Wales’ First Minister Sets Out Programme for Government

Welsh First Minister, Mark Drakeford, has set out the Programme for Government for 2021-2026 (Cymraeg). The Programme features building a greener economy and embedding climate and nature across all activities.

To address the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis, the Welsh Government will:

  • Create a new system of farm support that will maximise the protective power of nature through farming.
  • Designate a new National Park to cover the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley.
  • Create a National Forest to extend from the North of Wales to the South.
  • Introduce a Clean Air Act for Wales, consistent with World Health Organisation guidance and extend the provision of air quality monitoring.

Under the heading of building a stronger, greener economy, the First Minister has committed to launch a new 10-year Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan for a zero-carbon economy, develop a new major routes fund to improve the attractiveness and biodiversity of areas alongside major transport routes in Wales, and implement a new Transport Strategy.

The Programme also reiterates manifesto promises such as strengthening the protections for ancient woodlands and delivering nature-based flood management in all major river catchments to expand wetland and woodland habitats.

Wales Environment Link has expressed dismay at the lack of reference to primary legislation that will address a governance gap for environmental principles and governance left by the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Last month, the First Minister announced a new Climate Change Ministry (Cymraeg) that includes environment, energy, housing, planning and transport in its portfolio.