Climate Change

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.

Low Carbon Engineering – A Look Into The Future

As a teacher or trainer, one hopes to inspire students but it is often the case when working in adult education, that the teacher is inspired as much (if not more) by the students as they are by you.

Such was the case when I delivered Carbon Literacy training to a group of post-graduate researchers in Cardiff University’s School of Engineering.

The students were either holders of a doctorate or on their way to receiving one and several of them were lecturers. So, I was a little daunted by the challenge of designing a training programme for them that would respect their level of knowledge and intellectual ability. The more a group of adults know however, the less the teacher or trainer needs to do in terms of knowledge transfer. The students bring the knowledge, and the trainer has to facilitate the sharing of that knowledge.

So I set the group a task of developing a mini lecture on the question, “Can we engineer our way out of the climate crisis?” Colleagues within the group had a wide degree of specialist knowledge covering topics such as; electricity grids, low carbon gas, low emission vehicles, psychology, waste management, and carbon reduction management. They worked in four teams to design an answer to the question and present their response.

Two of the teams addressed the issue at a high level, identifying the need for social, economic and cultural changes while the other two looked at specific engineering solutions. Here is a summary of what I learned from them.

Firstly, let us start with specific engineering solutions.

There are a range of geo-engineering options available – (See image above courtesy of Lahiru Jayasuriya and Riccardo Maddalena). These include ocean fertilisation to boost plankton growth, ground level reflectors to replace albedo lost when ice melts, cloud seeding and at the extreme end – orbiting reflectors to send solar thermal radiation back into space before it reaches Earth. These are known as “direct interventions.”

“Indirect interventions” include carbon capture-storage, smart grids and renewable energy sources coupled with hydrogen as an energy vector and storage medium.

An innovation that may prove to be very important is to create ammonia (NH3) by electrolysing water using power generated by renewable sources such as wind and solar. Ammonia is a colourless gas which can be chilled and compressed into a liquid. It is used as a fertiliser but is also a waste product in many industrial processes. Ammonia can act as a carrier of hydrogen or be used directly as a fuel but in the latter case, it produces high levels of nitrous oxides which are greenhouse gasses. Engineers are researching ways to decouple ammonia use from such emissions. Existing gas turbines would also need to be converted in order to use ammonia as a fuel.

Another exciting area of research is “smart local energy systems”. In these, energy is produced and supplied from a variety of disaggregated point sources rather than from a few large generators such as nuclear, coal or gas power stations. The gas and electricity supply grids work together, mediated by SMART technology. In this scenario, small local producers of energy can trade with peers, waste heat is no longer wasted, and things that use energy can moderate their demand in line with price and supply fluctuations. Consumers of energy are no longer passive recipients but become an important element by, for example, choosing when and how they require and use energy. A smart grid would be a major cultural shift but it is already being widely discussed and elements of it piloted.

Carbon capture and storage could reduce current emissions by 12% by stripping the carbon dioxide from industrial exhausts and storing it under ground. Coal, a high carbon substance, adsorbs carbon dioxide molecules onto its surface. The coal still sitting in the seams of the south Wales coalfield is particularly reactive in this respect – CO2 sticks readily to Welsh coal! This means that south Wales could be an important area for carbon storage. The alternative approach is to pump the gas into the voids left by oil and natural gas extraction but storage in coal seams is more stable.

These are just some examples of engineering solutions to the climate crisis but are they enough on their own?

The answer is a clear no.

To begin with, there are and will be a variety of interests that resist changes no matter how effective the engineering solutions can be. Engineers today must engage not only with clients but with politicians and the general public. They have to be able to advocate their science and particular technical solutions in a political and cultural context in order to build alliances that will overcome vested interests and irrational resistance but at the same time, the engineering solution itself will have to respect cultural and social concerns and be flexible enough to deal with these. Engineers, like other scientists, have to embrace interdisciplinary working practices. The education of engineers has to anticipate this by encouraging independent thinking and integrated design. The problem is that much of engineering research is funded by industry to achieve a very specific outcome strongly tied to economic efficiency and functionality.

The group agreed that the days when engineering could simply bolt something on are over. End of pipe solutions are no longer sufficient for the degree of challenge we face. We need to change the amount and the way we consume resources and engineers, like designers, have to be part of the process right from the beginning. I have become aware myself of the shift in thinking that has occurred in civil engineering over the last thirty years, proving that change can happen.

If the young men and women I met through this Carbon Literacy course are typical of their profession then I am heartened that we can change our world for the better. They can clearly explain their research interests with passion but also articulate the relevance of their research in a social, cultural and economic context. Much of their research takes place within the FLEXIS programme – a £24 million research initiative that is directed to developing energy systems, building on the research success of Welsh universities, to provide solutions of global relevance.

If you would like to know more about specific technologies mentioned above or engage with the FLEXIS programme then please contact Karolina Rucinska FLEXIS Project Development officer atinfo@flexis.wales or visit the FLEXIS website. 

If you would like to read what FLEXIS thought about the Carbon Literacy training you can do so here.

Further information on specific technologies can be requested via Karolina as follows;

Ammonia as a fuel – Syed Mashruk, Gas Turbine Research Centre

Smart grids – Dr. Muditha Abeysekera, Lecturer in multi-vector energy systems

Carbon Capture and storage in South Wales Coalfield – Dr Renato Zagorscak, Geoenvironmental Research Centre

This workshop was sponsored by the Early Career Researchers Fund from the School of Engineering, Cardiff University. Find more information about research at Cardiff School of Engineering.

Cardiff Council: Work to Create a “Safer Cardiff’ City Centre Begins

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Cardiff Council is investigating how it can work with partners to create a ‘Safer Cardiff’ for both residents and workers travelling into the city centre once the current lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Plans for Castle Street in the city centre and a pilot scheme for Wellfield Road, in Roath, have already been announced with a traffic lane cleared on Castle Street for cyclists and pedestrians.

Now discussions are underway which could see roads, footways and public space on Queen Street, St Mary Street, The Hayes and Churchill Way remodelled as well as other major footfall areas in the city centre. The council is also looking at introducing specific measures to help support businesses, including making some of the public realm available to restaurants in the city centre whose floor space will be restricted by social distancing measures.

The council is working with For Cardiff, which represents businesses in the city centre, and Arup a recognised technical expert on redesigning cities. The plans will be designed to ensure the safety of the public and to help businesses get up and running during the recovery period.

Cardiff Council Leader, Cllr Huw Thomas, said: “We are all living in extraordinary times and as the council continues to respond to the current issues during this pandemic, we also have to plan on how we are going to recover from this crisis once the lockdown has been lifted.

“We now have to look at how we can re-model the public space in the city centre and implement effective plans to ensure that social distancing measures can be maintained for everyone’s safety. Not only that – we have to find ways of making the city a great place to visit again, despite any restrictions which may have to be imposed.

“Clearly lots of people will still have concerns when lockdown is lifted, so we want to make sure when people think about Cardiff they think ‘yes, I know it’s safe to visit, safe to shop, safe to do business and it’s safe for me and my family to be there.’ We will work with experts in the field, consulting with businesses and residents who live in the city centre. It’s this ‘One City’ approach, which will enable us to Restart, Recover and Renew Cardiff. I’m determined we won’t miss the opportunities that could arise from this. We all want a safer, greener, cleaner and healthier city, one which will be sustainable in the long term.

“All of this will cost money which is why we will begin discussions with Welsh Government on how it can be funded. Cardiff is the economic heartbeat of Wales. It can’t be left on life support. Our plans will need to be fully backed if we are to get the city up and running again for the benefit of everyone who lives and works here and in the city region.”

Arup will develop a strategy in partnership with the council and business to support the city centre’s recovery from the economic and well-being impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The strategy will initially focus on ways to bring people back into the city and support the reopening of city-centre businesses, while enabling social distancing. Longer term, it will look at opportunities to improve access to high-quality open space, digital networks, air quality, resilient infrastructure, and active travel. District neighbourhoods will also be considered.

The concept for the immediate strategy is based around creating a welcoming city with space for pedestrians prioritised towards the centre. Welcome gateways will provide information, orientation and sanitisation areas. The measures used will be flexible to fit different business needs.

Long-term opportunities to improve the city centre experience are being considered to attract visitors and ensure the city’s resilience as it recovers from the economic impacts of the pandemic. The council will consult with city partners, residents, local councillors and staff but some options include creation of a loop of green public space around the city connecting existing public spaces; repurposed streets that prioritise pedestrians and cyclists, consolidated logistics, and servicing linked to enhanced digital infrastructure and monitoring.

Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport, Cllr Caro Wild added: “This involves detailed work, looking at how space can be allocated safely to ensure social distancing measures can be maintained for motorists, cyclists and most importantly pedestrians.

“There is no doubt that this will be a significant challenge, but we are keen to ensure that plans are in place to re-open the city centre when it is safe to do so. We will work with local councillors to ensure the views of local residents are heard throughout the process.”

Cllr Russell Goodway; Cabinet member for Investment and Development, said: “We have already begun conversations with city businesses. They want to be involved and they want to see Cardiff restored. The challenges we face in restarting and renewing the city’s economy will only be overcome by working together in partnership. I’m confident we will bring forward a strategy which will shape the way we think about cities in a post-COVID landscape. We can’t allow our city centres to be places people are afraid to visit. This is vitally important work and could see Cardiff leading the agenda nationally on how urban centre recover from the pandemic.”

Sophie Camburn, Director, Integrated City Planningfor Arup, said: “Our team has brought together a range of expertise to create a strategy that will help the council respond to challenges and opportunities as they prepare to begin the gradual process of reopening the city centre.

“We have looked at how Cardiff can use its civic pride, creative capacity and underlying assets to respond to immediate practical needs, medium-term tactical changes and strategic opportunities to make a better place in the long term.”

An initial report on the strategy will go to Cardiff Council’s Cabinet on June 11, 2020.[:]

Keep Wales Tidy Call for Applications for New Places for Nature on Everyone’s Doorstep

[:en]Hundreds of new nature garden projects are in the pipeline across Wales with applications for many more invited

Keep Wales Tidy is delighted to be reopening applications for its Local Places for Nature initiative. With many of us limited to our immediate locality during lockdown, there has never been a better time to consider how our community areas can be improved for nature.

A choice of pre-paid garden packages are being offered to local community groups and town and community councils to transform a space in their local area. Groups and potential applicants are being asked to make best use of their time at home, by submitting an application. Keep Wales Tidy staff are on hand to help.

The first assessment panel was impressed with the quality and variety of applications from across Wales and were happy to award:

  • 101 Butterfly gardens
  • 44 Fruit gardens
  • 71 Wildlife gardens

Check out the map to see where all the gardens will be across Wales www.keepwalestidy.cymru/lpfn-map

  • Tredegar Town Council in Blaenau Gwent will be developing a butterfly garden to enhance the Sirhowy Community Garden and provide a tranquil space for the whole community.
  • Conwy Arts Trust will be creating a fruit garden at Venue Cymru in Llandudno as a pilot project to develop magical areas that can be used to inspire creativity.
  • Riverside in Cardiff has very little accessible green space and Keep Riverside Tidy will be creating a butterfly garden which will enhance nature for the local community.
  • A wildlife garden in Dinas Mawddwy will be used by Plannwch y Plas to engage and involve the local community with nature and growing.
  • Mumbles Community Council will be sprucing up Jubilee Gardens with their wildlife garden package and making it into a pleasant place to sit and enjoy nature.

 

The safety of staff and volunteers is of the utmost importance, so no practical work has started to date. However, Keep Wales Tidy are making plans as to how they might deliver some activities safely when government guidelines allow.

 

Deputy Chief Executive for Keep Wales Tidy, Louise Tambini said:

Through these difficult times the value of nature and accessible green space has never been more recognisable and important to our communities. It has been heartening to see so many people volunteering to help others through the COVID-19 pandemic and we would encourage you to continue volunteering and join the Local Places for Nature initiative to create new, accessible spaces for wildlife in your local community. It is easy to apply, and applicants will be supported to install their new gardens safely within social distancing and government guidelines, only when it is safe to do so. We look forward to starting practical work when regulations are eased “.

 

Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths MS said:

‘’We have all seen how important nature is for our mental well-being. Our £5m Local Places for Nature programme encourages communities to get involved with creating nature ‘on their doorsteps’. We are delighted that Keep Wales Tidy are accepting applications again, in readiness for when projects can begin. Currently we are all staying at home, to protect the NHS and save lives. But as conditions allow and when safety can be assured, I hope volunteers across Wales will be involved in these local projects to restore and enhance nature.

 

The initiative is part of a wider £5m Welsh Government ‘Local Places for Nature’ fund committed to acquiring, restoring and enhancing nature ‘on your doorstep’.

Visit the Keep Wales Tidy website for further information about the Local Places for Nature initiative https://www.keepwalestidy.cymru/nature[:]

More Than A Pub – Community, Carbon Reduction and Covid-19

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The Plas Kynaston Canal Group (PKCG) is a longstanding member of Cynnal Cymru. The group meets regularly in the Holy Bush Inn that stands on a central position in the village of Cefn Mawr, Wrexham.

Dave Metcalfe, one of the founders of the PKCG, led a campaign to save the Holly Bush from demolition. His company bought the pub and it is now run as a free house and community resource. As well as the bar and lounge, the pub has space for community groups to meet.

Post-industrial villages like Cefn Mawr (of which there are many in Wales) have undergone enormous change that has been driven not only be the immediate contraction of employment in their area, but by wider cultural changes that have evolved over decades. Large scale retail (which is most conveniently accessed by private car), online shopping, and the growth of internet services have led to an atomisation of communities: families eat, drink and access entertainment alone. The great communal experience that created and defined these villages has been replaced. The villages themselves have become hollowed out dormitories for workers who travel into the nearest city. Pubs like the Holly Bush are now sadly the exception.

Dave Metcalfe however has a vision. He believes that our industrial villages should and can revive and that in doing so, they would be physical manifestations of the vision described in the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act. Will the experience of lockdown, brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, cause people to re-evaluate their local services? We are getting anecdotal evidence that affirms this through our delivery of Carbon Literacy training. People’s worlds have been forced to shrink by the virus but many are reporting a new found joy and convenience in the use of local assets such as green space and food shops.

As we emerge from lockdown however, we risk losing this. Even as we urgently restart the economy however, Dave’s vision becomes more pertinent than before. He points out that thousands of tons of CO2 could be saved every year simply by getting people back in their local, drinking out of pint glasses instead of buying it from the supermarkets in cans and bottles.

“A truly green approach would be to get people back in their local, drinking beer from glasses that are simply washed and refilled from barrels refilled by the breweries, no waste and no unnecessary CO2.”

Thousands of tons of glass and aluminium are used every year in the manufacture of drinks for the off-licence market. These products are then transported and presented for sale. What is the carbon footprint of all this? Greenhouse gasses are subsequently produced in the recycling of the empty drinks containers while some are lost forever to landfill.  Furthermore, with the correct soda machines installed, big savings can be made on plastics as no plastic bottles would be required for soft drinks. We know that some cafes around Wales have removed plastic bottled soft drinks from their menus.

On the other hand, pubs need to be heated and lighted and the drinks kept chilled. There is nothing to stop a landlord however from using a green tariff or even on-site renewables to meet the pub’s energy demand.

We think Dave has a point here and would like to investigate further. We know that the international drinks industry takes their carbon footprint seriously and is engaged in efforts to reduce emissions and other harmful environmental impacts. See the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable as an example – BIER

Mike Berners-Lee (author of “How Bad Are Bananas – the Carbon Footprint of Everything”) as calculated the carbon footprint of your favourite pint as follows;

 

The carbon footprint of a pint of beer:

300g CO2e: locally brewed cask ale at the pub

500g CO2e: local bottled beer from a shop or foreign beer in a pub

900g CO2e: bottled beer from the shop, extensively transported

 

You can read more about this in Mike’s Guardian blog here.

 

As Dave says himself, “A truly green approach would be to get people back in their local, drinking beer from glasses that are simply washed and refilled from barrels refilled by the breweries, no waste and no unnecessary CO2.” Monitored by their friends and the pub staff, perhaps they would drink less than when pouring their own measures at home. The social interaction would build community as it used to before Covid-19 and the atomisation of society. It is a long-established argument of sustainability that small is beautiful and local is better. To make this cultural shift happen however, perhaps we need to restrict sales of alcohol in supermarkets and invest in our villages and town centres. Much to think about and much to discuss….[:]

Future Generations Commissioner urges Welsh Government to deliver on a green recovery budget

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● Carbon neutral housing and green jobs for people unemployed by pandemic are crucial to reset the economy and ‘build back better’
● Sophie Howe has outlined the five spending priorities Wales needs to be considering now – and calls for an urgent green stimulus package to help the country’s long-term recovery
● Government’s supplementary budget on Wednesday needs to signal investment that prioritises a better quality of life in the future

Green jobs for the unemployed and a multi-million pound package to decarbonise housing should be central to how Wales is reshaped in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, says the Future Generations Commissioner. 

Sophie Howe says we have  a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to reset Wales’ economy and is calling for  “visionary ideas and transformative investment” in the nation’s recovery plan. 

The commissioner has published a series of recommendations for Welsh Government as it announces its first Supplementary Budget, detailing how funding will be allocated during and after the crisis.  

The Welsh Government budget has increased by more than 10% for the current financial year – £2.4bn will be allocated to support Wales with its COVID-19 efforts. 

Ms Howe said: “The pandemic has brought incredible challenges, but how we recover gives us a once-in-a-generation opportunity. 

“The budget must signal a change in direction to reset our economy and remedy past failures with bold, collaborative, inclusive thinking and political courage. 

“It needs to address health, the economy and the ongoing climate and nature crises for the sake of Wales’ long-term future. We need a new definition of prosperity, based on well-being, and a fairer, greener way of living.” 

The commissioner, whose role is to protect future generations from the political actions of today, says in a paper that ministers must now show political courage with a focus on quality of life over GDP,  as the country begins the rebuilding process while restrictions remain in place to stem the spread of COVID-19. 

More investment in the low-carbon economy is crucial, and in the short-term, Ms Howe suggests those who have lost jobs and income in the pandemic could be reskilled and employed in the green economy. 

Among her recommendations is a multi-million pound stimulus package to support the decarbonisation of Wales’ housing stock – putting money into new low-carbon affordable housing and launching a national retrofitting programme to improve energy efficiency in existing homes. 

The benefits to people’s health, the environment, the jobs created and – crucially – Wales’ housing stock, would, says Ms Howe, far outweigh the estimated cost of more than £500m a year. 

As thousands remain working from home – taking pressure off transport networks and reducing carbon emissions – the commissioner wants investment to improve digital connectivity. 

Ms Howe applauded Welsh Government’s £25m commitment to fund transport improvements for pedestrians and cyclists by local authorities across Wales, and said it must form part of a long-term plan. 

It comes as moves to pedestrianise the centre of Bristol have been unveiled as part of its response to the COVID-19 crisis. The city is also engaging residents in planning new ways to use existing spaces – with emerging ideas including the pedestrianisation of entire dual carriageways. 

Elsewhere, Milan – one of the most congested cities in Europe – is transforming 35km of streets into ‘future zones’, where people can walk and cycle safely. 

Resources should also be shifted so Wales’ natural habitats can be restored, with green corridors linking the country and more investment in the new national forest being planted. 

Such thinking, says the commissioner will not only help wildlife, but can assist flood defences and the nation’s capability to face the challenges of climate change and create jobs. 

Ms Howe wants the Government to use the Well-being of Future Generations Act legislation along with her new Future Generations Report and  10-point plan for funding the climate emergency, in its response to the crisis. 

The Future Generations Report suggests Welsh Government works with public bodies to deliver 20% tree canopy cover in every town and city in Wales by 2030. 

Ms Howe said: “Our pre-Covid 19 economy prioritised economic growth, forced many people into poverty, and in turn created an unhealthy population that is particularly susceptible to global crises such as pandemics. 

“It’s vital that the budget addresses things we can’t afford to ignore – such as the current health crisis, the economic crisis the pandemic has triggered and the ongoing climate and nature crises. 

Wales has the opportunity to lead the way with visionary ideas and transformative investment, to a future based on well-being, using our unique Well-being of Future Generations Act as a framework. 

“I’m keen to work with partners and organisations to support Welsh Government in developing a response to the crisis which allows Wales to build back better.” 

 

The Future Generations Commissioner’s five recommendations… 

1.Develop an economic stimulus package that leads to job creation and supports the decarbonisation of homes, through building new low carbon affordable housing and investing in a national programme to improve the energy efficiency of existing homes. 

2.Invest in better ways to connect and move people through improving digital connectivity, active travel and public transport.

3. Invest in skills and training to support the transition to a better future, creating new greener jobs.

4.Invest in nature and prioritise funding and support for large-scale habitat and wildlife restoration, creation and connectivity throughout Wales –including for natural flood defences, to implement the new national forest, and to ensure land use management and agriculture supports secure local food chains and distribution.

5. Invest in the industries and technologies of the future, and support for businesses that will help Wales to lead the low carbon revolution and lock wealth and jobs into local areas with investment in the foundational economy. 

To read the full statement, visit the Future Generations Commissioner’s website.

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Mae tai carbon niwtral a swyddi gwyrdd i bobl sy’n ddiwaith yn sgil y pandemig yn hanfodol ar gyfer ailosod yr economi ac ‘adeiladu nôl yn well’.
● Mae Sophie Howe wedi amlinellu’r pum blaenoriaeth gwariant sydd angen i Gymru eu hystyried yn awr – ac yn galw am becyn ysgogi gwyrdd ar frys i helpu adferiad hirdymor y wlad.
● Mae angen i gyllideb atodol y llywodraeth ar ddydd Mercher nodi buddsoddiad sy’n blaenoriaethu gwell ansawdd bywyd yn y dyfodol.

Dylai swyddi gwyrdd i’r diwaith a phecyn gwerth miliynau o bunnoedd i ddatgarboneiddio tai fod yn ganolog i’r ffordd y mae Cymru’n cael ei hail-lunio yn dilyn pandemig coronafirws, meddai Comisiynydd Cenedlaethau’r Dyfodol. 

Dywed Sophie Howe fod gennym “gyfle sy’n digwydd unwaith mewn cenhedlaeth” i ailosod economi Cymru, ac mae’n galw am “syniadau gweledigaethol a buddsoddiad trawsnewidiol yng nghynllun adfer y genedl. 

Mae’r comisiynydd wedi cyhoeddi cyfres o argymhellion ar gyfer Llywodraeth Cymru wrth iddynt gyhoeddi eu Cyllideb Atodol gyntaf, sy’n rhoi manylion am y modd y bydd cyllid yn cael ei ddyrannu yn ystod ac ar ôl yr argyfwng. 

Mae cyllideb Llywodraeth Cymru wedi cynyddu o fwy na 10% ar gyfer y flwyddyn ariannol gyfredol – dyrennir £ 2.4bn i gynorthwyo Cymru gyda’i hymdrechion COVID-19. 

Dywedodd Ms Howe: “Mae’r pandemig wedi dod â heriau anhygoel, ond mae’r modd yr ydym yn ei oresgyn yn rhoi i ni ‘gyfle sy’n digwydd unwaith mewn cenhedlaeth. 

“Rhaid i’r gyllideb nodi newid cyfeiriad i ailosod ein heconomi a datrys methiannau’r gorffennol gyda meddwl beiddgar, cydweithredol, cynhwysol, a dewrder gwleidyddol. 

“Mae angen iddi fynd i’r afael ag iechyd, yr economi ac argyfyngau parhaus yr hinsawdd a natur er mwyn dyfodol hirdymor Cymru. Mae arnom angen diffiniad newydd o ffyniant, yn seiliedig ar lesiant, a ffordd decach, wyrddach o fyw”.  

Mewn papur a ysgrifennwyd gandddi dywed y comisiynydd yn ei rôl fel amddiffynnydd cenedlaethau’r dyfodol rhag gweithredoedd gwleidyddol heddiw, bod yn rhaid i weinidogion yn awr ddangos dewrder gwleidyddol gan ganolbwyntio mwy ar ansawdd bywyd na Chynnyrch Domestig Gros, wrth i’r wlad gychwyn ar y broses ailadeiladu tra bo cyfyngiadau yn parhau yn eu lle i atal lledaeniad COVID-19. 

Mae mwy o fuddsoddiad yn yr economi carbon isel yn hanfodol, ac yn y tymor byr, mae Ms Howe yn awgrymu y gallai’r rhai sydd wedi colli swyddi ac incwm yn ystod y pandemig gael eu hailsgilio a’u cyflogi yn yr economi gwyrdd. 

Ymhlith ei hargymhellion mae’n nodi pecyn ysgogi gwerth miliynau o bunnoedd i gynorthwyo datgarboneiddio stoc dai Cymru – gan ariannu tai fforddiadwy carbon isel newydd a lansio rhaglen ôl-osod genedlaethol i wella effeithlonrwydd ynni mewn cartrefi presennol. 

Byddai’r manteision i iechyd pobl, yr amgylchedd, y swyddi sy’n cael eu creu ac – yn hollbwysig – stoc dai Cymru, meddai Ms Howe, yn gorbwyso’r gost amcangyfrifedig o fwy na £ 500m y flwyddyn. 

Wrth i filoedd barhau i weithio gartref – gan leihau’r pwysau ar rwydweithiau trafnidiaeth a lleihau allyriadau carbon – mae’r comisiynydd eisiau buddsoddiad ar gyfer gwella cysylltedd digidol. 

Cymeradwyodd Ms Howe ymrwymiad £ 25m Llywodraeth Cymru i ariannu gwelliannau trafnidiaeth i gerddwyr a beicwyr gan awdurdodau lleol ledled Cymru, a dywedodd fod yn rhaid i hyn fod yn rhan o gynllun hirdymor.  

Fe ddaw wrth i symudiadau i bedestreiddio canol Bryste gael eu datgelu fel rhan o’u hymateb i argyfwng COVID-19. Mae’r ddinas hefyd yn ennyn diddordeb preswylwyr wrth gynllunio ffyrdd newydd o ddefnyddio lleoedd sy’n bodoli eisoes – gyda syniadau sy’n dod i’r amlwg yn cynnwys pedestreiddio ffyrdd cerbydau deuol cyfan. 

Mewn mannau eraill, mae Milan – un o’r dinasoedd â’r mwyaf o dagfeydd yn Ewrop – yn trawsnewid 35km o strydoedd yn ‘barthau’r dyfodol’, lle gall pobl gerdded a beicio’n ddiogel.  

Dylid symud adnoddau hefyd fel y gellir adfer cynefinoedd naturiol Cymru, gyda choridorau gwyrdd yn cysylltu’r wlad a mwy o fuddsoddi mewn plannu’r goedwig genedlaethol newydd.  

Bydd meddwl yn y modd hwn, medd y comisiynydd, nid yn unig yn helpu bywyd gwyllt, ond yn atgyfnerthu amddiffynfeydd llifogydd a gallu’r genedl i wynebu heriau’r newid yn yr hinsawdd a chreu swyddi. 

Mae Ms Howe eisiau i’r Llywodraeth, yn eu hymateb i’r argyfwng, ddefnyddio deddfwriaeth y Ddeddf Llesiant Cenedlaethau’r Dyfodol ynghyd â’i Hadroddiad Cenedlaethau’r Dyfodol newydd a’i chynllun deg pwynt ar gyfer ariannu’r argyfwng hinsawdd 

Mae’r Adroddiad Cenedlaethau’r Dyfodol yn awgrymu bod Llywodraeth Cymru’n gweithio gyda chyrff cyhoeddus i gyflawni 20% o orchudd canopi coed ym mhob tref a dinas yng Nghymru erbyn 2030. 

Dywedodd Ms Howe: Roedd ein heconomi cyn COVID-19 yn blaenoriaethu twf economaidd gan orfodi llawer o bobl i dlodi, a arweiniodd yn ei dro at boblogaeth afiach sy’n arbennig o agored i argyfwng fel pandemig.  

Mae’n hollbwysig bod ein cyllideb yn mynd i’r afael â phethau na fedrwn fforddio eu hanwybyddu – megis yr argyfwng iechyd presennol, yr argyfwng economaidd a sbardunwyd gan y pandemig ac argyfwng parhaus yr hinsawdd a natur. 

Rwy’n awyddus i weithio gyda phartneriaid a sefydliadau i gynorthwyo Llywodraeth Cymru i ddatblygu ymateb i’r argyfwng a fydd yn caniatáu i Gymru ‘adeiladu nôl yn well’. 

 

Pum argymhelliad Comisiynydd Cenedlaethau’r Dyfodol… 

  1. Datblygu pecyn ysgogi economaidd sy’n arwain at greu swyddi ac sy’n cynorthwyo datgarboneiddio cartrefi, drwy adeiladu tai newydd carbon isel fforddiadwy a buddsoddi mewn rhaglen genedlaethol i wella effeithlonrwydd ynni cartrefi presennol.
  2. Buddsoddi mewn gwell dulliau o gysylltu a symud pobl, drwy wella cysylltedd digidol, teithio llesol a thrafnidiaeth gyhoeddus.
  3. Buddsoddi mewn sgiliau a hyfforddiant i gynorthwyo’r trawsnewid i well dyfodol, gan greu swyddi newydd gwyrddach. 
  4. Buddsoddi mewn natur a rhoi blaenoriaeth i ariannu a chymorth graddfa fawr i adferiad cynefinoedd a bywyd gwyllt, creu a chysylltedd ledled Gymru – yn cynnwys ar gyfer amddiffynfeydd llifogydd naturiol, gweithredu’r goedwig genedlaethol newydd a sicrhau bod rheoli defnydd tir ac amaeth yn cynorthwyo sicrhad cadwyni bwyd lleol a dosbarthu. 
  5. Buddsoddi yn niwydiannau a thechnolegau’r dyfodol, a chynorthwyo busnesau, a fydd yn helpu Cymru i arwain y chwyldro carbon isel a chloi cyfoeth a swyddi mewn ardaloedd lleol gyda buddsoddiad yn yr economi sylfaenol. 

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