Party Political Views on the Environment – elections 2016
Plaid Cymru provided detailed responses to the four main questions.
The Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is a step forward towards a clean energy future, and we’re enthusiastic supporters of this project. Before further tidal lagoons are granted permission the Green Party would undertake rigorous monitoring of the installation at Swansea to assess its impacts on wildlife.
The Wales Green Party is completely opposed to fracking, not only because of local impacts on the environment but also because fracking contributes to dangerous climate change. We should be investing in the clean renewable technologies of the future, not sticking with the dirty fuels of the past. For these reasons we were extremely disappointed with the recent decision to allow fracking in Foel Fynyddau Forest, Pontrhydyfen. We’d overturn this decision and ban fracking across Wales, whilst at the same time investing in clean energy and incentivising community-owned renewable energy systems.
The Wales Green Party would encourage tree planting in upland areas to increase biodiversity and reduce the threat of flooding.
Wales’ natural environment is unique and special and people travel from all over the world to climb our mountains, walk our coast paths, canoe in our rivers and swim in our seas. However as politicians we are merely the current guardians of this special landscape until time comes to pass it on to the next generation. The Fourth Assembly term has seen two key pieces of Environmental legislation pass, those of the Future Generations and Environment Acts. Time will tell as to whether this legislation will make any discernible difference to protecting our beautiful landscape and environment but it has certainly raised awareness amongst both the public and government of environmental issues.
I would like to see continued cross party consensus over the coming months and years in working to protect and safeguard our environment, address the issues surrounding flooding, reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and use of polluting outdated technologies. Projects such as the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon provide an opportunity to see how large scale alternative energy projects can work and I look forward to seeing this scheme and others progress.
A Welsh Conservative Assembly Government would work closely to help develop and support community energy schemes across Wales.
There is a lot at stake for the Welsh Environment on May 5th in the Welsh General Election.
Welsh Labour’s goal is to ensure that Wales makes the best possible use, in the wider public interest, of all of our resources as a nation: our Welsh land, our water and our air.
We successfully established Natural Resources Wales, the single body central to our approach for the joined-up management of our natural resources.
Much of our work over the last four years has been to support this through measures to greatly increase the efficiency with which resources, including energy, are used and we will build upon this record in the fifth term of the National Assembly – our Welsh Parliament. To achieve this we must continue improving and integrating the way in which we manage and regulate our use of land, sea, air and water to deliver our commitment to sustainable development as the central organising principle of the Welsh Labour Government.
Climate Change – Welsh Labour Leader Carwyn Jones has agreed to the Climate Change Commitment because we recognise that Climate change is perhaps the biggest long-term threat to our future generations. The Environment Bill, as well as the Well-being of Future Generations Act, provides us with a platform to ensure that we continue to tackle it, and increase action across all areas.
This will include statutory targets that will allow us to better evaluate progress, provide certainty to help drive investment for a low-carbon economy and confirm achievable targets to work towards, with the overall target of reducing greenhouse emissions by 80% in 2050 against 1990 levels.
The Environment Bill, introduced in Autumn 2015, will legislate to create better ways of looking after Wales’s natural resources whilst helping to drive green growth, improve nature and the environment, as well as tackling climate change. We imposed a planning moratorium on applications for fracking.
During the 2011-2016 Assembly we delivered on our promises for Wales. This will provide the bases for working together for the Welsh environment during the fifth term of the Assembly.
The main issue facing the natural environment in Wales is undoubtedly climate change, and it is essential that governments across the world do all they can to tackle it. In the wake of the historic Paris climate change talks, countries have a unique opportunity to work together to take the radical steps necessary to avert the worst effects of climate change. The Welsh Liberal Democrats believe that the time to act is now, if we are to stop climate change from reversing the progress made globally against poverty and from destroying our rich environment and biodiversity. That is why we have been leading the campaign on climate change in the National Assembly for Wales. It is also the reason for our call for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and 100% of our electricity demand from renewable sources by 2025.
Another key issue which Wales needs to make progress on is halting the loss of biodiversity. Wales has consistently missed existing targets for halting the loss of and restoring species and habitats in Wales; a recent report by Oxfam GB stated that Wales has exceeded proposed ‘safe’ boundaries by 55% in terms of biodiversity loss; the RSPB ‘State of Nature’ report revealed that 60% of species studied have declined over recent decades and that one in ten species assessed are under threat of disappearing from our shores altogether. Wales must lead by example on this and should be aiming to halt biodiversity loss by 2020, and to increase biodiversity by 15% by 2050. The Welsh Lib Dems would also set a target to have 100% of protected sites in Wales in a favourable condition by 2026.
It’s also important to note the inter-linkage between climate change and biodiversity loss. For instance, many biodiverse habitats hold significant amounts of carbon, such as peatlands, which as they decline release this carbon into the atmosphere. Equally, one of the most immediate and tangible effects of climate change is flooding, and bogs, moors, wetlands and grasslands hold substantial amounts of water which can play a vital role in helping to prevent flooding.
So, with climate change and biodiversity being two of the most pressing issues of this time, it is vital that we have integrated action in Wales to address them. The targets proposed by our party are ambitious and would be breaking new ground in statutory targets, but they are science-based and in line with the ambition that we need, if Wales is to play its part in tackling climate change and protect and enhance our natural environment for the benefit of future generations.