Senedd Bites #48: AMs agree on carbon emissions targets

(Title Image: Climate Change Commission for Wales)

AMs back new statutory climate change targets

AMs have overwhelmingly backed a number of new regulations which will set targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions until 2050. The goal is for emissions to be 80% lower than 1990 levels by 2050, with intermediate targets set for 2020, 2030 and 2040.

Energy, Planning & Rural Affairs Secretary, Lesley Griffiths (Lab, Wrexham) said, “The regulations demonstrate the Welsh Government is serious about tackling climate change and shows international markets Wales is open to low carbon business.”

There has already been criticism from the Senedd’s Environment Committee that key targets have already been missed.

Carl Sargeant coroner’s inquest adjourned until 2019

The coroner’s inquest into the death of Carl Sargeant has adjourned until 2019 in a situation the Sargeant family describes as “unsatisfactory”.

The inquest was due to last one wee. It had to be extended due to last-minute evidence which reportedly contradicts evidence provided by the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, and senior aide, Matt Greenough resulting in their possible recall. The First Minister’s legal team have also launched a judicial review to overturn the coroner’s decision to dismiss evidence from two senior Flintshire Labour councillors.

The inquest heard that Carl Sargeant suffered bouts of depression and that more could have been done to provide care following his dismissal as Communities Secretary in November 2017.

Arriva defends condition of trains at franchise handover

Following evidence from Transport for Wales directors last week, Arriva issued a rebuttal to suggestions they left trains in a poor condition, saying they invested £30million over the 15-year franchise which went “above and beyond” the contract.

They added, “All spare parts and tools within our control were transferred to the new franchise holder with all parties having access to take stock reviews prior to transfer.”

Use of palm oil discouraged in Welsh Government business contracts

The Welsh Government have announced that changes will be made to contracts awarded to businesses in exchange for funding to phase out the use of palm oil by Welsh companies.

Palm oil has been linked to rainforest deforestation and the loss of habitat for a number of endangered species. The Welsh supermarket chain, Iceland, has already announced it would end the use of palm oil in its products.

Economy & Infrastructure Secretary, Ken Skates (Lab, Clwyd South) told BBC Wales, “The campaign against the use of non-ethical palm oil is very much in line with the ethos of my Economic Action Plan which has driving sustainable growth and encouraging responsible business behaviours at its very core.

Welsh Government granted bond-issue powers

The Welsh Government has been granted the power to issue bonds to fund infrastructure investments, which will increase available finance options. The powers were initially part of the 2015 St David’s Day Agreement.

The bonds are redeemable and must be paid back with interest over time.

Finance Secretary, Mark Drakeford (Lab, Cardiff West) said, “We will always use least expensive forms of capital first when investing in infrastructure before using other sources of repayable capital, such as bonds.”

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