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1000 days of action....

Notes from Climate Change Workshop, Wales, 7 June

Coordinated by Simon James Chief Executive of InterlinkRCT.

Jane Davidson, Welsh Assembly Minister for Environment, Sustainability & Housing, 7 June 2010

We need to re-evaluate the way we do business now, to find actions that put less pressure on our planet. What we’ve decided to do as a govt is to look at science, and plan our long term future as a nation to take the appropriate action.

Our climate change strat is looking at 40% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020 against 1990 – we’re around 10% down already; science tells us that we need to go much further than the 3% a year annual reductions that we’re already committed to.

At Copenhagen, we looked at the scale of reduction that was needed; you’ll know that Copenhagen didn’t produce the kind of legally binding agreement that we’d like to have seen – there’s been much work since by the United Nations to take things forwards; I was in Bonn last week at a half-way meeting – we’re much closer to the 192 countries signed up that we need to have the whole of the UN on board.

The real goal is to get a level of shared ownership, with organisations such as RCT as leaders, is to work out how we can play our part. The Climate Group has recognised that 50-80% of carbon reductions sits at our level of government.

When we plan our strategy in the autumn, we’ll be looking at both mitigation – how we stop things getting worse for the future, with the adaptation and changes to manage the changes that will be needed.

In transport, for instance, we’ve moved away from building new roads to looking at alternative views of transport that focus on the ways that we move people and things around. In business, we’re building the resilience of Welsh businesses to climate change and looking at how we can create a low carbon future.

£30m from WAG and £350m from the energy programmes has given us the funds to look at whole-street programmes on things such as loft insulation and external insulation if appropriate. People will have to be qualified to be able to sell services and products on the Feed in Tariffs.

Agriculture and land use are important too, and are responsible for around 20% of the 3% reduction that is needed. By looking carefully at how we manage water, land, feed and processing, we can start to find ways of reducing our impact. If we can hold water in the uplands, we can avoid the impact on villages and towns in the valleys below. Our new Glas Tir land management scheme brings all of the outcomes together under one banner.

Our waste strategy is released in July, working towards our goal of becoming a zero waste nation. We want to reduce as much as possible, and reuse as much as possible before we start recycling; within the next 15 years, we want to make a big impact on wate reduction.

With 40% of people working in the public sector, we have an important role to play – RCT, for instance, has signed up to 10:10, as has the Welsh Assembly Government.  The unions are taking an increasingly important role –Unison for instance are doing some great work.

We definitely must make sure that everyone has access to good broadband so that video conferencing, for instance, can be used effectively. In terms of renewables, we should be able to produce twice as much renewable energy as we need, and make this a reality sooner rather than later. This is about what we do at home as much as it is about what we do in our organisations. We are funding 22 communities to get significant scale renewable projects off the ground, and we hope that the renewable heat incentive will also be in place to motivate people to move to alternative ways of heating their homes from next year.

We managed to get some money from the dormant accounts and unclaimed lottery wins for young people opportunities in climate change, and we’ll be announcing these later this year. I’m working with Peter Davies, Wales Chair of the SDC, and the WCVA, to fund six development officers across Wales in communities to try different and new ideas. Our six Climate Champions are pushing us hard to do more, sooner.

As a generation, we have been way too profligate since the 1980s, and I’m asked on a daily basis what we’re going to do about it. One of last year’s champions, Anna Surridge, produced a climate change book that sold out in local schools – they’re thinking about the materials that they want to use to get the message out.



Cwmclydach Micro Hydro Scheme, Phil Jenkins, 7 June 2010

Two lakes were formed in the village from old mine workings; Phil had spotted the opportunity for micro-hydro when seeing the scale of the outflow from the lower lake, and they see scope for generating up to £38k of annual funding under ROCS (renewable obligations certificates), and more again taking the new Feed In Tariffs into account.

The former mining community of Cwmclydach lost its last mine in 1967 and has a population of around 3000; the community ranks 36 from the bottom in the list of areas with multiple deprivation.

It took four and a half years from the first idea to getting planning permission and the abstraction license that’s needed to put the scheme in place – the community felt that this took at least two years longer than needed. Successes include getting funding for the feasibility study, planning permission and Dept for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) funding as one of only 22 communities in England and Wales to get the go-ahead, along with the Welsh Assembly Government’s Community Facilities and Activities Programme (CAFAP)

Pitfalls included a dramatic reduction in funding from an expected £500k to £350k, and challenges of State Aid as both DECC and CAFAP had given support.


Brian Houston, Sustainability Manager, Rhondda Cynnon Taf Council

The council have been working with the ‘Changing Climate Changing Places’ project, looking a local impacts of climate and extreme weather events within RCT to give an indication of what might be down the line – land slips, rat and wasp infestations, noise (later pubs etc), etc, and looked at the impact that these would have. Milder wetter winters, dryer and hotter summers and more gales and storms

Flood risk, significant habitat and species loss, soil loss are all things that will affect us – insurance issues, changed agricultural practice. As a council, extreme weather cost £2m between 2002 and summer 2009.

What are RCT doing about it? Love where you live campaign, SALIX funding for carbon reduction, Tonyrefail and Rhydyfelin Flood Alleviation Scheme, Affordable Warmth programmes, Green Travel Policy and Carbon Reduction Commitment.



Cwm Taf Local Health Board, Anthony Hayward, Assistant Director of Corporate Services

Stories on how we embedded carbon management into our plans. 39 properties, 9 hospitals, 24 health centres, energy cost of £5m, with a 82,000MWH of oil and gas = 22,000 tonnes of CO2, Recognised as one of the best LHBs in Wales. We’ve still got an awful lot to do.

We’ve installed community Building Management Systems in 20 local health centres, and paralleled operation of three micro CHPs in Pontypridd Cottage Hospital. The largest LED car park lighting project in the UK is saving 90% of electrical costs – around £30k per annum. An additional 400kWe of CHP coupled with a 1.2MW absorption chiller system is installed a the Royal Glamorgan Hospital.

Our staff travel database travel system measures staff and patient travel across sites, and the projects that we’ve installed have saved 2% on CO2 in 2009.

Learning? Best ideas have come from staff; we’re going to re-instate our environmental ideas group and our Carbon Management Project Board. We’re going to reappraise our property portfolio, and create our staff opportunities workshops for find carbon reduction opportunities.




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