A Sustainable Wales
Llyr Gruffydd AM
Shadow Minister for Sustainable Communities, Energy and Food
My vision is for sustainable communities across Wales.
My vision is for thriving communities across Wales. That means communities that are active, supported by strong local economies, high quality services and good relationships. Communities should be sustainable, investing now in a good quality of life for the future.
Before communities can thrive, people need access to jobs and a decent income. To help achieve this, I want to see urban and rural economies benefiting from the opportunities provided by our rich natural resources, including from food, energy, water, forestry and our seas.
Wales produces world class food from our land and seas which already plays an important part in the Welsh domestic and export markets. I want to see that grow. I want to see its value increased through more local processing of our produce. We will also work with producers and retailers and with hospitals and schools to increase sourcing of local, healthy foods.
The potential offered by the increasing demand for renewable energy is significant and Wales is well placed to capitalise on this. The current pipeline of onshore wind is estimated to be worth £2.3 billion to our economy and our powerful tides could offer even greater rewards in the long-term.
My vision is for these valuable assets to be in the hands of the people and communities of Wales. I want the financial benefit of utilising our resources to go to local communities and the Welsh treasury. Our surplus of electricity and water should lead to lower bills for Welsh consumers, not the inflated prices we currently pay.
I want to see better use of public sector spending to invest in our local economies and communities in all parts of Wales. Public procurement should support local job opportunities as well as social and environmental goals. The public sector currently spends £4.3 billion every year.
My vision is for communities that support connections and creativity. This means access to high speed broadband and developing the skills and confidence to realise the gains new technology offers. This will be essential for growing businesses, improving services and protecting our environment.
I want our city, town and village centres to be hubs that bring people together to work and to live. This means encouraging small businesses, housing and services back to the high street and town centres.
Urban centres should be designed to be places where people want to work and live. That means more green spaces, making it easy to take the healthy option to walk and cycle and providing good links to the surrounding areas and other urban centres.
I want to see communities themselves able to take the lead in activities and have opportunities to own, manage and make better use of civic buildings and spaces. I want to see communities empowered to improve their own quality of life.
For communities to thrive, people need to be able to afford to participate. I want to see household bills cut now and in the future through increasing investment in energy and water efficiency measures.
I want to see more housing being available to bring down the costs of rents and house prices in the medium term. This must be based on communities’ current and future need. New housing must be designed around people’s needs – where people want to live and spaces people want to live in - and support the sustainability of existing communities.
Our land can also be used to reduce costs faced by communities. We have seen the damage left by flooding and climate change threatens further upheaval. I want to better reward the management of land that reduces flooding and helps our natural environment to thrive.
Thriving communities and a thriving Welsh language go hand in hand. A strong rural economy with lively urban centres can attract more young people to live and work in Welsh speaking areas. The Welsh language enriches the cultural life of communities, for Welsh speakers and non-Welsh speakers alike.