In this section
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 »
Living Longer: Ageing Well
The third phase of the Welsh Government’s pioneering Strategy for Older People in Wales has been launched.
- ‘Enterprise Troopers’ set to storm Wales’ primary schools
- “Wales is leading the way on Sustainable Procurement” – Jane Hutt
- Living Longer: Ageing Well
In this section
- Business and economy
- Children and young people
- Culture and sport
- Education and skills
- Environment and countryside
- Equality and diversity
- Health and social care
- Housing and community
- Improving public services
In this section
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 »
- Higher Education (Wales) Bill: Technical consultation
- Renting Homes White Paper
- Continuity and Change - Refreshing the Relationship between Welsh Government and the Third Sector in Wales
- Strategic Environmental Assessment: Environmental Report, Rural Development Plan for Wales 2014-2020
- The draft School Governors’ Annual Reports (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2013
- The future of agricultural statistical data collection methods in Wales
Featured consultation »Implementing the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011
25 days left
In this section
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 »
On 28 September 2007, Defra confirmed that the Bluetongue virus (BTV-8) was circulating between the local animal and midge population in East Anglia. The disease then spread to other parts of East and South East England. As at 3 December, there had been 66 confirmed cases.
It is expected that midge activity should diminish over the winter months, which may halt further spread, at least for the winter. This situation is comparable to that seen in Northern Europe in Summer/Autumn 2006, when BTV-8 was first found in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Western Germany and in parts of North Eastern France. In June 2007, Northern Europe experienced an extensive spread of the disease with a dramatic increase of new cases across all previous infected areas. Cases now number into the many thousands as disease has steadily spread across Europe. Affected countries are now seeing increased mortality rates in animals and production losses, which is causing severe economic hardship to the farming industry.
Using the situation in Europe as a model, UK Experts have assessed that it is likely a similar situation could happen in the UK in Spring/Summer 2008 underlining the need to utilise the protection that vaccination can offer as soon as a vaccine is available.
On 1 November Defra announced that they were tendering for 10 to 20 million doses of bluetongue vaccine for England based on the level of infection this year and projecting that for next year. I wrote to Hilary Benn on 2 November stating that I wished to reserve the opportunity to join with Defra in ordering vaccine for use in Wales.
It should be noted that the vaccine that will be available is only effective against the BTV-8 strain and would not be suitable for use against an outbreak of any other strain such as the 5 serotypes circulating in Southern Europe.
On 7 December I again wrote to Hilary Benn to secure 2.5 million doses of bluetongue vaccine (BTV8) when Defra place their order following consideration of the tenders they have received from the vaccine manufacturers. The vaccine will be made available to the livestock industry on a voluntary basis and they will be required to meet the associated costs. I have had discussions with key stakeholders and have informed them of my decision to join with Defra in ordering vaccine for England and Wales. Scotland and Northern Ireland have decided not to obtain vaccine at this time.
The number of doses is based on the presumption that just over half of farmers would take up the option to vaccinate and on the concentration of susceptible animals being in the vulnerable border counties of Powys and Monmouth. When information clarifies next year on the nature and extent of the development of the disease this will assist in determining the most beneficial areas to make the vaccine available.
The manufacturers will not be able to supply vaccine until May/June 2008. There is the potential to use the vaccine supply over 2 vector seasons, 2008 and 2009, within the temporary 12 month marketing authority.
There will be no cost to the Welsh Assembly Government for the initial purchase of the vaccine for England and Wales as this will be met by Defra. I have agreed that the Welsh Assembly Government will underwrite the cost of any vaccine not used at the end of the period.
The European Commission will not allow vaccination outside a Protection Zone, that is not in a disease free area or a Surveillance Zone but Wales can declare a Protection Zone to enable the use of vaccination.
The Commission has indicated that it would consider using its discretion to co-fund but only for the first year, emergency vaccination (not protective vaccination) which is usually compulsory. The Commission has not clearly defined what it means by ‘Emergency’ vaccination but Defra on behalf of the Member State has pressed on this issue, most recently at a Commission Working Group on 3 December and will continue to do so.
The current broad intention is to seek to control the disease by means of vaccination and in the long term with a more widespread use of vaccine to stamp out the disease.
I would continue to urge the livestock industry to remain vigilant for signs of the disease and to report any concerns they might have to their local Animal Health Offices and maintain high standards of biosecurity.
I am very aware of the difficulties being experienced by livestock farmers who have animals in the Surveillance Zone in England and who have been prevented from bringing them back to Wales, a Free Area. The risk is that an infected animal brought into a Free Area could be the source of infection for the local midge population. Midge activity, survival and virus multiplication is dependent on temperatures being sustained below 10ºC but this can vary across relatively localised regions.
Under existing European and Welsh legislation an animal can only move to a Free Area from a Surveillance Zone once it has been demonstrated that we are in a vector free period. Surveillance is currently being undertaken, with the use of light traps, to establish midge activity; and cattle are also being tested in the vicinity of circulating disease to assist experts in identifying the start of the vector free period. During a vector free period susceptible animals would be able to move after they have been blood tested. There are clear signs of reducing midge activity and it is hoped that we will be in the position to declare a vector free period soon.