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Welsh environment lead holds Brexit talks in Brussels

The Welsh Government’s environment secretary Lesley Griffiths has met the European Commission to discuss policy collaboration post-Brexit.

Griffiths held talks in Brussels on 26 September with the Commission and sector representatives to discuss how the devolved administration can continue to work with them to develop agricultural, rural, marine and environmental policies following the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

She planned to talk about how the Environment (Wales) Act would support further progress in recycling, decarbonisation and biodiversity.

“EU policies and legislation have delivered clear improvements to our environment and health, and provided welcome protection and support for our farming and fishing industries.

“As the UK prepares to leave the EU, we will be looking at how these important safeguards can be built upon to meet Welsh needs.

“Our European partners are very important to us. Wales is an outward-looking nation, and it is now more important than ever that we work with our partners to forge the best possible outcome for Wales.”

In Brussels, she had meetings scheduled with the cabinets of the agricultural and health commissioners, the senior adviser for sustainable development to Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, farmers’ representatives and Welsh MEPs.

Griffiths also planned to discuss the importance of Wales retaining full access to the single market, which she said benefits the country’s food and drink industry, as well as other sectors.

First minister Carwyn Jones has already said he will be pressing this case with the Government in Whitehall.

Latest data to the end of March 2016 showed Wales’ combined annual recycling and reuse rate was 60%, an increase of four percentage points on the previous year and two points above the statutory recycling target for Wales of 58%.

Griffiths took over from Carl Sargeant as environment secretary in June. She had been the local government minister since 2013 and before that was the health minister.

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