Welsh budget favours recycling and green issues

The Welsh Assembly Government has pledged an extra £33 million in its budget to go towards tackling waste and recycling issues over the next three years, which it claims poses the country's most significant environmental challenge.

Minister for Environment, Planning and Countryside, Carwyn Jones, said it was time for Welsh people to change the way that they dealt with the rubbish they produced, and learnt to recycle and reuse more of their waste.

“This budget reflects the Welsh Assembly Government’s commitment to reducing the amount of rubbish we sent to landfill sites. At present, we send some 87% of our household waste to holes in the ground, and this practice simply cannot be sustained,” he stated.

He confirmed that the implementation of Wales’ new waste strategy was well underway, which already received £30 million each year. The extra money would increase Wales’ chances of meeting targets for a 25% increase in recycling by 2006, while also helping new projects to take off and make a difference to the country’s green effort.

“I am ensuring that the landfill tax credits due to Wales will be used to help businesses in Wales to save costs by managing their waste more efficiently,” Mr Jones added.

However, waste and recycling were not the only environmental issues that were squarely confronted by the new Welsh budget.

Also benefiting from the announcement were communities at risk from flooding and contaminated land projects, which were both allocated another £5 million to speed up flood defence work in vulnerable areas and clean-up operations in brownfield sites.

As well as addressing Wales’ environmental issues, the Minister showed that protecting the country’s national heritage was also a priority as he announced that a further £3 million would go towards restoring and developing the Snowdon summit.

By Jane Kettle

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