Renowned environmental campaigner Jonathon Porritt has urged UK politicians to learn from Wales to deliver a green government, as the Cardiff administration pledges a ‘ground breaking’ sustainability law.
The WWF-UK ambassador, writing on the conservation body’s blog, praises the Welsh Government’s efforts on sustainability, highlighting the success of Wales’ 5p carrier bag charge, the Arbed home energy scheme and progress on recycling.
He also supports the move by Carwyn Jones’ administration to introduce a Sustainable Development Bill, saying he hopes that Wales will ‘lead the UK’.
Mr Porritt praises the Bill, which aims to embed sustainable development as the ‘central organising principle’ of government and the public sector in Wales and continue the legacy of the UK Sustainable Development Commission, the Government’s ‘green watchdog’ which he chaired for 9 years.
However he also warns that it would be a mistake to ‘pretend everything is rosy in Wales’, saying progress in the Welsh Government on sustainability is still ‘patchy’ and the Sustainable Development Bill risks being ‘watered down by nervous civil servants, under pressure from backward-looking elements’.
Referring to Welsh Environment Minister John Griffiths’ claim that the legislation will be ‘ground breaking’, Mr Porritt says that the current proposals are weak, but there is still time to make the necessary improvements.
Anne Meikle, Head of WWF Cymru, said:
“Jonathon Porritt knows better than anyone what ‘green government’ means and what we need to do to tackle the big challenges such as climate change and the loss of wildlife. I’m glad that he has recognised the massive potential for Wales to lead the rest of the UK but share his concerns that the Welsh Government’s proposals for a sustainability law are currently too weak. Ministers in Cardiff need to be more ambitious if they are to deliver on their promise of a sustainable nation.”
The Welsh Government’s consultation on the Sustainable Development Bill closes on 18 July – more details via the Welsh Government’s website.