In light of welsh climate change targets, the Welsh government has updated the rules surrounding coal mining and fracking. The new restrictions placed are hoped to give green energy a shove in the right direction in wales.
The use of coal mines and fracking have been pushed to the bottom of the table in favour of renewables, and planning rules have been updated to ensure cleaner forms of energy are more accessible.
The department in charge of planning is to set out areas where wind and solar projects can be started. Regarding coal mines, in the plan it is stated that they: “should not be permitted” unless it is proved to be in exceptional circumstances. They would have to: “demonstrate why they are needed in the context of climate change emissions reductions targets and for reasons of national energy security” unless it is proved to be in exceptional circumstances. They would have to: “demonstrate why they are needed in the context of climate change emissions reductions targets and for reasons of national energy security”.
Fracking should be avoided within the new guidelines in favour of cleaner options with a quote from the proposals saying: “fossil fuels such as shale gas and coal “are not compatible” with the climate change targets”. Wales is looking to decrease its carbon footprint and the use of fracking for fossil fuels does not meet the expectations for the future climate change targets.
Interestingly, all new non-residential developments must have 10% of their parking as charging points for electric cars, as more and more governments are trying to encourage people to switch to EVs. Other things to be considered and encouraged are accessible cycling and walking when new developments are built. Priority will be given to plans for ultra-low emission vehicles and public transport with walking and cycling at the top of the list.
This is a great and historic move for wales in their mission to tackle climate change and they are certainly making developers think about finding new ways to provide clean energy and a greener way of life for those living within the country. These things impact positively on people’s lives, with many new renewable projects having already been completed in Wales, solar being the most popular at 81% of projects. There are also 86 wind farms, one being Gwynt y Mor the second largest in the world!
EU funding will support Wales in its new quest to provide renewables for its people, with a total of £9.5million secured. Projects such as battery storage and a solar energy storage project have secured some of this funding which will supply locals with electricity.
These newly proposed plans have been welcomed by friends of the earth, Cymru. They believe It is the stand the country needs to make drastic change. After once being a leader in the coal industry, today there are only 400 miners and one major coal mine is on the edge of extinction – a huge change for the country and their history but one that they see as absolutely necessary for the future of a cleaner country.
By 2030, Wales hopes to have 70% of its energy coming from renewables and to reduce its carbon footprint by 80%. Changes are steadily continuing with a coal mine being converted into a geothermal facility and more solar and wind projects being planned. You must hand it to wales – the plans they are making are significant and will go some way to them meeting their climate change targets.