We've seen a truly Team Wales approach to Covid 19, we must now build on this to ensure a lasting green recovery - that was the message from Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, as the virtual Royal Welsh Show gets underway today.
The Minister also took the opportunity to thank farmers for feeding the nation during the pandemic and protecting our natural environment. The global pandemic has seen many food and drink businesses adapt to difficult trading environments by adapting and adopting new ways of working.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also seen people across Wales adopt new behaviours and practices, and a greater appreciation of nature. It is now about locking in that behaviour so the benefits to our environment are maintained.
Work is already underway on the green recovery. Our Team Wales approach to the green recovery already includes work with Natural Resources Wales who have created a panel to advise on this recovery work, and through the Partnership Council for Wales we have jointly set an ambitious target to achieve a net-zero carbon public sector in Wales by 2030.
The Minister said:
At this time of year, thousands from across Wales - myself included - would be descending on Builth Wells to celebrate Welsh agriculture. While the backdrop of the pandemic means we cannot celebrate that contribution in person, it has also highlighted just how vital agriculture is to our society, and the contribution made by those in rural communities.
As the show gets underway virtually, I want to thank farmers for feeding the nation and keeping food on our tables and for their steadfast determination and heroic efforts in unprecedented circumstances. My message to them is clear, you are at the very heart of our food chains and our environmental resilience, even more so during this global pandemic.
Whilst 2020 has proven challenging and will remain so especially with the looming EU transition and climate change, we must look for opportunities within challenges. The pandemic has seen people across Wales adopting new behaviours, appreciating nature and we’ve seen real benefits to our environment, such as better air quality due to reduced transport on our roads. We have shown we can pull together to protect society, our next challenge is to redouble our efforts to collectively lock in these changes to our ways of life to sustain benefits for our environment.
We need to move forward together to ensure as a nation we recover from the Covid-19 crisis, but to make sure the recovery protects not just the health of our nation, but safeguards the environment and helps our rural economy recover and flourish.
We have a fantastic world renowned Welsh food and drink sector and a great agricultural sector and we want to keep it that way. We have seen a truly Team Wales approach to Covid19 – let’s take this opportunity and build on this to ensure a lasting green recovery.