The Welsh Government has added to a recent flurry of climate change measures by consulting on its plans – https://gov.wales/circular-economy-strategy – to move Wales towards a more circular economy, using less raw material, using less products, sending less waste to energy recovery and more repair, reuse and recycling. Responses are wanted by 3 April.
Newly appointed Welsh Office Minister, David TC Davies MP for Monmouth, has ‘fully supported’ the UK Government’s ambition to become carbon neutral by 2050 – despite being a long-standing denier of man-made climate change and an opponent of climate emergency declarations.
A Western Mail editorial has backed Future Generations Commissioner Sophie Howe’s concern about the lack of carbon impact assessments published to accompany infrastructure projects. Having declared a climate emergency, every spending decision should consider the impact that it will make on the emergency. And such measures ‘should not be optional add-ons that can be disregarded if too much of a nuisance’. The First Minister would have ‘looked ridiculous’ if approval had been given to the M4 Relief Road.
The Welsh Government has published Prosperity for All: A Climate Conscious Wales 2020-2025 in association with the Madrid Climate Change Conference. It continues the momentum generated by the launch of Prosperity for All: A Low Carbon Wales, the declaration of a climate change emergency earlier this year and the first Wales Climate Change Conference.
The plan sets out how we will protect our environment and adapt our homes, communities, businesses and infrastructure to deal with the impact of climate change through a range of actions including:
• building defences to guard against flooding and coastal erosion
• protecting water supplies from drought
• reducing the use of pesticides
• growing more woodland to improve air quality, reduce erosion and protect soil, slow down floods and support our ecosystems.
• creating more open spaces like parks, playing fields, allotments, private gardens, grasslands, ponds, woodland creating an environment that is good for people’s wellbeing as well as the climate.
• the creation of 25,000 more energy efficient homes by 2021.
Hard on the heels of our last post the Welsh Government has issued a consultation on its draft Clean Air Plan for Wales – https://gov.wales/clean-air-plan-wales. There’s no new legislation promised, but some reviews of powers and investigation of further measures. Responses are wanted by 10 March.
A British Heart Foundation analysis shows that Monmouthshire has one of the higher air pollution levels in Wales – the health damage equivalent of 91 cigarettes a year. Cardiff has the equivalent of 105 per year, Newport 102, and Torfaen 94. BHF Cymru wants the Welsh Government to introduce a Clean Air Act and to adopt WHO guidelines.
MCC has recently issued a draft Planning Advice Note on Archaeology for comments by 10 January. Supplementary Planning Guidance on Affordable Housing was adopted earlier in the year, and SPG on Infill Development was adopted recently, at the same meeting as draft SPG on Landscape was adopted for consultation.