Tynwald Written Answers

This week’s Tynwald also saw the return of written questions, here’s a selection of some of the biggest answers from the February sitting.

Key Workers

From December 1 to January 31, 185 key worker exemptions were granted between five gov departments. Onchan MHK Julie Edge asked the Chief Minister how many were granted and how many checks were carried out through the period.

Unsurprisingly, the DHSC was granted the highest number of exemptions, with 82, followed by the DoI with 50. However, the Department for Enterprise also had 46 exemptions granted. The Chief Secretary had five exemptions granted and the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture had two.

HQ added: ‘The number of checks carried out during isolation period is a minimum of three checks; a phone call 24 hours prior to arrival for all key workers and their sponsors, along with a further call during their isolation and a further call prior to their departure from isolation. The type of check carried out involves a standardised checklist being followed by the Case Support Officer within the Key Worker Exemptions Team which includes a telephone call 24 hours before the key worker arrives.

‘The key worker must ensure they understand the terms and conditions of their exemption certificate, and the call gives them an opportunity to ask questions if they do have any queries. In addition to this, the sponsor also receives a call to ensure they understand their responsibility whilst their key worker is on island. A further call is made to the Keyworker and their Sponsor during the isolation period and one more call prior to the Keyworkers departure from isolation. Where key workers and Sponsors cannot be contacted by telephone, a voice message is left, or a text message is sent advising them to call the Key Worker Exemptions Team.’

Compassionate and Contractual exemptions

Between January 1 and 31 a total of 351 compassionate exemptions and 178 contractual exemptions were approved for travel.

This is not the number who have necessarily travelled. The landing form that is completed on arrival does not distinguish between the type of traveller, so the landing form figures give a total number of arrivals, across residents, key workers and other exemption certificate holders.

During this time, 1407 calls were made and 1709 house visits were carried out in person. This figure does include returning Isle of Man residents.

People’s Wood

The People’s Wood will lock up more than 16,100 tCO2e (metric tonnes of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent) over the next 100 years, it has been estimated. Speaker Juan Watterson asked HQ for the carbon credit of the 46 hectare site at Meary Veg where 85,000 trees are due to be planted over the next few months.

HQ said: ‘Due to their capacity to sequester carbon (as per the IMPACT report, 3.5 tonnes carbon/yr/ha has been assumed for all woodland) the planting of trees has been prioritised to provide mitigation of emissions via carbon capture.

The carbon sequestration estimate for this site, once the trees have become established as a fully functioning woodland after 15-25 years, is estimated to be between 87.5 and 92.5 tonnes per year. Woodland carbon models predict the new woodland will lock up more than 16,100 tCO2e over 100 years.’

League Aid Review Not Finished

A report into the island’s legal aid system has not yet been finalised, the Attorney General has told Tynwald. John Quinn was asked to update Tynwald on the review of the legal aid system by Lib Vannin leader Lawrie Hooper.

The AG said that his Chambers have carried out two separate public consultations, on criminal and civil legal aid. He said the reports for both of these consultations have been completed and submitted to the Legal Aid Committee. However the Legal Aid – Options and Recommendations Report has not yet been finished as the pandemic has got in the way of the work. Mr Quinn said the report should be completed this spring.

Census Prep Well Underway

The regulations for the 2021 Census will be laid before Tynwald next month with info of the count of the island’s population due to take place in the spring. This year’s Census will be conducted online, with alternative options made available for those without internet access.

Following the last Census in 2016, it was revealed that the island’s population had fallen since 2011. However these figures continue to be disputed, a dispute which caused rows during creation of the Area Plan for the East.