The Welsh Conservatives’ Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Energy and Rural Affairs – Janet Finch-Saunders MS – has today (28 September) urged the Welsh Government to replicate a pledge by the UK Prime Minister to increase the amount of protected green spaces.
The Prime Minister, Rt Hon. Boris Johnson MP, will today pledge that the UK Government will increase the amount of protected land in England from 26% to 30% by 2030. Mr Johnson will make the commitment at a virtual United Nations event. He will also sign the Leaders' Pledge for Nature, which includes commitments to prioritise a green recovery following the coronavirus pandemic, deliver ambitious biodiversity targets and increase financing for nature.
Commenting on the need to protect Wales’ green spaces, Janet said:
“Today’s announcement by the Prime Minister is a significant signal that British authorities, of all levels, can and must do more to protect our valuable green spaces. This will be fundamental to efforts to confront the present climate emergency.
“Increasing the amount of green infrastructure in Wales will have unparalleled benefits that will ultimately save the taxpayer money, including soaking up rainwater as a way of reducing the risk of flooding, filtering toxic pollution from the air and promoting mental well-being among urban residents.
“In fact, green spaces in Wales are thought to provide people with over £1.6 billion of wellbeing benefits each year. With this in mind, I ask the Welsh Government to empower local authorities to ensure that restoration and protection of green spaces is prioritised as part of any future urban redevelopment.
“With the National Development Framework under consideration, the Welsh Government must now make an explicit commitment to increase the amount of protected green space in Wales. This is a perfect opportunity to expand the 4% of Welsh land that is categorised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the 19.9% of land that comprise our three National Parks."