HC Deb 03 March 1999 vol 326 cc787-8W
Mr. Wigley

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will undertake the necessary preliminary work for the establishment by the National Assembly of a cross-cutting committee on sustainable development. [73777]

Mr. Michael

The promotion of sustainable development is a key priority for this Government and I am paving the way for the Welsh Assembly to play a leading and innovative role in this area of activity. Last month I hosted a National Conference on Sustainable Development. Its main purpose was to put together recommendations as to how the National Assembly for Wales should meet its duty under section 121 of the Government of Wales Act 1998 to make a scheme setting out how it proposes, in the exercise of its functions, to promote sustainable development. A report of the Conference is being produced which I hope will be of value to the Assembly.

Section 121 provides that the Assembly may not delegate the function of making, remaking or revising the scheme. Thus this task cannot be delegated to a committee but must be agreed by the whole Assembly.

When I addressed the National Conference on Sustainable Development and elsewhere I have made clear my view that the Assembly's sustainable development duty can best be achieved by each of the subject committees having responsibility for integrating sustainable development into its area of responsibility. I would expect to task one Assembly Secretary with the role of "Champion" for sustainable development as a core part of his or her portfolio.

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