Helping you understand Welsh law

What is devolved?

The National Assembly for Wales generally has legislative competence to pass laws relating to plant health and seeds.

However, it cannot legislate in relation to the prohibition and regulation of imports and exports, as set out in Schedule 7A to, the Government of Wales Act 2006.

This is subject to the following exceptions:

  • except for—
    • the prohibition and regulation of movement into and out of Wales of food, plants, animals and related things for the purposes of—
      c) protecting human, animal or plant health, animal welfare or the environment, or
      d) observing or implementing obligations under the Common Agricultural Policy,
    • the prohibition and regulation of movement into and out of Wales of animal feeding stuffs, fertilisers or pesticides (or things treated by virtue of an enactment as pesticides) for the purposes of protecting human, animal or plant health or the environment.

(But prohibition and regulation for the purposes of protecting endangered species of plants and animals is not excepted, and is therefore reserved.)

Section 1

Executive powers

The Welsh Ministers are able to exercise a wide range of functions in relation to plant health and seeds including functions which allow them to make subordinate legislation. These functions are conferred under a range of Acts and statutory instruments, and those Acts and the main statutory instruments are listed under 'key legislation'.

The functions of the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (or the Secretary of State) under all of these Acts which the Welsh Ministers now exercise, were transferred to the National Assembly for Wales by the National Assembly for Wales (Transfer of functions) Order 1999 (SI 1999/672) made under section 22 of the Government of Wales Act 1998

The National Assembly’s functions were then transferred to the Welsh Ministers by section 162 of, and paragraph 30 of Schedule 11 to, the Government of Wales Act 2006.

In certain limited circumstances, a Minister of the Crown will still be able to exercise these functions.  Section 58 of, and paragraph 5 of Schedule 3 to, the Government of Wales Act 2006, when read with paragraph 26 of Schedule 11 to that Act, provides that a power of a Minister of the Crown to make subordinate legislation which has been transferred to the Welsh Ministers continues to be exercisable by the Minister of the Crown for the purpose of:

  • implementing any Community obligation of the United Kingdom,
  • enabling any Community obligation to be implemented,
  • enabling any rights enjoyed or to be enjoyed by the United Kingdom under or by virtue of the Community Treaties to be exercised, or
  • dealing with matters arising out of or related to any such obligation or rights or the operation of section 2(1) of the European Communities Act 1972.
Section 2

Implementation of EU law

The Welsh Ministers have also been designated under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972 to make subordinate legislation to implement various EU obligations relating to plant health and seeds. The Welsh Ministers' current designation in relation to the Common Agricultural Policy is contained in the European Communities (Designation) (No. 5) Order 2010 (SI 2010/2690). That designation is subject to several limitations.

Following the coming into force of the Wales Act 2017, the Welsh Ministers have a general designation under section 58B of the Government of Wales Act 2006. The effect of this is that the Welsh Ministers are generally treated as being designated for the purposes of section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972, for areas within the legislative competence of the National Assembly for Wales.

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