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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 »
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- Cardiff Airport key to Wales’ position in global market – First Minister
- Consultation on proposals for ground-breaking legislation to reform arrangements for renting homes
- Internet short cut for Welsh village with the longest name
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- Business and economy
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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 »
- 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
- Development of a national standards and outcomes framework for Children and Young People's advocacy services in Wales
- Strategic Environmental Assessment: Environmental Report, Rural Development Plan for Wales 2014-2020
- The draft School Governors’ Annual Reports (Wales) (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 - Flood Risk Management and the Pitt Review
I am delighted to take this opportunity to update you on progress since my statement on flooding in September, and to highlight the Assembly Government’s response to Sir Michael Pitt’s interim report on the summer 2007 floods.
The New Approaches programme is facilitating a change in the way we address flood and coastal risk in Wales. In November, I participated in workshops at which we debated options for the new approach, and they brought together a wide range of interested parties and demonstrated that there is enthusiasm and commitment to make this happen.
I commissioned pilot studies following severe localised flooding in Wales in 2007. These studies are now well under way, and are demonstrating how flood consequences can be managed through strong partnership working and close public engagement. The experience gained will inform the development of guidance, which will benefit the whole of Wales.
The Pitt review published its interim report in December 2007. The report included a short list of urgent recommendations for immediate implementation, and a longer list of recommendations on which the review team sought comments. The final report will be published later in the summer. The review and its recommendations are focused on the experience in England, but there is a clear read-across to Wales. I have therefore considered the recommendations in detail, and an action plan, tailored for Wales, has been prepared and is being implemented through the Wales resilience framework, which provides the mechanism for dealing with emergency planning issues in Wales. My officials are working closely with colleagues across the Assembly Government, and with those bodies responsible for preparing emergency plans, in taking forward its implementation.
Two issues in particular were highlighted by last summer’s events: the vulnerability of surface water drainage systems to extreme events, and the potential vulnerability of our general infrastructure. Historically, we have focused on flooding from rivers and the sea, largely overlooking the threat of urban flooding from surface water systems. Such flooding is extremely difficult to manage, because it happens quickly in response to localised weather conditions. For example, in recent weeks, localised thunderstorm conditions produced intense rainfall, resulting in flood flows that exceeded the capacity of local drainage systems and affected a number of properties. Our fire and rescue service personnel, who responded rapidly to calls for assistance, reported that floodwaters were receding by the time they arrived on site.
Such events are predicted to increase, both in frequency and intensity, as a result of climate change, but predicting where and when such events will occur is currently beyond our technological capability. To address this issue, I have established a Wales-wide group, the integrated surface water management group, comprising representatives from Dŵr Cymru, local authorities, the Environment Agency and the Assembly Government. Its first task will be to map areas known to be at risk from surface water flooding, highlighting those areas at greatest risk to emergency planning colleagues across Wales, raising their awareness of the risk, and supporting and informing the development of emergency plans to cope with those risks. This exercise has already commenced and the outputs will be shared over the summer. It will also identify what further work is needed to improve the understanding of our surface water drainage systems and their performance, and to help us to prioritise action.
Improving the management of such risks will not be achieved overnight. The results of this study will provide an early insight into the scale of the challenge that we face, and will focus action on where it is most needed. I will be consulting on surface water management more generally later this year, and I have asked the integrated surface water management group to consider the issues and to advise me of the options available to us. It is important that our strategic plans address flooding from all sources, and include action to improve the management of such risks. Catchment flood management plans covering the whole of Wales are being prepared. The Environment Agency, which is leading on this exercise, will include the results of the integrated surface water management group’s findings within these plans.
Regarding the vulnerability of infrastructure to extreme events, it is important that operators are aware of the threat of flooding and have plans in place to manage those threats effectively. The Environment Agency has produced a database indicating infrastructure located in at-risk areas, and it will be shared with emergency planners shortly. Alongside the new challenges that the summer floods have highlighted, we have an ongoing and serious challenge in managing climate change impacts along our coast. Sea levels are forecast to rise by up to 1m over the next 100 years, and storminess is also forecast to increase. Such increases could render some of our coastal communities unsustainable in the long term.
It is important that we understand current and future risks, that we are clear on our management options and their costs, and that we engage with those directly threatened, allowing them to help to shape the way forward. Fortunately, we do not think that communities will become unsustainable overnight. However, we need to commence engagement now if we are to be confident of developing long-term adaptation plans for our coast, and if we are to place those living and working on the coast at the heart of those plans.
Current shoreline management plans identify present policies for the management of the coast. My aim is for these plans to be refreshed by 2011 and will provide a basis on which to begin discussions about the longer term. In the meantime, I am funding the following, all of which will support the exercise to refresh existing plans: a study to map potential coastal erosion around the Welsh coast; the establishment of a national coastal monitoring centre hosted by Gwynedd Council; and an ongoing coastal monitoring programme. I will also be looking to take the opportunity posed by the recently announced draft UK Bill on water and flooding to consider what additional powers the Assembly Government needs to address this critical challenge.