Housing and Local Government Minister, Julie James, has launched Future Wales 2040 (Cymraeg), which sets out where housing, employment and infrastructure should be developed to achieve decarbonisation and climate resilience, and to improve the health and well-being of communities in Wales.
To ensure the enhancement of biodiversity, the resilience of ecosystems and the provision of green infrastructure, the commits Welsh Government to work with key partners to:
- identify areas which should be safeguarded and created as ecological networks for their importance for adaptation to climate change, for habitat protection, restoration or creation, to protect species, or which provide key ecosystems services, to ensure they are not unduly compromised by future development; and
- identify opportunities where existing and potential green infrastructure could be maximised as part of placemaking, requiring the use of nature‑based solutions as a key mechanism for securing sustainable growth, ecological connectivity, social equality and well‑being.
It also outlines a requirement for “action towards securing the maintenance and enhancement of biodiversity (to provide a net benefit), the resilience of ecosystems and green infrastructure assets to be demonstrated as part of development proposals through innovative, nature‑based approaches to site planning and the design of the built environment.” The role of Area Statements as a material planning consideration is also reiterated.
The plan gives councils stronger tools to refuse planning permission for new out of town retail parks and other developments that would be better located in town centres and sets out new priority areas for large-scale wind and solar energy development to replace Tan 8.
Julie James said:
The past year has shown us just how important where we live is to our health and happiness. It’s easier to be healthy and active when we have safe and attractive green space nearby. If more of us are able to work locally or at home we can shorten commutes, reduce congestion and use our local high streets more.
We have already committed to a ‘Town Centre First’ approach, which means locating services and buildings in town centres wherever possible. This plan will help to deliver it.
This plan sets out our priorities for growth in employment and housing, in particular affordable housing. It sets out a vision for our villages, towns and cities developing at a walkable scale, with homes, local facilities, green spaces and public transport within easy reach…