Wales at risk of missing decarbonisation targets unless efforts are accelerated
The Welsh Government “must accelerate” its work to cut carbon emissions if Wales is to meet the Net Zero target by 2050.
A report released this week by the Climate Change Committee (CCC) found that although the First Carbon Budget (2016-2020) has been achieved, Wales is “not yet on track to meet its targets for the second half of this decade and beyond.”
It highlights that whilst there have been achievements in environmental policy – such as the controversial axing of new road projects – and a focus on skills and jobs, there is still a long way to go to stop Wales from falling behind.
The creation of new woodland creation and peatland restoration are described as being “consistently low” and “significantly off-track”.
Transport in Wales has also been branded as being “off-track for areas in which the Welsh Government has policy control” – with more action needed to meet the growing demand for electric vehicle chargers.
The number of charging points per capita is lower than England Scotland, with the CCC stating that the “development of a widespread and reliable charging network will need to accelerate.
Other sectors also come under fire by the CCC, including buildings, which is described as lacking a “comprehensive national plan decarbonising buildings”.
The report states that: “The Welsh Government has plans to decarbonise public buildings and socially rented homes.
“However, it is yet to make long-term plans for the funding required. Its proposals to require existing social housing to reach an EPC ‘A’ rating are unlikely to be a cost-optimal approach to decarbonising homes.
“A detailed plan for delivering energy efficiency measures and low carbon heat should be developed – drawing on Local Area Energy
Plans – including clear deployment targets and investment costs.”
However there is praise for Wales’ achievements in waste and recycling which is higher than other parts of the UK.
Several recommendations have now been put forward by the CCC for the Welsh Government to enact, including:
- Fully assess the level of investment required to decarbonise public buildings and make long-term plans for delivering the funding required.
- Set ambitious recycling targets for 2030 and beyond, improving on the 70% target for 2025.
- Implement a strategy to address non-financial barriers to achieve annual tree-planting rates of at least 4,500 hectares/year in Wales by 2030, rising to 7,500/year by 2035.
- Publish a decarbonisation strategy for Welsh Businesses, including a review of opportunities to prioritise Net Zero objectives within Welsh
- Government incentives, procurement requirements, finance provisions and planning policy levers.
- Develop a more joined-up, straightforward, and affordable system of public transport fares across Wales.
- Proposals to attract private sector investment into woodland creation need to be firmed up as soon as is practicable
- Develop and maintain a sustained dialogue with rural communities to understand and embed their views into a rural just transition.
- The Welsh Government should work with the Civil Aviation Authority to begin collecting passenger origin data to track Welsh passengers travelling to English airports to fly.
- Agree and publish funding settlements for active travel beyond 2024/25. Ideally, these should provide certainty on funding availability for a number of years.
- Increase chargepoint deployment to meet the ambition to provide one public chargepoint for every 7-11 EVs by 2025.
Commenting on the news that Wales is falling behind on actions needed to fight climate change, according to a major report Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Janet Finch-Saunders MS said: “I have long called out the Labour Government’s inaction on climate change, instead of focusing on beneficial programmes like planting more trees and installing charging points for electric vehicles.
“The Welsh Government instead choose to punish workers in Wales with their anti-car, anti-worker, anti-growth agenda.
“Once again Wales is falling behind the rest of the UK, who are focussing on issues that matter instead of pet projects, that will not contribute to the net zero targets.
“The Labour Government should be focussing on tangible ways to reduce carbon emissions and improve carbon capture, which is why they should be getting behind our seagrass proposal in the Senedd tomorrow.
“Seagrass has huge benefits to the environment, I look forward to leading our debate and bringing this important issue to the floors of the Senedd.” Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com