Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs
I wish to update Members on the progress of implementing the climate change provisions under the Environment (Wales) Act and set out the next steps for action.
Delivering the climate change provisions under the Environment (Wales) Act is a key priority for me for the next two years. I have held a number of meetings with my Cabinet colleagues to highlight the need for continued action across the Welsh Government. I have established a cross-Government Decarbonisation Programme covering all key departments to drive forward this activity over the next Assembly term. The Programme is focussing on the delivery of the requirements under the Act which are:
- Defining what emissions are counted in our Welsh account and looking at mechanisms for delivery;
- Setting the decarbonisation pathway in Wales, including setting the interim targets (for 2020, 2030 and 2040) and the first two carbon budgets (for 2016-2020 and 2021-25)
- Setting out how we will achieve our emission reduction targets, through our collective Delivery Plan covering the first carbon budget (2016-2020).
The delivery of this legislation is crucial to our future prosperity and security, based on a robust evidence base. To ensure this, I have written to the UK Committee on Climate Change (UKCCC), our independent Advisory Body. The Committee will be providing me with advice to ensure we are robust in our target setting and delivery.
To inform their advice on how we account for our emissions in Wales, the UKCCC are opening a Call for Evidence this week. This is a key opportunity for interested parties to feed in evidence to inform the UKCCC’s advice to the Welsh Government. I would encourage interested stakeholders to respond to the Call, which is open until midday 6 February 2017.
The advice, which we will receive in Spring 2017, will help us choose our preferred accounting approach, which will inform the work around the setting of our interim targets and carbon budgets.
In parallel, I am currently procuring a model which will assist with setting an ambitious but realistic decarbonisation pathway and a robust set of policies and proposals to meet our goals. The UKCCC will provide me with their advice on this later next year.
Shortly after the Regulations are laid at the end of 2018, we will be publishing our Low Carbon Delivery Plan, which will set out our actions to deliver on the first carbon budget. Over the next 18 months, we will work across Government and with our external stakeholders, to identify the policies and proposals we will be adapting to deliver on our first carbon budget.
Until the targets and budgets have been set, we will use our existing Climate Change Strategy targets to track progress of decarbonisation across sectors. This will ensure we are continuing to tackle our emissions in the short term, before setting our long term legislative framework.
I will provide a further update after I have received advice from the UKCCC.