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Drakeford creates ‘super-ministry’ to combat climate change

Words: Roger Milne
Mark Drakeford / ComposedPix, Shutterstock_1587612562

First Minister Mark Drakeford has stressed that climate change, new green jobs and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic will be at the heart of the new government, as he sets up a ‘super-ministry’ to deal with the climate crisis.

It will see the creation of a climate change ‘super-ministry’.

This will bring together the environment, energy, housing, planning and transport portfolios, led by Julie James.

James was the local government and planning minister in the last Welsh Government and is completely up to speed on planning reforms. She will be joined by Lee Waters, who will be her deputy minister in the climate department. The Llanelli MS had been deputy minister for economy and transport since 2018.

RTPI Cymru’s director Roisin Willmott gave the new arrangements and the new ministers an enthusiastic welcome. “It’s good to see planning integrated under climate action with energy, transport, and housing,” she tweeted. “The RTPI looks forward to working with Julie James and Lee Waters.”

The first minister said: “The environment will be at the heart of our decision-making. The climate change emergency has not gone away while we have been dealing with the pandemic.

“Wales is a beautiful country with immense natural assets, which will help power our recovery and create the jobs of the future.

“In my new government, the environment doesn’t just have a seat at the cabinet table, it will be a consideration in all we do.”

Drakeford explained that he had put the transport brief into the climate change ministry so it would have responsibility for the three biggest drivers of carbon production.

“Our houses, our travel, and how we produce energy are the three great drivers of carbon in our lives and I want to bring them together with planning and environment to create a powerful new climate change ministry to make sure Wales plays our part in the next five years in the twin emergency of biodiversity losses and climate change,” he stressed.

Former health minister Vaughan Gething has been appointed as economy minister in Drakeford’s reshuffled cabinet. He will lead the country’s economic recovery.

Lesley Griffiths becomes minister for rural affairs and North Wales. Hannah Blythyn becomes deputy minister for social partnership while Rebecca Evans retains the post of finance minister but – with local elections just a year away – adds local government to her portfolio, bringing an element of continuity to the new cabinet. Ken Skates has returned to the back benches, a move he requested.

Image credit | ComposedPix, Shutterstock