Our vision for Wales’ environment

What is Plaid's vision for our environment?

The Welsh Assembly government has committed Wales to annual carbon reduction-equivalent emissions of 3% per year by 2011 in areas of devolved competence. We now recognise that climate change is more severe than previously realised. The National Assembly has agreed, with cross-party support, to reduce emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2020. Plaid will work to ensure that this decision is turned into meaningful and effective action to achieve the full reduction, and calls on the government in Westminster to follow Wales' lead.

Yet, to achieve this sort of massive reduction, ensuring that Wales has a voice is central to energy priorities. Plaid Cymru demands the full devolution of all powers over energy policy to the National Assembly. Wales could be self-sustaining in energy generation by 2020. Wales must take full advantage of our renewable energy resources and support micro generation and other small-scale sustainable power generation schemes, including tidal, wave-power, on-shore and off-shore wind, hydro and biomass.

We are completely opposed to decisions on large energy projects being taken outside Wales by the new Infrastructure Planning Unit. NB - Decisions will now be taken through a new unit formed within the Planning Inspectorate with the final decision on projects being made by Westminster Ministers. Future energy projects in Wales should be decided democratically, and by a body which is accountable to the people of Wales. We welcome the decision to scrap the Severn Barrage Cardiff-Weston project, as we have always believed that, instead, a combination of lagoons and tidal-stream turbines would minimise environmental damage while maximising zero-carbon electricity generation at a cost affordable to consumers.

We call for emission performance standards for all new power stations and we reaffirm our opposition to the construction of any new nuclear power stations in Wales. We call for research into the creation of a European Smart Power Grid for the sharing of renewable energies across Europe.

We all have a responsibility to improve energy efficiency within our homes and to use more renewable energy. This is not only in response to climate change but to tackle fuel poverty so that everybody can afford to keep warm in their homes. Despite the action being taken by Plaid in government, the problem is rising sharply with a quarter of all households in Wales experiencing fuel poverty. Plaid in Westminster will continue to campaign for a windfall tax on energy companies to help pay for grants for insulation for lower income families. We will also work to ensure that the new feed-in tariffs encourage community-scale renewable energy.

We will continue to oppose the use of waste incinerators and support binding targets for waste prevention. We support recycling targets of 80% of domestic waste by 2020 and the introduction of a higher landfill tax. We will campaign for changes in public procurement legislation so that Local Authorities can favour materials from recycled and local sources. 

Report of one day conference Think_Green.pdf