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Climate change action to be strengthened under new law

This press release was published under the 2011 - 2016 Welsh government

The Welsh Government will be required to set legally binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 under a new law to improve Wales’ management of its resources.
Tuesday 12 May 2015
Video transcript

Interim emission targets and carbon budgets, to be set between 2016 and 2050, also feature in proposed legislation being introduced today, as part of the Environment (Wales) Bill .

The Bill, also includes provisions to improve waste management in Wales and the carrier bag charging scheme. It will also ensure that Wales’ wealth of natural resources are more sustainably managed – a first for the UK.

Despite Wales leading the rest of the UK in the amount of waste being recycled, recyclable materials continue to be landfilled, sent to incineration or in the case of food waste, disposed of to sewer.

The Bill provides the Welsh Government with powers to take action to achieve higher levels of recycling, and increase food waste treatment and energy recovery. This will help to decrease pressure on natural resources while also contributing towards positive results for both the economy and the environment.

The Bill will build on the success of the current carrier bag charging scheme by extending the Welsh Ministers’ powers so that they may set a charge for other types of carrier bags such as bags for life. It will also place a duty on retailers to donate the net proceeds from the sale of carrier bags to good causes.

To manage Wales’ natural resources sustainably, the Environment Bill includes three key features which build on the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the wider reforms the Welsh Government is proposing through the Planning (Wales) Bill. These are:

  • A State of Natural Resources Report – the Bill will require Natural Resources Wales to publish a State of Natural Resources Report, highlighting the condition and extent of Wales’s natural resources, their ability to respond to pressures and their capacity to adapt to climate change.
  • A National Natural Resources Policy – the Welsh Government will need to produce a national policy that sets out the priorities and opportunities for managing Wales’s natural resources sustainably. The statement will take into account the findings of NRW’s State of Natural Resources Report.
  • Area statements – NRW will need to set out the evidence covering the opportunities, challenges and national priorities for the management of natural resources at a local level.

The Bill also clarifies the law for a number of existing environmental regulatory regimes including marine licensing, shellfisheries management, land drainage and flood risk management.  

Carl Sargeant said:

“This Bill will ensure the decisions we take in relation to our natural resources support our economy, our communities and our environment. It will help us manage our natural resources in a way that will deliver lasting benefits for current and future generations.

“Including statutory climate change targets, underpinned by Carbon Budgeting in the Bill will allow us to better drive progress, provide certainty for investment and drive forward the low-carbon economy in Wales. This step, together with the requirements for sustainable management of our resources will help to ensure Wales has a prosperous economy alongside a healthy and resilient environment.”



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Environment and countryside 12 May 2015 Climate change Environment Legislation Legislative programme Programme for Government - Sustainability Recycling Renewable energy Mid Wales North Wales South East Wales South West Wales

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