The CCC reported today on the progress Wales has made towards reducing carbon emissions and preparing for climate change. Despite a sharp emissions increase in 2010 due to particularly cold winter temperatures Wales has made good progress according to the report. It also finds Wales’ flood defence budget better protected than England, although this is still unlikely to keep pace with the growing risk of flooding from climate change.
However, challenges remain and the Committee has made a number of recommendations to build on progress achieved including:
- increasing the roll out of residential energy efficiency measures
- setting out its strategy for promoting the Green Deal and ensure Wales continues to receive a commensurate share of funding from supplier programmes (i.e. the ECO)
- development of a renewable heat strategy will help to ensure that Wales makes good use of Great Britain level funding and addresses barriers to uptake
More generally, continued and increased effort will be required across all sectors, to meet Wales’ challenging emission targets
On progress in adapting to climate change, the Committee found that:
- Development in the coastal floodplain has grown twice as fast than outside it since 2001, although the rate of increase has declined somewhat since 2008
- The majority of this development is well protected from flooding – either by flood defences or resilience measures at the property level. However, just over one-fifth of floodplain development occurred in areas currently at significant risk of flooding.
- The area of hard surfacing in Welsh towns and cities has increased at the expense of green space, with potentially adverse implications for surface water flood risk over coming decades
- The Welsh Government also asked the Committee to assess potential climate change provisions in the context of the upcoming Environment Bill. This provides an opportunity to put the current approach on a statutory basis.
A statutory duty on public bodies on mitigation and adaptation objectives could be helpful but needs consideration of the tie-in with the proposed Sustainable Development duty in Wales.
David Kennedy, Chief Executive of the Committee said:
“Wales continues to make good progress in reducing emissions, particularly through residential energy efficiency improvement and waste policies. But Welsh targets remain very challenging and much remains to be done. More is needed on energy efficiency improvement, renewable heat, and renewable power generation, and opportunities to reduce surface transport emissions should also be further explored in order that Wales’ targets are to be achieved.”