Senedd Bites #81: Presumption against offshore oil and gas

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Welsh Government will attempt to frustrate offshore oil and gas exploration

While control over offshore oil and gas exploration is non-devolved, the Welsh Government’s new marine plan will see it use its land-based powers to frustrate attempts to explore for oil and gas off the Welsh coast.

On Tuesday, Minister for Environment, Energy & Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths (Lab, Wrexham), told AMs: “We completely oppose any extraction of fossil fuels in the seas surrounding Wales. In the plan, we have gone further than this to say that where offshore fossil fuel extraction has land-based elements – that is, any elements that would fall into the responsibility of Welsh Government – we will apply our policy to avoid continued extraction of fossil fuels, using all powers available to us.”

Plaid Cymru launches independence commission

Plaid Cymru has launched a commission to look at the economic arguments in favour of independence, which will be chaired by former AM, former Housing Minister and current member of the Welsh Revenue Authority Board, Jocelyn Davies.

The commission will also consider issues such as the constitution and relations with other nations to create a convincing plan for independence to be achieved within 10 years.

Adam Price AM (Plaid, Carms. W. & Dinefwr) said: “This is a watershed moment in our country’s history. Plaid Cymru believes that independence is the best choice for the people and communities of Wales. This commission will play a crucial part in proving that and preparing the path for Wales on its journey towards its future as an independent country.” Bites #81: Presumption against offshore oil and gas

Inspectorate demands action at Wrexham hospital

Healthcare Inspectorate Wales has demanded urgent action at Wrexham Maelor Hospital due to a large number of patients being left on trollies in corridors. BBC Wales reports that during an unannounced visit in August, some patients were waiting eight hours on trollies in the hospital’s A&E department.

Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board said: “The patient safety issues highlighted are unacceptable, and we have already made a number of immediate changes to provide reassurance about the quality and safety of care provided in Wrexham Maelor’s emergency department.”

Former WLGA chair sent to troubled council

The former chair of the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), Seve Thomas, has been appointed as a senior adviser to Merthyr Tydfil Council following a request for assistance due to political and budgetary pressures.

The Chief Executive & Council Leader will be offered coaching following a review which found unclear policy priorities and a breakdown in collaboration between the Independent-run authority’s political groups.

In August, the original adviser, Kate Allsop, was removed from post after a few days when it was revealed she was standing as a Brexit Party parliamentary candidate.

Call for more action to tackle violence against teachers

A teachers’ conference has called for an information campaign to be launched in schools to war against violence or threats against teachers. BBC Wales reports several individual cases of teachers being abused, both physically and verbally.

The Welsh Government said: “There is a duty is on local authorities and schools to ensure that schools are a safe environment for all. If at any point the environment within a school becomes unsafe, the school should ensure that the relevant authorities are informed so that appropriate support can be made available.”

University staff to hold eight-day “work to rule” strike

Members of the UCU union have announced an eight-day strike at universities across the UK in protest at disputes over pay and pensions. 79% of UCU members who voted did so in favour of “action short of a strike”, including only working to the terms of a contract, not covering for absences and refusing to reschedule lectures affected by strike action.

Strikes will affect Bangor, Cardiff and Trinity St David universities.

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