The final minuted resolution following the meeting on 16 May reads:
That this council will strive to reduce its own carbon emissions to net zero in line with the Welsh Government target of 2030.
That this council will develop a strategy and associated action plans to aim to deliver these targets as soon as practicable.
That this council will continue to review the Corporate Plan, Well-being plan, Local development plans and other relevant plans and policies to support the above.
Publicise this declaration of a climate emergency to residents and businesses in the county and encourage and support them to take their own actions to reduce their carbon emissions in line with a 2030 target.
Work with partners across the county and other councils and organisations to help develop and implement best practice methods in limiting global warming to less than 1.5 degrees C.
The Town and County Councils have appointed the Arup consultancy to work with them to develop a masterplan for the development of the town. A priority will be making the town’s main street more pedestrian friendly with better air quality.
The rejection of the M4 Black Route suggests that it might be timely to draw attention to the Gwent Wildlife Trust’s appeal to raise £250,000 to help purchase Bridewell Common marshland linked to the Trust’s Magor Marsh Nature Reserve, Detaiis at www.gwentwildlife.org/appeal.
Financial uncertainties have decided First Minister Mark Drakeford that he cannot make the necessary commitment to construction of the M4 relief road. But he has also given greater weight to environmental and ecological concerns than the Inquiry inspector, reflecting the Welsh Government’s recent declaration of a Climate Emergency. A Commission will now review alternative ways of dealing with M4 problems, consistent with WG environmental and integrated transport objectives and including fast-track measures to improve traffic flows. Assembly statement at http://record.assembly.wales/Plenary/5662#A51504.
Neighbouring Newport is consulting on a strategy designed to pull together actions aimed at reducing Transport pollution – more cycling and walking, more EV charging points, planning policy, etc. It can be viewed at http://www.newport.gov.uk/en/Transport-Streets/Sustainable-travel.aspx.
This is the name of a pilot project that will provide the Monmouth area with information and ideas to encourage more bees, butterflies and other insects to populate and pollinate the town’s gardens, meadows, hedgerows and verges. Funded by the Welsh Government with EU money, the project will run until June 2020, via a partnership including Bee-Friendly Monmouthshire and the County Council. Follow @natureisntneat on Twitter and Nature Isn’t Neat on Facebook. There is a survey at www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/nin/ and contact NiN@monmouthshire.gov.uk to keep up with the project activities in the coming months.
The prospect of a shake-up in Welsh planning law appears to come a little nearer with the Welsh Government’s interim response to a 2018 Law Commission report. The urgent need to simplify and consolidate planning law is confirmed, reducing delays and costs that some may find unaffordable. A phased introduction of a Planning, Land and Building Code would bring all the relevant legislation in a single place. The response is at https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2019-05/interim-response-to-the-report-on-planning-law-in-wales.pdf and a detailed response is due by the end of November.
On 16 May Monmouthshire County Council will consider a motion from Liberal Democrat Cllr Jo Watkins of Caldicot to declare a Climate Emergency and reduce its own carbon emissions to zero before the Welsh Government target of 2030. The full motion is at https://democracy.monmouthshire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=143&MId=3758.
First Minister Mark Drakeford has backed the work of deputy transport minister Lee Waters (once with Sustrans) with WLGA to look at what needs to happen to make 20mph the speed limit in all residential areas across Wales. While this regulation alone would have safety benefits, it raises questions about education, enforcement and changes in road design if the benefits are to be maximised.
This week the Welsh Government declared a Climate Emergency to strengthen and galvanise action at home and internationally, from our own communities, businesses and organisations, to Parliaments and Governments around the world. Lesley Griffiths has now welcomed advice from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) which updates the 2017 advice, reconsiders the emissions reductions possible in Wales and makes recommendations intended to ensure Wales is able to fulfil our global responsibilities. The Committee recommends that emissions of greenhouse gases in Wales can and must fall by 95% over the next 30 years if we are to make our fair contribution to the UK’s commitments made in the Paris Agreement. This would cut long-lived greenhouse gases to below zero and effectively end Wales’ contribution to rising global temperatures. In galvanising action from all levels of Government, communities and sectors, Welsh Government will take a lead and meet the calls for action of people of all ages concerned about the impacts of climate change. They will deliver on the commitments set out in A Low Carbon Wales, as the 100 policies and proposals are vital steps in Wales’s low carbon journey. We will also seek to build on the action we have already taken, for example upscale the level of building retrofit in Wales and deliver on our ambition for a carbon neutral public sector by 2030. WG have agreed to review their 2050 target and report back to the National Assembly before setting the third carbon budget by the end of 2020. The Committee’s advice is available at https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/net-zero-the-uks-contribution-to-stopping-global-warming.