Before answering today's urgent question, the Culture Minister had previously issued a written statement about the National Library fire. John Griffiths said early indications gave cause for optimism.
Damage to the collections is restricted to items in the immediate vicinity of the incident and indications are that damage is limited and that the majority of items affected can be recovered. None of the more significant treasures held by the Library have been affected.
– John Griffiths AM, Culture Minister
He said it's too early to say how much financial support the National Library will need but said the Welsh Government was working closely with Library staff.
My officials have been in regular contact with the staff of the Library throughout the weekend and will continue to work closely with the Library over the coming weeks and months. I will be visiting the Library myself on Thursday of this week to see at first hand the damage, and to initiate the discussions on how the Welsh Government can support the Library. The Library is one of our most treasured national institutions and I would like to assure the Library of my ongoing support through this very difficult period.
The Culture Minister John Griffiths has told AMs that it would be 'premature' to say how much financial support the National Library of Wales will need following last week's fire. Answering an urgent question in the Senedd, he said he would be visiting the Library to see the damage for himself.
The Farmers' Union of Wales claims that the resignation of a scientist from the Welsh Government’s bovine TB eradication programme highlights what it calls the 'flawed nature' of the u-turn on holding a badger cull. Prof Chris Pollock is an expert in biological, environmental and rural sciences.
Vaccination is effectively untried so you are exchanging an approach which has a track record of success in Ireland and elsewhere with one not really tried at all.
– Prof Chris Pollock
Environment Minister John Griffiths halted a cull in Pembrokeshire and ordered vaccination instead. He's accepted the professor's resignation with regret. The shadow minister, Antoinette Sandbach, says it's damning for the minister to lose the confidence of one of his scientific advisors.
Labour says comments made by Plaid Cymru's Elin Jones in the wake of today's decision not to go ahead with a badger cull are 'grossly irresponsible.' As Rural Affairs minister, Ms Jones had overseen the earlier cull plans, and reacted to this afternoon's announcement in the Senedd.
Farmers will now have to decide how best to protect their cattle and I for one would not blame them for anything they do.
– Elin Jones, Plaid Cymru AM
Labour Assembly Member Rebecca Evans has herself responded by calling on Plaid Cymru's new leader Leanne Wood to take action.
Leanne Wood should now publicly distance herself from Elin Jones’ grossly irresponsible comments and formally ask her to withdraw them.
Welsh Government expects that vaccination of Pembrokeshire badgers will start within the next two months. Work will be carried out by contractors originally engaged for the abandoned badger cull. It's hoped that 70% of badgers in the intensive action area will be vaccinated.
Welsh Government sources say it rejected testing badgers for TB when they're trapped for vaccination. The vaccine won't work on the estimated 27% of badgers that are infected in north Pembrokeshire. But a quick test would be unreliable and only obviously sick or injured badgers will be destroyed.
The RSPCA have supported a decision by the Welsh Government not to proceed with plans put forward by the previous government for a badger cull in Pembrokeshire.
Claire Lawson, external affairs manager for RSPCA Cymru said:
"The RSPCA recognises that Bovine TB in cattle causes massive hardship for farmers in endemic areas and that there needs to be a sustainable and humane solution.
"The Society bases its animal welfare stance on moral and ethical values of care and compassion, but relies on sound science to inform its decision-making, formulate its policies, define its strategies, and promote change for the improvement of animal welfare."
"We still strongly believe that vaccination coupled with the increased levels of cattle testing, improved bio-security and control on the movement of cattle is the way forward."
Welsh Environment minister John Griffiths tells Assembly members there'll be no cull of badgers in an area of North Pembrokeshire as part of efforts to end bovine TB. Instead there'll be a programme of vaccination.