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Welsh Conservatives slam Assembly sustainability targets

Welsh Conservatives have attacked the recent Welsh Assembly Government’s sustainability report for its “lack of clarity” over measurable sustainability targets.

The report, published earlier this year, found “clear improvement” in only 15 of 39 benchmarks, including housing, air quality, water quality and management, and greenhouse gas emissions.

 The other 24 either did not improve, declined or carried insufficient data to report on. These included biodiversity and ecological impacts of waste pollution and waste electrical arisings, which increased by 308 tonnes during the year.

In the Assembly session to debate the report’s findings, shadow environment member Brynle Williams said: “If the Sustainable Development Commission and members of the Assembly are truly to assess the extent to which sustainable development has become a central organising principle for the Welsh Assembly, we need a consistent and measurable performance. At present, we believe that there have been so many new consultations, initiatives and indicators that are not relevant that the report does not bear up to scrutiny and, with regret, we find no progress to welcome.”

But Assembly environment minister Jane Davidson defended the report, explaining: “Around 78% of these measurable indicators, many of which can be measured against other parts of the UK, are stable or increasing. I hope that the Assembly will continue to hold ministers to account to ensure that these indicators inform policy development in future.”

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