CEWales E Bulletin April 2021

We are two weeks away from elections. That might mean a change in the balance of power in the Senedd. We know there is unlikely to be a shift in Westminster for some time, but at a regional and local level there could be a change that reflects attitudes to the management of the pandemic, not to mention Brexit and issues around devolved Government.

One important issue highlighted by the pandemic is our environment. We’ve seen some very informative TV on the BBC about the plight of our planet and the journey of Greta Thunberg to educate us and world leaders about the threat of climate change.

In Wales, these issues are very much on the agenda of Welsh Government. Indeed, the Well-Being Future Generations Act and the Active Travel Act go a long way to address not environmental issues but our wider physical and mental wellbeing. Construction has a role as an enabling force to create a better environment – but it also has a responsibility to deliver those improvements in as sustainable a manner as possible. It’s why we are working closely with the Future Generations Commission – see the articles in the newsletter below.

But there’s another piece of legislation that is often overlooked, lost in time perhaps, but no less vital. Cleaner air brings better health and the Clean Air Act of 1970 remains the most powerful public health law enacted in the 20th century which enabled this to happen.

Its success is a reminder of how capable we are at cleaning up pollution and solving problems which seem intractable, when our political leaders are prepared to act on scientific advice. However, we still have a long way to go to fix these problems and also achieve net-zero targets. But great strides are being taken. Look at the changes that are being made to transform the way we use our infrastructure, through Active Travel implementation which has a huge impact on reducing toxic fuels such as diesel.

As with the goals outlined by the WFG Act and stressed in Sophie Howe’s report and press statement to implement the targets in the Active Travel Act requires extra resource, different thinking and a network of likeminded individuals. That’s what CEWales is hoping to facilitate. To act as a bridge – to be the chief joiner of dots and help educate, inform and influence change.