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Written Statement - Future Arrangements for the Wales Spatial Plan

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Carl Sargeant, Minister for Local Government and Communities and John Griffiths, Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development

 

When the Wales Spatial Plan was adopted by the National Assembly for Wales in 2004 it represented a ground breaking approach to supporting sustainable development.  In the last eight years there have been some significant achievements, not least in changing the way we work across sectors and boundaries, but also with concrete developments such as the networked environment region project, which first applied an eco-systems services approach to the Cardiff city region.

The Ministerial and officials groups across the six Spatial Plan regions have built firm foundations for public services to work together.  A key purpose of the Wales Spatial Plan was to integrate across Ministerial portfolios and to recognise that policies and their delivery should reflect differences within Wales – one size does not fit all.  We have made huge progress in this area and we will continue to work to improve still further, embedding the principles and ethos of spatial planning in our policies.  This is being reflected in a number of areas going forward such as the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan, city regions, the natural environment framework and the developing regional leadership networks based on the collaborative footprint for public service delivery.

The 2008 Wales Spatial Plan continues to be the Welsh Government’s vision for people, places and futures and as we move forward with the Programme for Government, we will make clear how this vision will be developed.

However, to reflect the Plan’s locus in sustainable development we have agreed that responsibility for the Plan will move from the Local Government and Communities portfolio to the Environment and Sustainable Development portfolio with effect from 1 April 2012.  We would like to thank everyone  across Wales who has contributed to the development of the Wales Spatial Plan through the Ministerial and official groups but we have decided that the regional Ministerial and officials’ structures relating to the Wales Spatial Plan will be discontinued, representing a significant simplification of the regional partnership landscape.  

Finally,  we will be setting out shortly our proposals for a Sustainable Development Bill that will embed the principles of sustainable development in the work of all Welsh public bodies.