Future Generations law must be strengthened to achieve the Wales we want

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A strong new Welsh law for future generations could help tackle fuel poverty, create jobs, boost the economy and help support farmers around the world, as well as protecting and enhancing the environment.

That’s the conclusion of a report published today by the Sustainable Development Alliance which brings together nearly 30 organisations, from environment and development charities to faith and belief, community and women’s groups. [1]

The report – Well-being of Future Generations Bill: The need for a strong and effective new law - highlights some of the benefits that could come from devolved public bodies in Wales – including the Welsh Government, local councils and the NHS – having to take action to achieve sustainable development.

The report focused on three areas in which the Alliance says people will see significant benefits, if Assembly Members strengthen the Well-being of Future Generations Bill.

It reveals how an improved Bill would support more energy efficient homes and the development of green businesses. The report also shows how a stronger law would support goods and services that benefit people and the planet, by using the public sector’s spending power.

The report notes that:

·        More than 40,000 people in Wales now work in low carbon industries and environmental jobs. The renewable energy and green jobs sector has increased by 90% since 2006, but government support is needed to keep up these rates of success.

·        A better approach to how public bodies spend our money could have positive impacts at home and abroad. If every school in Wales made more efforts to support Fair Trade just through tuck shops and events, that would generate more than half a million pounds of Fair Trade sales, supporting farmers in some of the world’s poorest countries.

·        Nearly one in three households in Wales is suffering from fuel poverty. Proper targets to tackle poverty and climate change would push government bodies in Wales to invest in improving homes. £2.1 billion invested in Wales would cut fuel poverty levels by 40%, cut emissions of greenhouse gases and create more than 14,000 jobs.

Anne Meikle, Head of WWF Cymru and Chair of the Sustainable Development Alliance, commented:

 “The Well-being of Future Generations Bill is a brilliant idea but it needs to be stronger to make the difference we want to see. It was good to see this recognised in last week’s report by the Assembly’s Environment and Sustainability Committee.

 “Our report highlights how both current and future generations will benefit if we strengthen this law. That includes building a thriving green economy and tackling fuel poverty here in Wales. It also means improving the lives of people overseas, protecting the natural world and tackling climate change.

 “A stronger Bill will ensure that public bodies work in a more joined-up way, bringing together social, environmental and economic factors. That in turn will make a real difference to people’s lives and the health of our planet.”

Last week’s report by the Assembly’s Environment and Sustainability Committee said that a number of amendments are needed if the law is to make a real difference. The Sustainable Development Alliance welcomed the report, saying that with the right amendments, AMs can pass a strong and effective Bill. [2]


Notes to Editor:

 [1] Members of the Alliance are:

Christian Aid, CAFOD, Oxfam, WWF Cymru, Friends of the Earth Cymru, Bat Conservation Trust, Bevan Foundation, Cynnal Cymru, Disability in Wales and Africa, Fair Trade Wales, Wales International Development Hub, Life for African Mothers, Love Zimbabwe, RSPB Cymru, Stop Climate Chaos Cymru, Tearfund, The Women’s Institute (WI), Welsh Centre for International Affairs, WCVA, Butterfly Conservation Wales, The Co-operative Cymru/Wales, WSPA, Keep Wales Tidy, Wildlife Trusts Wales, Bees for Development, Ymgyrch Cefnogi Nicaragua Cymru/Wales Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign, Size of Wales

For more information about the Alliance see www.shapingfuturewales.org

[2] The Committee report can be found on the National Assembly website

The Sustainable Development Alliance’s response to the report is available here