The Government’s strategy for getting to Net Zero is inadequate and unlawful, the High Court has found, following a successful legal challenge brought by Good Law Project, Joanna Wheatley, ClientEarth, and Friends of the Earth. The Climate Change Act requires the Government to hit Net Zero by 2050, to make proposals for how it will meet that target, and to place a report before Parliament. In a detailed judgment and order published yesterday, amid the UK’s first ever red alert for extreme heat, the High Court held that the proposals for achieving Net Zero approved by the Secretary of State were too vague to enable him to be satisfied that the statutory targets would be met. And that the report placed before Parliament lacked the specificity necessary to meet the Secretary of State’s duty to inform Parliament and the public of his plans.
In court, it was revealed that the Net Zero Strategy would not reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to meet the UK’s legally binding climate targets. The government had done the calculations and knew about this shortfall. But it held back this crucial information from both the public and parliament.
The illegality of its landmark climate change strategy is a political embarrassment to the Government. When it launched in October 2021, the Net Zero Strategy was hailed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a foreword: “Our strategy for net zero is to lead the world in ending our contribution to climate change.” And by the Secretary of State, Kwasi Kwarteng: “This strategy demonstrates how the UK is leading by example, with a clear plan for the future.”
The Court has ordered that the existing strategy be fleshed out with the detail necessary for Parliamentary and public scrutiny within the next eight months. The Government has also been ordered to pay our costs.
The Welsh Government has published its latest plans for action to support the production of food, improve biodiversity, and strengthen the rural economy. The Sustainable Farming Scheme: Outline proposal for 2025 is intended to be the key to a more resilient rural economy and environment. Financial support options are set out at https://gov.wales/sustainable-farming-scheme-outline-proposals-2025. The Minister’s statement is at https://gov.wales/written-statement-publication-sustainable-farming-scheme-outline-proposals-2025.
Payment rates are still undecided and the final Scheme will not be decided until further consultations have taken place next year. There will be a transition period between current payments and those under the new Scheme.
Mark Drakeford and Adam Price have announced their joint proposals for dealing with the controversial second homes issue, aiming to balance the needs of residents to buy homes locally without unduly affecting the self-catering sectors of the tourism industry. The programme announcement is at New package of measures to address high numbers of second homes | GOV.WALES. Perhaps not a major issue in Monmouthshire, the measures include one that will allow councils to control changes from one type of accommodation to another. Tourism and community interests continue to find the proposals inadequate for dealing with the problem of the unaffordability of housing for local people without penalising tourism businesses. Tourism bodies recently petitioned the Senedd with proposals for exemptions to planned changes to the rules determining whether properties should pay business tax or council tax – Allow exemptions to the 182-day occupancy rule to reduce harm to real Welsh self-catering businesses – Petitions (senedd.wales).
The 2021 Census has shown that Monmouthshire’s population rose by 1.8% 2011-2021, from 91,300 to about 93,000. This rise is significantly less than the Office for National Statistics estimate for 2020 of nearly 95,170.
Newport experienced Wales’s greatest 2011-2021 rise – 9.5%, higher than Cardiff’s 4.7%. The Forest of Dean rose by 6.1%.
With 26.0% aged 65 or over, Monmouthshire has Wales’s oldest population, confirming the County Council’s concerns about meeting the needs of the elderly. Further Census data will become available in the coming months. It will be interesting to see whether the Census figures cause a revision of the ONS population projections and how they influence local planning policy under a new administration.
A £2million funding pot designed to bolster community resilience by harnessing the power of nature is set to be launched by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) this summer.
The launch of the Resilient Communities Grant Programme stems from calls for a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic – a recovery which places a stronger focus on action for nature and a recovery that spreads to every part of society. The Welsh Government’s declaration of a Climate and Nature Emergency has also galvanised communities, businesses and public bodies in Wales to work together to mitigate against and adapt to the impacts of climate change, now and in the future.
The Resilient Communities Grant will provide communities with the opportunities to restore and enhance nature in their local areas, particularly in Wales’ most disadvantaged communities, and those with little access to nature. Supporting the provision of more green space will also support the changes needed to make to society to respond to the challenges of the climate emergency and reverse the decline in biodiversity.
The Programme can provide 100% funding and applications are welcomed for amounts from £10,000 to £250,000. Applications can be made across different places and address multiple themes. Applicants who collaborate with other partners to submit joint applications are also warmly welcomed.
For further information on the Programme and the upcoming webinar, please visit: Natural Resources Wales / Current grant funding opportunities or contact email@example.com