John Griffiths, Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development
I am launching tomorrow a consultation on our proposals for a Sustainable Development Bill. The commitment to introduce this Bill is a key element in our Programme for Government, which sets out how we will make a difference over the next five years for the people of Wales. A long term, sustainable approach is at the very heart of our programme. This legislation is how we intend to commit ourselves and other organisations delivering public services to this approach.
I am therefore consulting on proposals to meet our commitment in the Programme for Government to:
- Legislate to make sustainable development the central organising principle of the Welsh Government and public bodies in Wales; and
- Create an independent sustainable development body for Wales.
The imperative for sustainable development is being considered by heads of government at Rio later this year. It is important that a small nation like Wales demonstrates leadership and commitment on sustainable development, as part of the global effort.
The consultation proposals for a Sustainable Development Bill are separate from our existing sustainable development duty under the Government of Wales Act 2006. This duty has always enjoyed cross party support. It is under this duty that we published our current Scheme for Sustainable Development, One Wales; One Planet. This sets out our long term vision for a sustainable Wales.
The proposals we set out in the consultation builds on the strong commitment that we have always had to making Wales a sustainable nation. We want communities that are safe, sustainable and attractive places to live and work, where people have access to services and enjoy good health. We want Wales to be a fair, just and bilingual nation, in which citizens of all ages and backgrounds are empowered to live their own lives, shape their communities and achieve their full potential. We want an innovative, successful, resilient and resource-efficient economy which supports the aspirations of our citizens. We recognise that our environment has an intrinsic value, is our life support system and is central to our quality of life, sense of place, health and wellbeing.
We want all organisations to speed up the pace of change towards sustainable development, and to get excellent value from our finite resources, delivering on behalf of citizens. This is why we are bringing forward legislation now, to commit government, at local and at national level, along with other organisations delivering devolved public services, to this journey. We are proud to have the opportunity to be the administration which commits the Welsh Government to this proposed duty.
I am confident that the proposals we set out in this consultation will help us build our vision for a sustainable Wales.
The responses we receive to this consultation will inform our forthcoming Sustainable Development Bill White Paper. I intend to further consult on the White Paper proposals during Autumn 2012. I will make a further statement to Assembly Members on the White Paper consultation in due course.