Climate Change

‘Collectively we demand change’ – Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly published recommendations

The Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly has spent the last four weeks designing and deliberating on proposals to tackle climate change in Blaenau Gwent.

The final proposals were presented and voted on during the Assemblies final session on Sunday (28 March).

Five key recommendations were passed with over 80% of the assembly members support across areas such as transport, housing and green spaces including:

  • The establishment of an affordable, integrated road and rail transport system in Blaenau Gwent with a one-ticket system for bus, rail and cycle schemes
  • Establishing safe and easily maintainable infrastructure for walkers and cyclists
  • New training for local tradespeople, qualifications and upskilling to increase green construction skills across the borough
  • Implementing a programme of woodland preservation and reforestation increasing opportunities for jobs, biodiversity and connecting woodlands.
  • Ensure new housing is developed with the latest sustainable techniques

The final report of the Assembly will be published the week of 18 April 2021. A full list of recommendations can be found here.

Michelle Morris, Managing Director, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council said:

“I would like thank everyone who took the time to take part in Wales’ first climate assembly. The Council and Public Service Board welcome the views of local people and their ideas for dealing with the climate crisis.

“Climate change is a global issue and it’s absolutely vital that we act now to protect our environment for the well-being of future generations and the recommendations from the Assembly are vital for us as the Welsh public sector when we develop our long term plans to shape our approach to tackling the challenges ahead.

“We’re already taking a number of actions as part of our Decarbonisation plan to reduce our carbon impact. The 5 recommendations from the Climate Assembly will help us to prioritise our work in a number of key areas and these will make a significant contribution towards our carbon neutral aim.”

Jess Blair, Director, ERS Cymru said:

“The Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly shows what happens when you do politics differently – brining a community together and providing them with the space to deliberate on important issues in their local area. . This was Wales’ first climate assembly but we hope it will not be the last.”

“Citizen participation is vital in local decision making, it brings legitimacy, builds trust and shows that, when given the support, ordinary people can help shape their communities and come up with valuable solutions to important issues.

“Now the assembly is has spoken we look forward to seeing how Blaenau Gwent responds to their recommendations.”

Matt, Participant, Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly said:

“I found the climate assembly a really rewarding experience. I was able to connect with many different types of people from all walks of life within Blaenau Gwent to talk about a common goal.

“Some of the evidence that we talked about certainly shocked me, but it was comforting to know that the solutions are really within our own hands and I’m really looking forward to having our recommendations evaluated, and hopeful some will be taken forward to make a real difference within Blaenau Gwent so that we can really start to see some positive change.”

Sunita, Participant, Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly said:

“Before taking part in the climate assembly, I was aware of the causes and the effects of climate change and have always been passionate about doing everything that I can to make a difference on an individual level.
“I have learnt so much from my experience as an Assembly Member; from recognising that there is a lack of awareness about climate change on a local and national level, to understanding the level of interest and passion from the people of Blaenau Gwent to make things better.

“Collectively we demand change from our council and our government. We urge the council and the governing bodies to listen to our recommendations that we as an assembly decided on and act upon them.

“We will not stop here. We will continue to learn. We will persist to make sure that our voices are heard. We will strive to make a positive difference in our own lives and in the communities around us.”


The assembly, was the first deliberative democratic event of its kind in Wales, brought 50 Blaenau Gwent residents together with expert speakers to develop proposals to address the climate crisis in their area.

The participants have been selected to be demographically representative of the wider Blaenau Gwent community representing the views and backgrounds of the borough’s residents.

Participants spent four weeks hearing from over 20 expert speakers on a range of issues including housing, fuel poverty, transport, nature and green space, jobs and skills before considering the evidence, make and vote on recommendations.

These will be sent to the Blaenau Gwent Public Service Board’s Climate Mitigation Steering Group, who have made a commitment to respond to the recommendations.

Campaign to send 50,000 voices from Wales to COP26 launched

Climate Cymru, a coalition of citizens, civil society and business from across Wales are launching a campaign to gather 50,000 voices from the people of Wales to take to Glasgow in November.

Supporters from across the country will be empowered to add their voice to the Climate Cymru website, to demand strong and meaningful action from leaders on climate change. After adding their voice, supporters are then able to create their own personalised message, that will be taken to this year’s COP26 meeting in Glasgow, and to share among their own networks.

The climate and natural emergency threatens Wales’ communities, its ways of life, and the natural world. It’s happening now, and many are already seeing it in their day-to-day lives. Severe flooding, once a rare occurrence, is now an annual event in many of Wales’ communities. Climate change will only make this worse.

World leaders are meeting in Glasgow in November and Climate Cymru are calling on them to make strong and meaningful commitments to protect the Wales we love and to make a better future for all.

Climate Cymru is collecting voices from across Wales, voices that care deeply about Wales, its people, its natural environment, but also crucially the world beyond its borders. The campaign is calling for people from all walks of life to build a diverse movement across
political, cultural, religious, demographic and sectoral boundaries.

Using the voices of Wales, the campaign aims to put the onus back on governments and political leaders to show leadership and to make sure efforts of individuals and businesses are backed up by effective policies.

As hosts of COP26, it is especially important for the UK Government to show international leadership to push for strong and meaningful commitments from the international community to combat climate change.

Join the campaign. Add your voice at climate.cymru.

Poppy Stowell-Evans, member of Youth Climate Ambassadors for Wales and Climate Cymru
Ambassador said:

“As an organisation of youth climate activists, we recognise that climate change will impact
every aspect of our lives both internationally and in Wales. Therefore, it must be taken
seriously as a global issue.

Blaenau Gwent To Hold First Climate Assembly in Wales

The Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly will be held online during two weekends in March, bringing residents together from across the borough to address the question: “What should we do in Blaenau Gwent to tackle the climate crisis in a way that is fair and improves living standards for everyone?”

10,000 households in Blaenau Gwent have received written invitations to register their interest in participating. From those who apply to be involved, 50 people will then be randomly selected to take part and will learn about climate issues facing their community, discussing the themes of housing, nature and transport before proposing and debating potential solutions. 

The Assembly is being organised by housing associations United Welsh, Linc Cymru, Melin Homes and Tai Calon in partnership with sustainable development charity Cynnal Cymru, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council and ERS Cymru.

Steve Cranston, Foundational Economy Lead for housing association United Welsh said: 

“Climate change is an emergency that impacts us all, from the homes we live in through to the food we eat with our families.

“A climate assembly is a fantastic opportunity to capture the views of local people representing the wider population about what needs to happen, helping decision makers across the Welsh public sector to shape their approach.

We all have a part to play in tackling climate change. As a partnership, we are looking forward to coming together with people in Blaenau Gwent to learn, challenge and inspire action.”

The Assembly will see leading experts present information on climate change and the sub-themes to the 50 participants to provide context to inform the discussions.

Jess Blair, Director of ERS Cymru said: 

“Through this climate assembly, Blaenau Gwent is leading the way in Wales on a new model of democracy, which gives local people a greater say in issues that affect them. Assemblies like this have been used across the UK, including with the Citizens Assembly of Scotland, UK Climate Assembly as well as elsewhere around the globe.

“The Assembly will give a representative sample of people in the community a chance to discuss, deliberate and produce recommendations that will be heard by decision makers across local government, local registered social landlords and Welsh Government. 

“Elsewhere models like this have been proven to build trust, give people a greater say in local decisions and give decision makers an insight into the trade-offs people would make around climate change. This is a really exciting development and we can’t wait to see it in action.”

Sarah Hopkins, Director of Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales said: 

“Local Authorities across Wales are declaring climate emergencies and recognising that urgent action is needed at local level to reduce carbon emissions. The transition to net zero will mean changes to people’s lives so it’s vital that citizens understand and participate in this journey. 

“We are delighted to be involved with organising the Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly. The recommendations decided upon will help to inform the collaborative approach to decarbonisation from Housing Associations, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council and other key organisations in the region. We hope that other regions in Wales will also adopt similar processes to inform decarbonisation action plans.”

The Assembly has received funding from Welsh Government through a consortium managed by energy service provider Sero, where 68 partners in Wales were awarded more than £7m to decarbonise 1,370 homes and create tools to roll out large scale decarbonisation of homes across Wales as part of the ‘Optimised Retrofit’ programme.

The recommendations from the Assembly will be shared with all consortium partners and Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council to help inform effective citizen engagement for climate change in future.

Michelle Morris, Managing Director, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council said: 

“Climate change is a global issue and it’s absolutely vital that we act now to protect our environment for the well-being of future generations and I am sure that the Climate Assembly will help us all focus on this.  As a Council, we recognise the importance of the challenges and we recently approved a new Decarbonisation Plan.

“We’re already taking a number of actions to reduce our carbon impact such as improving the energy efficiency of our schools; our public buildings and our street-lighting and also reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill. This Plan will see us take a more strategic approach towards achieving carbon neutrality and will help us to prioritise work in a number of key areas of our operations which, with some changes, can make a significant contribution towards our carbon neutral aim.”

To find out more about the Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly, visit: 

www.cynnalcymru.com/blaenau-gwent-climate-assembly/ 

Over 400 People Carbon Literate in Wales!

What is The Carbon Literacy Project?

The Carbon Literacy Project offers everyone a day’s worth of Carbon Literacy learning, covering – climate change, carbon footprints, how you can do your bit, and why it’s relevant to you and your audience. The Project divides ‘everyone’ into three distinct audiences – those that live, those that work, and those that study. This allows every citizen to be offered Carbon Literacy learning in a way that has immediate meaning for them.

The Project delivers no training directly but works with a host of people and organisations from all walks of life, that all deliver training that is accredited against the Carbon Literacy Standard. The Project then assesses participant’s and certifies successful candidates with their own uniquely numbered Carbon Literacy certificate.

There is nothing else quite like The Carbon Literacy Project. This was recognised by the United Nations at the UN climate negotiations, COP21, in Paris in 2015, where the Project was awarded TAP100 status, – one of 100 projects worldwide recognised as Transformative Action Programmes, that could materially change the way we deal with climate change.

The Carbon Literacy Project has always been a massive collaborative project. It involves people and organisations from all sectors and walks of life working together and contributing time, materials and funding to advance understanding and action on climate change.

The Project is wholly owned by The Carbon Literacy Trust, a registered charity (No 1156722) established in 2013 to take responsibility for The Project in perpetuity, for the public good.

Where did it all begin?

A cross-sector collaboration developed a carbon reduction plan to make Manchester carbon neutral by 2038. The plan was backed by the local government, the Mayor of Manchester, businesses, universities, and community organisations who quickly recognised that in order for the plan to be successful, they needed a method of learning that enabled every individual in Manchester to take positive action in reducing their emissions. That solution is Carbon Literacy.

Where do we come into it?

We discovered the need for Carbon Literacy in Wales in 2016 after meeting with Claire Raisin, the then Director of Size of Wales, and Dave Coleman, the co-Director of The Carbon Literacy Project.

Exactly a year later, we delivered our first certified Carbon Literacy course for the Sustainability Hub of Public Health Wales and since then we have delivered Carbon Literacy training to over 400 people from all sectors and all parts of Wales.

In the three years that we have been delivering Carbon Literacy training, the project has grown enormously to become an international movement with over 16,000 individuals being trained across ten nations.

As the official partner of the Carbon Literacy Project in Wales, and the only Carbon Literacy training organisation that we are aware of, we’re immensely proud to be part of this movement but we also humbly recognise that the ethos of Carbon Literacy is one of sharing and co-operation.

The main course that we run is called “Carbon Literacy in the Workplace” but we also have a certified course for engineers and are developing ideas to engage more general communities whilst exploring the possibility of developing a course for unions as well.

Our approach is to engage with people largely on a sector basis, training some initial pioneer cohorts and subsequently supporting clients to develop their own courses for delivery in-house via a peer to peer cascade.

We proudly helped National Museum Wales start their journey to develop a dedicated course for the museum sector and connected them with museums in Manchester. 

Our biggest success however is enabling a consortium of 27 social housing providers to design Carbon Literacy training for their own sector which replicates what has been achieved in greater Manchester.

With support from Linc and the Carbon Literacy Project, we trained a pioneer cohort of 63 individuals and supported a course design team. A further 70 colleagues are now undergoing “train the trainer” with Manchester Metropolitan University and in January, the members will start cascading Carbon Literacy training to colleagues.

It’s an amazing achievement for 27 companies to agree to work with each other like this and there have already been reports from the consortium – known as Carbon Literacy Cartrefi Cymru or CLCC – on the impacts the training has had.

For example, Wales and West Housing reported that they are upgrading their fleet to electric vehicles as a direct result of its senior colleagues receiving Carbon Literacy training from us.

While we have been busy in Wales, the core organisation in Manchester has been even busier. It received funding from the UK Government’s BEIS department to develop a range of courses for public sector professional disciplines. It has already launched the Local Authority Toolkit, and Cardiff Council – who received initial training from us – is preparing to use it to train its staff.

Tim Gordon (Head of Communications and External Affairs at Cardiff Council) attended our carbon literacy training in 2019 and responded with: “A thoroughly fascinating and informative course which will open your eyes to the climate change debate – even if you thought you already knew all about it. It will really make you rethink the way we live life today”.

Tim and colleagues are currently receiving and analysing responses to the public consultation on their draft One Planet Cardiff Strategy: the Carbon Literacy training of all staff is an integral part of the One Planet Cardiff proposal. 

Meanwhile, Denbighshire County Council is training their senior management and elected members and we are helping them to develop a Carbon-lite e-learning course.

Newport Council and Monmouthshire Public Service Board are also preparing to initiate Carbon Literacy training with our support.

What’s next for us?

This month we will be running a session for Sustainable Development Co-ordinators Cymru, the network of sustainability professionals in public bodies across Wales. This group will be the first to use our new online learning platform as we convert to a more Covid proof model of learning.

The new website now enables anyone around the world to enrol themselves on any of our courses and undertake a combination of self-directed study with online tutor-led sessions. We will be adding dedicated client-focused courses to the site with a closed enrolment as well as continuing to add open courses that anyone can join.

Our experience with Carbon Literacy has led us to consider the parallels between the climate crisis and the nature crisis and explore whether the same learning approach can be applied to raise people’s awareness of the decline in biodiversity. 

The concept of ‘eco-literacy’ is not new but we think we are the first to apply the principles of Carbon Literacy to the challenge.

With the blessing of the Carbon Literacy project, therefore, we have designed a course that addresses the nature crisis following the Carbon Literacy criteria. The course enables group learning and problem solving with a focus on positive action while not hiding the severity of the threat posed by the erosion of natural systems and the extinction of species worldwide.

Participants will be aided in finding local, collaborative solutions to a global problem and to recognise the value of individual action. We aim to pilot the course in the new year and are pleased to have the support of a wide body of biodiversity professionals and interested groups.

Just like Manchester, Wales has its own carbon reductions plans and targets. With support from us, everyone who lives, works or studies in Wales can now become Carbon Literate and play their part in our national story of revival and renewal.

If you’d like to join our next open Carbon Literacy course please email training@cynnalcymru.com

Every Week Should Be Climate Week 

[:en]

As Wales Climate Week comes to a close today, it’s even more apparent that Wales is rich with people, organisations and ideas for taking action to reach net zero and create adaptive solutions to the unavoidable consequences of climate change.

The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), Renew Wales and Cynnal Cymru – Sustain Wales supported the week of events to discuss and interrogate the actions of national and global policy makers, pioneers and innovators on tackling the climate emergency in the context of recovery from COVID-19 and the action that needs to be taken to meet our national and international responsibility. 

With the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26 taking place next year alongside the new All Wales Low Carbon Delivery Plan, this year it’s even more important that we are utilising the resources we have available to us on an organisational, community and personal level. 

Rhodri Thomas, Principal Consultant from Cynnal Cymru said “To avoid the catastrophe of global heating we need bold, imaginative action from a wide range of citizens every week of the year…. and it’s happening. Renew Wales, Cynnal Cymru and the Centre for Alternative Technology have been at the heart of the change for many years and we are increasingly working together to support massive change.” 

So far, in response to the growing climate emergency, Cynnal Cymru, CAT and Renew Wales have helped increase awareness and action through the following activities: 

 

Cynnal Cymru has trained almost 400 employed people in Carbon Literacy, and established Carbon Literacy consortiums with 27 Welsh housing associations, Flexis, TUC Cymru and Museum Wales. This has accelerated under lockdown with our courses moving online, offering accessible, collaborative learning across Wales and the UK. Spaces are now open. 

CAT has awarded over 2000 postgraduate degrees in sustainability and, since lockdown in March, trained 550 people in Zero Carbon Britain principles. 

Renew has supported 446 community groups to create climate change action plans, made over 130 community buildings more energy efficient and invested £1 million in grass-roots organisations.

 

Besides this, here are some other ways that action on climate has permeated our wider work this week

Clwstwr co-hosted Cynnal Coffee Club: Greening the Screen which brought together professionals from the screen and sustainability sector to discuss the need for systematic change in order to reach net zero carbon emissions. The event focused around the recently launched report ‘A Screen New Deal – a route map to sustainable film production where ARUP highlighted key areas for focus in Wales. This included the reuse of materials and resourceefficient set construction – where design for deconstruction was built in from the start; consolidated movement and shared infrastructure – considering things like reducing the number of site locations as well as encouraging the use of public transport; and developing systems that allow for collaboration and shared infrastructure.

We learnt about Food Policy Alliance Cymru. A collaborative effort from WWF, RSPB, Food Farming & Countryside Commission, Social Farms and Gardens and other food system stakeholders to advocate for policy approaches that will transform our food systems. This includes a series of recommendations moving forward that encourage sustainable, healthy and accessible options for all people such as integrating policies across organisations and sectors to achieve sustainability objectives as a collective.

The Foundational Economy Challenge Fund procurement group chose tackling climate change through procurement as a key topic for discussion at a meeting about setting a vision for procurement in Wales. It was recognised that decarbonisation is one of the biggest challenges currently facing the housing sector and that public sector and large contractors can play a key role in driving forward decarbonisation through setting standards, educating and collaborating throughout supply chains. 

All of these individual elements highlight the expertise, passion, and forward-thinking legal framework that we have available in Wales to help us to work towards net zero carbonIt’s important to remember that although these brilliant initiatives exist, they haven’t yet been fully embraced and remain the exception rather than the rule. Our climate trajectory is currently set for a temperature that is set way above what is accepted as a safe operating space for humanity but we can still change it if we all act now! 

 

Take Action: 

  • Sign up for Carbon Literacy and Zero Carbon Britain training – learn how you can take decisive positive action 
  • Work with others – join or create a climate action group in your community  
  • Invest in community energy shares  
  • Use your voice to speak out  
  • Be informed of decisions and plans locally and how it will affect your area  
  • Travel wisely – use public transport more, cycle, walk, car share, less polluting car….  
  • Eat sustainably – local fresh produce, grow your own, organic and pesticide fee, eat less meat   
  • Reduce your waste – reuse stuff, get it repaired, donate it, up cycle it…. or don’t buy in the first place…  
  • Watch what you buy – be savvy, ethical, plastic free, Fairtrade, recycled
     
  • Switch to a renewable green energy tariff
     
  • Move your money, savings or pension to a bank account that doesn’t invest in fossil fuels 

 

For further information or support, please contact:

Cynnal Cymru; Carbon Literacy training: rhodri @ cynnalcymru.com  

Zero Carbon Britain; training and advice: zcb @cat.org.uk  

Renew; Community Action on Climate Change: info @renewwales.org.uk  [:]

Cardiff Council Launches ‘One Planet’ Vision for a Carbon Neutral City by 2030

‘One Planet Cardiff’ sets out the Council’s response to the climate change emergency and calls upon businesses and residents to join forces with the council to make the lifestyle changes required, if Wales’ capital is to become a truly ‘Green’ and sustainable city over the next ten years.

The strategy, which will go to Cardiff Council’s Cabinet for approval on Thursday, October 15, launches in the same month as the council switches on its new 9MW solar farm.

Built on the old Lamby Way landfill site, the solar farm – which is equivalent in size to 20 Principality Stadium pitches – will offset almost 3,000 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). It also has the ability to generate enough Green energy to power approximately 2,900 homes every year for 35 years.

The solar farm is just one of a number of projects the council has brought to fruition to help tackle the Climate Emergency. The One Planet strategy documents several others which will go to consultation, including:

– A new district heating scheme;

– Increasing tree canopy coverage in the city by 25%;

– Ending the council’s use of single-use plastics;

– Reopening the city centre’s canals as part of a sustainable water management scheme;

– A farm park at Forest Farm to produce food for the city; and

– A sustainable food market in Cardiff market

Cllr Huw Thomas, Leader of Cardiff Council said: “In recent years, Cardiff Council has brought forward a range of initiatives to reduce its Carbon Footprint. Projects such as installing solar-energy systems on Council homes, introducing LED Street lighting on the city’s road network, improving energy efficiency in Council buildings, and generating 1.3 Megawatts of solar energy in our schools and public buildings have all helped reduce the Council’s direct Carbon Emissions by 45% since 2005. In the same time period, Cardiff’s carbon emissions have reduced in the domestic sector by 38% and in the industrial and commercial sector by 55%.

“Despite this success, we need to do more. That’s why we declared a Climate Emergency last year, and why we’re publishing this strategy today so we can deliver our vision of being carbon neutral by 2030. The need for change is right here, right now. Carrying on as we are is not a viable option. It’s not sustainable. We are all going to have to think and act differently. The council will do everything it can to drive this agenda forward, but all of us as individuals now also need to look at how we live, and all of us need to start making choices about what legacy we want to leave for our children.

“In some ways the pandemic has changed how many of us are living our lives now. More of us are working from home, we are finding ways to adapt and to get by without using our cars every day. We have begun to live more locally, using our local shops and nearby attractions. It has begun a process of re-evaluation, and it’s this process, this shift, that I believe we must use to help shape the way we think about our future. Any post-pandemic economic revival – an economic revival which will be sorely needed – must be one heavily focussed on green technologies. It should be based on creating jobs that help build and design a sustainable future for our city. As a council we have a role to play encouraging and driving these job opportunities. This is what the ‘One Planet’ strategy is all about – looking at ways we can design, deliver and safeguard the future for all of us. I urge the people of Cardiff to take part in this consultation and to join us, and help us, as we seek to make Cardiff carbon neutral by 2030.”

Cabinet Member for Clean Streets, Recycling and the Environment, Cllr Michael Michael, said: “The statistics show that Cardiff is currently a three-planet city. This means, if everyone in the world consumed natural resources and generated carbon dioxide at the rate we do in Cardiff, then we would need the resources of three planets to enable us to carry on as we do. Quite clearly something has to give. I want people to join us on this journey as we aim to build a better, greener future.

“This document builds on the great ground we have covered so far in driving the city towards a carbon neutral future, but highlights that there is still a long way to go.

“If we are to achieve our ambitions then we need everyone in Cardiff to join us. This is about creating a brighter, sustainable future for our children and our children’s children.”

Cardiff Council’s aim is to become a ‘One Planet’ city by 2030. It will do that by focusing on the following 7 key themes.

Housing & the Built Environment

The Council has already brought 9,500 energy-efficient measures into houses across the city, and has delivered award-winning, energy-efficient Council house developments. It has also also installed energy-efficient boilers and other energy-saving measures in many of our core buildings, and achieved a 5% carbon reduction per year in our own direct activities by reducing the amount of energy we use. In our “10-Day Turn Down” campaign earlier this year 42 of our schools managed to reduce their electricity consumption by an average of 6% just through more careful management of energy.

The key projects that are being put forward in this sector are:

– A large-scale housing re-fit;

– Delivering 1,500 high-quality, sustainable homes in wards across the city;

– Delivering a zero-carbon, pilot, housing estate project at the old Eastern High School site;

– Developing a blueprint for all new schools so they are built to a carbon neutral standard; and

– Putting climate change at the heart of the new Local Development Plan (LDP) and planning guidance

Energy

The Council has already implemented a hydroelectric scheme at Radyr Weir, and has supported a number of new innovations in renewable energy, including portable solar panel technologies that can provide clean energy for events and other “pop-up” activities, and an innovative heating system that is providing renewable heat drawn from shallow ground water at Grangetown Nursery school. The Council is continuing to support the British Geological Survey to map out this available heat source under the city, looking for hot spots which could be used to substitute gas heating in nearby buildings.

14,000 new LED street lights have been installed across the road network. This has reduced the amount of energy they use by 60% and more are planned.

The Council’s pension fund has divested £200m away from fossil fuel companies into a fund which tracks the Low Carbon Index. Plans are in place to divert the remaining sums of money in the pension fund by 2025.

The Council will also continue to work with universities and researchers on new ideas to further reduce C02emissions in the city.

The key projects being put forward in this sector are:

– The new Solar Farm at the former Lamby Way landfill site. This facility will generategreen energy, equivalent to the typical demand needed to power approximately 2,900 homes every year, for the next 35 years;

– The delivery of the first phase of Cardiff’s new District Heating System which will use heat produced by Viridor’s Energy Recovery Facility at Trident Park. This project will provide low-carbon heat to large buildings and properties in Cardiff Bay. In energy terms alone it will significantly improve the efficiency of the waste facility and provide up to 80% CO2 reduction in customer buildings, compared to their current gas heating systems.

Transport

The Council recently set out a transport vision for the city for the next 10 years. Its Transport White Paper was published in January. The transport strategy sets out projects to improve public transport, as well as improvements to routes and facilities for cyclists and pedestrians. Some of these projects are now being brought forward as part of the COVID-19 Recovery Plan, with two new pop up cycleways planned to be in place by the end of this year.

The key projects being put forward in this sector are:

– A cross city train-tram service connecting Creigiau in the west of the city with St Mellons in the east;

– A Cardiff circle tram-line which will connect Radyr and Coryton, by extending the existing city line service;

– The completion of the transport interchange on the former Marland House site;

– The development of a cross-city bus network, by creating bus priority lanes to key destinations in the city;

– New park & ride facilities at Junction 32 and 33 off the M4;

– Progressing with a business case for a congestion charge in the city;

– Remodelling roads in the city centre to improve routes for buses, cyclists and pedestrians;

– The development of an integrated-cycle network through wards across the city’s boundary, which in the main will be separated from traffic.

Green infrastructure and biodiversity

Cardiff is fortunate to have a substantial amount of parkland and green spaces in the city centre. Bute Park’s trees play an invaluable role in absorbing carbon dioxide (C02). The Council has a number of partnerships in place to increase the space in parkland for pollinators; is assessing tree cover in the city and looking at ways to expand tree cover both on council and private land; and is working on raising awareness among school children about nature and biodiversity.

The ‘Giving Nature a Home’ project has connected 11,399 children to nature through a free outreach programme, available to all Cardiff’s schools. Green habitat corridors have been established and an ‘i-tree survey’ is underway to assess the tree cover in the city.

Other measures have included installing a ‘green wall’ which absorbs C02outside Tredegerville Church in Wales Primary school, and there are plans to roll out similar schemes in schools across the city.

The key projects being put forward in this sector are:

– Working with partners including the city’s schools, to encourage a major tree planting exercise in the city;

– Investigations of the feasibility of a local tree farm to supply this need;

– Building and developing environmental volunteer networks;

– Delivering enhanced green/blue biodiverse habitats through Sustainable Urban Drainage systems (SuDs); and

– Implementing the recommendations of the ‘i-tree’ survey on tree cover in the city to increase tree cover from 19% to 25%.

Developing low-cost, healthy foods

While it is accepted that Cardiff will never be able to be self-sufficient in its food production, there are clear opportunities to increase the amount of food that we grow locally. Residents can also play their part by choosing healthier and more sustainable food to eat.

The key projects being put forward in this sector for consideration are:

– A hydroponics growing unit will be set up in Bute Park using a shipping container which can grow the equivalent of 3.5 acres of food;

– Revamping Cardiff Market into a sustainable and local food market;

– Increasing local food production by making council-owned land available for community groups to grow food;

– Using the planning process to plan for space to grow local food;

– Increasing commercial opportunities for growing local food in the city on new housing developments;

– Exploring the possibility of a ‘food park’, which would bring together advocates and interested parties for local food growing into one location; and

– Looking at how our food procurement processes can be adjusted to bring more support for a sustainable food sector.

Waste Management

Since 2001, the city’s recycling and composting rate has increased from 4% up to 58%, with Welsh Government targets in place to reach 70% by 2025. Cardiff is currently the best core city for recycling and measures are in place to reach Welsh Government’s challenging targets.

A partnership has been set up with five local authorities to treat waste which cannot be easily recycled to produce green energy and further recycling materials.

The city’s food waste is processed at an Anaerobic Digestion plant to produce green energy and a fertiliser which can be used on agricultural land. This means the Council currently isn’t sending any waste to landfill.

The key projects being put forward in this sector are:

– Reforming our kerbside waste collections by increasing the quality of the recycling collected using kerbside sorting – specifically the glass stream;

– Continuing roll out of the Pink Sticker educational campaign, designed to reduce contamination in both the recycling and composting waste streams;

– Improving customer service and the controls at the city’s recycling centres to maximise the amount of recycling recovered;

– Exploring the options of a new residential and commercial recycling centre in the north of the city to accommodate further growth when it is required;

– Exploring new models to manage green garden waste;

– Delivering a new Reuse Centre by working with the third sector;

– Removing all single-use plastics from council venues, with plans to replace the green bags provided to residents for recycling with reusable sacks; and

– Working with Welsh Government to deliver the Circular Economy Strategy.

Water

As a result of climate change, more extreme weather patterns are being seen across the globe. This increases the likelihood of flooding and drought. Measures need to be put in place to decelerate the impacts of climate change, preventing the twin threats Cardiff faces from flash flooding and rising sea levels.

The award-winning Greener Grangetown project uses the latest sustainable drainage techniques (SuDs) to catch, clean, and divert rain water directly into the river Taff. This project is the first ever to be retrofitted into a community and ensures that over 42,000m2of surface water – the equivalent of 10 football pitches – is being removed from the waste water network. This project also has substantive savings in energy that would otherwise be used to pump the water into the sewage works.

The Rhiwbina Flood Defence project has also been installed which protects 200 homes and businesses from flooding and works have also been carried out at Waterloo gardens.

The key projects being put forward in this sector are:

– Ensuring that all developments which are 100m2or bigger have a sustainable drainage system in place to manage on-site surface water. This includes the new cycleways;

– Implementing river flood defences on the river mouth and lower estuary of the River Rhymney, protecting properties and amenities as well as ensuring that the former landfill site is protected from erosion;

– Opening up Churchill Way Canal Dock Feeder and restoring the historic city centre waterway. This will manage surface water in a more sustainable way and increase the opportunity for more trees and biodiversity alongside the route; and

– Make drinking water refill stations available across the city to avoid the need for single-use plastic bottles.

Have your say

The council is calling upon the public and business to feedback on the draft strategy to help it shape its final delivery plans. A five-month period of consultation is due to open after Cabinet takes the report on Thursday afternoon, October 15.

A series of more detailed engagement events will also be held with stakeholders throughout the consultation period. These will focus on selected topics and on gathering the views of a wide variety of stakeholder groups, including young people and schools.

The full One Strategy document and report can be found on the One Planet Cardiff website.

City To Sea Reveal Expanded Refill App To Help Welsh Public Find New Ways To Reduce Single Use

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Amid growing demand from consumers, Refill has become the world’s first dedicated app to help customers find locations to shop waste-free;

Morrisons, LUSH, and Costa amongst the big brands supporting the campaign; Welsh public now encouraged to find new places to refill and reuse.

Plastic pollution campaigning organisation, City to Sea has expanded its award-winning Refill app, meaning that people in Wales can now search for waste-free shopping opportunities all over the country.

From today (1st October) customers will be able to use the free app to find out where to refill their coffee cup, water bottle or lunchbox; shop for groceries; and even top up their cleaning products and toiletries packaging-free – making Refill the world’s first dedicated app which helps customers find locations to shop waste-free.

The app will also highlight where discounts might be available to reward customers for reducing their single-use packaging. This means that businesses in Wales who offer reuse or packaging-free options can use the app as a free marketing platform to drive footfall and increase sales.

Rebecca Burgess, CEO of City to Sea, said: Rebecca Burgess, CEO of City to Sea said today: “The expansion of Refill marks a positive and significant step in tackling the mountains of avoidable single-use waste created every day. We know we can stay safe and look after the planet, and at City to Sea we want to make it easier for people to eat, drink and shop without pointless plastic. From a coffee on your commute, to drinking water on the go, and shopping with less packaging, Refill puts the power to reduce plastic at your fingertips.”

 

Convenience at a cost

In Wales, thanks to Welsh Government funding there are already more than 1,600 Refill Stations offering drinking water. The Welsh Government has a long-standing aim for a zero waste Wales by 2050, and is consulting on restricting the sale of some single-use plastics from 2021. It is hoped that the Refill app could make a big contribution to driving the necessary behaviour change to deliver this, making re-use and refilling the new social norm.

The launch of the expanded Refill app in Wales comes at a critical time for the planet and follows a tidal wave of single-use plastic in the wake of the global pandemic. It marks a game-changing moment that paves the way for much needed action on plastic in the hospitality and retail sectors.

Packaging from the food-to-go sector is a huge cause of marine plastic pollution, with take-away packaging consistently in the top 10 most found items on UK beaches. A global report launched in August revealed that food wrappers are now the most found item on beaches around the world overtaking cigarettes for the first time2.

Since March, many cafes and retailers temporarily stopped the use of reusables and increased the use of single-use plastic, despite over one hundred health experts stating reusables are perfectly safe to use – and only 5% of customers feeling that single-use items are safer than reusables.

Refill local champion Julia Terlet said, “Refill Cardiff is proud to be part of the Refill Revolution. We’re delighted to see how engaged the local community is, from students to families. Over the past two years, we’ve received support from many businesses, shops and organisations within the city to encourage waste-free behaviours. It is important now that we continue to spread the word!”

Consumers in Wales looking for businesses who offer refills, reduce packaging and support zero waste initiatives, should download the app at https://refill.org.uk/get-the-refill-app/.

 

Businesses back refill and reuse

The Refill app already connects users to over 30,000 places with over 1,600 business providing free tap water refills in Wales, including museums, bars, galleries, and supermarkets; as well as smaller, family businesses like Cadwaladers, a chain of Welsh cafes that originated in Gwynedd.

Now Costa, Morrisons, and LUSH have joined thousands of forward-thinking independent local businesses, like butchers, bakers and green-grocers; and over a hundred zero-waste and packaging free shops; to highlight their willingness to accept reusables and refills on many different products – not just tap water.

In September, Morrisons rolled-out plastic-free fruit and veg areas in over 300 of their stores, in a bid to help customers buy bagless. Steven Butts, Head of Corporate Services at Morrisons, said “We know our customers want to reduce the amount of plastic they use.  Being able to reuse and refill containers is a good way to do this. The Refill app is a great way to increase people’s awareness about the increasing number of opportunities to reuse.”

Sophie Rae from Ripple ‘Zero Waste’ shop in Cardiff, said: ““Since opening our doors in November 2018, the local community has surpassed every expectation I set. They’ve welcomed a refill mentality with ease. I hope the expansion of the Refill app will bring more awareness to the sustainable communities who are thriving in Cardiff.”

City to Sea is now calling for other forward-thinking businesses in the food-to-go or retail sector to join the app. They welcome businesses who already allow customers to bring their own containers, those who offer packaging-free options, and those wanting to trial a refill service for the first time.

Nook, an independent restaurant specialising in seasonal small plates, has joined the Refill app to allow customers to buy their natural wines, packaging free. Owner Phill Lewis said, “Sustainability is at the heart of what we do at Nook; from the ingredients in our dishes, to the suppliers we use. We’ve always offered customers the chance to bring their own bottles and ‘refill’ them with our house wines which are available on draught, so being able to advertise that on the Refill app makes perfect sense.”

Forward thinking businesses can sign up as a Refill Station and add their own details by registering for free on the app at https://refill.org.uk/get-the-refill-app/.[:]

Carbon Literacy Consortium Demonstrates Partnership Working at it’s Very Best

Carbon Literacy Cartrefi Cymru – CLCC is a consortium of 27 Welsh registered social landlords, who have pooled their money and resources to increase Carbon Literacy within their organisations.

The project aims to give everyone the opportunity to explore what the reality of climate change means for them in their home life and work life.  Equipped with the facts on how human activity, climate and natural systems are inter-related, individuals, communities and organisations are helped to take action to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses.

This month seven of the housing associations – Linc Cymru, Taff Housing, Melin Homes, Hafod Housing, Wales and West Housing, Pobl Group, and Tai Tarian – undertook the Carbon Literacy trainer course facilitated through Cynnal Cymru and delivered by Manchester Metropolitan University.

This means nine staff have now completed the course with a further 74 staff signed up in October to complete the train the trainer course. This demonstrates great partnership working and a corporate commitment from all – the trainers within each organisation will roll out training to other staff members in the new year.

Luke Penny – Carbon Literacy Cartrefi Cymru coordinator said:

“It is so exciting to see the first cohort of CLCC trainers go through the Carbon Literacy train the trainer course. This is the first step in establishing a peer to peer learning programme of Carbon Literacy across Welsh housing – empowering organisations to up their game in the response to climate change.”

Director of Cynnal Cymru Sarah Hopkins said:

“This is the second Carbon Literacy consortium that Cynnal Cymru has helped to set up but is by far the largest and most ambitious. We have learned a great deal from the experience and look forward to replicating this great model of partnership and collaboration with other sectors that want to become Carbon Literate.”

Dave Coleman from Carbon Literacy said:

“It has already been inspirational working with Welsh Housing Associations. Seeing and hearing the passion for collaborative working, and the level of commitment to reducing carbon footprint across their organisations, staff and communities is fantastic. We look forward to seeing the partnership continue to thrive and grow, and to seeing the results of that success, in the organisations, communities and nation of Wales.”

Find out more

Find our more about our Carbon Literacy training

Friends of the Earth Cymru launch Wales Climate Action Plan

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Friends of the Earth Cymru have launched a Climate Action Plan for Wales which calls for a green and fair recovery for people and communities.

The plan’s recommendations include:

  •  prioritising vulnerable communities
  •  investing in a green economy to create job opportunities
  • transforming the transport system
  • legislating to clean our air.

Friends of the Earth Cymru also recommend that Wales should follow New Zealand’s example and replace Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the measure of progress and focus instead on living standards and wellbeing.

Haf Elgar, Director, Friends of the Earth Cymru, said

“Wales is at a critical crossroads in its history and needs to address multiple emergencies right now – COVID-19 recovery, the climate and ecological emergencies and ongoing inequalities in our nation. This Climate Action Plan looks at what Wales can do to address these multiple emergencies and improve living standards for people and the planet.

“Quite rightly, Wales is proud of the Well-being of Future Generations Act 3, which is making a long-lasting, positive change to current and future generations, and it will be needed more than ever with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“But we must do more to make our economy and society work for people and planet, and that’s why it’s time to take the next step and use wellbeing rather than GDP to measure progress. There is so much we can learn from New Zealand and we should develop a Living Standards Framework for Wales.”4

Other recommendations include creating green job opportunities and eradicating fuel poverty. The Institute for Welsh Affairs has identified how Wales could produce all the energy it needs from renewables by 2035, creating thousands of jobs. Investing in areas which will have a positive impact on our environment such as cycling and public transport, nature restoration and home efficiency could significantly add to this. Fixing the two-thirds of Welsh homes which are poorly insulated will not only create jobs in every part of the country but will also bring much needed health benefits.

Wales should prioritise investment and resources into protecting our most vulnerable communities, whether that’s vulnerability to the type of flooding seen earlier this year, to the heatwaves which are happening more frequently, or those most at risk from COVID-19.

Keeping the nation’s lungs and hearts healthy is vital in the context of coronavirus. Friends of the Earth Cymru is also calling for A Clean Air Act for Wales as soon as possible for the sake of our health and to reduce climate emissions.5

Another key recommendation is to guarantee that those without a car are not left behind, by introducing service standards to improve public transport, and transforming the nation’s walking and cycling infrastructure, to combat the climate crisis.6

Friends of the Earth Cymru call for Wales to be a shining example, once again, by putting the environment, sustainability and fairness at the heart of our economy and COVID-19 recovery plan.

www.foe.cymru[:cy]

Mae Cyfeillion y Ddaear Cymru wedi lansio Cynllun Gweithredu Hinsawdd i Gymru sy’n galw am adferiad gwyrdd a theg i bobl a chymunedau.

Lawrlwythwch y Cynllun Gweithredu Hinsawdd i Gymru

Mae argymhellion y cynllun yn cynnwys:

  • blaenoriaethu cymunedau sy’n agored i niwed
  • buddsoddi mewn economi werdd i greu cyfleoedd gwaith
  • trawsnewid y system drafnidiaeth
  • deddfu i lanhau ein haer.

Hefyd, Cyfeillion y Ddaear Cymru eisiau i Gymru yn ddilyn esiampl Seland Newydd a disodli Cynnyrch Mewnwladol Crynswth (GDP) fel mesur cynnydd a chanolbwyntio yn hytrach ar safonau byw a llesiant.

Dywedodd Haf Elgar, Cyfarwyddwr Cyfeillion y Ddaear Cymru :

“Mae Cymru ar groesffordd hollbwysig yn ei hanes ac mae angen iddi fynd i’r afael â sawl argyfwng ar hyn o bryd – adferiad COVID-19, yr argyfyngau hinsawdd ac ecolegol, ac anghydraddoldebau parhaus yn ein cenedl.

“Mae’r Cynllun Gweithredu Hinsawdd hwn yn edrych ar yr hyn y gall Cymru ei wneud i fynd i’r afael â’r amryw argyfyngau hyn a gwella safonau byw i bobl a’r blaned.

“Mae Cymru’n falch o Ddeddf Llesiant Cenedlaethau’r Dyfodol, sy’n gwneud newid cadarnhaol a pharhaol i genedlaethau’r presennol a’r dyfodol, a bydd ei angen yn fwy nag erioed gyda’r pandemig COVID-19

“Ond mae’n rhaid i ni wneud mwy i wneud i’n heconomi a’n cymdeithas weithio i bobl a’r blaned, a dyna pam mae’n bryd cymryd y cam nesaf a defnyddio llesiant yn hytrach na GDP i fesur cynnydd.

“Mae cymaint y gallwn ei ddysgu gan Seland Newydd a dylem ddatblygu Fframwaith Safonau Byw i Gymru.”

 

Mae argymhellion eraill yn cynnwys creu cyfleoedd gwaith gwyrdd a chael gwared ar dlodi tanwydd. Mae’r Sefydliad Materion Cymreig wedi nodi sut y gallai Cymru gynhyrchu’r holl ynni sydd ei angen arni o ynni adnewyddadwy erbyn 2035, gan greu miloedd o swyddi.

Gallai buddsoddi mewn ardaloedd a fydd yn cael effaith gadarnhaol ar ein hamgylchedd fel beicio a thrafnidiaeth gyhoeddus, adfer natur ac effeithlonrwydd cartrefi ychwanegu’n sylweddol at hyn. Bydd cyweirio y ddau draean o gartrefi Cymru sydd wedi’u hinswleiddio’n wael nid yn unig yn creu swyddi ym mhob rhan o’r wlad, ond hefyd yn dod â manteision iechyd y mae mawr eu hangen.

Dylai Cymru flaenoriaethu buddsoddiad ac adnoddau i ddiogelu ein cymunedau mwyaf bregus, boed hynny’n agored i niwed i’r math o lifogydd a welwyd eleni, i’r tywydd poeth sy’n digwydd yn amlach, neu’r rhai sydd fwyaf tebygol o gael COVID-19.

Mae cadw ysgyfaint a chalonnau’r genedl yn iach yn hanfodol yng nghyd-destun COVID-19. Mae Cyfeillion y Ddaear Cymru hefyd yn galw am Ddeddf Aer Glân i Gymru cyn gynted â phosibl er mwyn ein hiechyd ac i leihau gollyngiadau hinsawdd.

Argymhelliad allweddol arall yw gwarantu nad yw’r rheini sydd heb gar yn cael eu gadael ar ôl, drwy gyflwyno safonau gwasanaeth i wella trafnidiaeth gyhoeddus, a thrawsnewid seilwaith cerdded a beicio’r genedl, i fynd i’r afael â’r argyfwng yn yr hinsawdd.6

Mae Cyfeillion y Ddaear Cymru yn galw ar Gymru i fod yn enghraifft wych, unwaith eto, drwy roi’r amgylchedd, cynaliadwyedd a thegwch wrth wraidd ein heconomi a chynllun adfer COVID-19.[:]

Where does the recovery begin? Thoughts from Cynnal Cymru

Many have noted that, if there is any silver lining to the global Covid-19 pandemic, it has been the way it has legitimised the desire for a radical re-haul of Welsh society to better meet the needs of current and future generations. The invitations to share ideas and work towards a better future have come from citizens and government alike. As a membership organisation that exists to accelerate progress towards sustainable development, the opportunities to ‘build back better’ – and avert the impending climate and ecological catastrophes – are things that the Cynnal Cymru team has been thinking about for a long while. When asked to decide on our top actions for the green recovery, we prioritised the following for government, public bodies, anchor institutions, organisations and thought-leaders everywhere. As our last point emphasises, this list is not exhaustive and is designed to sit alongside the asks from other expert fora to ensure that the recovery is not just green but restorative and just.

1. Make the emergency real

We echo the calls of Extinction Rebellion for public bodies to ‘tell the truth’. The scale of the climate and nature emergencies is hard to comprehend even for those of us working in the sector. The Future Generations Report calls for Wales to be an eco-literate country. We endorse this, particularly as there is now extensive evidence that peer-education of Carbon Literacy results in tangible individual and organisational change. Cynnal is currently pioneering development of a similar Eco-literacy course designed to make the science behind both these emergencies understandable and relatable to everyday actions. It provides learners with the tools to identify and implement actions they can take to protect and enhance natural systems and the confidence to help others understand and feel motivated to do so also. However, this sense of literacy cannot come just from the bottom. It needs to be exemplified from the top so that citizens feel that their actions have been validated and there is a collective will and effort.

Government, public bodies and other leading actors need to be bold in reiterating the scale of these challenges and ensuring that every action and investment is viewed through a climate and ecological resilience lens. This requires frequent, clear and consistent communication on a par with – and with the same level of urgency as – Covid-19 messaging and visibility.

2. Define and measure progress

There are many demands to build back better and there is robust research from CAT and others that a shifting of investment towards the well-being economy will meet multiple goals. The Well-being of Future Generations Act and Welsh Government’s recent membership of the Well-Being Economy Governmental Alliance, together with movements such as Extinction Rebellion, Citizens Cymru and WCVA’s recent think-pieces, provide the political, legislative and ‘people’s’ mandate to do this. Frequent reference is made to Wales’s pioneering WFG Act but work on how we measure if we are actually delivering well-being better since 2015 seems to have stalled. The Carnegie Trust recently published a series of blog posts on Wellbeing around the World with several posts on effectively measuring improvements in Wellbeing.

There is an urgent need to bring the national Well-Being Indicators back into public prominence and to use the literature on effective measurement of Wellbeing to set Milestones against these so that the public has a clear sense of direction as to where Wales is heading and a mechanism by which politicians can be held accountable.

3. Enforce the conservation hierarchy

In line with point 1, we urge a radical re-education of public bodies and others as to the benefits of mature green infrastructure and designated sites and the redirection of resource towards protecting, restoring and maintaining what exists before creating new. This particularly applies to the messaging around Wales’s national forest. Progress reports and campaigns must not just focus on creation of the new, as there is a danger that this will suggest that mature tree loss and new tree planting is replacing like for like.

Progress reports that instead focus on protecting and enhancing our national forest therefore may be more effective in reinforcing understanding of the benefits that existing mature trees provide and the cost-savings that are lost when they are removed. Before approving removal of mature trees, decision-makers must factor in the costs of:

loss of immediate ecosystem services 

planting and maintenance of compensatory planting up and until the point where this planting provides an equivalent level of ecosystem services plus

the costs of reduced ecosystem services provided by new planting in the interim

This could be done by implementing the recommendations in the Woodland Trust Manifesto:

I-tree reports for every urban area, showing the full lifetime value and benefits of existing trees, especially mature trees.

Update and improve tree protection legislation as part of a new Welsh Planning Act.

Stop council planning committees allowing developers to remove healthy mature trees.

Strengthen planning regulatory oversight to protect green space and irreplaceable habitat such as ancient woodland and veteran trees 

This would also support the recommendation in the Future Generations 2020 Report that Welsh Government work with Public Services Boards to deliver 20% tree canopy cover in every town and city in Wales by 2030.

4. Build capacity of community organisations

A voluntary contribution of 1% of profits for the planet has been suggested for private businesses and is a growing global movement. This contribution need not be financial but could also be in pro bono support.

The Skyline Project aimed to demonstrate the viability of communities managing local assets e.g. NRW woodlands to generate an income. We contributed to that project. The same principle has come up during our management of the Sylfaen project – three of the six project beneficiaries are aiming to manage local green resources for the dual outcomes of biodiversity and profit. We have found that a core missing element in this concept is that communities lack the governance skills to set up and run a suitable vehicle.

Dwr Cymru have piloted the idea that corporations and private companies can contribute to their CSR outcomes by not just sending workers on litter picks etc. but by donating time of senior managers such as finance, HR and marketing to help communities set up Community Interest Companies, Co-operatives etc. that are robust, accountable and effective. When such vehicles exist, with ongoing support from responsible businesses, then they have a better chance of successfully managing local natural assets and it helps avoid burn-out of trustees or volunteers taking responsibility for high-level and very time-consuming decisions, on top of other responsibilities.

We are suggesting that there is a nationwide, systematic programme to link larger private companies with community initiatives with the specific goal of managing natural assets to generate income, skills and biodiversity.

This could be complemented by requirements in public sector contracts to allow staff up to 2 days/month of employer-supported volunteering and/or time to share insights and learning via Community of Practice mechanisms.

5. Promote shared responsibility

In line with the Polluter Pays principle, we suggest structured mechanisms by which those that minimise or negate pollution don’t pay. It is not always obvious how and where the costs of pollution are met e.g. in cleaning drinking water or cleaning up litter. If it is possible to identify areas of higher or lower pollution prevalence, can these areas be rewarded either with lower charges or a proportion of the cost-saving to be allocated as a community pot. This would require a structured programme by which ‘the offer’ is well-publicised to areas or communities and there is timely and transparent measuring and reporting.

We also recommend exploring non-monetary currencies here such as time-credits whereby those that formally or informally volunteer for the environment can have this contribution to cost-savings recognised e.g. through reductions in Council Tax, the option to donate an hour of an expert’s time to a chosen charity (linked to 4. above) or another mechanism. There concepts may sound challenging but there are many skilled individuals that could help devise suitable mechanisms – no one organisation, public body or government needs to figure this out alone.

6. Set the ambition for Wales to be known as the ‘country of green careers’

With rises in unemployment predicted, particularly among the young, there is an opportunity to implement career pathways and a skills and training framework for conservation managers, woodland rangers, and enforcement officers to ensure there is the capacity and expertise to build ecosystem resilience.

There is a growing proliferation of apps to engage the public as citizen scientists to manage invasive species, report environmental crime, record iconic wildlife etc. It is time to also build capacity within regulatory bodies, industry and the utility companies to capitalise on this interest and to benefit from the cost-savings that would be enabled.

An investment in green jobs and career paths will show commitment to tackling the next crisis (point 1) as well as contributing significantly to the prevention agenda and the green economy. The TUC has written more about the need to ensure any new ‘green’ jobs are also fair jobs in this recently published report ‘A green recovery and a just transition’.

7. Understand the ‘disconnect’

We are drawn to nature but the litter in beauty spots, camping detritus in woodlands and sensitive flora trampled by walkers or mountain bikers suggest that we do not (know how to) tread lightly. Understanding what is behind this tendency – to be drawn to nature but then not care about trashing it – could help to address it, perhaps using insights from the  Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformation  or other behaviour change expertise at other universities.

We also believe that our other suggestions – such as Eco-Literacy, the reframing of the natural environment as a credible, accessible future career prospect; and an increased presence of wardens, rangers, conservation managers etc – could lead to not only greater experience of nature but a cultural shift in thinking about how we value it.

8. Enable access

In line with a More Equal Wales, any strategy needs to ensure that there is equal access to the benefits that nature provides across our communities. We note the recent geospatial research by the University of Warwick, Newcastle University and the University of Sheffield suggesting that living within 300m of urban green space is associated with greater happiness, a sense of worth and life satisfaction, reiterated by the recommendation in the Future Generations report 2020 that there are standards to ensure people can access natural green space within 300 m of their home. Again this could link with the green jobs recovery for wardens, horticulturalists, local growers, natural play workers and therapists, social prescribing etc.

9. Cast a fresh eye on existing technology and innovation

In the search for new ideas, existing – and potentially scalable – innovations risk being overlooked. As CAT’s Zero Carbon Britain Report makes clear, ‘we already have the tools and technology needed to efficiently power the UK with 100% renewable energy, to feed ourselves sustainably and so to play our part in leaving a safe and habitable climate for our children and future generations.’

There is a wealth of information already within our institutions, networks and public bodies that may not be badged as a ‘sustainable and environmentally sound post-global pandemic recovery response’ but could nonetheless yield the same desired outcomes.

Examples of product innovation from Cynnal Cymru’s membership include BIPVCo’s thin-film solar cells or  BSB International’s Fire Dragon eco-friendly solid fuel – produced in Llanelli from 100% UK sourced ethanol. At the same time, we have many examples from members working in accordance with the ways of working in the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, from Grasshopper Communications and its work to involve and engage communities to the housing associations coming together to accelerate decarbonisation of the social housing sector and the work of organisations like Dŵr Cymru and Wales and West Utilities to embody the stakeholder economy, for example with regard to vulnerable customers.

10. Create a more just society

Whilst a rapid transition to living within environmental limits and restoring healthy ecosystems will go a long way towards delivering sustainable development, we will only succeed if we also seek to recognise and integrate social and global justice. We know from our partners and members, and from our own work as the Living Wage accrediting body for Wales, that issues around social mobility, Fair Work, poverty and systemic discrimination also need to be addressed. This is as much a part of the ‘green’ as any other recovery package and links to other expert sectors, work programmes and strategies are essential to ensuring that our gains in one area are not undone by losses in another.

For several years now, the Sustainable Academy Awards have highlighted some of the most innovative projects and organisations in Wales accelerating progress towards a more sustainable future. The 2019 winners show that there are people in Wales that are already taking action to simultaneously tackle environmental issues and create a more just society

Next steps

We exist to accelerate progress on sustainable development in Wales so we are conscious that we need to back our words with action. Some of our next steps on the green recovery are:

Finishing the creation of an eco-literacy course and getting it out to consultation

Consulting with stakeholders about how to best measure progress and developing our advice

Linking the green recovery discussions to the Foundational Economy

Supporting decarbonisation of the social housing sector through the CLCC and involvement in Communities of Practice

Supporting the development of community led environmental organisations

Continuing to highlight the work of our members and Awards winners who are already ushering in the practical, intellectual, technological and cultural shifts for a sustainable green and just recovery.

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