A swift and radical overhaul of current environmental policy to maximise daily actions to combat climate change and make Wales a global “Beacon” for green government is what was pledged by Labour Party Wales leadership contender Eluned Morgan last Friday.
“We are in a climate emergency. How we confront global warming and its impacts on our climate, people and species and ecology will define our future and those of our children.” said Eluned.
“The Welsh Labour Government should be correctly proud of the unique law it has introduced — the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, which drives sustainability by tying policy production to any environmental consequences.
“But we all recognize that much more needs to be done and must be done quickly. My Government’s renewed Wellbeing of Future Generations Act will drive visible, viable and vital green activity and actions in day-to-day and civic life. That means Green businesses; Green jobs; Green infrastructure; Green government. A Cabinet Secretary for Sustainability, Energy and Climate Change. More can be done and I pledge that my government will do it from day one.” said Eluned.
Eluned’s detailed plan for a greener Wales:
A National Forest for Wales: Central to my green growth vision is a National Forest planted by the people of Wales and ideally owned by the people of Wale, to rejuvenate our rural landscape, provide sustainable jobs and go some way to addressing the ludicrous situation in which we find ourselves where we import 70% of our timber.
A National Forest will be an enduring contribution to combatting climate change and define mine and future Welsh governments.
Affordable, clean energy: At one stage I left politics for three years to be Head of Low Carbon Development for the largest renewable energy company in the UK. Here I delivered the £7m Smart Energy Centre based in Treforest. I had led the debates and formulated laws whilst a Labour MEP in the European Parliament on energy, and secured EU laws that meant that as well as environmental protection, affordable energy must be key considerations to support the poorest in our society.
Constructive construction: We will maximise the development of Eco-homes across Wales; and where possible ensure that local businesses and materials are used.
We will change building and planning regulations to put Wales at the forefront of designing and building homes which will not only use little energy but will generate energy. Every new home that is built will need to be equipped with electric vehicle charging points.
Carbon Neutral Public Sector: I will legislate to ensure that the whole of the public sector becomes carbon neutral and that public buildings become net generators of energy.
Domestic energy use: Measures to:
· insulate homes will continue to be rolled out across Wales.
· Identify and assist those who are in most need.
· help older people clear their attics to enable insulation to be placed in cold homes.
Renewable targets: I will drive benefits from renewable developments back to host communities; charge the Welsh Government to generate enough energy on its estate to meet all its energy needs within a decade; support the development of appropriate electricity grids to deliver on renewable opportunities and reform the planning and consents system to promote and drive growth in clean energy production and generation.
Climate-proofing our policies: I will appoint a Cabinet Secretary for Sustainability, Energy and Climate Change. We will continue to work within the European policy framework and will ensure that all of our policy approaches meet with the EU targets and ambitions.
Environmental Transport: Clear targets will be introduced to encourage the use of zero-emission cars. By 2030, 50% of Welsh Government vehicles will be zero carbon emission and all local buses will be zero emission.
Eluned Morgan is the Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales.