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Summary

  1. Plenary begins at 1.30pm with Questions to the First Minister
  2. Business Statement and Announcement
  3. Debate: General Principles of the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill
  4. Debate: The Review of Designated Landscapes in Wales

Live Reporting

By Alun Jones and Nia Harri

All times stated are UK

  1. Hwyl

    That brings today's proceedings in the Siambr to a close.

    Senedd Live will be back tomorrow morning when we'll be broadcasting the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee.

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  2. 'We have our own principles here in Wales'

    "It isn't my report," stresses Environment and Rural Affairs Secretary Lesley Griffiths.

    Addressing the point that the report makes no mention of the Sandford Principle, which was raised by several AMs, she says "we have our own principles here in Wales".

    Map of natural landscapes
    Image caption: Map of natural landscapes
  3. 'Wildlife and conservation groups will be watching really closely'

    Steffan Messenger

    BBC Wales environment correspondent

    Quote Message: A panel of experts has been looking at the fine balance of how to make Wales' three national parks and five areas of outstanding natural beauty engines of economic growth but at the same time protecting them for future generations. They want much more partnership working across the parks themselves but also with Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales. They need to be working with landowners and farmers to drive this green growth agenda, with talk of green apprenticeships. Perceived barriers around renewable energy schemes also need to be addressed, while the national parks also need to work with Visit Wales to create a stronger brand to attract visitors from around the world. The Welsh Government will have to look at creating new laws for some of this but Brexit could provide an opportunity - as lots of the environmental laws that have previously had their roots in Brussels are handed down. Wildlife and conservation groups however will be watching all this really closely. They will maintain that national parks should never lose sight of their core purpose, which is protecting the landscape and the stunning views which so many enjoy."
  4. 'Particularly remiss'

    UKIP's David Rowlands says it is "particularly remiss" that the report does not mention 1974's Sandford Principle, which introduced the idea of management for the UK's protected landscapes, namely conservation for the natural environment and access for the public.

    David Rowlands
  5. 'Would have settled the nerve of many people'

    Conservative David Melding also points out that the report makes no mention of the Sandford Principle which states the main statutory purpose of national parks is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area.

    He says it "would have settled the nerve of many people in this time of change if 'conservation' were mentioned directly".

    David Melding
  6. 'Report does not deal with the Sandford Principle'

    Simon Thomas explains the Plaid Cymru amendments.

    Firstly, expressing regret "that the report does not deal with the Sandford Principle as set out in the Environment Act 1995."

    Secondly, "that any change in the legislation governing National Parks should be taken through the Assembly as primary legislation".

  7. 'Reflect local circumstances'

    The Welsh Government, which was represented on the working group, will now consider whether legislative changes are needed to back the recommendations.

    Environment and Rural Affairs Secretary Lesley Griffiths said her consultation will "consider how greater weight could be given to the importance of these areas and their ecosystems in decision making and whether governance arrangements should evolve to reflect local circumstances".

    She adds that Dafydd Elis-Thomas "will continue his association with Future Landscapes and his role will be to steer a broad national partnership to take ownership of implementing the priorities".

    Lesley Griffiths
  8. Three national parks and five areas of outstanding natural beauty

    Members move on to a debate on the Review of Designated Landscapes in Wales.

    Designated landscapes cover about 25% of Wales - with three national parks and five areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs).

    National parks and protected beauty spots should take the lead in managing natural resources in their areas of Wales, the review has recommended.

    The Future Landscapes Working Group was responding to a 2015 study's call to promote "vibrant rural communities".

    The working group was chaired by former Plaid Cymru leader Lord Elis-Thomas, now an independent AM.

    The group stresses the importance of joint working to help develop business, jobs and affordable housing.

    Wales has three national parks including the Brecon Beacons
    Image caption: Wales has three national parks including the Brecon Beacons
  9. Financial resolution postponed

    Alun Davies postpones the financial resolution in respect of the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill until after the summer recess.

  10. General principles of bill agreed

    Members agree to the general principles of the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill.

  11. 'Consistency across all local authorities'

    Gareth Bennett says that in principle UKIP supports the bill.

    He calls on the government to "ensure that there is consistency across all local authorities by using a standard template individual development plan".

    Gareth Bennett
  12. 'Some concerns regarding human rights'

    Huw Irranca-Davies, Chair of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, presents its report which has 12 recommendations.

    The committee has "some concerns regarding human rights in relation to how the power in section 45(2)(d) of the Bill could be used in the future to exclude further groups of learners with ALN from mainstream education".

    Huw Irranca-Davies
  13. 'Scale of revisions at this stage of the bill's progress is alarming'

    Simon Thomas, Chair of the Finance Committee, presents its report which has 10 recommendations.

    He says the costings have changed considerably and the "scale of revisions at this stage of the bill's progress is alarming".

    Simon Thomas
  14. 'Stage 1 scrutiny process more difficult to manage'

    Lynne Neagle, Chair of the Children, Young People and Education Committee, presents its report which has as many as 48 recommendations to strengthen the bill.

    The Committee was disappointed that the draft ALN Code was not made available at the time the Bill was introduced, stating "the gap of two months between introduction of the Bill (12 December) and the availability of the Code (14 February) made the Stage 1 scrutiny process more difficult to manage, and resulted in delays to allow stakeholders sufficient time to consider the Code in advance of providing evidence on the Bill".

    Lynne Neagle
  15. 'Vital reform'

    Lifelong Learning Minister Alun Davies says the bill is a "vital piece of reform".

    He explains that as part of the bill, a single system - called an individual development plan - will replace "statements" which currently address the needs of an individual aged up to 25.

    The bill would also replace two terms known as "special educational needs" and "learning difficulties and/or disabilities", from which the current "statements" take their names.

    Nearly a quarter of learners in Wales experience some form of additional learning need during their early years or education, according to the Welsh Government.

    In September, the Children's Commissioner for Wales criticised the current process for assessing children with ALNs and said the planned new legislation was "a one in a generation opportunity".

    Sally Holland said the legislation was "a one in a generation opportunity"
    Image caption: Sally Holland said the legislation was "a one in a generation opportunity"
  16. Bill could come into force by 2019

    The members are now having a debate on the General Principles of the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill.

    If passed, the Bill could come into force by 2019.

    Bill outlined:

    • Introduces the term Additional Learning Needs for children and young people aged 0 to 25, "ensuring equity of rights and improved transition between settings"
    • A single statutory plan - the individual development plan
    • Increases the participation of children and young people, ensuring they are at the centre of the planning and decision-making process
    • Prioritises high aspirations and improving outcomes, focusing on the child or young person's achievement of their full potential
    • Provides a simpler and less adversarial process, ensuring learners' needs are at the centre and are continually met
    • Creates new statutory roles within health and education to ensure collaboration and integration and that learners' needs are met
    • Focuses on earlier disagreement resolution, with disagreements resolved at the most local level possible
    • Introduces clear and consistent rights of appeal to the Education Tribunal where disagreements cannot be resolved at a local level
    • Source: Welsh Government
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  17. Business Statement and Announcement

    Now the Business Statement and Announcement where the leader of the House Jane Hutt outlines the future business of the Assembly.

    Jane Hutt
  18. 'UK government has lost interest in the steel industry'

    "The UK government has lost interest in the steel industry in Wales", claims the first minister.

    Tata Steel
  19. Third Menai Crossing 'open in 2022'

    Ministers aim to see a third Menai Crossing open in 2022 says the first minister, with a preferred route to be published next year.

    The Britannia Bridge carries the A55 and a railway line between the mainland and Anglesey
    Image caption: The Britannia Bridge carries the A55 and a railway line between the mainland and Anglesey
  20. 'Tortuous process' on the Circuit of Wales

    UKIP group leader Neil Hamilton says the "tortuous process" in reaching a decision on the Circuit of Wales has been far too long.

    Mr Jones says the circuit is something ministers would want to support, but it has to be based on a model that is sound.

    The Wales Audit Office has criticised the way £9.3m was spent on plans for the Circuit of Wales at Ebbw Vale.

    Circuit of Wales