Senedd Bites #52: “Super prison” axed & more

(Title Image: Daily Post)

Port Talbot “super prison” axed

The UK Government’s Prisons Minister, Rory Stewart, confirmed to the UK Parliament’s Welsh Affairs Select Committee that plans for a “super prison” at Baglan Moors in Port Talbot have been withdrawn.

Last week, the Wales Governance Centre reported that Wales had one of the highest incarceration rates in Europe, but the Minister confirmed that another site in Wales was being sought.

The Welsh Government said, “We have written to the Ministry of Justice to inform them we will not facilitate any further prison development without meaningful and thorough discussion about the future estate as part of a holistic approach to penal policy in Wales.”

Carl Sargeant inquest High Court challenge fails

An appeal to the High Court by legal counsel to the former First Minister, Carwyn Jones AM (Lab, Bridgend) – requesting that text messages between two senior Flintshire councillors be used in a coroner’s inquest into the death of Carl Sargeant – failed on January 18th.

It was argued that the messages between Cllr. Bernie Attridge and Cllr. Aaron Shotton was important to the case, but the coroner originally ruled in November 2018 that he didn’t require any further submissions of evidence to reach a verdict.

Carwyn Jones and former special adviser, Matt Greenough, are expected to be recalled to give evidence when the inquest resumes.

Call for disposable cup tax

Environment campaigners, City to Sea, have called on the Welsh Government to introduce a levy on disposable cups. The UK Government rejected such a levy/tax in the latest budget, but the Welsh Government would have the power to introduce such a tax if they so wished.

Representatives of the industry told BBC Wales that the focus should be on making the cups recyclable, though the Welsh Government said they would first see if a UK-wide measure would be introduced before seeking the respective powers.

AM launches a support network for women

Former Plaid Cymru leader, Leanne Wood AM (Plaid, Rhondda), has launched a new event supporting women against harassment as part of the Time’s Up and Me Too movements.

She told BBC Wales, “My experience over many years is every time it comes up in conversation, in a professional or personal sense, I’ve always found everybody’s got some story… whether it’s about touching on the backside in a bar in Brussels through to horrific gang rape.

“At some point or other, we are going to have to recover from this societal disease, if I want a society where my 14-year-old doesn’t grow up with it.”

Severn Crossing journeys up since toll abolition

Highways England revealed that traffic using the Severn crossings increased by between 18-34% (compared to the same time in 2017) since tolls were abolished on December 17th 2018.

The organisation said further monthly figures would provide a more accurate picture over time and that it could’ve been down to extra Christmas period traffic. However, the news is expected to increase pressure on the Welsh Government and Senedd to back proposals for a Newport bypass, as well as road and air quality improvements in Chepstow.

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