Wales ramps up climate change ambitions
The Welsh Government will be required to set a legally-binding target to reduce emissions by at least 80% by 2050 under a new law to improve the nation's resource management.
Interim emission targets and carbon budgets – to be set between 2016 and 2050 – also feature in proposed legislation being introduced today (12 May), as part of the Environment (Wales) Bill.
Natural Resources Minister 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.”
The Environment Bill will comprise of three key features: –
State of Natural Resources Report – Natural Resources Wales will be required to publish a 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.
Area Statements – Natural Resources Wales will need to set out the evidence covering the opportunities, challenges and national priorities for the management of natural resources at a local level.
Carrier bag charge
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.
Additionally, it includes provisions to improve waste management in Wales and the carrier bag charging scheme. It will provide the Welsh Government with powers to take action to achieve higher levels of recycling, and increase food waste treatment and energy recovery.
The nation’s current carrier bag charging scheme will be amended, with Welsh Ministers’ powers extended 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.