How will the environment fit into Welsh Government’s ‘Prosperity for All’ national strategy?



Background into ‘Prosperity for All’

Welsh Government’s Programme for Government, Taking Wales Forward, outlines the commitments which will be delivered over the next 5 years to help drive improvement and make the biggest difference to the lives of everyone in Wales.

Prosperity for All: the national strategy takes those commitments, places them in a long-term context, and sets out how they will be delivered by bringing together the efforts of the whole Welsh public sector.

Alongside the national strategy Welsh Government have also published a well-being statement explaining how they have used the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act to support the development of the national strategy and identify a single set of government objectives and steps.

WG Programme For Government

Where does the environment fit in?

Environet has disseminated the national strategy and highlighted direct or indirect references Welsh Government have made to the environment, climate change, and natural resources, and the role they will play in shaping and delivering the four key areas:


Delivering prosperity for all is the mission of this Welsh Government

(page 2)

Prosperity is not just about material wealth – it is about every one of us having a good quality of life, and living in strong, safe communities.

(page 3)

We have a strong record in driving up recycling rates, putting us first in the UK, second in Europe and third in the world. However, climate change is set to continue, and this means we will have to reduce carbon emissions further, actively managing the risks that climate change presents to health, well-being and to communities.

(page 5)

Planning decisions affect every area of a person’s life. They determine where homes are built, where services are provided, and the quality of the local environment; and they promote sustainable economic growth and access to open space. The right planning system is critical to delivering our objectives in this strategy.

The way we plan our capital investment decisions can have a big impact on the economy, help different organisations to deliver their services in a single place, and minimise the individual’s need to travel. Throughout this strategy we commit to co-locate services and this can only happen if we integrate the way that we make our investment decisions.



Prosperous and Secure

(page 7)

The Welsh Government does not hold all the levers affecting the economy. However, with prosperity for all as our central goal, we are committed to working in a more integrated and focused way to have the greatest possible impact. This means harnessing the efforts of the whole government in health, education, and the environment as well as economic development.

Different parts of Wales have different economic strengths, and therefore we need to take an approach to promoting growth and development which reflects this.

We will support the businesses of today to work more efficiently and sustainably, while ensuring we create an environment which will nurture the businesses of the future, building on Wales’ human, creative and natural resources, and improving our economic and environmental resilience. Building a sustainable economy reflects the importance of leaving a strong legacy for future generations.

(page 9)

Tackle regional inequality and promote fair work

This new regionally-focused approach is reflected across all areas of our work, including local government reform, which will better equip public services to be an active partner with industry on everything from skills to planning to transport.

We will:

• harness the opportunities of major infrastructure projects, such as Wylfa Newydd and Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.

• provide more effective support for the development of local supply chains and clusters, so that economic value is retained locally, and more employment opportunities are created closer to home.

(page 10)

Drive sustainable growth and combat climate change

We will build prosperity in a way that supports and sustains Wales’ stunning natural environment, ensures that current and future generations will continue to benefit, and makes a tangible contribution to the fight against climate change.

Economic resilience underpins our ambitions for Wales. It is only through innovation that businesses can adapt and improve their productivity and sustainability. At the same time, we need to create an environment that nurtures the businesses of the future, and responds to the need to further develop a low carbon economy.

Our abundance of natural resources is one of Wales’ greatest assets, and has shaped our economy over centuries. Today, it supports a range of sectors, including a vibrant tourism and leisure sector, an agricultural industry that sustains viable rural communities and a world class, home grown food and drink sector.

Our aim is to realise the economic opportunities of Wales’ natural resources, whilst building their resilience to support future generations. Low carbon energy generation and greater use of renewable energy sources, including community energy schemes have the potential to cut carbon emissions while benefitting local areas.

Cutting the amount of energy that we use reduces costs for businesses, but can also save money for householders. Improving the energy efficiency of houses brings health benefits, creates jobs and supports local businesses.

We will:

• introduce a new National Development Framework, setting out a 20-year land use plan for Wales, guiding strategic development and supported by the National Infrastructure Commission for Wales.

• set out a low carbon pathway providing clarity and certainty for action and investment around the low carbon economy through setting targets for 2020, 2030 and 2040.

• accelerate the decarbonisation of our public services, creating new opportunities for businesses in Wales in the transition to a low carbon economy.

• establish a bespoke infrastructure consenting process which is responsive to business and community needs, to support sustainable economic growth, and to decarbonise our energy supply.

• set out a route map for a more resource efficient economy, building on our success in recycling and reducing the environmental impacts of production and consumption.

• deliver a post-EU agricultural and fisheries policy for Wales, designed with stakeholders to reflect the needs of the modern Welsh agricultural and fisheries sectors and to manage the impact on the environment.

• work with everyone affected to prepare for a world outside of the European Union and for a resilient agricultural sector.

• as part of our new economic contract, expect those businesses which receive our support to commit to reduce their environmental impact.


Healthy and Active

(page 13)

Promote good health and well-being for everyone

We will:

• support and encourage a substantial increase in people’s physical activity, adopting a collaborative approach from all agencies involved in the promotion of healthier lifestyles, and drawing on Wales’ significant natural resources.

• deliver an integrated public transport network which supports our aim to enable people to travel more actively, by combining different types of transport with walking and cycling.

• invest in homes to improve their warmth and energy efficiency, to improve health and reduce the costs of fuel.

(page 14)

Build healthier communities and better environments

We will tackle inequalities between communities and deliver more services closer to home, acknowledging the importance of communities and the wider environment for good health and well-being.

There are unacceptable variations in the levels of good health between different groups and communities in Wales, which has an impact in all areas of people’s lives. This is sometimes caused by the continuing shadow of post-industrial legacies, but also the stubborn impact of poor economic, social and environmental conditions.

The contribution made by the environment to good health cannot be overstated. Air quality, good housing, access to green spaces and energy efficiency schemes each have a part to play in creating the right conditions for better health, well-being and greater physical activity.

We will:

• work to tackle health inequalities both in terms of individual well-being and access to services.

• through planning, infrastructure, regulation, and health communication measures, we will reduce emissions and deliver vital improvements in air quality.


Ambitious and Learning

(page 18)

Equip everyone with the right skills for a changing world

The advent of the fourth industrial revolution is bringing profound changes to the economy, environment and society, and the challenge for our future resilience is to position Wales to benefit. This means ensuring sufficient opportunities emerge in the new economy to replace those that could be lost in the old economy, and to ensure that people are equipped with the skills to exploit them.


United and Connected

(page 19)

Communities prosper where people can participate fully and play an active role in shaping their local environment, influencing the decisions which affect them.

We want a Wales of connected communities, and that means making sure that all the links needed are in place to bring them together. Transport and digital infrastructure are critical to providing the services we all need to stay healthy, to learn, to access employment, and to build prosperity.

(page 20)

Build resilient communities, culture, and language

Public assets within communities are often key in enabling innovative local initiatives to become a reality. How these are made available to community groups can unlock the potential for communities and leaders to enhance local areas.

We will:

• work with communities to help maintain local facilities that bring people together, including pubs, libraries, museums, green spaces, arts centres and leisure centres, helping communities take ownership of assets in their local area.

• identify opportunities for more people to volunteer, including working with the WCVA and the third sector on the roll-out of a unified volunteer programme, Volunteering Wales.

• build the capacity of communities as places which support better health and well-being using approaches such as social prescribing.

(page 21)

Deliver modern and connected infrastructure

High quality, modern infrastructure is a key enabler of competitiveness and productivity. Investment can act as a catalyst for wider regeneration and supporting vibrant communities. The investment needs to be intelligently planned and well delivered to have maximum impact.

With the geography of Wales and the needs of sparsely populated rural communities, cars will remain important, but new powers over buses and the rail franchise mean that we can take a more joined up view across all types of transport, enabling us to reduce our carbon emissions, promote active travel, and get the most from our spending on public transport.

We will:

• introduce the new National Infrastructure Commission for Wales to strengthen the governance and strategic planning of major infrastructure investments.

• require co-ordinated planning of new homes, facilities and infrastructure by local authorities, health bodies, housing associations and other key partners.

• deliver a single National Transport Plan supporting improvements to all the transport infrastructure for Wales, balancing travel needs with the aim of reducing emissions.

• create an integrated public transport network, covering the rail and bus networks, which is safe, reliable, affordable and low carbon.

• deliver the South Wales Metro, underpinning the region’s economic development, and spreading jobs and prosperity through more rapid transport, and ensuring that all new and significant developments in the region are sited within easy reach of a station.

• continue to develop the North Wales Metro and deliver transport improvements that complement it.

• support increased use of low emissions vehicles, through investing in a network of charging points.


Five Cross Cutting Priorities

(page 24)

Housing

Providing secure, affordable housing is the strongest basis for supporting vulnerable individuals to overcome mental health and substance misuse issues. Investing in housing, quality local environment and energy efficiency brings significant economic benefits, creates jobs, and builds stronger communities.

We will:

• accelerate our support for new and innovative housing designs to meet challenges including pressing housing need, fuel poverty, climate change and demographic change.

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