A project overview

Opportunities in Low Carbon Transport

In February 2019, Cynnal Cymru worked in partnership with Jacobs to deliver two major events for the Welsh Government. The objective of these Welsh Government funded events was to enable and motivate public sector professionals to speed up the transition to a low carbon, low emission transport system in Wales, with a particular focus on road transport and alternatives to private car ownership.

Delegates received information on SMART and vehicle technology, sources of funding, and examples that show how action can be taken that benefits the organisation, citizens, the local economy, and the environment.

A mixture of presentations, displays, demonstrations and surgeries enabled public sector professionals to learn from peers, industry, advisory organisations, government, and social enterprises.

The good news is that many of our public bodies in Wales are ambitious to decarbonise their own transport assets and want to help others to do so. Some, like Swansea Council, have moved beyond aspiration and are already running ultra-low emission vehicles. The technology is available and the whole life costs are persuasive. Electric, hydrogen and bio-gas options are available for public bodies but they were cautioned by experts to take time, do the research, analyse current service delivery before making any decisions. The right vehicle and the right power source needs to be chosen to fit the job. Effort needs to be made to ensure staff understand how to operate the new technology and are ready to embrace change.

The conferences also addressed the issues of public transport and equality of opportunity. Neil Lewis used the occasion of the Cardiff conference to announce that partners within Community Energy Wales are launching a co-operative to ensure that a network of chargers are established across Wales that will bring revenue to communities and make use of local renewable energy sources, where available.

Evidence was presented that experiences of electric vehicles in the workplace have the potential to make it six times more likely that people will switch to electric for private domestic use. A wide range of funds are available for home-based charging and for electrifying public transport. Cardiff for example will benefit from 36 new electric buses that were purchased through UK government funding.

We also heard a persuasive argument in favour of compressed natural bio-gas as a fuel. This still produces greenhouse gases but the amounts are less than fossil fuels and as the gas (methane) is derived from waste, it is part of a shorter term carbon cycle and not adding geological carbon to the atmosphere.

In addition to speakers and workshops, there were also vehicles on display and available for test drives. Both the Wrexham and Cardiff events had a real buzz about them and people were vigorously discussing practical options for removing fossil fuels from public transport, fleet and service vehicles as well as new models to reduce the reliance on the private car for commuting and business trips.

In 2016 we held our first seminar on the future of the car. We followed this in 2017 with a specific focus on the future of the car in Cardiff and in 2018 with a major event that looked at the challenges facing Wales as a whole if it is to transition to an ultra-low emission transport economy.

Also in 2018 we supported the Green Fleet Cymru event.

We are continuing to work with Jacobs, Welsh Government and other partners to promote understanding of ultra-low emission transport and to catalyse action to develop the markets and infrastrucutre for electric, hybrid and hydrogen vehicles.

Our contribution to this process is to broker collaboration between the public sector, the automotive sector, energy suppliers and communities, and to support ever wider engagement and communication of the challenges and opportunities of ultra-low emission vehicles.

Cardiff Council Transport and Clean Air Green Paper

From January to July 2018 we worked intensively with Cardiff Council on their Transport and Clean Air Green Paper. We were tasked with conducting research to inform the drafting of the paper, and helping with consultation once it was published.

Desk-top research looked at reports compiled within the last five years, emerging trends in transport, and the activity in other cities around the world. Seminars and conferences included Cynnal Cymru’s 2016 “Future Car:diff” event, “Car Futures Wales”, and the Innovate UK “Transport Challenges” workshop. Interviews took place with Innovate UK’s Transport Systems Catapult, Arup, Jacobs, The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, Living Streets, and Cardiff Civic Society.

As drafts progressed, a team of Council officers and Cynnal Cymru staff was formed under the leadership of Cabinet Member for Transport, Councillor Wild. This team began to blend existing Cardiff Council transport research and strategies with new information gleaned from the research. The team included representatives from the Transport department, Economic Development, City Services, Shared Regulatory Services, Research and Customer Services, Policy, and Operations, and was chaired by the Director of City Operations. The end result ensured innovative practices from other cities was combined with existing strategic and policy commitments and an awareness of emerging trends to meet the specific needs of Cardiff.

Following publication, we worked with the Transport Team, Customer Services, The Cardiff Research Centre and FOR Cardiff to undertake a variety of consultations events and communications. These included an event for businesses and targeted engagement of specific locations.

The Wales We Want National Conversation

For over two years Cynnal Cymru worked with the Welsh Government and the former Commissioner for Future Generations, Peter Davies, to help develop and grow Wales’s biggest National Conversation on ‘The Wales We Want’.

The Wales We Want is a National Conversation – first of its kind – and helped inform our ground-breaking Well-being of Future Generations (WFG) Act – one of the very few such laws in the world that legislates for sustainable development.

The Conversation was launched on 18 February 2014 with the support of award-winning Welsh actor and UNICEF supporter Michael Sheen at a high profile event in held in Cardiff.

In the first year we organised 20 events, 3 launch events, recruited 150 Futures Champions, helping to bring together 6474 individuals, who took part in over 100 conversations across Wales resulting in almost 1000 responses in the form or reports, videos, postcards, drawings and surveys.

Putting People at the Heart of the Campaign

 ‘I want a Wales where….’ campaign video featuring our first Futures Champions and ambassadors for the campaign.

Working closely with the Welsh Government, Cynnal Cymru identified the need to develop and strengthen the brand identity, placing people at the heart of the conversation. To enable the conversation to reach as wide an audience as possible, a network of Futures Champions was established – identifying key champions and influencers to represent different geographical areas and communities of interest.  As part of the recruitment strategy, Cynnal Cymru was able to recruit new champions through its own networks and contacts.

This approach proved vital in helping people to relate the campaign, and take ownership of the conversation and brand. Many also took it to the next level with spin-out Conversations such as The Llanelli We Want and the Carmarthenshire We Want.

Working with a design agency Hoffi, we developed the campaign website, where the primary focus was to encourage people to take action by signing up as Futures Champions or sharing their views online.

Infographic showing the network of 'Future Champions' and participants who took part in the conversation.

Throughout the campaign Cynnal Cymru was responsible for developing a number of milestone events, including the launch of final report in 2015, held in Cardiff and Llandudno. The report was the culmination of a year-long conversation with the people across Wales, attended by the Minister for Natural Resources, Michael Sheen, Iolo Williams and other notable speakers. This high profile event was supported by a successful social media campaign #futurecymru which trended on Twitter with over 1500 tweets during the launch day.

Strong Roots – Climate change adaptation and leadership

Strong Roots was a project to increase the capacity of community and town councils to both lead and support sustainable development and to partner the Welsh Government in its commitment to the development of sustainable, resilient, low-carbon communities.

The aims of the phase one scoping research were as follows;

a) Explore the attitudes and perceptions of risk amongst community and town councilors

b) Understand the capacity of community and town councils to assess and respond to climate change risks

c) Identify and describe existing adaptation best practice in community-scale governance within Wales, the UK and the rest of the world; and best practice in behaviour change interventions to overcome barriers to action on climate change adaptation.

d) Map results of attitudes and perceptions to scientific projections of local temperature, precipitation and sea level change.

The project partners provided training and resources and developed programmes to address specific issues such as climate change adaptation.

What we learnt from the work is that people do not identify climate change as an immediate local issue. They are concerned with jobs, health, education, sense of place (culture and community), and delivery of services. We were able however to help them see climate change as a material risk to these more immediate concerns. We helped four town councils to develop climate change adaptation strategic responses with their communities that were unique to their locality and addressed issues that mattered to the people who lived there.

Rhodri Thomas, Sustainability Consultant and Project Lead

The Strong Roots Climate Change Adaptation project emerged from this initiative and was implemented in two phases between 2012 and 2014.

The “Strong Roots” initiative was a partnership between Cynnal Cymru – Sustain Wales and One Voice Wales which delivers support for community and town councils on the issue of sustainable development.

Emergence – Eginiad: Creative practice for a sustainable future

Having staged three major conferences together in 2010/11, Volcano and Cynnal Cymru have taken the initiative in two parallel directions. Volcano is leading an examination of how the concept of sustainable development informs and influences the creative process and artistic practice while Cynnal Cymru convened a partnership involving (the development body for theatres and arts centres in Wales), BRASS and Julie’s Bicycle to address sustainable development in the context of the built environment and theatre estate. The Creu Cymru project has gathered a data baseline of the environmental impacts of 42 venues around Wales. From this baseline, working with a pilot group, the project will provide tools and support to enable theatres and venues to improve their environmental performance and influence the behaviours of audiences, staff, suppliers and business partners.

The then proposed Welsh Government Sustainable Development Bill (now the Well-being of Future Generations Act) provided a context for this project. This legislation will place a statutory duty upon public bodies in Wales to adopt the concept of sustainable development as the central organising principle upon which all organisational decisions are made and to provide evidence on how this is implemented in practice.

Many Creu Cymru members are part of a local authority structure and most are in receipt of Arts Council funding. In both these respects they can assume that the Bill will have an impact upon them. The project helped to provide Creu Cymru members with the means and data to demonstrate compliance in advance of The Bill’s implementation.

View and download: Creative practice for a sustainable future Compiled and curated by Fern Smith and Rhodri Thomas

Emergence is an initiative by Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales developed and presented in partnership with Volcano Theatre with the support of The Arts Council of Wales and British Council.

Nest Nyth – Branding and messaging for a new fuel poverty scheme

Nest Nyth was a new scheme introduced in 2011 to help people in Wales reduce the impact of their fuel bills and targets the most vulnerable households, as identified in the Welsh Government’s Fuel Poverty Strategy.

As part of the new scheme Cynnal Cymru, along with partners, was commissioned to create a new brand mark and communication messaging.

Through a series of interactive workshops, the bilingual branding, Nest – Nyth, was created, a reassuring brand which was designed to give the target audience confidence in the scheme.

Nest was a word chosen by people in focus groups to describe how they feel about their home. It was developed together with the bird box branding which is easily identifiable, bold in colour and has the comforting wording ‘Making Wales Cosy.’

Nest offers free advice about:

  • Saving energy
  • Money management
  • Making sure you’re on the best fuel tariff for you;
  • And whether you are entitled to any benefits to boost your income

The scheme can be accessed by visiting or calling freephone 0808 808 2244

This project was commissioned by the Energy Saving Trust (EST) and was managed by Cynnal Cymru in collaboration with Climate Outreach and branding design agency Hoffi.

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