CIEH has welcomed the announcement by Mark Drakeford, the First Minister in Welsh Government, that the environment will be placed at the heart of decision-making.
CIEH has long called for the need for joint up decision-making on climate change and the environment, as portfolios are often split across many Government departments, leading to stagnation and delays. However, further clarity will need to be provided on which areas the ministry will lead on and how it will interact with other government departments on related issues, such as health and wellbeing.
Kate Thompson, CIEH Director of Wales, said:
“Bringing together all the different elements that impact on carbon emissions and the environment is a big step forward. Joined up policy across housing, transport and energy usage should help to accelerate progress to improve air quality and reduce fuel poverty across Wales.
However, this is not a magic bullet; the newly set up ministry will still need to interact with other government departments on cross-cutting issues. In particular, we urge the new ministry for climate change to focus on the impact on health and wellbeing as an important factor in its decision making. There are often common benefits for people’s health and the environment, which need to be factored into important decisions.
Making disruptive - but necessary - changes to the way we work, travel and live won’t be easy, so it is even more important so that benefits across different areas can be maximised.”