John Griffiths, Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development
I am pleased to report on the recent meeting of the Climate Change Commission for Wales, held on 8 December in Cardiff and chaired by Peter Davies, Climate Change Commissioner for Wales.
I attended the Commission meeting and had the opportunity to update members on delivery of the second phase of the Arbed programme which will pump £45 million into energy efficiency measures over the next three years. At the beginning of this year, we hope to have selected the projects that will be taken forward in the first round, and then to start delivery on the ground next spring.
In addition, the Welsh Government will be allocating an additional £3m into Arbed for this year from the £38.9m consequential funding resulting from the council tax freeze in England.
I updated the Commission on the recent consultation on Green Deal which sets out the proposed arrangements for the future energy company obligation or ECO as it is known. Two targets are proposed, a Carbon Saving Target and an Affordable Warmth Target.
I also informed the Commission that the Welsh Government will be considering how it can tailor its own programmes - Nest and Arbed - to work alongside Green Deal. It is important to consider how Green Deal can work in Wales to our best advantage, and as a potential catalyst for increasing the uptake of improvement measures and; an opportunity to make improving the quality of the housing stock in Wales affordable and in doing so reduce our energy use.
I confirmed that last month, I launched the first National Strategy for Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management, which sets out our approach to managing flood and coastal erosion risk. We have also published our raising awareness toolkit which aims to provide a guide to anyone who is interested in engaging with communities about flood risk. Guidance to assist local authorities in completing Local Strategies will be published shortly.
The Welsh Government will be using the Support for Sustainable Living framework to commission a programme to build capacity to bring about changes to sustainable behaviours and lifestyles in key audiences in Wales.
To scope this work, a session was held last month involving a wide range of organisations including the Environment Agency, Cynnal Cymru, C3W and the Energy Saving Trust. The workshop gave valuable insights into what skills practitioners will need; which audiences should be targeted; which types of interventions should be used; and which projects should be prioritised to achieve the greatest impact.
I confirmed that the Support for Sustainable Living Grant Scheme has made sixteen grants so far in 2011, totaling just under £163,000. Recent grants from Environment Wales, include projects focusing on the carbon footprints of community buildings, digital technologies and energy efficiency within traditional Welsh homes.
In order to be able to target our communications more effectively, we commissioned research on current values, attitudes and behaviours around climate change within Wales. This project was delivered by IPSOS MORI, AD Research and Cardiff University.
In total, 1,538 survey respondents were interviewed face-to-face. An overview of the research is available on the Welsh Government Climate Change webpage.
I made the Commission aware that we have commissioned work to develop a compelling narrative about sustainable development and climate change, and the actions individuals, organisations and communities can take to play their part. This will involve a dialogue around the emotions and values which people already associate with sustainable development and climate change, and will refine the language and imagery to help people to see the concepts in a positive, constructive and hopeful frame, and to motivate them to take action.
The Commission responded positively to our work with other UK administrations to complete the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) for publication in January 2012. The CCRA, the first assessment of its kind, will provide an important evidence base to help us identify priorities for adaptation action.
Finally, I confirmed that the first meeting of the Welsh Government’s Climate Change Strategy Delivery Board was held on 7 December. The Board will be our principle governance forum for overseeing delivery of the Strategy.
The Commission meeting also included a discussion on development of the Commission’s first annual report to the Welsh Government with CAG Consultants. A discussion on the group’s forward work programme for the coming year and, a workshop was held over lunch on the ‘Overarching Narratives’ project on climate change and Sustainable Development. A presentation was given by Calvin Jones on ‘Stop Climate Chaos Cymru’s’ report on Cutting Carbon Creating Jobs.
The next meeting of the Climate Change Commission will be held in March 2012.