In this section
Section highlightThe People’s NHS Part of an initiative to engage the public in creating a safe and sustainable health service for the future.
Spreading the word »Action on the ground to increase learning materials in the medium of Welsh.Learn more »
First Minister’s call for action on the Welsh language
People from across Wales with an interest in the Welsh language are being asked to take action on its future in a national online conversation.
- Local Government Democracy Bill approved
- Minister welcomes report which could change shape and structure of education delivery in Wales for the better
- First Minister’s call for action on the Welsh language
In this section
- Business and economy
- Children and young people
- Culture and sport
- Education and skills
- Environment and countryside
- Equality and diversity
- Health and social care
- Housing and community
- Improving public services
Welsh languageWelsh-language technology and digital media action plan
The action plan sets out our commitment to drive developments in the field of Welsh-language technology and digital media.Learn more »
In this section
Section highlightAccess to information
The Welsh Government has followed the principles of openness in government for many years. Find out how you can make a freedom of information request or see requests that have already been made.
The Strategy for Older People in Wales 2013-2023 »The 3rd phase focuses on ensuring that older people in Wales have the resources to deal with the challenges and opportunities they face.Learn more »
- A new vision for a National Youth Work Strategy
- The future delivery of education services in Wales
- Consultation on Draft Technical Advice Note (TAN) 23 Economic Development
- Draft industrial and commercial sector plan
- Waste Prevention Programme
- Building Control system and Approved Document supporting regulation 7
In this section
Section highlightReview of the Planning Enforcement System
The research covers 18 recommendations for the future Welsh enforcement system.
Legislative programme 2012 - 2013 »
Addressing the Assembly in the Senedd today, the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, detailed the eight bills in the Welsh Government’s 5-year Legislative Programme that will be brought forward during the second year of the Welsh Assembly.Learn more »
Section highlightCommunity Infrastructure Levy
Local authorities can charge a Community Infrastructure Levy on new developments to support the infrastructure needed.
Infrastructure Investment Case Studies »
Examples of infrastructure investment projects funded by the Welsh Government across Wales.Learn more »
Oral - Environmental Protection and Waste Management – Legislative Competence Order
Today, I have laid the second legislative competence Order for the Assembly’s consideration. This Order will seek to allow the Assembly to have the power to pass Measures in the area of environmental protection and waste management, subjects that I know command considerable cross-party support. I am sure that there will be considerable welcome for this Order, which will provide for a substantial area of competence in relation to improving the physical environment and pollution control.
As Members will be aware, the purpose of a legislative competence Order is to confer power on the National Assembly for Wales to pass its own legislation—known as Assembly Measures—based on Welsh priorities, to our Welsh timescales and in our Welsh context.
There are three areas in which the powers will be significant: improving local environmental quality, increasing recycling and improving waste management, and strengthening pollution controls. The Assembly Government already has significant executive and secondary legislative competence in this area of environmental protection and waste management, but the powers available only go so far in enabling us to tackle the key challenges in this field. The powers conferred by this legislative competence Order will enable the Assembly to pass Measures that could have a direct and positive impact on our ability to combat the threat of climate change.
The people of Wales are more engaged in environmental issues than ever before and when you ask people on the street what environmental issues matter to them most, they often mention local issues such as litter and graffiti, as these are the highly visible nuisances that they are faced with every single day, which can have a significant negative impact on their quality of life. That was highlighted during the consultation phase of the environment strategy 2006, and is raised with us day to day in surgeries and on the doorstep. Solving these issues is often at the heart of encouraging people to engage more widely in wider environmental matters such as addressing climate change and increasing recycling. Failure to tackle the issues can lead to disengagement and more serious social problems.
This is also a major cross-cutting issue; there is a clear social justice driver for action, given the evidence that visibility of environmental problems also contributes to the fear of crime. There is also a major economic driver. For example, regeneration and improvements in the quality of the local environment will help to deliver high quality places in which people can not only live, but also work. Such regeneration will also help to attract more business investment and promote further tourism opportunities.
A number of circumstances have been identified where the Assembly Government’s existing powers do not go far enough. For example, there are aspects of litter policy that cannot be implemented effectively by using existing powers. A good example is smoking litter, which accumulates in specific areas as an unintended consequence of the smoking ban. While legislation alone is certainly not the whole answer, it has a vital role to play in providing ultimate sanctions on areas of policy, including littering and fly-tipping, and sends out a clear message that environmental crime will not be tolerated in Wales.
By using the legislative competence Order to gain these powers, we will be able to bring forward Assembly Measures to tackle these issues and better support local authorities and other agencies to improve local environmental quality and public spaces, thereby contributing to sustainable communities and reducing the fear of crime as well as crime itself.
Sustainable waste management is also becoming ever more important, especially in the light of increased evidence of human impact on climate change, and its potentially very serious consequences. Wales has been set challenging targets, driven by EU directives, to reduce substantially the amount of biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill in defined target years. The principal purpose of the directive is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfill in the form of methane, which is 23 times more potent that carbon dioxide in greenhouse gas terms.
Recycling and composting waste can therefore make a positive contribution towards tackling climate change. Recycling saves natural resources and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In the developed world, we currently consume roughly three planets’ worth of natural resources. The extraction and processing of these natural resources into the products that we buy uses a lot of energy and fuel, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. Recycling and composting waste reduces landfill and reduces methane emissions. Recycling of waste materials also reduces the use of primary raw materials and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions even further.
Back in 1996, the recycling rate for household waste in Wales was only 4 per cent, and it had increased to only 7 per cent in 2000-01. We have achieved our first target of increasing recycling to 15 per cent and are confident that the 25 per cent target for 2006-07 has been met. Local authorities are to be commended for their efforts. We now need to move to 40 per cent, and potentially beyond, over the coming years. The LCO will give us the power to build upon our rapid switch to greater recycling levels and to assist us in meeting stringent EU directive targets.
Many traditional pollution threats have been successfully tackled and our living environment is a much better place than it was for the last generation. However, pressure spots of pollution remain, including noise and air quality. This LCO will give us scope to pass Measures to tackle these local challenges. This legislative competence Order will enable the Assembly to develop the additional powers that we need to improve the environment of Wales for the people of Wales, and I commend it to you.