which of these various tools are you going to use in order to make the most difference? And you may be using several at once. So, I think that all works very well.
Secondly, there was a long debate, and there probably still is an interest, in the fact that we don't have powers to fine, whereas, of course, financial penalties were a significant part of the pre-Brexit arrangements, if you like, for oversight. Actually, we never argued for powers to fine and wouldn't wish to have them. It's all a bit of a circular economy, fining a public body; it really doesn't make a lot of sense. We would argue that that would take a lot of effort, and for what? We think our powers in terms of enforcement are generally good enough. They're certainly workable and we are making them work. They can be a bit ponderous at times—you might want to think about that. Our experience, for example, has been that, when we were calling Government to account for its potential failure to set statutory targets for the environment by a statutory deadline, our tools didn't really quite fit; our powers didn't quite fit. We're happy to talk to you or your staff about that, and what could have possibly made a difference. But, generally speaking, our powers are well suited, if you like, to what we're trying to do.
Lastly, we do keep a list of things we might wish to change, had we the opportunity. The list is really quite a few matters of detail rather than anything particularly profound. But, like every regulator, every oversight body, should we have the chance to review our powers, we probably would have something to say, yes. Thank you.
Thank you. Just one other question, then: is it too early at this moment—? You mention the fact that, actually, the work that you've been doing, and the accumulation of data that you've been doing and so on, is good in itself and might turn things around, but is it too early to say that you've made a tangible difference in areas in environmental outcomes, or can you point to areas where you have made that difference already?
Thank you. It is always difficult to measure the difference that you make in a business like this, and in the environment, it's particularly difficult to measure in a timely and reliable way, isn't it? But we can point to some things. For example, those statutory targets were set—yes, three months late—but there was a real concerted effort on the part of Government to do that, and that's very important. Secondly, those targets are, in the main, sufficiently challenging, and we gave advice about that, about those areas we thought were sufficiently challenging and those that weren't, and we know that our advice was read and regarded. Indeed, we did point out a difficulty there in terms of the legality of one of the proposed targets, and that was amended and sorted as well. So, we can see some positive things there.
We've also been able to discuss with DEFRA a potential difficulty—well, not potential, a real difficulty, actually—about the extent to which they are able to measure the state of the environment and measure the extent to which they are meeting each of the goals that they set, and the targets, statutory or otherwise, that they wish to meet. Because there's an awful lot of data, a wealth of data, but the data doesn't necessarily measure the attributes that you need to measure in order to be sure that you are on the right trajectory to meet your target. If you look at species abundance, for example, the last collated information we could find, to rely on for our January 2023 report, was from 2018 or 2019. If you're aiming for a 2030 target, as this Government is, you need to get a bit more on the front foot. So, we're already having constructive discussions with DEFRA. They're making a big investment in data collection and collation, but we are pressing to get the gaps filled, if you like, to make sure that we can then measure achievement.
I've no doubt at all that some of the advice we've given to Government—Natalie mentioned a good number of those pieces of advice—has been really helpful to the teams dealing with those matters as well. We are now beginning to have those discussions with departments beyond DEFRA. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, for example, is there looking at environmental assessments relating to planning and what they might do by way of that new scheme. So, I'm confident that we are making a difference. One of the big challenges is how we measure that difference, actually, and how we report that difference. You'll know from your own experience that having influence is not always measurable—not at all. But we've got our thinking caps on about how to demonstrate achievement. Thank you.
Thank you. If we can bring Mark back in, and if I move to Jenny to lead on the questions.
Thank you very much. Clearly, the laws to protect nature and the regulation of water are both top priorities in the public's mind in Wales, and I just wondered if that is also in the forefront of the remit of ESS.
Yes, absolutely, and similarly, as you will imagine, they're topics of high priority in Scotland as well. Just to set this in context, ESS can operate in two ways, similarly to the way that I think Glenys and Natalie have described—[Inaudible.]—in response to what we term representations from members of the public, and explore whether there have been any failures to comply with environmental law, or there is a weakness in the implementation of environmental law. Some of those have touched on those questions of the water environment, of biodiversity, of protected sites, protected areas, and so forth.
The other aspect of our work is more proactive as opposed to reactive, and it's work that we initiate ourselves. As we developed our strategic plan, we did a significant amount of work looking across the broad sweep of the environment, which, as Natalie says, is very, very broad, to identify what would be our priorities for this proactive work, and within those priorities, questions around biodiversity and water environment are absolutely core to that, so those are two of the eight themes that we’re looking at. We are looking to be producing work in those areas later on in the course of this year, alongside work on air quality, which is also one of our priority areas.
So, to give a shorter answer to your question, yes, absolutely, nature loss and water quality are high priorities for us.
I just want to examine your powers to actually make a difference. I do rather agree with Dame Glenys that to the power to fine is all part of a circular economy, because the board of X company simply passes it on into customers' bills. But could you just tell us—? I'm sure you have some carrots, but what are the sticks to enable people to stop doing the things that are so harmful to the environment?
Our powers in terms of enforcement are set out in the 2021 Act that provides the foundation for our powers. At a basic level we can issue information notices to all public authorities, which they must comply with, seeking information on anything that’s related to environmental law. We have the power to issue a compliance notice where we think there has been a failure to comply with environmental law, or we think that that failure is resulting in environmental harm. We can issue improvement reports where we consider that there’s been a systemic failure—by that, we mean probably across multiple public bodies—to implement environmental law effectively. And finally, the ultimate option is for us to petition for judicial review, or to become a party to another organisation’s judicial review of a public body. Clearly, that would be at the extreme end. Where we felt that there was a serious failure, or that there was a serious or immediate risk to the environment, that would be open to us.
We have not issued any compliance notices to date. We have made one improvement report, and that related to air quality and the long-standing failure to meet nitrogen dioxide targets. That had been an issue that had been identified by the European Commission prior to Brexit, and we picked up on that, conducted an investigation and issued an improvement report to the Scottish Government. It might be interesting just to understand the process that then follows, because it’s important in terms of independence and accountability. The Scottish Government has to respond to that improvement report within six months with an improvement plan setting out to the Scottish Parliament what it is going to do in response. That process has now run through. An improvement plan has been laid in the Scottish Parliament, considered by the Scottish Parliament, and approved by the Scottish Parliament. That was a really interesting demonstration of how the system of accountability now operates here in Scotland.
Can I just very briefly explore this issue of fines with both organisations for a moment? When the Groceries Code Adjudicator was established, there was a big discussion over whether fines should be part of the armoury to deal with supermarkets or others that were abusing the supply chain within it. It wasn't given, and subsequently people said it should have been given. In the fisheries industry, if there are people abusing fisheries by landing black fish, I've seen fines of £0.25 million. The difference is that both of those are within commercial operating sectors—okay, I get that—but fines are part of the regulatory system on public bodies as well. When the polluter, such as a water company, pollutes serially or has a landmark pollution incident, they can get fined. Why have the Government and you come to the conclusion that fines are not part of the tools you should have?
Just to say, for my part, as the chair of the OEP, I wasn't consulted on whether or not we should have fining powers; it was a matter for Parliament, so Parliament determined that. I simply make the point, as a seasoned regulator, that fines are enormously complex and time-consuming to deliver, and they don't necessarily bring about the change in behaviour that you would wish when it's a public body. The money is simply circulating from Treasury to Treasury. I can see a rationale for having fines, but equally I see the sense of not having them.
I think the point for us is to have enough clout, enough authority, to make a difference and to get bodies to change their behaviour without going anywhere near, actually, a court or, indeed, a penalty by way of fine. Our approach is to always start directly with communication with the body in sight, if you like, and to reach a compromise, where we can, to make sure that the environment is protected and, where necessary, enhanced. Looking to court proceedings and then a fine, which is going to take you, maybe, two years, is not necessarily the best way in which you change behaviour and make a difference. But, it is, ultimately, a matter for the Government and the Government could choose to give a fining power. As you say, it's one of the tools that regulators and oversight bodies sometimes have.
That's a really good answer, but I just wonder whether I could ask you—. You're absolutely right that parliamentarians agreed what your remit and your powers would be, but can I just ask, do you think you are missing a tool in the toolbox? I do agree with you, by the way, that you want to avoid fines; you want to find a way to change behaviour through different ways. But if you don't have that tool in the back of your armoury and it is a circulatory economy—it's public money going from one area to another—actually, when you do bang somebody out of the baseball park with a massive fine because their behaviour is so reprehensible, yes, it's the public paying for it, ultimately, but, my goodness, it's not just an embarrassment, for those directors and their future careers it's—. So, do you miss having that tool? Maybe I could ask our colleague as well, but can I just come back to you, Dame Glenys, on that? Do you miss having that tool?
I don't, personally. We're not a first responder, are we? First responders, like the Environment Agency or Ofwat, can and do impose very substantial fines on, for example, the water companies. It's not that those tools aren't available to the immediate regulatory bodies; they've got those. We're a sort of level ahead of that, different to that, at a higher strategic level. Ultimately, of course, we can take any public body or, indeed, the Government to court, and the court can direct the Government or that body to do what is required. So, we have other tools, really, that I think are more suited to our position as not the first responder, but the oversight body. Natalie, you might want to add a perspective on this as well. I'm very sorry about the background noise here.
We can't hear any background noise—
Oh, you can't.
I would just add the nuance that unlike front-line first-responder regulators, we only oversee the public sector, so we have only organisations exercising functions of a public nature. If we had the power to fine them, those fining moneys would be recirculated back through the Treasury. In that respect, I feel that the impact of any fine would be minimal, but the administrative burden of levying it would be substantial. I think it is far more important that any oversight body can bring proper and fulsome scrutiny and accountability, and can do that in a way that's transparent. I think it is that approach that engenders public trust and motivates behaviour—and we are talking about the public sector not the private sector—promotes the behaviours and focus that we want to see.
I can see that Jenny has indicated that she wants to come in.
Okay. I just want to push this argument slightly further, because obviously many of the bodies who deliver public services are actually private companies, and so this is not as clear cut as it might appear. I think the public's disgust at the behaviour of water companies, in terms of the pollution of our rivers and seas—. The argument is being made that only imprisonment of board directors will change the behaviour of these companies, who simply pay the fines because it's cheaper than doing the work. So, has there been any serious discussion within Parliament, either in Scotland or in England, about strengthening the powers to really get these companies to take their duties seriously?
Right. There is active discussion in this country about oversight of the water companies. I should say, by the way, that when a water company is conducting public business it does fall under our remit. It counts as a public body in that respect, so we do have them under our umbrella, if you like. Discussions here have been broadly about the respective roles, responsibilities and powers of Ofwat and the Environment Agency—the two immediate oversight bodies—and, indeed, Government here has lifted a cap that was imposed on the extent of the fine that could traditionally be imposed on water companies. So, there's much greater remit now for much bigger fines. So, there's already been that change here. We can see that happening.
But, of course, I come back to the fact that we are not the first responder. But what we can do and what we are doing is looking at how our Secretary of State for the environment, the Environment Agency and Ofwat each follow through with their roles and responsibilities for the oversight of water. So, these responsibilities are quite complex, overlapping, historical. No-one's really mapped them out, but we are doing that. We are setting out, in a report that we will publish over the summer, exactly what each of these three bodies have by way of responsibilities and whether those are working well enough or not, and whether there needs to be any—. Is there any breach of the law? Is there anything that could work better? That is our role. It is not our role necessarily to go for the pockets of the chief executive of a water body, because the first responder is after that, if you like. We're operating at a slightly different level, if that's helpful.
Thank you. Can we just hear from Mark Roberts on this point?
The context is different in Scotland, where Scottish Water, as the single organisation that provides water and sewerage services, is a public corporation and the sole shareholder is the Scottish Government. So, there are not private water companies operating within the domestic market within Scotland, and, in the same way as Dame Glenys and Natalie have described, SEPA, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, is the immediate responder and regulator of Scottish Water. It grants licences to Scottish Water to operate. If Scottish Water breaches the conditions of those licences, SEPA can prosecute, and has done, and Scottish Water has been fined, and so that money has, as Natalie has described, been recirculated within the public sector, but that has been relatively limited in the number of cases that have happened.
More broadly, in terms of the question of fining powers for Environmental Standards Scotland, I would absolutely support what Natalie's described in terms of whether or not that actually makes sense, in terms of the types of public sector organisations that we are overseeing and scrutinising. While we're never going to say never, I think that would be not necessarily the most appropriate way for our remit, for us to go.
Okay. Thank you.
Could I just add one other reflection, actually, because both Natalie and I have worked in organisations that did have those fining powers? And what can happen in that situation is that the body that you're overseeing—the particular water company or whichever public body it is—immediately goes to lawyers. As soon as you do any request for any information, it gets concretised very quickly, and lawyers make a lot of money out of it, and the dynamic is different. Now, if that's what you want, fair enough, but I don't think it's the most constructive way in which to resolve the issue, actually. It's the fine and the reputational damage linked with that that takes them straight to lawyers. So, it's another thing to consider. Thank you.
Thank you, that's really useful.
Thank you. Janet, do you have any questions on this section, just finally?
Well, yes. It goes back, really, to the fining. My question was to be how the work of the assessors made a difference in terms of environmental outcomes. I suppose I believe that you would have the powers to fine, and that's something I think we need to perhaps take more detail on.
Okay, so we've covered those. Thank you. Can I move on to Delyth Jewell?
Diolch, Gadeirydd. Good morning. It's very useful for us to have the two organisations giving evidence together. I wanted to ask, from your perspectives, how you think the role of the OEP and the ESS differ and whether you each look longingly over the border at things that you wish you could replicate, or, for us in Wales, whether you would like us to be learning lessons either from yourselves or from your sister body.
Shall we bring Mark in first this time? Thank you.
I think how I would characterise it is very similar, but with certain key differences. So, as Dame Glenys and Natalie have described, the OEP's function to provide advice to Ministers is not one we have. We are purely and would always describe ourselves as being purely a scrutiny and oversight body. We don't have that advisory function. We don't have the function too to monitor an environmental plan as Natalie has described. What we do have, as I've mentioned, is if we see a failure to comply, we can issue these compliance notices that could be challenged by a public body in court. As I said, we have never had to go down that route to date.
I think also it's worth stressing, so not just talking about the statutory powers we have, but the context that we have: the Scottish Government has committed to maintaining alignment with European policy and legislation. Obviously, within the environmental sector, that's a very significant aspect of what we do. So, although not a statutory power, it is a really significant strategic priority for us to assess whether or not the Scottish Government is achieving that, and if not, reporting that to the Scottish Parliament. So, I think that's a critical difference in terms of the wider political context in which the two organisations are operating.
Thank you. I'm not sure who else—
Dame Glenys or Natalie, whoever would like to take this.
That's a very helpful description from Mark and our powers are different, and, of course, as you consider this, I strongly advise you look closely at both organisations' powers, and you'll want to see what is the best fit for your environmental issues and your political and wider context as well. Personally, I think England got it right for England, in the sense that it is important that we have that annual, independent stock take of progress. Our targets are eye-watering: stopping the decline of species by 2030. So, you really do need to keep your foot to the pedal on it.
So, I do think, for us, that's important, and also being able to give advice to Government. It's a very busy place, Westminster, isn't it? I'm sure it's similar in your neck of the woods, but it's difficult sometimes for them to get considered advice with the appropriate level of expertise and understanding, and I think that's a very helpful thing. And I'm really pleased we're able to monitor environmental law—
Are you finding you're struggling to—
—and already we're making a difference there. We've identified that in so many cases—
Dame Glenys, apologies. We're just struggling to hear you for a moment, your microphone—. Thank you.
Is that better?
Yes, much better. Thank you.
Sorry about that. I was just saying our power to look more widely at environmental law and its working is proving really fruitful. It's a new power. We didn't have it when we were in the European Union, and we're already identifying examples that so many post-implementation reviews of legislation haven't been done, and they do need to be done. You need to know how well legislation is working before you choose to change it, for example. So, I think our powers are right for our country, our context, our environmental issues and our environmental ambitions here in this country. But it may be different in Wales, and, of course, there is a resource implication. We are resourced more fully than our counterparts in Scotland. So, you’ll want to look at what you get for your money as well, won’t you?
Thank you, both, for that. The other question I wanted to raise, and this has already been alluded to, was how you would assess your powers are now, and how they differ from the arrangement we had when we were under the EU arrangement. I take on board the point that’s already been made about fines, and also Mark’s point about the political context and how alignment is very deliberately different in that respect for Scotland. But are there any other points that you’d like us to be reflecting on, particularly, again, if there are any lessons that you think you’d like us to learn in Wales? Mark, do you want to go first on that, please?
So, I’ll caveat what I’m going to say just by the fact that ESS is less than two years old, so it’s early days. But I think the immediate reaction would be that it is different from when the European Commission was providing the oversight. We are more immediate; we are here in Scotland; we are very visible within the environmental sector, and that enables us to be more responsive and more reactive. What we don’t have is that great strategic overview of what’s going on across the European Union as a whole. We are 20 people and the environment is very big; there is a limit to that sort of horizon scanning that we can do, but I think that immediacy, that closeness and that accessibility is a really substantive difference, and I think that’s been challenging for some of the public authorities and the Scottish Government, who we are scrutinising. But I think that’s an almost inevitable outcome of bringing this kind of scrutiny function closer in to the organisations that are being scrutinised.
I think it also has real benefits in making us more immediately accessible to community groups. It is a lot easier to talk to us than perhaps it would be to talk to the European Commission, and one of our priorities for the next year is to build a programme of consciously going out to try and talk to community groups and listen and hear what their immediate concerns might be. So, early days, but those would be my initial reflections on how it differs.
Thank you, Mark. And Dame Glenys or Natalie.
I’ll just start, Nat, and then perhaps you can come in. So, I would say that one of the big differences that is proving really fruitful, and I think it’s so sensible, is that we don’t just oversee a Government, but we oversee public bodies. And it’s public bodies that are delivering or not delivering at the end of the day, so I think it’s a very significant improvement over the arrangements of the past. But, Natalie, you’ll have more to say, I know.
I absolutely agree with that assessment. The fact that we can look specifically at what each public authority is doing allows us to target far more specifically the issues at play. I’d like to echo the things that Mark has said. I think being a domestic organisation means you are much more accessible to your stakeholders. The other benefit in comparison with the Commission is that we are able to work at a more rapid pace, and part of that is to do with the fact that we are well connected on the ground in our respective jurisdictions, and of course for us, that’s England and Northern Ireland. It allows us to understand issues and understand the context of those issues in a way that I don’t think the Commission was able to do.
I should also reflect—and I think this would be important for Wales—that we do work very closely on a four-country basis, so we work closely with the interim assessor, we work in England and Northern Ireland, we work very closely with ESS in Scotland, and although the context differs between these jurisdictions, a lot of the role that we fulfil is very similar. It would be really important, I think, that any Welsh body was able to participate in that collegiality as best they could, and that can be helpfully supported by enabling provisions in legislation around things like making it easy for us to pass intelligence and information between the bodies. So, for example, we had a complaint made to us that related to Scotland; it was very straightforward for us to pass that complainant up over the border to Mark’s organisation, and that can be well supported to allow us to work together on a four-country basis where that is appropriate.
That’s a really useful point on which to end on. Thank you very much.
Many thanks. Unfortunately, time has run out this morning. Can I please thank the witnesses? And specifically in relation to the OEP, obviously, you do have some jurisdiction in Wales related to non-devolved environmental law, and we do have some questions that, unfortunately, we haven’t reached today. Would you be happy for us to write for some further clarification?
Of course, of course.
Many thanks. So, if I can thank the three of you very much this morning; that's been extremely helpful for our work here. We will of course be sharing a transcript of what's been said this morning, so you can check for accuracy and so on. But if I can once again just thank you for your time this morning and for joining us.
For Members, we'll be taking a short 10-minute break now and starting back at 10:40 for our next evidence session.
Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 10:30 a 10:40.
The meeting adjourned between 10:30 and 10.40.
Bore da a chroeso nôl i gyfarfod y Pwyllgor Newid Hinsawdd, yr Amgylchedd a Seilwaith y bore yma. Rydyn ni'n symud ymlaen rŵan at eitem 3, lle rydyn ni'n cael sesiwn dystiolaeth gydag Asesydd Interim Diogelu'r Amgylchedd Cymru. Croeso i chi atom ni. Gaf i ofyn i chi gyflwyno eich hun ar gyfer y record os gwelwch yn dda?
Good morning and welcome back to this meeting of the Climate Change, Environment and Infrastructure Committee. We're moving on now to item 3: annual scrutiny of operation of the interim environmental protection measures, and we're joined by the Interim Environmental Protection Assessor for Wales. Welcome to the committee. Can I ask you to introduce yourself for the record please?
Dr Nerys Llewelyn Jones ydw i, asesydd interim ar hyn o bryd ar gyfer yr amgylchedd yng Nghymru.
I am the Interim Environmental Protection Assessor for Wales at the moment, and my name is Dr Nerys Llewelyn Jones.
Gwych. Diolch o galon am fod gyda ni. Eisiau holi i ddechrau—diolch yn fawr iawn am yr holl waith rydych chi wedi bod yn ei wneud ac wedi rhannu ymlaen llaw—gaf i ofyn i chi pa mor dda rydych chi'n meddwl y mae'r mesurau interim yn gweithio ar ôl dwy flynedd o fod yn eu gweithredu nhw?
Great. Thank you very much for all the work that you have done and shared with us. Can I ask you how well you think the interim measures are working, following two years of operation?
Dwi'n credu bod y mesurau'n gweithio'n dda. Yn amlwg, mae'r remit yn wahanol i beth yw e mewn ardaloedd eraill o fewn y Deyrnas Unedig. Ond, o ran y remit sydd gyda fi ar hyn o bryd, dwi'n credu y dylem ni fod yn blês iawn â beth rŷn ni wedi llwyddo i wneud yn ystod y flwyddyn ddiwethaf a'r ddwy flynedd gychwynnol yma. Dŷn ni wedi, yn ystod y flwyddyn ddiwethaf yma, cyhoeddi'r adroddiad cyntaf ar y REUL, y Bil yn ymwneud â chyfraith yr Undeb Ewropeaidd a ddargedwir. Ac mae hwnna'n amlwg wedi bod yn ddarn pwysig o waith rŷn ni wedi’i wneud, ac mae'r argymhellion dŷn ni wedi eu gwneud o fewn hwnna wedi mynd i Lywodraeth Cymru a dŷn ni wedi cael ymateb wrth Lywodraeth Cymru ar hwnna hefyd.
Dŷn ni hefyd wedi bod yn delio gyda nifer fawr o gyflwyniadau ychwanegol a hefyd, wrth gwrs, dŷn ni wedi bod yn gweithio ar dri neu bedwar gwahanol adroddiad a gwahanol feysydd hefyd. So, mae llawer iawn o waith wedi bod yn mynd ymlaen yn ystod y flwyddyn ddiwethaf ac, wrth gwrs, mae mwy o waith i’w wneud wrth edrych ymlaen at y flwyddyn sydd i ddod hefyd, a dwi'n credu y dylem fod yn falch iawn o ble rŷn ni wedi cyrraedd.
I think that the measures are working well. Clearly, the remit is different to what it is in other areas within the United Kingdom. But, in terms of the remit I have at present, I feel that we should be very proud of what we've been able to achieve during the past year and these first two initial years. During this past year, we've been able to publish the first report on the REUL, the Bill on retained European Union law. And that clearly has been an important piece of work for us, and the recommendations that we've made within that have gone to the Welsh Government and we have received a response from the Welsh Government on that also.
We've also been dealing with a number of additional submissions and we've been, of course, working on three or four different reports in different areas also. So, a lot of work has been undertaken in this past year and, of course, there's more work to be done as we look forward to this next year, because I think we should be very proud of what we've achieved.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Gaf i symud at Janet?
Thank you. I'll move now to Janet.
Yes. Bore da. How many reports have you published, did you say, and when will they be out for us to see?
So, cyn belled, dwi wedi cyhoeddi un adroddiad ac mae'r adroddiad yna yn ymwneud â Bil cyfraith yr Undeb Ewropeaidd a ddargedwir. Mae’r Bil hwnnw’n amlwg yn achos o gonsérn inni o ran cyfraith amgylcheddol o fewn Cymru. A dwi'n credu roedd hwnna’n ddarn pwysig iawn o waith inni ei wneud, ac fe wnaethom ni wneud y darn yna o waith ddiwedd y llynedd a dechrau eleni, gan ei roi i mewn i'r rhaglen waith ar fyr rybudd, achos, yn amlwg, daeth i fod yn bwysig iawn yn y cyfnod yna. Felly, fe wnaethom ni wneud yr adroddiad hwnnw a blaenoriaethu’r adroddiad hwnnw er mwyn ei gael wedi'i wneud o fewn yr amserlen fel ei fod yn gallu cael dylanwad ar beth oedd yn digwydd yn San Steffan. So, gobeithio bod hwnna wedi bod o fudd—bod yr adroddiad yna wedi cael ei wneud bryd hynny.
Dŷn ni hefyd yn gweithio ar adroddiadau eraill. Felly, dŷn ni'n gweithio ar adroddiad sy'n ymwneud â choedwigaeth ac mae hwnnw'n edrych ar sut rŷn ni'n amddiffyn ac yn edrych ar ôl ein coed ac yn gwneud yn siŵr bod mesurau cyfreithiol sydd gyda ni mewn lle yn sicrhau ein bod ni yn gallu amddiffyn coed arbennig, ond hefyd amddiffyn coed rhag cael eu dymchwel mewn rhai amgylchiadau hefyd. So, rŷn ni'n edrych ar y rheoliadau o amgylch hynny.
Bron i flwyddyn yn ôl, cawsom ni gyflwyniad yn ymwneud â gwrychoedd neu gloddiau—mae'n dibynnu pa ran o Gymru rŷch chi'n dod ohono fe o ran yr enw rŷch chi'n ei rhoi i hwnna—ac roedd hwnna'n edrych eto ar y rheoliadau sy’n ymwneud â gwrychoedd ac yn gofyn y cwestiwn: a yw'r rheoliadau yna dal yn berthnasol inni heddiw? A ddylem ni fod yn edrych, efallai, ar wella’r ffordd rŷn ni eto yn amddiffyn ein gwrychoedd? Ac wedyn, mae'r darn o waith yna'n mynd wrthi hefyd, ac mae'r ddau brosiect yna yn gweithio gyda'i gilydd yn dda hefyd.
Rŷn ni hefyd wedyn wedi bod yn gweithio ar adroddiad yn ymwneud â safleoedd gwarchodedig—protected sites. Mae hwnna wedi bod yn ddarn pwysig o waith hefyd. Roedd e'n bwysig iawn i fi ein bod ni'n ystyried—. Mae gyda ni gyfreithiau ac mae gyda ni bethau ar bapur a gair ar bapur, ond beth sy'n bwysig yw sut mae hwnna'n gweithio'n ymarferol, ac ydy'r cyfreithiau sydd gyda ni yn delio gyda phethau mewn ffordd ymarferol ac sydd yn actually gallu achosi newid a sicrhau bod y pethau yma'n digwydd. Felly, gawsom ni gyfarfod ar y site, fel ein bod ni'n gallu ei weld e wrth waith a chael trafodaeth gyda'r rhanddeiliaid amboutu beth oedd y problemau a beth oedd y pethau efallai oedd eisiau edrych arnynt, ac wedyn gwneud cais am dystiolaeth ar hwnna. Ac wedyn, dŷn ni hefyd yn dechrau nawr ar ddarn o waith yn ymwneud â sancsiynau sifil, achos rŷn ni wedi cael sawl cyflwyniad sy'n edrych ar gwestiynu â oes gyda ni'r pwerau cywir, efallai, er mwyn gallu perswadio pobl i beidio â gwneud rhai o'r pethau hyn rŷn ni'n eu gweld nhw'n eu gwneud o ran yr amgylchedd. Felly, mae hwnna'n ddarn o waith, efallai, sydd yn mynd i allu goresgyn sawl gwahanol ardal o ran gwarchodaeth natur. So, mae llawer iawn o waith yn mynd ymlaen ar sawl gwahanol ardal.
So, to date, I've published one report and that relates to the retained EU law Bill. That Bill clearly is a cause of concern for us in terms of environmental law within Wales. And I think that was a very important piece of work to undertake, and we did that work at the end of last year and at the beginning of this year, putting it into our work programme at short notice, because, clearly, it became very important at that time. So, we did produce that report and we prioritised that work in order to get it completed within the timetable so that it could have an influence on what happened in Westminster. So, hopefully that was of benefit—that we undertook that work at that time.
We're also working on other reports. So, we're working on a report related to forestry and that looks at how we safeguard and protect our trees and ensure that the legal measures currently in place do ensure that we are able to protect particular trees, but also to protect trees from being felled in certain circumstances. So, we're looking at the regulations around that.
And also, around a year ago, we had a submission relating to hedgerows. There are different words for that in Welsh, of course—gwrychoedd or cloddiau—depending on what part of Wales you come from. And that looked at the regulations related to hedgerows and it posed the question as to whether those regulations were still relevant today and should we be looking at improving the way we do safeguard our hedgerows. And then, that work has been ongoing, and both of those projects work hand in hand too.
We have also been working on a report related to protected sites. That's been an important piece of work for us. It was very important for me that we did consider—. We do have laws and we do have things set down on paper, but what's important is how that works practically, and do the laws that we have actually deal with things on the ground in a practical way, and do they ensure that these things are in force. So, we had an on-site meeting so that we could see it in operation and we had a discussion then with stakeholders as to what the problems are and what we need to look at, and then we requested evidence on that. And then, we're now just starting a piece of work on civil sanctions, because we've had a number of submissions that question as to whether we have the correct powers in order to persuade people not to do certain things in relation to the environment. So, that is a piece of work that will hopefully cover a number of different areas in terms of nature protection. So, there is a great deal of work that's ongoing on a number of different strands.
Okay. So, the forestry, hedgerows and protected sites reports—do they come to Plenary at all? Do they come before us, this committee, or—?
Na, so y broses yw: dwi'n gwneud adroddiad ac mae'r adroddiad yna wedyn yn mynd i'r Gweinidog Newid Hinsawdd. Mae'r Gweinidog wedyn yn ymateb i'r adroddiad hynny, ac wedyn mae e'n cael ei osod, wedyn, yn y Senedd. Dyna'r broses.
No, so the process is: I will draft a report and that's provided to the Minister for Climate Change. The Minister would then respond to that report, and then it's laid in the Senedd. That's the process.
Okay, thank you. Can you give me the progress—
Excuse me—sorry, Janet. Joyce has asked to just come in on this as a supplementary. Diolch.
I just think that if we're on reports, maybe I might as well do that section, if you're agreeable, or do you want to end this session and move—?
I was going to ask if we could—. We want to go more in depth for the reports later.
A bit later? Okay, that's fine, Joyce—yes. Could you give us the progress made on monitoring the impact of the IEPAW work?
Ie. Does yna ddim proses ffurfiol mewn lle o ran monitro impact yr IEPAW. Mae hwnna'n rhywbeth rŷn ni'n edrych arno yn fanwl ar hyn o bryd. Yn amlwg, rŷn ni wedi cael un adroddiad wedi cael ei gyhoeddi, a dwi'n edrych ar sut gallwn ni fonitro yr ymateb, efallai, i'r argymhellion sydd wedi cael eu gwneud i Lywodraeth Cymru ar hwnna, a dwi'n siarad gyda rhanddeiliaid eraill am hwnna ar hyn o bryd. Ond, wrth gwrs, mae yna elfen arall, efallai, o ran monitro impact a gwerthuso y gwaith dwi'n ei wneud hefyd, ac yn amlwg, byddai fe ddim yn addas bod elfennau o hwnna yn cael eu gwneud gennyf i chwaith. Yn amlwg, mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi dweud eu bod nhw yn mynd i wneud gwerthusiad mwy ffurfiol a dwi'n disgwyl ymlaen i weithio gyda nhw ar gyfer hwnna.
Yes. There hasn't been a formal process in place in terms of monitoring the impact of the IEPAW. That is something that we are looking at in detail at the moment. Clearly, we've had one report published, and I'm looking at how we can monitor the response, in a way, to the recommendations that have been made to the Welsh Government on that, and I'm speaking to other stakeholders about that at present. But then, of course, there's another element in terms of monitoring impact and evaluating the work that I'm doing also, and obviously, it wouldn't really be appropriate for me to be doing elements of that either. Clearly, the Welsh Government have said that they will be undertaking a more formal monitoring process and I'm looking forward to working with them on that.
So, has there been any monitoring, or will they be extending to evaluating the impact of the interim measures on environmental outcomes?
Mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi dweud eu bod nhw'n mynd i wneud y gwerthusiad hynny, ond dwi yn bersonol yn edrych ar fonitro beth sy'n digwydd i'r canlyniadau ac i'r adroddiadau dwi'n eu cyhoeddi o ran impact. Ond mae fe'n rhywbeth anodd iawn i fesur, o ran beth yw'r impact sydd wedi bod. Dwi'n credu eich bod chi wedi cael y fantais o weld yr adroddiad blynyddol, ac mae rhai pethau hefyd—. Dwi'n credu ei fod e'n bwysig i ddweud, dyw e ddim yn unig amboutu'r adroddiadau; mae e amboutu'r gwaith dŷn ni'n ei wneud gyda'r rhanddeiliaid hefyd, a dwyn sylw at rai o'r pethau, efallai, a'r cyflwyniadau sydd wedi dod ataf i sydd ddim o fewn fy remit a ddim yn bethau dwi'n gallu eu gwneud. Dwi ddim yn gallu gwneud investigations, dwi ddim yn gallu gwneud y math yna o ymchwiliad, ond mae'n nhw'n bethau dwi'n dal wedi dwyn sylw i'r bobl berthnasol ar hynny, ac mae hwnna wedi dwyn ffrwyth ac wedi newid pethau. So, dwi'n credu bod hwnna, yn ei hunan, i fi, yn bwysig—os yw e dal ddim o fewn y remit, dwi'n dal yn gallu dwyn sylw i'r pethau hynny, ac mae hynny wedi cael impact. Felly, dwi'n gobeithio bod peth impact wedi dod o hwnnw hefyd.
The Welsh Government have said that they will be undertaking that evaluation, but I personally am looking at monitoring what happens with the results and the reports I publish in terms of impact. But it's a very difficult thing to measure, in terms of what the impact has been. I think you've received the annual report—. I think it's important to say that it's not only about the report; it's also about the work that we're doing with stakeholders, and also bringing focus to some of the responses I've had, which are not necessarily within my remit and not things that I can do. I can't undertake investigations, I can't undertake that kind of monitoring, but it's important to draw the relevant people's attention to that, and that's really come to fruition and made things happen. So, that's important for me, that, even if it's not within my remit, I can still have an impact in those areas. So, I hope that some impact has been seen in that regard also.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Os caf i ddod â Huw i mewn.
Thank you very much. If I can bring Huw in.
Diolch, Cadeirydd. You've had some additional extra resource given to you there. Can I just ask: how have you decided to use that, prioritise it, and, within your current remit, your interim remit, does it allow you to do your job effectively?
Ocê. So, cafodd penderfyniad ei wneud bod yna fwy o resource yn dod i ni. Y peth cyntaf yw rhoi dirprwy mewn lle, ac roedd hwnna'n un o'r awgrymiadau y gwnes i, achos roeddwn i'n teimlo ei bod hi'n bwysig bod yna rywun arall ar gael, achos, fel un person, dwi'n credu bod e'n bwysig bod yna rhywun arall ar gael yn cefnogi, ac hefyd efallai, gyda'r un sgiliau a'r un experience â fi er mwyn gallu cefnogi yn y ffordd yna.
Mae yn amlwg angen cymorth gyda drafftio adroddiadau, a helpu i wneud yr ymchwil sy'n mynd gyda'r adroddiadau. Mae yna lawer iawn o waith yn mynd i mewn i grynhoi'r holl dystiolaeth sy'n dod mewn. Rŷn ni wedi gwneud pedwar cais am dystiolaeth mor belled. Mae yna lawer iawn o amser yn mynd i grynhoi hwnna, ac i roi hwnna at ei gilydd mewn i adroddiad, ac mae'n amlwg bod eisiau help ar hwnna. Ond hefyd, beth dwi eisiau gwneud yn siŵr ein bod ni'n blaenoriaethu yw hala mwy o arian ar gyhoeddusrwydd y rôl, ac hefyd ar ymwneud gyda'r rhanddeiliaid; dwi'n credu bod hwnna'n bwysig iawn. Mae gwneud y gwaith o ddydd i ddydd wedi bod yn dasg enfawr, heb sôn am y pethau y byddwn i wedi licio eu gwneud petai ni'n gallu'n cael yr amser a'r adnoddau i wneud e.
A'r cwestiwn diwethaf fanna oedd 'Oes gyda fi ddigon nawr?' Mae'n anodd i ateb y cwestiwn yna. Mae gyda ni, rhwng nawr a phan mae'n rôl i yn dod i ben ddiwedd mis Chwefror nesaf, bedwar adroddiad i'w cyhoeddi. Felly, mae honna'n dasg enfawr. Dwi'n gobeithio bod y cynllun sydd gyda ni gyda'r adnoddau hyn yn mynd i fod yn ddigon i hwnna, ond, yn amlwg, mae hwnna'n waith sylweddol i'w wneud.
So, a decision was made that there should be more resource provided to us. The first thing was to put a deputy in place, and that's one of the suggestions I made, because I thought it was important that there was someone else there, because, as a single individual working on this, I did believe that there was a need for support, and that they should have the same skills and experience as me to support in that way.
Clearly, we need support with drafting reports and undertaking the research, because there's a great of deal of work that goes into summarising all of the evidence that we receive. We've made four requests for evidence to date, and there's a great deal of time taken to summarise that and to bring it together as a report, so I needed assistance there. But also, what I also want to prioritise is spending more money on publicising the role, and also engaging with stakeholders; I think that's hugely important. Doing the day-to-day work has been a huge task, never mind those things that I would have liked to have done if I'd had the time and resources to do so.
And, then, on your final question, 'Do I have enough resource now?' Well, it's difficult to answer that question. Between now and when my role comes to an end at the end of next February, we have four reports to publish. So, that is a huge task. And I hope that the plan we have in place, and the resources will be sufficient. But, clearly, that's a significant amount of work to undertake.
Do you have the ability, if you find that you are slightly lacking in the resources, as you bring forward those reports and so on, to go back to the Minister and say, 'Minister—
Bydd rhaid. Bydd rhaid mynd nôl a gwneud cais am hwnna. Dwi'n credu y consérn efallai nawr yw bod yr ymrwymiad wedi cael ei wneud i gael y dirprwy, ond, yn amlwg, mae yna broses i fynd drwyddo gydag apwyntio'r dirprwy yna. Ac os yw hwnna'n cymryd chwe mis, yn amlwg gallwn i wneud tro â rhywun nawr. So, dwi'n credu bod hwnna'n gonsérn i fi'n bersonol, ond gallwn ni ond wneud beth y gallwn ni eu gwneud gyda'r prosesau yma a gweithio rownd hwnna.
We will have to do that, yes. I think the concern now is that a commitment has been made to getting that deputy in place, but there is a process to go through in terms of the appointment there. And if that takes six months, then, clearly, I could do with having someone in place now. So, I think that's a concern for me personally, but we can only do what we can do with these processes.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Os caf i symud at Delyth Jewell.
Thank you very much. If I could move to Delyth Jewell.
Diolch, Cadeirydd. Bore da. O ran y broses o bontio tuag at system mwy parhaol, yn wreiddiol, roedd eich rôl i fod am ddwy flynedd; rŷch chi yn eich trydedd flwyddyn nawr. Oes unrhyw drafodaethau wedi bod ynglŷn ag ymestyn hwnna am flwyddyn ychwanegol i mewn i 2024-25?
Thank you. In terms of the transition to a more permanent governance body, originally, your role was for two years; you're in your third year now. Have there been any discussions about extending your role for another year into 2024-25?
So, dwi wedi bod yn cwestiynu'r Gweinidog am hyn, yn amlwg, i wybod. Mae'n bwysig, nid yn unig o ran y rôl, ond hefyd i wybod o ran capasiti, o ran yr adroddiadau a'r gwaith rŷn ni'n cymryd ymlaen. Dwi ddim eisiau ymrwymo i wneud gwaith dwi ddim yn teimlo y byddai'n gallu dod i ben gyda gwneud chwaith heb wybod beth sy'n digwydd nesaf. So, mae'n amlwg yn bwysig iawn.
Beth dwi wedi cael wrth y Gweinidog yw cadarnhad y bydd yna ddim gap rhwng beth dwi'n ei wneud nawr yn y rôl interim ag unrhyw gorff parhaol. Felly, dwi'n falch iawn i gael y cadarnhad yna, achos mae hwnna'n rhoi sicrwydd i fi, os oes gwaith sydd heb ei orffen yn y tymor nesaf, bydd e yn gallu cael ei barhau o dan, byddwn i'n disgwyl, ryw fath o rôl interim nes bod y corff parhaol yna mewn lle.
So, I've questioned the Minister on this, because it's important not just for the role, but also in terms of the capacity and the work that we're taking on. I don't want to commit to work that I don't feel that I will be able to complete without knowing what's happening for the future. So, clearly, these are very important issues.
What I have had from the Minister is confirmation that there will be no gap between my interim role and any permanent arrangements. So, I'm very pleased to receive that confirmation, because that gives me an assurance, if there is work that isn't completed in the next term, that it can be taken forward by some sort of interim role until that permanent body is in place.
Diolch am hynna. Roeddwn i'n mynd i ofyn os oeddech chi wedi cael trafodaethau gyda'r Llywodraeth am beth fydd y trefniadau. O beth dŷch chi newydd ei ddweud, yn amlwg mae'r trafodaethau yna yn mynd yn eu blaen. Oes unrhyw beth ychwanegol i hwnna y byddech chi eisiau i ni fod yn ymwybodol ohono fe, ynglŷn â'r trafodaethau dŷch chi'n eu cael gyda'r Llywodraeth i wneud yn siŵr bod dim gap, fel rŷch chi'n ei ddweud?
Thank you for that. I was going to ask whether you'd had any discussions with the Welsh Government on what these arrangements will be. But, obviously, from what you've just said, those discussions are ongoing. Is there anything additional to that that you would like us to be aware of, in terms of the discussions that you're having with the Welsh Government to ensure that there is no gap, as you say?
Mae hynny'n rhywbeth sy'n bwysig iawn i fi, i sicrhau bod y dilyniant yna, yntefe, neu mae gwaith yr amser hyn yn mynd i gael ei golli, ac, wrth gwrs, er mwyn sicrwydd i bobl Cymru i'r dyfodol fod y rôl yma'n cael ei chyflawni hefyd. Felly, dwi yn siarad yn gyson iawn nawr gyda Lywodraeth Cymru amboutu beth sy'n digwydd nesaf, a dwi'n gwybod bod yna adnoddau wedi cael eu rhoi yn eu lle er mwyn i hynny ddechrau dwyn ffrwyth. Felly, dwi'n fwy ffyddiog nag efallai roeddwn i fod hynny yn datblygu, ocê, ond, yn amlwg, mae yna waith enfawr i'w wneud. Mae'r sesiwn cynt wedi siarad amboutu beth mae'n ei olygu i gael corff parhaol. Mae hi'n dasg fawr i'w chwblhau.
Well, that's something that's hugely important to me, in terms of ensuring that there is that continuity, in order to ensure that we don't lose the work that we have been doing, and also to give assurance to the people of Wales that these roles are being undertaken. So, I have very regular conversations now with Welsh Government as to what will happen next, and I know that resources have been put in place so that that will start to come to fruition. So, I'm more confident than I was that that is developing, but, clearly, there's a huge amount of work to be done. In your earlier session, you talked about what it means to have a permanent body. It is a great task.
Diolch am hynny.
Thank you for that.
Gaf i jest gofyn ymhellach o ran hynny? Ydych chi'n cael eich gofyn i helpu i lywio'r cynlluniau hynny?
Can I just ask further to that? Are you being asked to help steer those arrangements?
Na. So, dyw e ddim o fewn fy remit i i sefydlu'r corff newydd nac i lywio beth sy'n digwydd o ran y corff newydd. Ond dwi yn cael fy ngofyn am adborth ar beth rŷn ni wedi ei ddysgu o'r cyfnod dwi wedi bod yn gwneud y rôl interim ac, yn amlwg, mae yna lot wedi cael ei ddysgu o hynny. Ond hefyd, yn amlwg, mae gen i berthynas gyda'r ESS a'r OEP. Dwi'n siarad gyda nhw'n aml a, drwy fod yn y rôl dwi wedi bod ynddi ac wedi gwylio fel maen nhw wedi datblygu, mae gen i sylwadau, efallai, ar sut mae hynny'n gallu bod o fantais, efallai, dwi'n gwybod.
No. It's not within my remit to establish the new body or to steer what will happen with that new body. But I am asked for feedback in terms of the lessons that we've learned from the period that I've been in the interim role and, clearly, there have been many lessons learned from that. But also, clearly, I have a relationship with the ESS and the OEP. I speak to them often, and, by being in the role that I've been in and watching how they have developed, perhaps I do have comments on how that could be of benefit.
A dim ond i gadarnhau, felly, mae hyn yn cael ei arwain—y broses—gan Lywodraeth Cymru.
And just to confirm, therefore, this is being led by the Welsh Government.
Sydd bach yn wahanol i beth glywsom ni gan y tystion eraill, o ran yr annibyniaeth yna o fod yn datblygu. Felly, mae yna wahaniaeth.
Which is slightly different to what we heard from the other witnesses, in terms of that independence in developing this. So, there is a difference.
So, mae fy rôl i yn annibynnol. So, mae'r rôl interim yn annibynnol. Llywodraeth Cymru sydd yn datblygu beth sydd yn dod nesaf ar hyn o bryd.
So, my role is independent. So, the interim role is independent. But the Welsh Government are developing what will come next.
Grêt, diolch. Gaf i ein symud ni ymlaen? Os gwnawn ni ddychwelyd at gwestiwn gan Janet, os gwelwch yn dda.
Great, thanks. Can I move us on, therefore? If we return to questions from Janet, please.
How many stakeholder meetings are held through the year?
So, we have one every quarter. So, that's online.
Mae hwnnw'n gyfarfod ar-lein. Sori. Mae hwnnw'n gyfarfod ar-lein dŷn ni'n ei gael fel bod mwy o bobl yn gallu bod yna a gallu mynychu fe. Dŷn ni hefyd, yn amlwg, yn cael—. So, llynedd, cawsom ni gyfarfod wyneb yn wyneb hefyd yn y sioe. Cawsom ni gyfarfod wyneb yn wyneb pan wnaethon ni drafod amboutu safleoedd gwarchodedig hefyd y llynedd. Felly, mae yna fwy na jest y cyfarfodydd chwarterol. Dwi hefyd yn cael cyfarfodydd un i un gyda nifer o randdeiliaid hefyd.
That's an online meeting. Sorry. That's an online meeting that we hold so that more people can attend. We, clearly, also have—. Last year, we had a face-to-face meeting in the Royal Welsh. We also had a face-to-face meeting to discuss protected sites last year. So, there's more than just those quarterly meetings. We also have one-to-one meetings with stakeholders.
Are those meetings minuted and the minutes published?
No. So, there are no minutes of those meetings that are published. So, they're not—. So, there are no—
Actions from them, or—?
Yes. There's a note taken of those, and then that's utilised to formulate a kind of newsletter that's sent out then to the stakeholders at that meeting.
Diolch. Os caf i ddod â Jenny i mewn, os gwelwch yn dda.
Thank you. If I may bring Jenny in, please.
Thank you very much. Interesting that you held this meeting at the Royal Welsh last year, and that led to a call for evidence on the hedgerow regulations. And I wondered whether you've had any feedback from stakeholders as to whether that enhanced the profile of this interim organisation.
Ie, byddwn i'n dweud ei fod e wedi bod yn rili bwysig o ran proffil yr IEPAW. Dwi'n credu ei fod e'r digwyddiad cyntaf wyneb yn wyneb gawsom ni fel IEPAW. Beth roedd e, efallai, wedi ein galluogi ni i'w wneud hefyd, tra ein bod ni yn y sioe, oedd cwrdd â rhanddeiliaid doedd ddim, efallai, wedi ymwneud â'r IEPAW cyn hynny. Mae cymaint o rhanddeiliaid yn y sioe, yn amlwg, roedd e'n rhwydd iawn cael pawb at ei gilydd. Felly, dwi'n credu ei fod e wedi bod yn fuddiol iawn. Dwi'n credu, pan wnaethom ni'r cais am dystiolaeth ar y gwaith i wneud â choedwigaeth, wnaethom ni ddim digwyddiad a wnaethom ni ddim lansio fe yn yr un ffordd, efallai, a beth dwi wedi ffeindio ac wedi dysgu o hwnnw oedd gallem ni fod wedi gwneud y tro â digwyddiad a oedd yn ein galluogi ni i sgopio allan beth oedd y problemau mwy eang, efallai, cyn penderfynu ar, efallai, ble dylem ni fod yn targedu'r adroddiad. Ac roedd y cyfarfod yna'n gyfle i wneud hynny, a rŷn ni wedi efelychu hynny eto pan wnaethom ni'r gwaith ar y safleoedd gwarchodedig hefyd wedyn. So, efallai fod hwnna wedi bod yn ddefnyddiol iawn, dwi'n credu, fel ffordd o ymwneud â rhanddeiliaid a deall, efallai, mewn ffordd gyflym iawn, beth yw'r problemau a beth yw'r pethau sy'n achosi consérn.
Yes, I would say that it was hugely important in terms of the profile of the IEPAW. I think it was the first event where we were able to meet face to face. And I think what it enabled us to do, whilst we were at the Royal Welsh Show, was to meet stakeholders who perhaps hadn't engaged with the IEPAW prior to that. And there are so many stakeholders at the show, it was very easy to get people together. So, I think it was very beneficial indeed. When we made the request for evidence on our work on forestry, we didn't stage an event and we didn't launch it in the same way, and what we found and what I learnt from that is that perhaps we should have arranged an event that would have enabled us to scope out what the problems were in broader terms before deciding where we should target our report. That meeting was an opportunity to do that, and we decided to take the same approach when we started the work on the protected sites. So, perhaps that was a useful way of engaging with stakeholders and to quickly get to grips with what the problems are and what the concerns are.
Diolch yn fawr iawn.
Thank you very much.
Okay. So, do you think there should be a regular—? Why not have your quarterly meeting—summer meeting—in the Royal Welsh as a regular event, given that so many stakeholders are present at that time?
Ie. Dwi'n credu bod hwnna'n syniad da iawn, a dwi'n hoffi'n fawr cael y cyfle i siarad â phobl—nid yn unig, efallai, y cyflwyniadau, ond hefyd y cyfle i siarad â phobl cyn ac ar ôl digwyddiadau fel yna hefyd yn bwysig iawn, yntefe, er mwyn deall, efallai, beth yw'r consérn. Felly, mae hynny'n rywbeth gwnaf i gymryd nôl i weld os gallwn ni wneud rhywbeth tebyg.
Yes. I think that's a very good idea, and I do very much enjoy getting that opportunity to speak to people, not only in relation to submissions, but the opportunity to speak to people before and after events too to understand their concerns. So, that's something that I will certainly consider, and consider where we can do something similar.
Okay. Thank you.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Os caf i symud ymlaen at Janet.
Thank you very much. If I can move on to Janet.
Yes. I'm going back a bit, sorry, on to question 6, so, in terms of submissions and accessibility. Could you just give us your reflections on why there have been fewer submissions for 2022-23? There were just six for 2022-23, and that's down from 21. That's a considerable number down for 2021-22.
So, dwi'n credu—. Wel, hwn yw barn fi amboutu pam mae'r gwahaniaeth yna. So, yn amlwg, yn y flwyddyn gyntaf yna, fuodd dim lot o gyflwyniadau o gwbl yn y chwe mis cyntaf—cawsom ni un neu ddau o fewn y chwe mis cyntaf—a dwi'n gwybod, pan ddes i mewn i'r rôl, roedden nhw'n rhagweld y byddai amboutu pump neu chwech y flwyddyn roedden nhw'n meddwl oedd y mwyaf y byddai'n dod i mewn. Yn amlwg, wedyn, cawsom ni'r 15 yma o fewn tri mis o'i gilydd, a dwi'n credu ei fod e nawr, efallai, wedi lefelu'n ôl i beth oedd y disgwyliadau o beth byddai fe, sef amboutu chwech neu saith y flwyddyn.
Mor belled, so, yn y flwyddyn Mawrth 2022 i Chwefror 2023, cawsom ni chwe cyflwyniad; dwi wedi cael dau ers hynny hefyd. So, mae rheini wedi dod ers i'r adroddiad yna gael ei gyhoeddi. A dwi'n credu hefyd, achos mae pobl nawr yn gwybod dyma'r ardaloedd dŷn ni eisoes wedi ymrwymo i wneud adroddiadau ynddo, maen nhw'n gwybod bod y consérn yna, efallai, wedi cael ei ddelio ag ef; roeddem ni wedi bod yn cyfathrebu â phobl amboutu hynny, felly.
Ac mae sawl un o'r cyflwyniadau wedi bod am faterion tebyg. Felly, rŷn ni wedi cael sawl cyflwyniad ar protected sites; rŷn ni wedi cael sawl un ar goedwigaeth; rŷn ni wedi cael sawl un ar goedwigaeth ers i ni ddweud ein bod ni'n mynd i wneud yr adroddiad arno fe hefyd gyda, efallai, pwyntiau bach ychwanegol neu bethau i adio i mewn. Felly, dwi'n credu ei fod e efallai'n dod i lawr achos bod pobl yn fwy ymwybodol ein bod ni eisoes yn edrych ar y materion yma, efallai. So, dwi'n credu dyna pam, efallai, ond dyna fy marn i a pham dwi'n meddwl, efallai, ei fod e wedi dod i lawr.
So, I think—. Well, this is my opinion on why we've seen that difference. So, clearly, in that first year, there weren't many submissions at all in the first six months—we had one or two in the first six months—and I know that, when I came into the role, they foresaw that there would be about five or six per year; they thought that would be the maximum that would come in. But, clearly, then we had this 15 within three months of each other, and I think that it now has levelled out to what the expectation was, which was about six or seven per year.
Thus far, so in the year from March 2022 to February 2023, we've had six submissions, and I've had two since then also. So, they've come in since that report was published. I think, also, because people now know that these are the areas that we've already committed to report on, they know that that concern has sort of been alleviated, and we've been communicating with people about them.
And a number of the submissions have been with regard to similar issues. So, we've had a number of submissions on protected sites; we've had a number on forestry; we've had a lot on forestry since announcing that we'd be reporting on it also, including some additional points or things to add in. So, I think it comes down to people being more aware that we're already looking at these issues. So, I think that's why; that's my opinion on why that's come down.
And how do you investigate the submissions and then take action?
So, pan fydd y mater yn dod i mewn atom ni, dwi a'r tîm wedyn yn cario mas rhyw fath o adroddiad sgopio. So, rŷn ni'n sgopio'r mater yna, rŷn ni'n ymchwilio mewn i'r mater yna, a hefyd nawr, achos ein bod ni wedi dod i mewn â ffurflen fwy manwl i bobl i wneud y cyflwyniad, maen nhw'n gorfod rhoi mwy i ni yn nhermau beth yn gwmws maen nhw'n edrych i ni edrych arno. Mae mwy o fanylder yn dod i mewn pan fydd yn dod i mewn hefyd. Dŷn ni'n edrych ar hwnna. Dŷn ni wedyn yn edrych arno fe drwy sgôp yr egwyddorion blaenoriaethu sydd gyda ni er mwyn penderfynu a ydy e'n rhywbeth rŷn ni'n mynd i efallai gwneud adroddiad arno, edrych arno ymhellach ac yn y blaen. Ambell waith, mae eisiau mwy o wybodaeth arnom ni; ambell waith mae eisiau hala mwy o amser yn ymchwilio i mewn i rywbeth; ambell waith dyw e ddim yn y remit. So, mae cyfnod sgopio yn mynd ymlaen ar y dechrau, ond dyw e ddim yn terfyn fel yna. So, er enghraifft, dywedwch fod yna fater efallai dwi ddim yn teimlo'i fod e'n rhywbeth dŷn ni'n mynd i edrych mewn iddo fe ar y pryd, dŷn ni'n cadw'r math yna o faterion o dan oruchwyliaeth yn gyson hefyd. Felly, pe bai mwy nag un cyflwyniad yn dod wedyn ar y un mater, sy'n ehangu'r pwyntiau neu sydd efallai yn ei wneud e'n fwy o flaenoriaeth oherwydd gwahanol resymau, rŷn ni'n cadw hwnna o dan ystyriaeth.
So, when the issue comes to us, I and the team then carry out a kind of scoping report. So, we scope that issue, we do some research into it, and now, since we've brought in a more detailed form for people to make these submissions, they have to give us more information in terms of what exactly they want us to look at. There's more depth to it in that way. We look at that. We then look at it through the scope of the prioritisation principles that we have, and we decide then whether it's something that we want to report on or look at further and so on. Sometimes, we need more information; sometimes we need more time to look into something; sometimes it's not within our remit. So, there's a scoping period that happens at the beginning of the process, but that's not the end of it. Say that there's an issue where it's not something we feel we should look into at that point in time, we keep those kinds of issues under regular scrutiny. So, if there were more than one submission, then, on the same issue that expands on those points or perhaps makes it more of a priority for different reasons, we keep that under consideration.
And my final point on this: where does the expertise come from to tell you whether you should pursue something or whether you should just put it to one side?
Ie. So, ar hyn o bryd, mae hwnna'n dod, efallai, o fy mhrofiad i o edrych ar y gyfraith amgylcheddol, a dyna pam, pan ydyn ni'n edrych am ddirprwy, mae'n bwysig ein bod ni'n cael rhywun sydd gyda'r sgiliau yna o ran deall y gyfraith, deall cyfraith amgylcheddol ac yn y blaen. Weithiau, mae eisiau mynd am gyngor allanol ar elfennau o'r materion yma, yntefe, ond mae hwnna'n dueddol o ddod ar y stêj nesaf. So, mae'r stêj gyntaf o'r sgopio yna'n digwydd o fewn y tîm, a wedyn, mae'r stêj nesaf, dŷn ni wedi bod yn mynd, wedyn, am gyngor ar hynny.
Yes. So, at the moment, that comes from my experience of looking at environmental law, and that's why, when we're looking for a deputy, it's important that we find someone with those skills who understands environmental law et cetera. Sometimes, we need to go for external advice on elements of these matters, but that happens at the next stage, as it were. So, that first stage of scoping happens within the team, and then the next stage is to go for advice on those things.
And a cheeky little one at the end, thank you. The previous speakers—I wasn't aware that there was a deputy in post there. Why is it that we need it in Wales, and yet it wasn't needed in England and Scotland?
So, fan hyn yng Nghymru, dŷn ni ddim hyd yn oed wedi cyrraedd yr interim roedden nhw'n siarad amdano o ran y OEP ac ESS; dŷn ni'n dal yn yr interim cyn creu'r corff cysgodol roedden nhw'n siarad amdano. Y rheswm pam dwi'n credu ei fod e'n bwysig bod gyda ni ddirprwy mewn lle yw bod angen gwneud yn siŵr bod gyda ni'r capasiti i wneud y gwaith sydd gyda ni i'w wneud nawr. Dwi yn credu dyw cael un person heb y gefnogaeth yna ddim, efallai, yn beth da. Pe bawn i'n dost, neu pe bai rhywbeth yn digwydd, o ble fyddai'r gefnogaeth yna yn dod? Felly, dwi yn credu bod hwnna'n bwysig.
Hefyd, dwi'n meddwl ei fod e'n rhoi opsiwn, efallai, wrth edrych ar beth sy'n dod nesaf. Bydd yna rywun arall eisoes wedi dod i arfer â'r gwaith, ac efallai byddai'n opsiwn i edrych ar a ydy'r person yna yn gallu parhau hefyd gyda beth sy'n dod nesaf. So, dwi'n gobeithio ei fod e'n gwella'r sefyllfa o ran sicrwydd ac o ran y capasiti sydd gyda ni i ddelio â materion.
So, here in Wales, we haven't even reached that interim that they were discussing in terms of the OEP and the ESS; we're still in the interim before creating that shadow body that they were discussing. The reason why I think it's important that we have a deputy in place is because we need to ensure that we have the capacity to undertake the work we have to do now. I think that having one person without that support perhaps isn't the best solution. If I, for example, were ill, or something happened, where would that support come from? So, I do think that's important.
Also, I think it provides an option, in a way, in terms of what comes next. Someone else will be used to the work, and they'll be able to look at whether that person can continue with what comes next. So, I think it improves the situation in terms of assurance and the capacity we have to deal with issues.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Os caf i ddod â Huw i mewn.
Thank you very much. I'll bring Huw in.
Diolch, Cadeirydd. Only one short question, because I think we've explored the process of the submissions and the reports very well there. It's simply the aspect of the website, whether you've had any feedback now on the website, so that the public can see what you're all about, whether submissions are appropriate et cetera.
Ie. So, roedd hwnna'n un o'r argymhellion ces i wrthych chi y llynedd, yntefe, ac roeddwn i'n ddiolchgar iawn am yr argymhellion ces i. Mae'r wefan nawr yn fwy tebyg i wefannau cyrff annibynnol eraill—mae e ar darn arall o wefan Llywodraeth Cymru, so dwi'n credu bod hwnna wedi helpu.
Mae'r broses, efallai, o gael pethau arno fe yn dal yn bach yn clunky, dywedwn i—dwi ddim yn siŵr am ffordd arall i ddisgrifio hwnna—a byddwn i yn sicr yn licio gwella ar hwnnw eto. Ond mae hwnna wedi cael ei wneud; dŷn ni wedi adnewyddu y cynnwys oedd arni hefyd.
Yes. That was one of the recommendations that I received from you as a committee last year, and I was very grateful for those recommendations. The website is now more similar to the websites of other independent bodies—it's on another part of the Welsh Government's website, so I think that did help.
The process of getting things on the website is still a little clunky—I'm not sure how else to describe that—and, certainly, we'd like to make some further improvements there. But that has been done; we've refreshed the content on it too.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Gawn ni symud nôl at adroddiadau, a mwy o gwestiynau mwy trylwyr? Ac mae Joyce Watson yn mynd i ddechrau'r cwestiynu. Diolch.
Thank you very much. If we can move back to reports, and some more thorough questioning on that. And Joyce Watson is going to kick off. Thank you.
Bore da. We've noted that there's been some delay in the forestry report, and you mention it in your submission to us. Would you like to explain what the barriers to that publication were? Because it was due in June. So, if you'd just like to talk us through that.
Ie, yn bendant. Hwnna oedd y mater cyntaf penderfynais i adrodd arno, a byddai fe'n wir i ddweud, pe bawn i'n cael yr amser nôl, fyddwn i ddim wedi mynd ati i ddelio â'r mater mewn cweit yr un ffordd â dwi wedi efallai delio ag e. Felly, gwnaethom ni ar y pryd gais am dystiolaeth, ac aethon ni at grŵp o bobl benodedig. Wnaethon ni ddim cael y digwyddiad yma er mwyn ffocysu ble dylem ni fod yn canolbwyntio ar bethau gwahanol. Dwi'n credu y byddai hwnna wedi bod yn fuddiol iawn. Wedyn, o ran capasiti, mae wedi bod yn anodd hala'r amser yn drafftio'r adroddiad yna yn seiliedig ar y dystiolaeth a gawsom ni.
Yn ogystal â hynny, rydyn ni wedyn, ers ymrwymo i wneud hwnna, wedi cael sawl cyflwyniad ychwanegol ar faterion tebyg yn y maes hwnnw. So, bob tro rŷn ni'n dod yn agos at feddwl, 'O, rŷn ni'n gallu cyflwyno hwnna', mae rhywbeth arall wedi dod sy'n golygu na, rŷn ni'n gorfod cymryd hwn i ystyriaeth, hefyd. Beth dwi eisiau yw cael adroddiad sydd yn gynhwysfawr, sydd yn ddefnyddiol, sydd yn rhywbeth sydd yn mynd i allu creu newid. Felly, dwi'n rhwystredig, yn ogystal, dwi'n siŵr, â phawb arall, bod yr adroddiad ddim gyda ni eto, ond dwi wir yn gobeithio y bydd e gyda ni yn glou iawn nawr.
Most certainly, yes. That was the first issue that I decided to report on, and it would be true to say that, if I had that time back again, I wouldn't have chosen to deal with that issue in the way that I did, perhaps. So, at that time, we made a call for evidence, and we approached a particular group of people. We didn't have an event in order to decide where we should be focusing on. I think that would have been very beneficial. Then in terms of capacity, it's been difficult to spend the time drafting that report based on the evidence received.
In addition to that, since committing to undertake that work, we've had a number of other submissions on similar issues in that field. So, every time we got close to completion, something else has been raised that we need to take into account. What I want to do is to have a report that is comprehensive, is useful and can lead to change. So, I am frustrated, like everyone else, I'm sure, that we don't have that completed report, but I very much hope it will be available very soon.
So it has been, really, a useful learning curve for you.
Ac rŷn ni'n gwneud hwn am y tro cyntaf, dwi'n gwneud hwn am y tro cyntaf, felly dwi wedi dysgu lot o'r profiad o wneud hwn.
And we're doing this for the first time, I'm doing it for the first time, so I've learnt a great deal from that experience, yes.
With that learning having happened, are you confident that the reports on hedgerows, protected sites and civil sanctions will be provided to the Welsh Government before the end of your term?
Ydw. Dwi wedi ymrwymo i wneud hwnna. Mae'r un ar goedwigaeth wedi'i ddrafftio; mae e jest yn achos o orffen hwnna. Mae'r un peth yn wir am yr un ar wrychoedd—mae hwnna hefyd wedi'i ddrafftio, mae jest angen gorffen hwnna. Oherwydd bod fy mlaenoriaeth i ar hyn o bryd yw cwblhau'r ddau yna cyn yr haf, fydda i ddim yn gallu mynd nôl at yr un protected sites nes mis Medi. Hwnna fydd nesaf. Ac fel roeddwn i wedi dweud eisoes, mae'r un ar civil sanctions nawr yn dechrau. So, mae hwnna yn gynnar iawn. Dŷn ni ddim wedi gwneud y cais am dystiolaeth ar hwnna eto, chwaith. Felly, os bydd un yn go agos ati ar y diwedd, hwnna fydd e.
Yes. I'm committed to doing that. The forestry report has been drafted, so it's now just a case of completing that. The same is true of the report on hedgerows. That's also being drafted; it just needs final completion. Because the completion of those two before the summer is a priority, I won't be able to go back to the protected sites report until September. That will be next. And as I said already, the report on civil sanctions is now being commenced. That's at a very early stage. We haven't made the call for evidence on that as of yet. So, if one of them is close to the line at the end, it'll be that one.
You've talked about the report on the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill. Would you like to reflect on the process of liaising with the Welsh Government on that, and the Welsh Government's reasoning for providing a response to the REUL report later than the agreed six-week time frame?
Cafodd yr adroddiad hwnnw ei ddatblygu a'i wneud mewn cyfnod byr iawn—cwpl o fisoedd o'r dechrau i'r diwedd. Yn ystod y cyfnod hwnnw, fe wnes i gael cyfarfodydd gydag aelodau o'r tîm yn Llywodraeth Cymru i drafod y materion a oedd ynghlwm â'r adroddiad hwnnw. Felly, ces i'r trafodaethau yna wrth ddatblygu’r adroddiad, ond hefyd cyn cyhoeddi'r adroddiad. Aeth hwnna wedyn i'r Gweinidog. Oherwydd y natur bwysig a time-sensitive, gwnes i hefyd gyhoeddi'r adroddiad yna'r un pryd â'i ddanfon at y Gweinidog, fel ei fod e ar gael i unrhyw un a oedd eisiau trio dylanwadu beth oedd yn digwydd yn San Steffan. Ond fel y gwnaethoch chi grybwyll, gwnaeth e gymryd mwy na'r chwe wythnos i'r Gweinidog ymateb i'r adroddiad.
That report was drawn up in a very brief period of time—a few months from beginning to end. During that time I did have meetings with the team in the Welsh Government to discuss the issues that were pertinent to it. So, I had those discussions as I was developing the work on that report, but also prior to publication. That was then provided to the Minister. Because of the important and time-sensitive nature of that report, I published it as it was being sent to the Minister, so it was available to anyone who felt that they needed to try and influence what was happening in Westminster. But as you mentioned, it did take more than six weeks for the Minister to respond to that report.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Gwnaf symud i'r cwestiynau nesaf gan Janet, os gwelwch yn dda.
Thank you. If I can move to the next questions from Janet, please.
What do you believe the impact of the first IEPAW report will be, and what lessons have been learned for any anticipated reports?
Sorry, can you ask me again? I apologise. I'm having a coughing fit.
What do you believe has been the impact of the first IEPAW report, and what lessons have been learned for any anticipated reports going forward?
Yn amlwg, buodd yna peth newid i'r Bil, ddim yn hir ar ôl i'r adroddiad yna gael ei gyflwyno. Gallaf i byth â dweud ei fod e i gyd yn ymwneud â'r adroddiad. Ond rwy'n credu beth oedd yn bwysig hefyd oedd nid yn unig oedd yr IEPAW wedi gwneud adroddiad, ond roedd hefyd yr OEP wedi gwneud adroddiad ar y materion hyn. Felly, dwi'n credu roedd hwnna yn bwysig. Rwy'n gobeithio ei fod e wedi amlygu ble roedd yr ardaloedd o gonsérn o ran cyfraith amgylcheddol yng Nghymru o ganlyniad i'r Bil, a bod yna gamau pellach nawr yn cael eu cymryd i dreial lleihau yr impact hwnnw. Yn amlwg, gwnaeth Llywodraeth Cymru ymateb yn bositif i'r argymhellion yn yr adroddiad. Beth sy'n bwysig yw ein bod ni ddim yn meddwl, 'Wel, dyna fe' a bod hwnna'n ddigonol. Beth sy'n bwysig yw ein bod ni dal yn cadw golwg ar y briff yna. Yn sicr, dwi'n cadw golwg ar y briff hwnnw o hyd, er bod yr adroddiad yna wedi cael ei wneud, er mwyn sicrhau bod y pethau sydd wedi cael eu hymrwymo i'w gwneud, o ran gwneud yn siŵr bod unrhyw gyfreithiau fyddai'n dod i ben o hwn ddim yn mynd i ddod i ben a'n bod ni yn ymrwymo i'w cadw nhw—.
Clearly, there were some change to the Bill, not long after that report was published. I can't say that it's all down to that. But I think what was also important was not only that the IEPAW had made a report, but also that the OEP reported on the same issues. So, I think that was very important. I hope that it really made evident the areas of concern in terms of environmental law in Wales as a result of the Bill, and, also, that there are further steps now being taken to try and reduce that impact. Clearly, the Welsh Government responded in a positive way to the recommendations in the report. What's important is that we don't think, 'Well, that's that; that's done' and that that's sufficient. What's important is that we keep a watching eye on that brief. I certainly do at all times, even though that report has been published, in order to ensure that the things we've committed to within it, in terms of ensuring that any laws that are coming to an end don't come to and end and that we're committed to keeping them—.
And do you think the role going forward, in a more permanent aspect of governance—? Do you feel there'll be more to that than writing reports?
Byddwn i'n gobeithio'n fawr y byddai yna fwy o remit gyda'r corff parhaol na'r remit sydd gyda fi ar hyn o bryd, yn sicr.
I would hope that the permanent body would have more of a remit than the remit I currently hold, certainly.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Os caf i symud at Jenny ar gyfer y cwestiwn nesaf.
Thank you. If I can now move to Jenny for the next question.
Just going back to the monster of the retained EU law Bill, what role would you envisage for your organisation in assessing and advising Welsh Ministers on the schedule of the retained EU law, given that that's where the successor regulations are going to be detailed?
Dwi ddim yn credu fod hwnna'n mynd i fod yn rôl i fi fel interim, ond efallai yn rôl i'r corff parhaol, yn sicr yn nhermau cynghori'r Llywodraeth ar yr elfennau hynny. Dwi'n credu beth fyddai'n dod o fewn y remit fel mae e ar hyn o bryd fyddai cadw golwg ar y gaps yna neu ble mae'r problemau efallai yn codi o fewn hwnna. Ond dwi ddim yn credu fod gyda fy rôl i y capasiti i edrych ar y schedule yna yn fanwl, fel mae e ar hyn o bryd.
I don't think that that will necessarily be a role for me as the interim assessor, but a role perhaps for the permanent body, certainly in terms of advising Government on those elements. What would be included in the remit as it currently stands would be to keep a watch on those gaps and where the problems might arise. But I don't think that my role has the capacity to look at that schedule in detail, as things currently stand.
You have these regular meetings with your opposite numbers or the established bodies from Scotland and England with Northern Ireland. I was interested to hear Dame Glenys Stacey say that some of the legislation that's been established in Westminster actually takes regulation much further than was in the EU law. So, if it's not coming from you in your interim role, where is the Welsh Government going to get that level of insight of understanding exactly what needs to be in this schedule?
Dwi ddim yn credu bod hwnna'n rhywbeth sy'n dod o fewn remit y rôl interim, fel mae e ar hyn o bryd, ond dwi'n gallu gweld sut fyddai efallai yn dod mewn i remit corff parhaol.
I don't think that that's something that falls within the remit of the interim role, as it currently stands, but I do see how it could potentially come into a permanent body's remit.
Diolch. A gaf i ddod â Delyth Jewell yn ôl?
Thank you. Can I bring Delyth Jewell back in?
Diolch, Cadeirydd. Dŷch chi, yn eich rôl, wedi bod yn cysylltu gyda rhai cyrff allanol, fel Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru. O ran rhai o'r pethau dŷch chi wedi bod mewn cysylltiad â nhw yn eu cylch, dŷn nhw efallai ddim tu fewn i ffiniau eich rôl—. Wel, i ba raddau dŷch chi'n meddwl bod hwnna wedi bod tu fas i ffiniau eich rôl? A allwch chi siarad ni drwyddo sut roedd hynna wedi digwydd? Ac a oes yna unrhyw fecanweithiau sy'n bodoli fyddai'n caniatáu i chi basio pethau ymlaen, os dŷch ddim yn teimlo—. Os allech chi siarad ni trwy hwnna.
Thank you, Chair. In your role, you've been liaising with other external bodies, such as NRW, on some of the issues, and they perhaps don't fall within your remit. To what extent do you feel that that was outwith your remit? Can you talk us through how that had happened? And are there any existing mechanisms that would allow you to pass concerns on, if you didn't feel—. If you could talk us through that.
Mae gen i femorandwm o ddealltwriaeth gyda'r OEP a'r ESS. Mae hwnna'n werthfawr iawn. Rwy'n credu y cafodd ei grybwyll y bore yma yn gynharach, y fantais o allu siario gwybodaeth a gallu amlygu pethau sy'n berthnasol fan hyn a dros y ffin. Yn amlwg, mae yna faterion amgylcheddol sy'n croesi ffiniau. Mae hwnna wedi bod yn fanteisiol iawn.
Mae gen i hefyd femorandwm o ddealltwriaeth gyda Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru, ac mae hwnna hefyd wedi bod yn ddefnyddiol iawn, dwi'n meddwl, nid yn unig i drafod a chrynhoi tystiolaeth ar y materion dwi'n adrodd arnynt, ond, fel sydd wedi cael ei nodi yn yr adroddiad, yr ardaloedd hynny dwi ddim gyda'r pŵer i wneud dim amdanynt. Felly, ar hyn o bryd dwi ddim yn gallu gorfodi unrhyw un i wneud unrhyw beth, ond dyw hwnna ddim yn fy stopio i rhag codi'r pwyntiau hynny nac i'w trafod nhw na'u crybwyll nhw yn y cyfarfodydd yna os mae'n berthnasol. Dwi'n credu bod hwnna'n bwysig i wneud ble mae'n bosib.
I have a memorandum of understanding with the OEP and the ESS. That's very valuable. I think it was mentioned this morning earlier, the benefit of being able to share information and draw attention to things that are relevant here and across the border. Clearly, there are environmental issues that cross borders. That's been very advantageous.
I also have a memorandum of understanding with Natural Resources Wales, and I feel that that's been very useful also, not only to discuss and summarise information on different issues that I report on, but, as was mentioned in the report, those areas that I'm not able to do anything about. So, at the moment, I can't force anyone to do anything, but that doesn't stop me from raising those points, discussing them or mentioning them in those meetings if they're relevant. I think that's important to do where possible.
Diolch am hwnna. Rydych chi wedi ateb y cwestiwn arall oedd gen i. Achos bod amser gennym ni, allaf i ofyn rhywbeth arall, Gadeirydd?
Thank you. You've answered my second question. Because we do have some time, can I move on to another issue?
Cewch, ac wedyn mae Jenny yn awyddus i—. Gaf i ddod at Jenny yn gyntaf?
Yes, and then Jenny is eager to—. Jenny first.
Before we move on—
Yes, because this isn't relevant to this, so it makes sense for you to go.
Thank you very much. Amongst the organisations you've been liaising with is something called the Association of Environmental Clerks of Works, based in Glasgow, I think. Because the other organisations you mention in your annual report we have regular contact with, I just wonder if you could tell me about their role, because they sound like they're civil servants or public servants that may have a useful role for us here.
Mae eu gwaith nhw yn ymwneud ag asesu risg amgylcheddol projectau gwahanol. Maen nhw'n asesu risg i'r amgylchedd a gwneud adroddiadau fel rhan o hwnna. Gwnaethon nhw ddod ataf i a gofyn am gyfarfod, a dwi'n credu eu bod nhw wedi fy ngwahodd i i ddigwyddiad yn hwyrach eleni hefyd. Fel rydych chi'n ei ddweud, dŷn nhw efallai ddim yn un o'r rhanddeiliaid y byddech chi'n disgwyl eu gweld ar y rhestr, ond, yn amlwg, mae e'n dangos bod ymwybyddiaeth am yr rôl yn ehangach na'r rhanddeiliaid y byddech chi'n eu disgwyl, efallai.
Their work relates to assessing the environmental risk of different projects. They assess environmental risk and they produce reports as part of that. They came to me and asked for a meeting, and I think that they have invited me to an event later in the year, also. As you say, they may not have been the kind of stakeholders you'd expect to see on the list, but, it does show, in a way, that there's awareness of the role to a broader extent than the stakeholders you might expect.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Os awn ni nôl at Delyth.
Thank you very much. We'll go back to Delyth.
Diolch. Maddeuwch i fi os dyw hwn ddim yn gwestiwn teg. Os dyw e ddim, does dim disgwyl ichi ateb o gwbl. Dŷn ni wedi bod yn clywed y bore yma am fel does dim cynllun perffaith. Mae yna bethau da am beth sy'n digwydd yn yr Alban, mae yna bethau da sy'n digwydd yn Lloegr, roedd yna bethau da oedd yn digwydd dan yr Undeb Ewropeaidd, sydd wedi cael eu colli, efallai. Fel sydd wedi cael ei grybwyll nifer o weithiau yn barod, oni bai bod y cyhoedd yn ymwybodol o'r prosesau mae angen iddyn nhw fynd trwyddyn nhw er mwyn cael cyfiawnder ar beth sydd yn mynd yn rong gyda'r pethau hyn, pa bynnag broses sydd mewn lle, dyw e ddim yn gweithio yn ddelfrydol. Sut byddech chi yn asesu lle mae'r gap o ran dealltwriaeth neu ymwybyddiaeth o ran fel mae pobl yn ymwybodol neu ddim yn ymwybodol o bethau? Sut byddech chi eisiau i beth sy'n dod yn fwy parhaol adeiladu ar hynny i wella pethau ar gyfer y cyhoedd? Beth ydy'r pethau da rydych chi'n eu gweld o'r systemau gwahanol byddech chi eisiau eu gweld yn cael eu hymgorffori yn y broses newydd? Efallai bydd rhai pethau byddwch chi ddim yn teimlo'n gyfforddus yn siarad amdanyn nhw, ond beth bynnag rydych chi eisiau rhannu gyda ni.
Thank you. Forgive me if this is an unfair question. If it is, I don't expect you to answer. But we've heard this morning that there is no perfect plan. There are good things happening in Scotland, there are good things happening in England, there were good things happening in the EU that may have been lost. As has been mentioned a number of times already, unless the public is aware of the processes that they need to go through in order to get justice when things do go wrong, then, whatever process is in place isn't working to its fullest extent. So, how would you assess where the gap is in terms of awareness or understanding, and the way that people are aware or not aware of these functions? How would you want the permanent body to build on that to make improvements for the public? What are the good things that you could pick from the different systems that you would want to see incorporated in the new body? There may be some things that you wouldn't feel comfortable in talking about, but share with us what you feel comfortable doing so.
Rwy'n credu beth sy'n bwysig yw'r hyblygrwydd yna o fewn unrhyw gorff newydd i allu ymateb i beth bynnag sydd eisiau ei wneud o ran gwneud yn siŵr bod y rhanddeiliaid yn ymwybodol a bod y ffyrdd yna o ymwneud â'r corff a chael y cyfiawnder yna ar gael iddyn nhw. Felly, rwy'n credu bod yr annibyniaeth yn bwysig, achos rwy'n credu bod hwnna, gobeithio, yn creu tryst yn beth mae'r rôl yna yn ei gyflawni. Ond hefyd, yn amlwg, mae angen bod yn dryloyw amboutu beth sy'n cael ei wneud, a theimlo bod yna bethau yn digwydd yn sgil y ceisiadau sy'n dod i mewn a'r gwaith sy'n cael ei wneud. Ond mae e'n rhywbeth organig, rŷch chi'n gorfod cadw ei newid e, a dyna pam mae'r hyblygrwydd yna'n bwysig, bod y cyfleon i amlygu'r pethau yna ar gael. Ond does dim system, efallai—. Mae wastad ffordd i wella pob peth, ond gallu ei wella fe yw'r peth pwysig, eich bod chi'n gallu ei newid drwy'r amser.
I think what's important is that flexibility within any new body to be able to respond to anything that needs doing in terms of ensuring that those stakeholders are aware and that we have those ways of engaging with the body and getting that justice for people. So, I think the independence is important, because I think that, I hope, creates trust in what that role is able to achieve. But also, clearly, we need to be transparent in what is done, and that we feel that things are done as a result of the requests that come in and the work that's undertaken. But it is something organic, you have to keep changing it, and that's why that flexibility is important, that the opportunities to highlight those things are there. But of course, there are always ways to improve everything, but the ability to improve it is important, that you can change it all the time.
Ie. Mae hynny'n bwysig. Ocê. Diolch.
Yes. That's important. Okay. Thank you.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Oes yna unrhyw gwestiynau pellach gan Aelodau? Na. A gaf i ofyn, felly, dim ond i gloi—diolch yn fawr iawn am fod gyda ni heddiw—oes yna unrhyw beth oeddech chi ar dân eisiau ei ddweud wrthym ni nad ydych chi wedi cael cyfle?
Thank you very much. Do Members have any further questions? No. Can I ask, therefore, just to close—thank you very much for being here today—was there anything that you were desperate to tell us that you haven't been able to say?
Na, dwi ddim yn credu bod e. Dwi'n credu ein bod ni wedi mynd trwy sawl gwahanol ardal.
No, I don't think there is. I think we've gone through several different areas.
Ond yn sicr mae'n amser inni weld gweithredu rŵan, a gwybod beth fydd y cynlluniau i'r dyfodol, felly bydd honna'n neges i ni fynd nôl i'r Llywodraeth hefyd. Felly, a gaf i ddiolch o galon ichi am eich gwaith, ac am ateb y cwestiynau heddiw? I chi gael gwybod, mi fydd yna drawsgrifiad yn cael ei rannu â chi, dim ond i gadarnhau ei fod o'n adlewyrchiad teg o'r hyn rydych chi wedi ei ddweud, ond fel arall, ie, dyna ni am heddiw. Diolch.
But it's certainly time for us to see some action now, and to know what the plans are for the future, so that will be a message for us to take back to the Government. So, can I thank you so much for your work, and for answering these questions today? Just so you know, the Record of Proceedings will be published as usual, and just for you to ensure it's an accurate reflection of what you said, but otherwise, that's it for today. Thank you very much.
Diolch yn fawr iawn.
Thank you very much.
Aelodau, felly, gawn ni symud ymlaen at yr eitem nesaf? Mae gennym ni nifer o lythyrau i'w nodi, neu bapurau i'w nodi, o 4.1 i 4.6. Oes yna unrhyw sylw, neu ydych chi'n hapus i'w derbyn nhw? Pawb yn hapus i dderbyn? Unrhyw un eisiau codi unrhyw beth? Na. Ocê, diolch yn fawr iawn. Mi wnawn ni nodi'r rheini, felly.
Members, can we therefore move on to the next item? We have a number of letters to note, or papers to note, from 4.1 to 4.6. Is there anything to raise, or are you happy to accept them? Is everyone happy to note that? Does anyone want to raise any issues? No. Thank you very much. We will note them, therefore.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi) a (ix).
that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi) and (ix).
Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
Mi wnawn ni symud ymlaen at eitem 5, a felly cynnig o dan y Rheol Sefydlog i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod heddiw, a'n bod ni yn cyfarfod yn breifat, felly, am yr amser sy'n weddill. A yw'r Aelodau yn fodlon â hynny? Diolch yn fawr iawn. Os felly, byddwn ni'n dod â'r sesiwn gyhoeddus i ben ac yn parhau'n breifat.
We'll move on to item 5, which is a motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting today, and we'll be meeting in private for the remainder of the time. Are Members happy with that? Yes, thank you very much. We will therefore bring the public session to an end and we'll continue in private.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 11:27.
The public part of the meeting ended at 11:27.