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Wales To Be "Self-Sustaining" In Energy

By Sophie Blakemore

Government sets out roadmap for ‘One Planet’ nation by 2050.

Wales has launched an ambitious sustainable development strategy to be “self-sustaining in renewable energy” by 2025, and to produce zero waste by 2050. The far-reaching targets in One Wales: One Planet place the nation streets ahead of England and Scotland, and make it one of only three countries globally with a legal obligation to develop sustainably.

If actions match ambition, “Wales will set an example for the rest of the world to follow,” says Jonathan Porritt, Founding Director of Forum for the Future and Chair of the Sustainable Development Commission.

The new scheme, set out by the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) at the May 2009 Hay Festival, includes both 2025 targets

  • Target: reducing reliance on carbon-based energy by 80-90%
    Vision: “the energy intensity of society has decreased significantly”
  • Target: producing as much electricity from renewable sources as Wales consumes
    Vision: “a major increase in renewable energy generation, offshore and onshore”
  • Target: boosting recycling rates from 36% today to 70%
    Vision: “waste – whether of energy or other resources – is taboo”
  • Target: sourcing more local and seasonal food
    Vision: “a huge expansion in allotments and community gardening”
  • Target: providing safer walking and cycling routes
    Vision: “the ‘school run’ has been replaced by organised school transport or group walking/cycling”
  • Target: investing £190 million in public health
    Vision: “a much greater emphasis on preventative health care”
  • Target: insulating and installing microgen in 40,000 new social housing homes
    Vision: “creating Europe’s first ‘low carbon region’”.

Overall, the strategy aims to transform Wales into “a One Planet nation within the lifetime of a generation”, using only its fair share of resources to sustain its population.

Forum for the Future’s Anna Birney, who is working with WAG, praised its “can-do” attitude, and its ability to link policies with implementation: “Although they have a long way to go, they are real leaders on this agenda.”

This piece originally appeared in Green Futures. Green Futures is published by Forum for the Future, one of the leading magazines on environmental solutions and sustainable futures. Its aim is to demonstrate that a sustainable future is both practical and desirable – and can be profitable, too.

Photo credit: Flickr/gordonplant, Creative Commons License.

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