The local environment is a huge asset for the Vale with 60km of coastal path, beautiful countryside and country parks and a significant agricultural economy. The Vale is a beautiful place to live and to visit but this puts pressure on the environment as we balance our economic, social and cultural well-being whilst ensuring we respect the environment. The PSB’s Well-being Plan published in 2018 included ‘ to protect, enhance and value our environment’ as one of four well-being objectives. Under this objective there are a number of actions including activities to green our estates, explore our procurement policies, promote walking and cycling and to gain Sustainable Food Cities status.
In 2019 Welsh Government declared a Climate Change emergency, NRW supported the declaration and the Vale of Glamorgan Council also declared an emergency in July 2019. In October 2019 the PSB agreed that tackling climate change should be one of its priority workstreams as this would bring together a number of activities already being taken forward through the PSB and partner organisations and recognising that more can be achieved by working together.
What have we done:
In December 2019 the PSB dedicated a meeting to discussing climate change and invited young people from the Vale Youth Forum, a local secondary school, Cardiff and Vale college and the UHB Youth Board to discuss the issues with them. The meeting covered a range of topics and three issues in particular were agreed as priorities;
To work in partnership to promote more sustainable and ethical consumer choices including how organisations procure goods and services.
To work in partnership to reduce plastic use and move towards more sustainable food options in schools and within our organisations.
To work in partnership to encourage public transport use and to make it easier for people to use recognising the particular concerns of young and older people A report on the meeting is available here.
In February the PSB started to develop a draft Climate Emergency Charter and also began planning a Community Conversation on Climate Change. This would enable the public to get involved in shaping how partners respond to the climate change emergency and would result in an ambitious charter for change in the Vale. This work will bring partners and the public together to identify the priorities for the Vale including immediate and longer-term actions recognising that change needs to happen across our organisations and communities.
The PSB’s work on the Travel Charter, Foodvale, and the Move More Eat Well Plan will all contribute to this work. In addition, the PSB Asset Management Group will have a key role in supporting work to green our estate and identify opportunities linked to the buildings and land we own.
What have we achieved:
Significant work is already being undertaken by the PSB and below are just some examples of work that partners are taking forward which is helping to deliver our Well-being Plan.
The Vale of Glamorgan Council purchases 100% renewable energy.
67% of street lighting, which is over 10,000 units, have been converted to LED.
NRW have completed a carbon calculator and the natural resources on their land absorb more carbon than the organisation produces.
GVS run an upcycling scheme for other 3rd sector organisations.
Cardiff and Vale College are piloting paperless working with their A level students.
SWFRS have reduced the need to travel to multiple locations through increased use of technology and co-location with Police and Ambulance colleagues.
The UHB Orchard project at Llandough Hospital aims to create an ecologically resilient, diverse natural environment supporting health and well-being for patients and the community.
All electricity at Welsh Government sites is supplied through a renewable only tariff and they support the public sector to deliver carbon positive projects through investment and loans.
All new Police buildings are equipped with motion sensor lighting and there is a push to reduce single use plastic.
Vale of Glamorgan PSB Climate Emergency Charter
At its meeting on 5th February 2021, the Vale of Glamorgan PSB agreed the draft Climate Change Charter. The charter sets out a series of commitments for partners to take forward together in partnership to address climate change in the Vale of Glamorgan.
The global Covid-19 pandemic has led to many changes in how we work, how we provide services and how we live our lives. These changes will make us consider what to focus on to tackle the climate emergency as we look to achieve a sustainable climate and nature friendly recovery. We have the opportunity to build on the gains made during the pandemic and recognise the huge impact nature and the environment have on our physical and mental, wellbeing.
As we develop our proposals for work in 2020-21 we will review where we can have the greatest positive impact and contribute to delivery on the South Central Area statement themes. The PSB face the challenge of ensuring that the road to recovery is green and that we work together to ensure that the changes in behaviour that we want to keep are supported. For example, retaining elements of increased home working, online services and a reduction in car journeys alongside development of alternative sustainable travel and changes to how we manage our buildings, waste and energy use. In addition, we will need to rethink how we involve people in a community conversation to ensure it is safe, meaningful and reflects changes as a result of the pandemic.
Tackling climate change remains a priority for the PSB and in reflecting on the learning over recent months, we can progress how we contribute to reducing and adapting to climate change and deliver on our ambitions for the Vale.