‘Amend law to tackle biggest threats to Wales’ say environment groups
The Welsh Government’s flagship sustainability Bill currently fails to address the biggest threats to Wales and must be amended, according to leading environmental organisations.
Today (Wednesday 1 October) Friends of the Earth Cymru, RSPB Cymru, Wildlife Trusts Wales and WWF Cymru will give evidence to the National Assembly’s Environment and Sustainability Committee.
They will tell Assembly Members that as it stands, the Bill doesn’t give sufficient focus to the major global challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss. They will argue that sustainable development is key to meeting these challenges.
The bodies are all members of the Sustainable Development Alliance, made up of over 20 organisations jointly campaigning for a stronger Bill.
The organisations will urge AMs to amend the Bill so that it places firmer duties on public bodies to:
• Recognise their global impacts - for example, how the products they buy could have an impact on rainforests or poverty overseas
• Reduce their greenhouse gas emissions - which contribute to climate change, with its effects felt in Wales and around the world
They also want the Welsh Government to legislate to tackle climate change, through setting statutory targets.
Anne Meikle, Chair of the Sustainable Development Alliance, said:
“The Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill is a great opportunity for the Welsh Government to address some of the biggest challenges facing Wales. But as it stands, it fails to recognise some major issues which affect both people and nature.
“Firstly, climate change. Last winter’s storms were a stark reminder of the type of risk it poses for communities and wildlife in Wales. Climate change also has a major impact on the poorest people in the world as well as posing a threat to nature internationally.
“There’s also the question of our impact overseas. We all need affordable food and fuel, and we depend upon global systems to meet basic needs such as these. Yet a growing population is competing for scarce resources and this has consequences for people and nature.“
“So we want AMs to change this Bill, so it properly addresses climate change, recognises our global impact, and makes sure that Wales is a good global citizen.”
Today’s evidence session comes the day after a major report warning of need to find sustainable solutions to the planet’s problems. WWF’s Living Planet Report 2014 revealed that global wildlife populations have halved in just 40 years, as measured by the Living Planet Index.
The report also highlights that we are using more resources than our planet can continue to provide and if we continue to do so, we will create even greater problems for ourselves in years to come.
It echoes the findings of the State of Nature report, which revealed that far more species are declining in the UK than increasing, with climate change having an increasing impact on nature.
The four organisations giving evidence today want the Welsh Government to restore and enhance biodiversity in Wales. They say that their proposed changes to the Bill are vital to tackle poverty and address the destruction of important wildlife habitats.