Welsh Conservatives have outlined their plan to build back greener and make Wales the “Green Capital of the World”.
Welsh Conservatives say the plan will kickstart the Welsh economy, creating 15,000 long term ‘green collar’ jobs, whilst bolstering Welsh efforts to tackle climate change, and ensuring that Wales meets its net-zero emissions target by 2050.
Welsh Conservative spokesperson for the Environment - Janet Finch-Saunders MS - said the plan would deliver “vital action” where the Welsh Labour Government had delivered “little more than warm words” on climate change and the environment.
Despite having declared a climate emergency in 2019, Welsh Labour has made negligible progress on targets to make Wales net-zero by 2050, and is currently on course to fail to meet the lesser target of reducing emissions to 80% of 1990 levels by 2050.
Meanwhile, a Labour pledge to plant 4,000 trees a year has been downgraded to just 2,000 - despite only having planted 80 hectares of trees in 2019/20.
The Welsh Conservatives Plan to Build Back Green will:
- Establish a £150 million Wales Marine Energy Investment Fund to purchase equity in marine energy projects, including small scale and hydro, to produce renewable energy whilst prioritising those with flood protection benefits
- Create the Independent Office for Environmental Protection and Climate Change for Wales, to hold the Welsh Government and other public bodies to account in tackling climate change and protecting our environment
- Ban single use plastics for non-medical use such as plastic wet wipes, straws, stirrers, disposable cups and cotton buds to reduce harm to wildlife and blocked sewers and drains
- Deliver a deposit return scheme for bottles and cans to promote recycling and minimise waste
- Create a fast-charging network of 20,000 electric car charging stations
- Ensure all new homes built in Wales to be zero carbon by 2026
- Work with Welsh universities and the private sector to create a new centre of excellence and research into energy storage and transportation
- Reverse the Wales-wide Nitrate Vulnerable Zone that will have perverse outcomes on reducing pollution and work with farmers on the voluntary code
- Fund a Welsh Tidal Power Feasibility Study to accelerate the delivery of tidal power projects around Wales and provide open-source data for developers
- Double the investment in flood defences in Wales to £120 million a year
- Plant at least eight million trees a year, to soak up around half a million tonnes of C02 a year, whilst also reducing flood risks
Myles Langstone, Welsh Conservative candidate for Gower, commented:
“Climate change and the impact on our environment is something that needs strong action and politicians have a key role to play in helping to save the planet. It is something that I am personally committed to and I am determined to do all that I can to help make Wales one of the world leaders.”
Commenting on the plan, Janet Finch-Saunders, Welsh Conservative spokesperson on the environment said:
“Our plan to build back greener is the antidote to Labour’s inaction and demonstrates our commitment to tackling the climate emergency and creating thousands of sustainable green jobs.
“Wales faces a huge challenge to recover not only from the effects of the pandemic, but from 22 years of Labour’s managed decline, and whilst the Labour Party offers little more than warm words on climate change, we would take the vital action to tackle it.
“We believe that our plan is the best of both worlds and can help Wales to cut carbon emissions by using Wales’ natural resources to create 15,000 long term green jobs, whilst also building new infrastructure to boost the economy.
“With the UK Conservative Government’s ban on new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2030, Wales needs to be ready to fully embrace the green car revolution and our plan will deliver 20,000 electric charging points.”
Adding, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies said:
“Despite numerous promises, the Labour Party in Wales has failed to make any tangible impact tackling climate change over their 22 unbroken years in power here in Wales.
“Even the decision to declare a climate emergency in Wales was a cynical afterthought, tacked on to the very end of a cabinet meeting under ‘Any Other Business’.
“It’s clear that they don’t have a plan to tackle climate change, and they don’t have a plan to kick-start the Welsh economy after the worst pandemic we’ve seen in our lifetimes.
“Making Wales the green capital of the world isn’t just rhetoric, it is a reality, and we will work with the UK Government to create thousands of new, well-paid, long-term green jobs.
“It is only the Welsh Conservatives that can deliver change and build a better, greener, Wales.”