Welsh Government Ministers have just published a 200-page strategy, Prosperity for All: a Low Carbon Wales, which sets out how the country will meet its first carbon budget due by 2030, as well as setting the country on course for the later target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050. It’s at https://gweddill.gov.wales/topics/environmentcountryside/climatechange/emissions/prosperity-for-all-a-low-carbon-wales/?lang=en
According to this blueprint, tree planting will have to increase to at least 2,000 hectares a year soon before doubling to 4,000 hectares annually “as rapidly as possible”.
Other key policies in this strategy include:
- Commissioning an independent feasibility study on carbon capture use and storage;
- Reducing emissions from power generation in Wales using consenting, planning and permitting powers;
- Developing a policy position on the fuels used to generate power;
- Encouraging the take-up of electric vehicles by developing a rapid charging network;
- Planning for buses, taxis and private hire vehicles to be zero-emission by 2028; and
- Reviewing building regulations so higher energy-efficiency standards can be set for new-builds.
Lesley Griffiths, minister for environment, energy and rural affairs, told AMs: “The plan pulls together 76 existing pieces of policy from across the Welsh and UK governments and the EU where decarbonisation is integrated either as a direct outcome or a wider benefit.
“Some of these are new Welsh Government policies which have come on stream since the start of the budget period, such as the economic action plan and renewable energy targets, or revamped policies such as Planning Policy Wales where decarbonisation is now a central pillar.”
An Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee inquiry shows that Wales could benefit greatly from increased electric car use, but that would require significant changes to the current power and road infrastructure. These could help eliminate barriers including range anxiety when potential users worry about their ability to complete a full journey.
The Welsh Government recently announced a £2 million investment in improving the charge point infrastructure, but the Committee questions whether that is enough and asks what ministers are doing to encourage private sector investment, particularly in rural areas.
In publishing its initial findings now, the Committee wants to hear from vehicle users, suppliers and anyone with an interest in the area to help shape its final report, including any recommendations. People wishing to contribute can do so through an online discussions channel set up for the inquiry, or by finding out more information from the Committee’s web pages.
Among £50m worth of ‘Metro Plus’ schemes for the Cardiff Capital Region are improvements at Severn Tunnel Junction rail station. As additional 150-200 space car park on the south side, 40 m0re bike-and-ride spaces, an improved bus-rail interchange, and electric vehicle charging spaces will be provided, for completion by 2022. There will also be a park-and-ride facility east of Newport and Pontypool and New Inn station will have at least 200 parking spaces.
Monmouthshire Meadows Group have drawn our attention to this: ‘Monmouthshire County Council have updated their policy on mowing and issued a related statement which you can read on their web site. All sounds good – let’s keep an eye on progress and if you do see any good practice perhaps let the Council know how much it’s appreciated (as well, of course, as notifying them when this policy isn’t followed by their contractors)’.
The First Minister, Mark Drakeford, has at last received the 558 page M4 relief road inquiry report, which has been with civil servants since November following the end of the inquiry in March. Welsh Secretary, Alun Cairns, has said that the report recommends going ahead with the road, while Mark Drakeford is thought to be sceptical.