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New Welsh Government announces ‘green’ programme

Words: Roger Milne

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford this week set out his administration’s programme for the next five years – one which is stacked with green commitments.

He insisted that climate change and the environment would be at the heart of the new government, stressing that his administration had created a “super-ministry”, which for the first time has brought together transport, planning, housing and energy.

Promised is a new 10-year infrastructure investment plan for a zero-carbon economy, a so-called Tidal Lagoon Challenge Fund designed to help make Wales a world centre of emerging tidal technologies, and moves to set a 30 per cent target for working remotely.

The first minister said the country’s digital and communications infrastructure would be upgraded, and his government would work towards a new target of 45 per cent of journeys by sustainable modes by 2040.

A clean air act, a new national forest, legislation to deal with the legacy of coal mining and the designation of a new national park covering the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley are all part of the programme.

As is opposition to the extraction of fossil fuels, both on land and in Welsh waters, and large-scale waste incineration.

The new government will support the application to identify the slate landscape of North West Wales as a World Heritage Site.

It has reaffirmed its manifesto pledge to build 20,000 new low-carbon homes for rent and will support cooperative housing and community-led initiatives and community land trusts.

Drakeford promised to implement a new Wales transport strategy and said new regional transport plans would be formulated.

He said the administration would ensure that each region “had effective and democratically accountable means of developing their future economies”.

Plans for a metro in North Wales and, separately in Swansea Bay, will be progressed.

The programme promises additional flood protection for more than 45,000 homes, masterplans for towns and high streets and more community green spaces in town centres. Legislation is promised to strengthen the requirement for sustainable drainage systems to provide wildlife habitats. The administration will make 20mph the default speed limit in residential areas and ban pavement parking wherever possible. It will also consult on legislation permitting local authorities to raise a tourism levy.

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