Welsh sustainability strategy on target

19th October 2011

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The Welsh Assembly government's plans to cut CO2 emissions and ensure resilience to climate change are progressing well, according to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

In an analysis of the Welsh government’s policy measures designed to tackle climate change, the CCC concludes that Wales is developing approaches to deliver significant emissions reductions, but that it must continue to build on its achievements.

According to the report, which was completed after a request from the Welsh environment minister John Griffiths, the Welsh government’s commitments to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 3% each year over the coming decade are more ambitious than the rest of the UK, representing a total reduction of 37% on 1990 levels.

The report highlights the successes of energy-efficiency programmes in Wales, including its installation of cavity wall insulation in 20,000 homes during 2010-2011, which the CCC described as outperforming the rest of Britain and the legally-binding targets for recycling; which have resulted in significant progress to cutting waste to landfill.

However, the committee says that more can be done to help cut emissions particularly from the public sector, transport and agriculture, and recommends the assembly government ramps up its successful energy-efficiency programmes and leads by example by publicly setting targets to reducing the carbon footprint of its estate.

“The Welsh government has made good progress this year in setting out ambitious targets and a sound strategy to support these,” said David Kennedy, chief executive of the CCC.

“Our report highlights the need to build on progress made, through further identifying opportunities and putting in place new policies to accelerate the pace of emissions reductions and prepare for climate change.”

The report concludes that important in meeting its carbon reduction targets will be the continued roll out of initiatives encouraging sustainable travel and clear policy as well as incentives to enable emissions cuts from the agriculture sector.

In examining plans to mitigate the impacts of climate change, the CCC also praised the existing approach, saying it was a good framework, but advised that it would be important over the next 12 months to encourage organisations to implement adaptation measures and to ensure the costs and opportunities from a changing climate are being considered in long-term decision making.

The minister who initiated the report, John Griffiths, said the CCC’s comments were very encouraging but acknowledged there was more to do.

“The report encourages us ... to continue the progress we are making in delivering action that will enhance Wales' overall capability to respond to the impacts of climate change. I will be working closely with my cabinet colleagues to make this a reality,” he said.


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