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Bill to boost Wales’ natural resources to become law

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

The latest piece of pioneering Welsh Government legislation - the Environment (Wales) Bill – aimed at planning and managing Wales’ natural resources in a more sustainable and joined-up way has been passed by the National Assembly for Wales.
Tuesday 02 February 2016

When law, it will put in place a stronger approach to tackle climate change with at least an 80% emission reduction target by 2050.  

Natural Resources Minister Carl Sargeant said that statutory climate change targets will accelerate progress against the Welsh Government’s headline targets, and will help build resilience to climate impacts such as extreme temperatures and flooding.  

He added that the new legislation will also enable Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to join up delivery and prioritise key risks and opportunities. It will also provide NRW with the tools they need to work more effectively.

Carl Sargeant said,

“This is a great day for Wales as the passing of the Environment Bill will ensure that the sustainable management of our natural resources will be a core consideration in all future decision-making.

“I’m proud that this is the first Bill in the UK - and as far as we are aware in the EU - to put in place the ecosystem approach adopted by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity into domestic legislation. This recognises the vital role natural resources and their services provide to Wales’ economy, communities and environment.

“The Environment Bill complements the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the Planning (Wales) Act 2015 and together, they put in place the framework needed to secure the long-term well-being of Wales.”

The Bill also includes provisions to improve waste management in Wales with powers to take action to achieve higher levels of recycling for business waste, food waste treatment and energy recovery. It will also enable the Welsh Government to build on the success of the existing carrier bag charging scheme by enabling improvements to be made to the popular scheme.

Emyr Roberts, Chief Executive of NRW said,

“The passing of the Environment Bill puts us in a better position to be able to manage our natural resources in a way that helps us tackle climate change, biodiversity loss and sustainable land management.

“This Bill, along with the Well-being of Future Generations Act and the Planning Act, places sustainable development at the heart of decision making across the public, private and third sectors, which will enable us all to fully recognise the contribution our natural resources make to tackling poverty, health inequalities, creating more jobs and a greener economy.”

Libby Ferguson, States & Regions Director at The Climate Group, said:

“The Welsh Government is taking a progressive approach with this new piece of legislation. Wales were among 123 global governments who committed to ambitious long-term emissions reductions at the global climate summit, COP21, in December last year. Only a few weeks after this commitment, The Environment Bill is a clear example of how quickly the government are turning targets into concrete action. The Climate Group is delighted that Wales is an active member of the global States & Regions Alliance, where this innovative approach to tackling climate change can be shared with a network of governments around the world.”

Annie Smith, Wales Environment Link said:

“Wales is a truly beautiful country and we are glad to have worked with Government and the Assembly to develop the Environment) Bill, which provides a platform for joined up, meaningful action for nature.”

 

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