A NEW VOICE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Under Labour Wales has lacked direction and leadership in the fight against climate change. In stark contrast to nations such as Scotland and Norway, where renewable energy and carbon emissions targets have been raised, Welsh targets have been missed, and even lowered by the Labour-led coalition.
Labour has failed to secure the confidence of stakeholders because action plans have been too weak to achieve behavioural change. A much more rigorous approach is needed to tackle climate change. The scale of this challenge amounts to an opportunity greater than any since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.
A NEW VOICE
A Welsh Conservative Assembly Government will be a new voice for a greener economy. While Wales has an old industrial legacy, it is also abundant in alternative energy sources such as wind, wood, bio-gas, marine and hydro. We will honour, and aim to build on, existing climate change targets, such as the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3% a year in devolved areas. A Welsh Conservative Assembly Government will set-up a mechanism to independently monitor and evaluate climate change targets. It is also important to take measures to minimise the risks associated with climate change – including introducing ‘Blue Belts’ to prevent irresponsible development on flood plains.
A WELSH CONSERVATIVE ASSEMBLY GOVERNMENT WILL:
Tackle Climate Change
Achieve at least 3% annual reductions in Welsh-sourced greenhouse gas emissions in devolved areas.
Establish an independent mechanism to monitor and evaluate climate change targets.
Subject all WAG policies to a carbon impact assessment, to ensure they do not undermine this emissions reduction target.
Publish a comprehensive strategy and action plan on building a green economy.
Continue to make the case for devolving power over energy projects up to 100 MW.
Generate More Renewable Energy
Promote a diverse range of renewable energy sources – including solar, wind, marine, small scale biomass, and microgeneration technologies with an aim to produce 100% of our energy needs from renewable sources by 2025. We will aim to achieve 70% delivery by 2020.
Publish a marine energy strategy and work with the private sector to harness the River Severn’s tidal energy potential, through small-scale tidal lagoon projects and the development of marine turbines. As part of this programme, we will maximise EU funds for R&D, and for testing sites for renewable marine technologies.
Make Planning More Responsive to Local Need
Protect flood plains with new ‘Blue Belts’ to prevent irresponsible development.
Publish guidance on the planning system to make it more responsive to sustainable development and the needs of local communities.
Close the planning loop-hole which allows ‘garden-grabbing’. Gardens will no longer be designated as potential brown field sites.
Make Wales’ National Parks accountable to local communities through direct elections to National Park Authorities.
Protect the Environment
Establish a biodiversity budget, funded by revenue from wind farms on public land, enabling targets set in the 2026 Wales Environment Strategy to be achieved. This will be used to restore Wales’ natural heritage, such as raised bogs and moorland.
Create incentives and not penalties to encourage people to recycle. We will pilot recycling reward schemes, whereby residents will be given ‘points’ for recycling to use in local retail outlets, restaurants and leisure facilities.
Increase penalties for environmental crime – including littering and dog fouling – and ensure rigorous enforcement
Work with the private sector to support ways of reducing packaging, make packaging biodegradable, and establish recycling deposit schemes.