Wales Bill

Explanatory Notes


Overview of the Bill

1 The Wales Bill will implement those elements of the St David’s Day agreement which require legislative changes. It will create a clearer and stronger settlement in Wales which is durable and long-lasting.

2 The Bill is an enabling Bill and the majority of the provisions in the Bill set out the powers that are being transferred to the National Assembly for Wales (the Assembly) and or the Welsh Ministers.

3 In particular the Wales Bill amends the Government of Wales Act 2006 (GoWA) by moving to a reserved powers model for Wales. This is the model that underpins the devolution settlement in Scotland. The reserved powers model set out in the Bill will provide a clearer separation of powers between what is devolved and what is reserved, enabling the Assembly to legislate on any subject except those specifically reserved to the UK Parliament.

4 The Bill includes a declaration that the Assembly and the Welsh Ministers are considered permanent parts of the UK's constitutional arrangements and will not be abolished without a decision of the people of Wales, and that the UK Parliament will not normally legislate in devolved areas without the consent of the Assembly, whilst retaining the sovereignty to do so.

5 The Bill also devolves further powers to the Assembly and the in areas where there was political consensus in support of further devolution. These include:

a. Devolving greater responsibility to the Assembly to run its own affairs, including deciding its name.

b. Devolving responsibility to the Assembly for ports policy, speed limits, bus registration, taxi regulation, local government elections, sewerage and energy consenting up to 350MW (see below for additional detail);

c. Devolving responsibility to Welsh Ministers for marine licensing and conservation and energy consents in the Welsh offshore region; and extending responsibility for building regulations to include excepted energy buildings;

d. Devolving power over all elements of Assembly elections ; and

e. Devolving powers over the licensing of onshore oil and gas extraction

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Prepared 14th June 2016