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Section highlightHouses into homes This report details findings to emerge from the evaluation during the first six months of delivery (April to September 2012).
Written Statement - Update on tobacco policy »Standardised packaging of tobacco products and Sub Committees on The Smoke-free Premises etc. (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2012.Learn more »
Industry and government plan for a healthy future for farming in Wales
Farmers and Welsh Government will come together today to plan for a healthy and vibrant agricultural industry.
- Statement from First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, on the Woolwich attack
- Historic garden is a breakfast TV star
- Industry and government plan for a healthy future for farming in Wales
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Section highlightAccess to information
The Welsh Government has followed the principles of openness in government for many years. Find out how you can make a freedom of information request or see requests that have already been made.
Sky lanterns: environmental and risk assessment »To establish an evidence base to help any future policy decisions on sky lanterns and helium balloons.Learn more »
- Future management of private water supply pipes
- Higher Education (Wales) Bill: Technical consultation
- Renting Homes White Paper
- The draft School Governors’ Annual Reports (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2013
- The future of agricultural statistical data collection methods in Wales
- Consultation - Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (Wales) Regulations 2006 (Amendment) Regulations 2013
Featured consultation »Implementing the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011
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Section highlightFurther and Higher Education (Governance and Information) (Wales) Bill 2013
Removes a number of technical restrictions and controls on colleges without changing the principal powers of colleges to provide further, higher and secondary education.
Legislative programme 2012 - 2013 »
Addressing the Assembly in the Senedd today, the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, detailed the eight bills in the Welsh Government’s 5-year Legislative Programme that will be brought forward during the second year of the Welsh Assembly.Learn more »
Section highlightCommunity Infrastructure Levy
Local authorities can charge a Community Infrastructure Levy on new developments to support the infrastructure needed.
2nd Supplementary Budget 2012-13 »
Proposes a number of changes to the 1st Supplementary Budget for 2012-13, which was published on 26 June 2012.Learn more »
Oral - Foot and Mouth Disease
Agriculture in Wales and across Great Britain is once again gripped by foot and mouth disease, having a detrimental effect on the livestock industry and rural communities. On 3 August and again on 12 September, foot and mouth disease was confirmed in Surrey, on five farms to date. The outbreak in August was considered to have been contained, but the unpredictability of animal disease has led to the three further outbreaks in September. The latest infected premises confirmed today has a tracing to Wales, which is under investigation. Although such action is a routine part of the investigation of an infected premises, it is a timely reminder that Wales is still vulnerable to an incursion of disease.
Independent investigations by the Health and Safety Executive and Professor Spratt of Imperial College concluded that the most likely source of the August outbreak was the escape of a live virus from the Pirbright site. The Welsh Assembly Government reacted promptly to the recent outbreaks by putting in place a movement ban of cloven-hoofed animals. We have learned many lessons from the 2001 outbreak which have been incorporated into our contingency planning. A significant difference to the position then is that animal health powers were devolved to the Assembly in 2005.
Communication about the restrictions and outbreak developments has been particularly challenging and we have used all available channels including press announcements, our website and cascading information via stakeholders. From Thursday this week, we will be providing a text service to farmers on key messages.
The impact of the most recent outbreak on the industry is very different to that in August. Animals now need to be brought down from the hills, it is the export season, autumn sales are being held, and it is the breeding season.
I am well aware of the calls on the UK Government to compensate the industry for the economic impact of the outbreak. This may be the subject of legal action by the industry and therefore it would be inappropriate for me to comment on this at present. Compensation for animal diseases such as foot and mouth disease is only payable for disease control purposes and for the value of animals slaughtered and materials seized. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs holds the budgets for these payments, even for an outbreak in Wales. The Welsh Assembly Government does not have budgets to cover either statutory compensation or consequential losses.
I have been in discussion with stakeholders to determine the priorities on such issues as movement to slaughter, welfare, and in identifying the next steps. I met them yesterday and I will do so again on Thursday. Urgent work is under way with DEFRA and the Scottish Government on an approach to help the industry by defining the highest and lowest-risk areas in Britain. That would create some degree of normality for Welsh farmers, while not losing site of the need to maintain strict disease control. I hope that this will allow us to start moving animals as soon as possible, on the basis of veterinary risk assessment, from upland to lowland areas. As part of this, I have commissioned a detailed study to analyse livestock movements into Wales in recent weeks. I have also set in train discussions between officials, the livestock auctioneers and the farming unions, on how such movements might be facilitated through farm-to-farm sales and virtual sales.
I will be meeting Hilary Benn, and Richard Lochhead, the Minister in Scotland, to set out the concerns of the Welsh farming industry and explore the various options to relieve the pressure on the industry. As the autumn period is a key time for marketing finished, breeding and cull sheep, and 35 per cent of lambs slaughtered in Wales are exported. The Welsh sheep meat sector is heavily reliant on a prosperous export market in order to underpin farm-gate prices, and developing these markets is of vital importance to the Welsh red meat industry. As a result, there are serious implications of a ban on the export of sheep meat from Britain.
Cig Cibyn Ltd in Caernarfon has closed its abattoir once again following the latest outbreak. I acknowledge that the directors of Cig Cibyn have had to take this extremely difficult decision as a result of the current restrictions resulting from the foot and mouth disease outbreak in Surrey. My officials will continue to liaise with the directors and with officials from Gwynedd Council until normal trading can resume.
The most important period for exports is from August to December. In 2006, 1.1 million lambs were exported at a value of £31 million. This provides an indication of the export situation and highlights the extra volume that will now remain in Britain due to the ban. This amount of additional meat on the market will inevitably push prices down. The First Minister and I will be meeting with the supermarket sector to seek its assurance that it will do what it can to provide support at this time.
The industry has raised the issue of the livestock welfare disposal scheme and officials have been discussing its development with DEFRA. In February 2005, the Minister for Environment, Planning and Countryside agreed to develop a non-funded system, with the agreement of the other British administrations.
I want the supermarkets and the people of Wales to hear one message in particular: that one of the best ways of helping Welsh farmers is to buy Welsh produce. I will continue to do everything that I can to work with the industry and with the United Kingdom Government to eradicate the disease and to assist the industry to deal with this extremely difficult period. I cannot emphasise enough the gravity of the situation and, in these early days, the pattern of the disease is still emerging. There is a rationale to these restrictions: to keep the disease out of Wales.