Pwyllgor Newid Hinsawdd, yr Amgylchedd a Seilwaith

Climate Change, Environment, and Infrastructure Committee

25/11/2021

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Delyth Jewell AS
Huw Irranca-Davies AS
Janet Finch-Saunders AS
Jenny Rathbone AS
Joyce Watson AS
Llyr Gruffydd AS Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair

Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol

Others in Attendance

Christine Wheeler Llywodraeth Cymru
Welsh Government
Jonathan Oates Llywodraeth Cymru
Welsh Government
Julie James AM Y Gweinidog Newid Hinsawdd
Minister for Climate Change

Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol

Senedd Officials in Attendance

Andrea Storer Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk
Elizabeth Wilkinson Ail Glerc
Second Clerk
Marc Wyn Jones Clerc
Clerk

Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Cyfarfu’r pwyllgor drwy gynhadledd fideo.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:30.

The committee met by video-conference.

The meeting began at 09:30.

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon, a datgan buddiannau
1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions, and declarations of interest

Bore da. Croeso i chi i gyd i gyfarfod y Pwyllgor Newid Hinsawdd, yr Amgylchedd a Seilwaith Senedd Cymru. Gaf i groesawu'r Aelodau i gyd i'r cyfarfod, wrth gwrs, ac esbonio, fel rŷm ni'n gwybod erbyn hyn, fod hwn yn gyfarfod dwyieithog a bod yna gyfieithu ar y pryd ar gael o'r Gymraeg i'r Saesneg? Fydd ddim angen i Aelodau weithredu meicroffonau; mi fydd hynny'n cael ei wneud ar eich rhan chi. Ac a gaf i ofyn a oes gan unrhyw un o'r Aelodau unrhyw fuddiannau i'w datgan? Nac oes. Iawn.

Dŷn ni yn flaenorol, wrth gwrs, wedi cytuno petai am unrhyw reswm, petawn i'n colli cyswllt â'r cyfarfod, mi fydd Delyth Jewell yn camu i'r adwy fel Cadeirydd dros dro tra fy mod i'n trio ailymuno. Does yna ddim ymddiheuriadau, gan fod pawb, wrth gwrs, yn bresennol.

Good morning. Welcome, everyone, to this meeting of the Climate Change, Environment, and Infrastructure Committee at Senedd Cymru. May I welcome Members to the committee meeting and explain, as we all know by now, that this is a bilingual meeting and that simultaneous interpretation is available from Welsh to English? Members won't need to operate their own microphones. That will be done on your behalf. May I ask if any Members have any declarations of interest to make? I see that there are none.

We have previously agreed that if I were to lose connection with the meeting, Delyth Jewell will step into the breach as temporary Chair whilst I try to reconnect. There are no apologies, because everybody is present this morning.

2. Craffu ar Gynllun Cymru Sero Net Llywodraeth Cymru
2. Scrutiny of the Welsh Government's Net Zero Wales Plan

Ymlaen â ni, felly, at yr ail eitem, sef i graffu ar y Gweinidog Newid Hinsawdd mewn perthynas â chynllun Cymru Sero Net Llywodraeth Cymru a gafodd ei gyhoeddi, wrth gwrs, ddiwedd mis Hydref. Bydd y sesiwn yma yn rhyw fath o olwg gyntaf inni ar y cynllun, yn hytrach, efallai, nag ystyriaeth fanwl o'r holl bolisïau a'r cynigion sydd ynddo fe, er, wrth gwrs, y byddwn ni fel pwyllgor yn craffu yn fanylach ar nifer o agweddau ar y cynllun wrth inni fynd yn ein blaenau yn gwneud ein gwaith drwy gydol tymor y Senedd yma. Byddwn ni hefyd wrth gwrs yn awyddus i oruchwylio cynnydd tuag at gyflawni'r cynllun a'r ail gyllideb carbon. Mae Aelodau yn gwybod, wrth gwrs, rŷm ni wedi gweld nifer o randdeiliaid sydd wedi cyflwyno eu barn gychwynnol inni ar y cynllun er mwyn ein helpu ni i lywio'r sesiwn yma, a dwi eisiau jest ddweud 'diolch' i'r rhanddeiliaid hynny am eu cyfraniadau. Rwy'n gwybod bod Aelodau wedi darllen yr hyn rŷm ni wedi cael o sawl cyfeiriad â diddordeb mawr.

Wel, croeso, felly, i'r Gweinidog Newid Hinsawdd, Julie James. Croeso i'n pwyllgor ni eto. Yn ymuno â hi hefyd mae dau o'i swyddogion hi, sef Jonathan Oates, sydd yn bennaeth twf glan, a Christine Wheeler, sydd yn ddirprwy gyfarwyddwr newid hinsawdd ac effeithlonrwydd ynni. Croeso i'r tri ohonoch chi. Mi wnaf i wahodd y Gweinidog ar y dechrau, efallai, i wneud ambell i sylw rhagarweiniol, gan eich bod chi gyda ni, a gan, wrth gwrs, ein bod ni, yn lled ddiweddar, nifer ohonom ni, wedi bod yn COP26. Mae'n gyfle, efallai, inni glywed ychydig o'ch meddyliau chi, efallai, ynglŷn â'r hyn brofoch chi a'r hyn lwyddodd Llywodraeth Cymru i'w wneud o safbwynt eich presenoldeb yn COP.

Onwards, therefore, to item 2, which is scrutiny of the Welsh Government's Net Zero Wales plan, which was published, of course, at the end of October. This session will be a kind of first look at the plan, rather than an in-depth consideration of all of the policies and proposals within it, although of course we as a committee will be scrutinising certain aspects of the plan in more detail during this Senedd term. We will of course be eager to oversee progress towards delivery of the plan and of the second carbon budget. Members will be aware that we have seen a number of stakeholders submit their initial views on the plan to help inform today's session, and I'd like to thank those stakeholders for their contributions. I know that Members will have read the contributions that we've received with a great deal of interest.

So, welcome, therefore to the Minister for Climate Change, Julie James. Welcome to our committee meeting once again. Joining her today we have two of her officials, namely Jonathan Oates, who is the head of clean growth, and Christine Wheeler, who is deputy director of climate change and energy efficiency. A warm welcome to the three of you. I'll invite the Minister to make a few introductory remarks, as you are with us this morning, and since several of us have recently attended COP26, it's perhaps an opportunity for us to hear a little bit about your views of what you saw and what the Welsh Government succeeded in doing in terms of its presence at COP.

Diolch yn fawr. Thank you very much, Chair. It was really interesting to be at COP. I really came away from the conference feeling a little bit of two very contradictory emotions—so, hopeful, inspired, very determined to do some of the things that I think are necessary, especially after our conversation with some of the indigenous people of Brazil and Peru, whose plight and determination to protect their forest was really very emotive; I was unashamedly in tears listening to one of the tribes telling us about their experience. So, very determined to do that. And also a little bit of outrage at the need for immediate action and the slow nature of the global negotiation. But I think it's important not to come away with that outrage uppermost. I think the sense of hope is the thing we should have uppermost, because we did do quite a few things at COP that were the first; so, you know, the first time that we had a real look at global finance, some stuff on methane emissions for a first, a big push on deforestation—really big important things, pulling in, albeit very slow, targets from India and so on. So, there were grounds for hope, but we really need to go faster.

I think the other things that we are very proud of doing is that we are a founding and core member of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, committed to ending licensing rounds for oil and gas production in our territories, for those of us who've signed up, so therefore to prevent extraction of oil and gas in Wales, for example. We also signed up to the global memorandum of understanding on zero-emission heavy goods vehicles at COP26, committing to work with other signatories to enable 100 per cent zero-emission new truck and bus sales by 2040, and an interim goal of 30 per cent by 2030. The biggest thing of all, I think, as well, was the growth in the Under2 Coalition, so this is the so-called subnational states, so the non-UN-level states. We've now got over 260 signatories to that, making up slightly more than 50 per cent of global GDP, so no small thing, and those are—. As I say, it's committed to going much faster and to sharing problems overcome, problems faced and solutions made across the globe. So, I've had some really interesting conversations with people from Quebec and California, from São Paolo, who are really keen to work with us and have used some of our net-zero planning in their megacity, which is quite interesting, the crossover.

And the last thing I wanted to say, Chair, was just the feeling, certainly amongst the Under2 Coalition, that a just transition, making sure that the less-well-off in our society here at home but also across the globe, the global south in particular, were not the people on whose shoulders the transition to green energy fell—. So, I thought that was—. That's where the hope came from at the end, for me. I think it was well worth going to and we're certainly looking forward to putting everything in place to say that we're on target for the next COP.

09:35

Thank you, Minister. Thank you for those reflections. I know, as a committee, we'll be interested in following up on much of what you've said there in relation to the different initiatives and international co-operation programmes that you've referred to. And it's certainly something that we hope will drive meaningful change, not just in Wales, but, as you said, internationally and collectively as well. So, undoubtedly, that's going to underpin a lot of what we're going to be discussing today as well, in various ways.

So, we'll focus now on the Net Zero Wales plan, and I'll kick off if I may, because obviously, the plan is broad-ranging, as plans go, and I'm just wondering how you're going to drive delivery of the plan across the whole of Welsh Government, because, clearly, if it's to work, it's going to reach every single part of Government. Maybe you can tell us a little bit about the mechanisms that you have in place, or hope to put in place, to ensure that it is delivered.

Yes, thank you very much, Chair. One of the first things, of course, is the creation of this new super ministry, as it's called, so, bringing together the levers—many of the levers, not all of them—from across the Government. So, for the first time, we've got transport, planning, housing, energy and environment all brought together under a single set of Ministers. And the shifting of the deck chairs, if you like, that happens underneath that means that decisions are made in a slightly different way, so decisions in each of those areas now have climate change and nature resilience right at the top of the things that they consider as they make those decisions. So, that seems like a kind of administrative change, but, actually, it drives behaviour change inside the Government as well.

The plan itself is overseen by myself and other Ministers at Cabinet, and also many aspects of the plan are actually in the programme for government. We also have a couple of very arcane things; we have a delivery tool called BERT, which is effectively a massive data spreadsheet, which tracks each individual measure and says whether we're on track and on target and what needs to be done for it. And that's monitored by the Cabinet sub-group put in place to do that, and then, underneath the political leadership, we've got the climate change portfolio board at official level and that's chaired by the senior responsible officer, the director general Andrew Slade, and it includes all areas of Welsh Government that contribute to or are tackling or impacted by climate change, and offers the opportunity to create synergies and track delivery across the piece. It's the team of people who came together to put the Net Zero Wales plan in place, so that's right across the Government, obviously, as well, and it has expertise from across all the major emission sectors in Government, as well as engagement with external stakeholders.

And then we're going to have a testing session with the board in December to just see whether all these things are in place and work, because this is obviously pretty new stuff; we only published in October. And then we're developing an indicator framework, so the classic traffic lights thing, to see where we are with the various indications for real-world emissions. So, that will be an ongoing thing. I'm very happy to come back to the committee and discuss as we go forward.

Are those indicators being put out there in public, are they, as and when they're being updated?

Sorry, I seem to have a frog in my throat. 

Yes, and they're things that you'd expect to see—so, is less waste going to landfill in response to our recycling and landfill policies? That 'yes', 'no', amber, green, red—that kind of stuff. So, it'll track throughout that very granular level: is this policy having this effect that we expected and if not, why not, and if it is, terrific, can we do it more? So, yes, we can share that with you, as it's developed, in regular sessions.

09:40

Excellent. Okay, thank you for that. Joyce Watson. You're muted, Joyce.

Right, okay. I've got a very odd screen here. I'd just like you, if you can, Minister, to summarise the points of contention that could arise between the Net Zero Wales plan, for example, and the UK Government's net zero strategy, and the extent that you see that as an issue—hopefully, it's not—and the solutions.

Well, it has been disappointing, I have to say. We had an inter-ministerial group only yesterday and we were all expressing our frustration that the UK Government, in the end, chose not to share their net zero strategy with us in any meaningful way ahead of publication. So, we'd had good joint working and co-operation right up to July, and then from July to the publication we had nothing, despite constantly asking and obviously emphasising that we'd very much have liked to make sure that our plan lined up with theirs. We were pulling together, but, anyway, that didn't happen. To be fair, the Minister apologised for that and has said that he will work closely with us in the future. So, hopefully that will change. Obviously, we can't do it without each other. They need us and we need them to do the things we need to do together.

The UK Government strategy is very heavily reliant on market and competition, technology and innovation. So, we recognise the role for those things, but our approach is much more collaborative and at the people end of it. My worry, our worry, is that a reliance on tech just makes the task much harder if the tech doesn't deliver. So, if you're relying completely on carbon capture to decarbonise steel and that carbon capture doesn't work—and there is no working system anywhere in the world at the moment—and you haven't done anything else, then obviously there's a massive cliff edge coming where you have to do something very drastic. So, I think there's a need to invest in the tech and the science, of course there is, but we also need to do some of the other things, because plan B—or in our case plan A—is necessary. 

There are tensions in funding. The committee will be well aware that we are not happy with the decision on remediation of coal tips; we're having a conversation about marine energy and the devolution or otherwise of the Crown Estate, and then the industrial decarbonisation piece I've just spoken about. One of our big worries is that it would be a very quick win in terms of onshore emissions to just shut down the British steel industry, but what we would have done is export a much bigger problem across the globe, because our industry is very efficient and effective, and if we were importing much less efficient and effective steel from elsewhere we would clearly just be making the situation globally worse. And just to point out the really obvious, you can't have renewable energy without steel. The turbines and the pillars, they're made of steel. It's an absolute conundrum. So, it's not like we can just say, 'Oh well, do you know what, we won't use steel anymore', because that's just not a thing. So, we're quite worried about some of those tensions.

Having said all of that, and to end on a high note, we are in harmony on a large number of the strategies. They are coherent and mutually reinforcing—so, phasing out fossil fuel vehicles, grid improvements, a fabric first approach to housing. So, there are synergies in the plans as well, but we're still a bit worried about the tech reliance. And then, on the funding, the UK Government budget just didn't deliver the climate funding that we need. The Chancellor didn't even say the word 'climate'. So, we're very worried about that. The spending review gives us a capital envelope that's 11 per cent lower than in the current year, and we haven't got replacements for the EU structural funds. So, those are big worries. 

Yesterday's inter-ministerial group was about the use of the UK emissions trading scheme revenues. In fact, it was about the setting up of the emissions trading scheme, because we were having an argument about the start of the consultation. We're very worried. We want the consultation to start early next year. It has to be done before the Northern Ireland Government goes into its pre-election protocols, because they can't then issue the joint consultation. We're very worried that any delay will mean that we go into that period and then it can't happen until after those elections. Given the volatile nature of Northern Ireland at the moment, we're not even sure that the Government will last as long as the current Government should. So, there's an imperative to do that quickly. We had a small argument yesterday, which resulted in—. I think it's likely now that the consultation will go out towards the end of January, beginning of February. I'm very worried about that still.

And, then, there's a big issue about the revenue. So, Wales contributes a very high level of revenue for the emissions trading scheme because we are still heavily industrialised as a country. That revenue goes straight into the Treasury. So, an argument about, 'Why is that and can we have our money?', is on the table as well. 

09:45

Thank you. Good morning, Julie; good morning, Minister. The UK Government's net-zero strategy announced a zero-emission vehicle mandate for car makers and included money for bus infrastructure. Indeed, the UK Government has announced a £120 million scheme to roll out zero-emission bus services in England. Given that your plan looks to reduce passenger transport emissions by 22 per cent in 2025, what steps have you taken to review the need for a Welsh green bus fund to help meet the ambition of policy 37? And, given the contentions raised, how do you envisage working with UK Ministers to ensure all policies help to uphold consumer choice across the borders?

Yes, thank you, Janet. We're very keen on working on an electric bus fleet for Wales. We have a number of other problems to overcome first. We're currently still in pandemic mode for public transport, so we're still having to support loss of fares and all the rest of it. We are exploring with the bus companies ways of renewing fleet. We're also exploring with our local authorities different ways of delivering the bus services given that the pandemic has revealed some of the real structural issues that are endemic through the whole piece. So, I'm not really in a position this morning to announce any of these things since we're still working on them. So, Chair, I will have to just come back to you once we have got those announcements ready. But, be assured, we are working on both going to low-emission or electric vehicles and on a restructuring of bus services in Wales, because the pandemic has revealed the real need for that.

The farebox problem has really, really caused problems for the bus companies. It's just so easy to see isn't it? We all know that the number of people travelling on public transport dropped drastically. It hasn't recovered to pre-pandemic levels, not least because we're still in the pandemic. So, there are some structural issues there. So, it's not just as simple as putting a fund in place. We have to work with the various bus companies on a number of different problems, and, so, I'm sorry to not be able to say categorically what we're doing this morning, only to say that we are working very hard on a number of issues around public transport, bus in particular, that we will be making some announcements on and we'll be pleased to share with the committee once we're in a position to do so slightly later on this year. 

Thank you. Might I just ask when do you think those timescales—? When do you think we're likely—? A rough idea of when you might make those announcements. 

So, we're currently having discussions with various stakeholders—the bus companies themselves, Transport for Wales, the various local authorities. I'm hoping that we will be able to make some announcements maybe just before Christmas, but certainly before the end of this financial year. It's quite a complex set of things to work on simultaneously. So, that includes transformation of the fleet, but it also includes resilience of the bus companies themselves and the different model of working. 

Before I bring Jenny in on this as well, Minister, clearly, local authorities are now commissioning or buying electric buses for example, and I'm just wondering—I'm aware that some local authorities in Wales are actually sourcing them from China—to what extent is the Government interested in the whole carbon footprint of the production of those buses and not just what's delivered at the end of the day. 

Yes, we absolutely are interested in that, and that's part of the piece of work we're doing, to see how much of that could be done here in Wales. There's a whole series of tech involved in that, Chair, as you can imagine. So, whether we can get all or some of it into Wales and how we would do that is part of the discussion that we're having. We are absolutely interested in the global footprint of the thing, as well as the emissions. 

And that's the case, I'm afraid, for all electric vehicles. So, they are very low emission, and that is excellent for air quality and a number of other pollution-type issues. In terms of global deforestation and global mineral production, not so good. So, there's a lot of work being done on how we can make sure that we're taking into account the entire global footprint of some of the initiatives that we're looking at.

09:50

Can I just take us back to our interdependency with the UK decarbonisation plans, particularly looking at rail? The institute of rail safety has revealed that travelling on one of these bi-mode trains is worse than standing on the most polluted street in London. We've had four years since the cancellation of the electrification of the Swansea line. And I just wondered how difficult it is going to be when we still don't know what the UK Government's plans are for improving our rail infrastructure?

Well, that's, again, an ongoing discussion between us and the UK Government. The First Minister made some remarks earlier this week about the percentage of electrification of Welsh rail. The ongoing arguments about HS2—. I fail to understand how the argument goes that a train line entirely in England, with hubs in the midlands and the north, can possibly be of benefit to Wales, and we continue to argue that point. It is a real issue for us that they're not electrifying the railways into Wales. You know, 2 per cent of the railways in Wales are currently electrified—it's absolutely appalling. We are, of course, on the bits that we're in charge of, looking at electrification, so the new metros, and so on. But we're talking here about the big main lines into south and north Wales. It's an ongoing, frustrating discussion with the UK Government—there's no getting away from that.

Yes. Yes, indeed. I don't know, Chair, if it would be helpful if I set out quite how we discuss these things with the UK Government.

So, every two months, the four-nation inter-ministerial group on net zero meets, and, as I just said, we met yesterday. Yesterday, we were discussing the UK emissions trading scheme, implementing net zero. At that meeting, we agreed actually to meet in January to pursue the issue of the consultation and its release. And I briefly proposed—and I hope to have a further discussion in January—a different ministerial group to meet to just have oversight of the emissions trading scheme, which I think will be a big issue, going forward. At yesterday's meeting, we agreed to explore behaviour change collectively, to share research and best practice, and do that across the four nations, which I think is a very big step. The net-zero inter-ministerial group is supported by a board of senior civil servants and working groups, including a data analyst group, and there's a similar structure of officials with specific focus on the emissions trading scheme. So, at the ministerial board level, we meet every two months, but then there's a board of officials, from all four nations, all meeting to service that decision-making group.

We also have inter-ministerial groups for transport, for environment, and for food and rural affairs. Groups of Ministers share those inter-ministerial groups. So, I, Lee and Vaughan go to the transport one, depending on what's under discussion; I and Lesley go to the environment and food and rural affairs ones, depending on what's under discussion. So, we swap them around. The Minister for Social Justice attends some of these as well, depending on whether we're discussing subsidies, or fuel poverty, and so on. So, different Ministers go for different agenda items, and we have official groups underneath, and they're collaborating with counterparts in other nations, just to make sure that we're going along the same trajectory. And we also have a local government decarbonisation strategy panel, at local government level, tying into the same set of approaches. And we're supporting the local authorities in their decarbonisation efforts as well. So, I hope that demonstrates that, at various levels of Government, we've got quite a good set of arrangements in place to keep the decision making going.

Diolch, Gadeirydd. It's interesting, Minister, to hear about the processes in terms of how the Governments are co-ordinating on policy. Language is important as well, isn't it, and the way in which we—I don't like the phrase 'manage expectations'—build people's expectations, almost. The UK Government's vision for 2050 sets out that people won't be required to sacrifice doing the things that they love. And I think it says that we'll still be driving cars in 2050, we'll be flying planes, heating our homes, but cars will be electric, planes will be zero emission, and homes will be heated by cheap power from the north sea. In terms of the framing of this and telling people we won't need to do it, is there the danger of a disconnect? If there is a disconnect, does it impact on how policy is co-ordinated, because of different signals being sent maybe, whether it's by individuals or governments sometimes?

09:55

So, this is all about a balance, isn't it? We don't want people to feel that there's nothing that they can do, it's all hopeless, the thing is too big. You and I, Delyth, have spoken before about climate anxiety in young people, for example. So, I think it is very important to reflect on the Greta Thunberg line, isn't it:

'No-one is too small to make a difference.'

And that's the case for individuals. But it's also the case for regions, clusters of industries and countries. So, Wales is certainly not too small to make a difference on the global stage, and, in fact, many people across the world are now looking very carefully at how we got our recycling to where it is, for example, and at some of the things we're dong on housing decarbonisation. 

So, what we're trying to say to people is, 'Look, you will still be able to get around and see your friends. You still will be living in a warm house, or a warmer house, if your house isn't warm at the moment actually'. And the point about all of this is, if we don't get people to understand what they're doing and change in small ways the way that they do things, then the eventual adjustment will be bigger. So, what we want is a slow, gradual change in people's behaviour so that we're all going in the same direction, rather than, 'Let's all heat our houses with oil and gas until here, and then let's rip the whole lot out and try and do something at this definitive point in time.' Also, we're talking about Mr and Mrs Joe Normal, or Mrs and Mrs Jo Normal, or whatever. Some people will have to change their behaviour—global millionaires who take gazillions of flights every year. Those people should really think about it. What we mean is that, for the people who save up for their once-a-year holiday to wherever, they should continue to do that. They're not the ones causing massive emissions.

One of the issues around having an emissions trading scheme, though, is to make sure that we're not driving blasé decisions—'So, I'll just carry on emitting and I'll just plant some trees'. So, what we want is, we want behaviour change for reduction of emissions and then the off-setting of emissions that are absolutely essential. So, the conversation about the steel industry that I had in answer to an earlier question is a good example of that. At the moment, we don't have a way of completely decarbonising steel, so we need to offset some of those emissions somehow. But we need to decarbonise that industry as fast as we can at the same time. So, this isn't a thing about, 'I excuse my terrible behaviour by planting a tree'; this is about, 'I am doing everything I can and some of that will be off-setting'. So, it is about that balance, isn't it—how we get people to understand that each of their small actions means that the eventual change will be less and will be much more likely to be just.

Yes, thank you, Chair. Minister, I'm going to give you an exclusive, breaking this morning. During COP26, I ran un unscientific survey, but a couple of hundred people responded, on the need for a frequent-flyer tax: did they want it, did they not want it, whatever? So, the results are that 76 per cent of those surveyed said they would welcome a frequent-flyer levy, and only 15 per cent were against. And interestingly, less than 10 per cent were undecided on this. On that basis, is this the sort of thing that you will make representations to UK Government on? You've just made clear your own view that those who fly most often need to actually be dissuaded from it by financial means.

One of the statistics that's quoted by absolutely everybody is that 1 per cent of the global population is responsible for 50 per cent of aviation emissions. So, 'yes' is the short answer to that. But can I come back to saying that the real answer is to decarbonise flight? If we can get to powering aircraft greenly—electric planes, for example—then you will have done better than just saying, 'Look, don't fly high-emitting planes very often'. So, you know, it's about working on different ways of transport, different means of powering that transport, all the things we're currently working on across the globe. Some kind of carbon capture—there are some very expensive experiments going on on that. Electrification of the air fleet is another big one. We're looking very carefully at some stuff going on in Canada with their seaplane fleet, for example. There will be other solutions than 'just don't do it', which is why we're saying it's not about giving up everything. But, on the other hand, Huw, this is also about redressing some of the terrible economic injustices we have in our current system. The global 1 per cent who are currently responsible—those are people who really do need to change their behaviour.

10:00

Okay. Thank you. We'll move on now, then, to Janet, who I think is going to raise some stakeholder concerns.

Thank you, Chairman. Minister, during the consultation period, you will be aware that stakeholders highlighted their concerns over the Welsh Government's lack of engagement on the plan. Indeed, the Wales Centre for International Affairs has stated that the Welsh Government does need to improve in the way it seeks to collaborate and engage others on climate change mitigation and adaptation. With reference to your decarbonisation team, whilst I recognise that they are open to dialogue with external stakeholders, what steps are you taking to alleviate concerns that engagement work is placing the onus entirely on overstretched organisations and that the wider community simply may not be able to voice their concerns around such gatekeepers?

Well, Janet, we're very keen, of course, that we consult and bring with us everybody in Wales along this path. We're not going to be able to do this unless people want to do it. So, it's exactly the same as the recycling thing, as we always say, isn't it? The Government can say that we should recycle, but it's the people who actually separate their waste in their houses every day that deliver the plan. And that's the case for very much of the net-zero plan.

What we did was we consulted on dozens of aspects of the new Net Zero Wales plan individually: so, the coal policy, the EV charging strategy, Part L of the building regulations, the agricultural White Paper. There's a long list of individual policies. There are 123 policies in that plan that were individually consulted on—not as a global thing, because it's too big a thing to look at on that global thing. The individual strategies have all gone through rigorous engagement processes, and we've got a comprehensive integrated impact appraisal inside. The plan is a snapshot for where we were then. This is all about a fundamental process for us. We were going through a whole series of engagement and collaboration projects.

In part 2 of the plan, there are, specifically, commitments to further engagement and collaboration. And then, in part 5, we look ahead at major milestones and offer to support the partnership and transparency of what those mean for different sectors. You know, let's just be absolutely straight: this isn't about the Government; we cannot do this by ourselves. We absolutely have to have everyone in Wales come together to do this or we won't be able to—exactly the same as the recycling. So, we absolutely have to have a series of engagement events.

This last week, we've been running Wales Climate Week. We had 2,270 registrations last year, and this year we've got over 3,000, and it's still going up. We're still in Climate Change Week now. I've spoken to big audiences—virtual, though they are—this week on a number of issues on climate. I've joined lots and lots of panels this week. We've had comprehensive engagement from industry, academia, local authority partners. I've spoken on panels with very diverse groups of people speaking on them, from big industry bosses to small groups in Blaenau Gwent and various other places who come together to do small things in their area. All of these things add up to a big whole, don't they? So, I'm very hopeful, Janet, that we will have a lot of engagement with the public in Wales as we go forward through this five years.

In some ways as well, the pandemic has really helped with this, because we would have tried to do this, I think, in person pre pandemic, whereas now we've enabled people to just join from their own home, to discussions where we've got much better at engaging in a virtual way—this session, for example, being a good example. You could have a good to-and-fro conversation with somebody virtually; we wouldn't have been able to do that before the pandemic. We had the technology, but we hadn't developed the cultural norm, whereas we have done that now, so I think that will also help with the engagement.

10:05

I think, really, my question originated from the fact that I had a deputation of farmers on Tuesday, a farming union, and there are concerns across Wales from farmers about the tree-planting scheme especially. There's the issue of them, obviously, coming in—the big companies—and buying up so they that can reduce their carbon footprints, which don't affect us here in Wales. But also, too, the emphasis on the—. We all want you to meet your targets on tree planting, and you say you have the agricultural plan and everything, but do you think you could engage more with our farmers? Because, again, they are feeling that the emphasis is being placed on them, rather more so than in other areas across Wales.

Well, Janet, I'm always happy to do more engagement. I've already met with both farming unions. I spoke at the CLA conference at the end of last week. I've had at least four meetings with the CLA. I know Lesley has met with very large numbers of farmers and so on, but I'm always happy to meet with more. If you have people who specifically feel they haven't had the chance, I'm more than happy to do that. But I personally have had a large amount of engagement on that, and I know that Lesley's had even more. But I'm always happy to meet with groups of people who feel that they haven't had their voice heard. As I say, I went—actually, it was the first in-person conference I've done for quite some time—to the CLA conference last week, or possibly the week before—my weeks all seamlessly blend into one another, I fear. So, I'm very happy to do that.

Can I just say, though, on the tree planting—? It's something I emphasise all the time: tree planting is a bit like the World Wildlife Fund panda: it's the iconic thing that hides all of the rest of it. The tree is the iconic carbon capture thing, but we know that peatlands, grasslands, saltwater marshes and kelp forests and so on also capture a large amount of carbon. So, just to be absolutely clear, we're talking about planting the right tree in the right place on the right kind of land, we are not talking about putting monoculture conifer plantations right across the countryside of Wales. I can't emphasis that enough.

The farmers who we have been really impressed by are the ones who, despite the current set of barriers, have managed to develop decent amounts of timber, which is also productive timber, so bringing an income in, on marginal areas of their fields and lands right across Wales. Trees bring lots of benefits, including an income: they bring natural shade, they bring biodiversity, they bring pest control and all kinds of things to land. If the committee want some recommendations for visits or people to talk to, there are several groups of farmers who have done really amazing things who've come to talk to us as part of our work on trees. You know my colleague Lee Waters has done the tree deep dive; the panel that helped him do that is going forward with the implementation now. Some of the farmers that came to speak to us there are very impressive. Indeed, Janet, I'd be very happy to engage in a farmer-to-farmer engagement, because I think active farmers doing it already are the ones most likely to be able to allay the fears and increase the ambition of the farmers who are worried about it. 

Thank you very much. Maybe I can take that, outside this meeting, further with you.

There we are. Thank you, Janet; thank you, Minister. We're over halfway through our allocated time, and we're about a third of the way through the areas of questioning that we were hoping to cover, so we'll try and speed things up a little bit, hopefully. I'll come to you, Delyth, next.

Diolch, Gadeirydd. Minister, we were talking earlier about how behavioural change is really important and also how getting public buy-in is important. I just wanted to draw your attention to some evidence we've had from Extinction Rebellion. One of the things that they said to us is that the targets in the plan are difficult to understand are are not sufficiently transparent. What do you think can be done to improve public understanding of how targets and how the policies that are being implemented can relate to what the public can do? How do you think we can connect those things better?

Alongside Net Zero Wales, Delyth, we've put out another document that has a whole series of the pledges and actions that people have taken, just to try and show the link between what we're saying and what people are doing on the ground. I really like that document, and I've been—I don't know if the right word is 'mining'—mining it for good examples to use in my speeches and so on; I know the First Minister has been doing that as well. Part of that is to do exactly as you say: to translate almost incomprehensible emission strategy targets into, 'What does this mean for me?' 

Talking about the behaviour change work that we're going to do across the four nations, that is exactly what we're talking about. We're talking about using behaviour change scientists and experts to translate for us very dry almost meaningless emissions targets and so on. You'll see the graphs, and it's really hard to read those graphs if it's your job, never mind if it's not your job. So, we'll translate those into, 'What does that mean for me, and what can I do to help?' I think one of the most important things we can do as part of that behaviour change is to do exactly that: 'Here is a menu of things that you can do. It's great if you're doing all of them. Are you doing three of them? Could you do four?' That kind of stuff. I would personally find that very helpful, and I'm sure a lot of people would as well. We'd like to do that both on a very individual level—'Does it help if I change my diet just a tiny bit? Can I afford to buy something slightly more pricey but locally grown?'—and all that kind of stuff, and, 'This is what my community can do.'

I spoke to a group of schoolchildren earlier in the week, and they asked me what they could do. I talked to them about writing to both their school management committee and their local council about not buying palm oil, not buying plastic, getting their milk in glass bottles and so on. So, little things like that, that's what we need, that will grow. And we'll do that at the industrial level as well, so talking to the south Wales industrial cluster; we can do a menu of things for them as well, so that these are at the correct level all the way through society. 

10:10

Thank you, Minister. That's so important. Just turning to something more specific, in a way, about how you're going to be achieving the ambition that you've set out, you have said in the net-zero plan that you've accepted the recommendations from the committee on climate change about what the target should be, but that you're setting out your own path about how to get there. Why have you, as a Government, chosen not to follow the pathway that the CCC outlined, please?

We take their advice very seriously, and it's very definitely informed our thinking, but we've generated a set of ambitions and actions a little bit different from their model because we think it better reflects the geography, culture and economy of Wales. For example, we've drawn different assumptions about the level of behavioural change and technological innovation we can expect to see and by when. In some areas, we can go faster because we already know the people of Wales will come along that journey with us on some things, and in some areas, we'll struggle to meet the pathway suggested, so we've just adjusted it for what we think is a doable deal, if you like, for the people of Wales.

I'll just give you one example. We think we will be able to achieve more emissions reductions in waste than the CCC advice allows, but we think we'll probably have marginally less emissions reduction in power generation. And also, the CCC advice is over 10 years; 10 years is an awful long time, so there's obviously some uncertainty in it. But we're working on it to try and adapt it for what we know of conditions on the ground. I suppose that's the short answer.

I was going to say, we can hardly see you. We can just about see you between the pages.

Is the line frozen? Janet may have pressed something, I think, as she was trying to grapple with her papers. We'll move on to Jenny, then. Jenny, do you want to pick up on the next question?

Could you just explain why the plan doesn't contain key milestones, deadlines and targets for individual proposals? That's what some stakeholders are calling for, but I appreciate that can make it even more complicated for people to understand exactly where we are.

There's a really simple, straightforward explanation for this, actually. We've got milestones and targets for a large number of policies and proposals where we are certain of what we're doing and we've got a well-developed policy, but we haven't got detailed targets for those that need further development to work themselves up into a proper policy. So, we've got proposals that are suggested courses of actions or exploratory actions, the details of which we need to work on, and they'll become detailed policies for future carbon budgets, but we've got committed courses of action on policy that have detailed milestones and targets on them.

I'm very wary of targets, sometimes. You've just got to be careful you're not setting up a windmill to tilt at, to use the classic phrase. Just to give you some examples, we've got proposals with timelines and we've got a proposal in there for new thermal power generation, ready for net zero. We've issued a joint call for evidence with the UK Government and we're going to do a consultation in early 2022 for the necessary legislation to come into force in 2023. There aren't targets for that yet, because we're nowhere near knowing what we can generate or anything. By the time we do know, we'll be able to advance with some kinds of targets.

On the other hand, we've got all future public sector properties being built or undergoing major refurbishment to achieve a net-zero standard by 2030, because we know what we're doing on that and we know how to get there. So, it's about setting stretching targets where we know what they should be and not—. I mean, if I were to put a thing in about thermal power generation, I'd have no idea what I'm talking about. I have no idea what the target should look like. So, what we're trying to do is have ambitious things to look at in there as well as things we must do.

And then, just saying on targets, one of the other things, and I say this right across the whole piece, and it's very personal, it's not the Government's position, but I always think it's very dangerous to put targets in, because people then—all human nature is like this. You concentrate on the thing you're going to be rewarded for and all the things around it you don't concentrate on. And sometimes, that has a non-beneficial effect. So, we just have to be very careful that in putting very specific targets in, we don't inadvertently just drop off a whole series of actions that we then don't concentrate on.

10:15

Okay. But, in your written statement, you talk about the second carbon plan needing to outperform the original proposals, because we have such a challenging target in our third carbon budget. In the light of that, how concerned are you about the increase in emissions from 2018 to 2019, which, of course, is before the pandemic and the impact that had on reducing emissions? I just wondered if you could give us some insight into how that happened and how we're going to prevent that backward step in the future.

So, that's a really good example of one of the problems, because emissions are volatile. So, what you need to do is look at trends. So, in one year, emissions might go up or down—you might have a colder winter or a warmer spring or whatever. So, they do fluctuate. So, the increase was 0.2 per cent, so there is some volatility in it. But if you look at between 2018 and 2019, emissions declined in six out of 10 sectors, and, overall, Wales achieved a reduction of 31 per cent compared to base-year emissions in 2019. So, we think we're still on track, but there are fluctuations in years. You know, the beast from the east causes people to turn their heating on.

So, one of the issues we've got is, how do we monitor that and how do we look at trends? So, you absolutely have to have multi-year pieces of information to be able to see that.

Joyce is asking if she could come in on this point as well. Sorry. Joyce.

Thank you. Thank you very much. We've seen the targets, of course, to reduce the emissions from heating, but with climate change, we're also going to get really very hot temperatures, which are going to produce, undoubtedly, emissions for cooling buildings down. So, my question, obviously, therefore, Minister, is: are you building those into the targets as well, and how those are going to be achieved?

Yes. So, absolutely. On the optimised retrofit programme on the innovative housing scheme, for example, the whole purpose of those is to keep your house at a good ambient temperature all year round—so, without having to turn on mechanical aids if at all possible. It's well worth the committee visiting some of those schemes; you can see some of the different ways of doing it. So, there's a scheme down in Rebecca Evans's constituency, which is done entirely by the fabric of the building and careful placing of windows for through breezes and so on in summer.

In Bridgend, I've recently visited one that has a combination of air-source heating and mechanical ventilation systems and so on, and what we're doing with that programme is, we're testing out the efficiency and effectiveness of a whole series of different tech on different types of buildings, so that when we come to the retrofit, we can fit the right tech to the right house. And I don't know if the committee has had the opportunity to have a look at any of those, but I highly recommend you do, because it really opens your eyes to the different things that we're dealing with. 

Okay, thanks. I just want to move on now to the specific sectors. So, obviously, the transport sector is one where you are actually able to devise individual policies and the carbon impact of actions. Could you explain why the transport sector is the only one that's had that treatment? Is it because that's where you are confident? But, in light of our earlier conversation about the UK Government and mainline rail, I wondered how you are confident.

10:20

These are really complicated, so I might get one of my officials to come and explain the way we do carbon emissions in a minute. But we use an overarching emissions model to consider, at the national level, what we're doing for national action, and we've got a calculator, which is a scenario-based emissions projection model with a time horizon that covers all the sections. Our approach in the document relies on these statements of ambition. So, the calculator converts the ambitions to expected emissions reductions responses, which gives us a Wales-wide pathway. But, we are under pressure. We understand the demand for individualised policies, so we want to all—. Because each of us wants to understand the amount of carbon we produce directly and indirectly and that can help everyone, so we’re trying to work on a way of quantifying individual policies in order to assist with that. But we're not relying on that in the carbon budget, that's just to help increase awareness across sectors and help people make decisions. And I don't know, Chair, in terms of the time, whether you want me to ask Christine to come and explain, in much more technical language that I'm using, quite how the emissions calculator works.

As useful as it would be now, I think a written note would suffice, because we do have another set of areas that we wish to cover, if that's okay.

Thank you. Thank you. Jenny, did you want to continue, or, Joyce, did you want to come in on this?

Just to ask, when we talk about transport, we hear about trains, planes and automobiles, and I want to ask about boats and shipping, and whether those are included as well, especially since we've got a lot of small fleets and we've got a lot of water activity—that just people enjoy the water, I'm not suggesting they don't, but they do leave trails of oil on the sea that is quite visible, and at the same time people are trying to swim.

Chair, I don't know the answer to that. I'm just going to check if one of my officials does. I haven't got anybody from marine with me, so we may have to write to you. But just to check whether one of the officials wants to come in.

So, if I can, just briefly. Policy 42 in the plan is about reducing emissions from shipping. So, shipping is part of our emissions modelling and part of our policies and proposals in Net Zero Wales. As for the environmental impact of shipping, which I think is, perhaps, what was explained in the Member's question, clearly with the integration of the climate and nature emergencies, that's a key concern. It is not captured in detail in the Net Zero Wales plan. The statutory requirement for that plan is to demonstrate how we'll meet the carbon budget, but clearly, in tackling the reduction of emissions from shipping, we'll be doing that in close consultation with biodiversity colleagues.

I just want to explore a bit further the hazards involved in attributing carbon reduction emissions to specific policies and proposals when so much of what influences this—it isn't just the weather; it's what the UK Government gets up to and what sort of policies they provide to incentivise individuals to decarbonise their homes or to travel differently. Could you just tell us a bit more on how you hope to maintain some control on this, particularly in light of the fact that you say in the net-zero plan that the UK Government's made a number of infrastructure planning decisions that resulted in significant additional fossil fuel generation being located in Wales? So, is there a danger, if they're being malevolent, that they could use Wales as a dumping ground for carbon emissions?

So, Jenny, one of the things we've just been talking about is the quite elaborate set of ministerial meetings that we have, and the purpose of those is, obviously, to put some pressure on all of the Governments, from the others on us where we're not doing something they don't want, but from us on the UK Government where we think they're not going fast enough and so on. And I will say it has worked, because I do expect that the consultation on ETS will now be faster than it would have been if one of the Governments had had their own way. So, there is a mechanism for putting that pressure on. 

Also, the UK Government has committed to things that we will hold them to. So, they've committed to power grid decarbonisation by 2035, for example. So, you would expect them to hold to that, and if they're not, we will be highlighting that. So, there are checks and balances, I suppose, in the system for that, and, obviously, we're monitoring it. But I will say this is part of the conversation about, 'What can a small country do?' We can do all the things that we can do, and then, from a good place where we have done our best, we can say, 'Well, what are you doing?' That puts us in a better position to do that than it does if we're saying, 'Well, what's the point of doing anything? You guys are just not doing anything about gas-fired power stations.' I feel very strongly that we should do the absolute best that we can do, which puts me in a better position to fight the good fight at the inter-ministerial groups on this, and, indeed, in the under 2 coalition, because this isn't only about the UK. So, we need to be able to put our best foot forward across the globe; we need to play our part on that global stage. So, I think there are lots of things we can do here in Wales, and that will enable us to put more pressure on both the UK Government and, indeed, on Governments abroad for not doing the right thing, or, indeed, actually, I will say to praise them when they are, because I do think it's very important to reward good behaviour as well.

10:25

I quite agree. Just going back to your hesitation about targets, having that sort of spotlight on one issue and everybody then ignoring everything else, on the other hand, if we as citizens don't have a clear idea of the carbon impact of particular policies or decisions by us as individuals, how can we, or indeed the Welsh Government, be sure that what we're doing is adequate to meet our intended aims?

There's a big difference between an overarching policy directive and individual targets. So, our overarching policy directive is to get our carbon footprint down. There's a big difference between that and saying, 'We will do that by, I don't know, 1 GW of thermal power generation.' So, we've got the overarching targets in place, and the reduction targets. This is all about how you translate that into the individual bits underneath and make sure you don't have any unintended consequences in doing that. So, we've got a set of performance indicators to track the policies being implemented and whether they're on course. You remember I talked to you about the datasheets and all the rest of it that we had earlier. We can review and adapt those policies and look at how we're achieving the overarching goals. Inevitably, we will have individual performance targets inside there, because various sectors of our population want us to have them. We will do that, but I am very keen that we don't narrow them down to the point where, I don't know, we're just looking at the biodiversity of insect life in peatland and we're not looking at a wider piece across it. On the other hand, I think a target to restore 30 per cent of biodiversity by 2030—that's a nice, big overarching target that we can work up a set of individual policies for.

The other issue we've got is how do you measure things, so what are we measuring. One of the things the farmers' unions bring up to me all the time is how do they know what their carbon footprint on their farm is, what should they be measuring, what soil measurements should they be using. So, there are hundreds of different carbon models for different sectors, so we're working with the Wales Centre for Public Policy to try and improve our understanding of what that should look like and be able to assist our sectors with, 'This is the model we think you should be measuring yourself against.' Farmers in particular have made quite a lot of representations to myself and Lesley about by what measure are they measuring their farm's output, for example. So, just to use the example the farmers' union gave to me, 'Should I be planting trees on my farm to offset my own emissions, or are my emissions zero?' It depends which model you use. So, we will be doing a lot of work on these carbon models and by what measure we're measuring soil, biodiversity and all the rest of it, so we've already engaged in a number of academic modelling exercises to come to the best possible solutions for that.

Again, Chair, one of the officials can tell you a lot more about how we're doing a lot of this than I can.

Okay, can I just very quickly ask about how you're picking up on the very important issues raised by WWF in their very brief but really clear report on our responsibility to stop generating carbon emissions abroad by importing soya and corn, for example?

10:30

If you could be brief there, Minister, because Huw is very patient, in fairness. He's coming in next, so, Minister, very briefly on that.

So, just to say that we are working very hard on a deforestation policy, Jenny, across the piece. I think probably, Chair, it's worth having a session on that all by itself; it's quite a complicated set of things.

I think there are probably a number of sessions that we could have from what we've had today, and we will be having them, of course, over this coming Senedd. We move on now to Huw.

Thank you, Chair, and I think I can boil my questions down to two fairly concise ones, which will help with the time there. The first one, Minister, is in respect of sectoral emissions reduction targets. In the low-carbon delivery plan, the first iteration, there were specific ones for the sectors. This one doesn't have those; what's the rationale behind that?

No sector is easy to decarbonise, and it depends: I always want to say, as I was taught at law school, 'Credit can be given for writing "it depends" in the margin of your paper.' So, you know, it depends how the technology is changing, who owns the primary levers, the scale of the investment, the market benefits, and how ready they are, how the market responds, how fair it's likely to be—there's a whole series of things that you need to discuss. Reliance on the UK Government for industrial and power decarbonisation is one of the things we've got to take into account. We've got a bigger focus in this plan on the actions required to deliver the change, rather than the more abstract kind of concept of what decarbonisation looks like. It's a big feature of this plan that we're talking about that behavioural change, and I can't emphasise that enough. So, that's at every level: individual level, community level, business level, industrial level, regional level, country level, global level. So, because—

Sorry, Minister, if I could sum up what you've just said, the rationale is because not all the levers to control sector emissions are within the gift of Welsh Government—some of them are only UK-wide—that's the primary reason why they're not included as individual targets?

It's a little bit more complicated than that. It's because there's a whole series of incremental things that we need to do—so, fuel switching, possibly carbon capture, energy suppression. The best way of decarbonising the energy grid is to use less energy. So, that's a behavioural thing. Housing is a big issue—investment across all buildings at an average rate of £12 billion a year to 2050, offset by reductions in operating costs of only £5 billion a year. So, you're talking about big Government subsidies to do some of these things. So, we've got to focus on funding an approach to industries that will be less able to do that than ones where the market might provide the solution as well. So, it's a set of very complicated indicators and we think it just requires that complexity of approach.

Okay, thank you for that. My other question is related to concerns raised by stakeholders, that the plan doesn't reflect the urgency of the climate and nature crisis. Can I say, Minister, I think we, and possibly you, would welcome the fact that stakeholders will welcome generally this plan, but then will cry for more detail, more ambition, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. But when you look at some of the concerns by WWF, the Nature Friendly Farming Network, RSPB, et cetera, they are worried around nature recovery, and also the impact a focus on climate change may have on biodiversity and nature recovery if not tackled together. How do you respond to that? How do you intend to take forward that dialogue with those stakeholders?

The net-zero plan is about carbon reduction; that's what it's about. So, it's not about the nature emergency, but we know that the heating of the planet is causing much of the nature emergency, so if we can't control the temperature, we're going to get the bleaching of the coral reefs and the dying out of species. At the same time, we also want to halt and then reverse the loss of biodiversity. That requires a whole different set of actions and a different set of Government interventions and investments. So, I think my colleague Lesley Griffiths will be doing her sustainable farming scheme soon. Part of that is around how we can farm in that more sustainable way, produce our food in a much more sustainable way. The deforestation question that we've briefly touched on, and I'm sure the committee will come back to, is another part of that, because this is about global biodiversity as well. We also need to have this behavioural change plan and engagement plan, connecting people back to nature—so, a tree planting plan that allows people to have a tree that they look after and understand and so on, so that we begin to reconnect ourselves.

So, we've got a lot of work to do with our stakeholders on how to meet the challenges of both the nature and climate emergencies. We've got a public engagement plan coming at the beginning of next year for how to do that. I've been meeting with any amount of people this week, through Wales Climate Week, who are eager and willing to do the things that we want them to do. We launched the recovery of the curlew action plan earlier in the week, and I think Delyth and Janet were both at that. You know, there are lots of things going on. What we need to do is to try and bring some coherence to it at the Government level, and as I always say—and it's a fitting way to end this section, really—it's my job, the Government's job, our job, to put the platforms in place that allow people to do the right thing at all levels, and that's what's we've really got to concentrate on.

10:35

Okay. Heating the planet obviously increases flooding risk, and some of your stakeholders, like local authorities, still have an appetite for building on flood plains. So, could you explain why you've delayed the technical advice note 15 guidance, which will allow them to continue putting stuff on a flood plain?

Okay, so it doesn't do that, just to be clear. The present TAN stays in place, so TAN 15 already has quite a large amount of protections from building on flood plains. What the new TAN was doing was introducing the maps that show the effect of climate change on the flood relationship, and the predicted rise of 1.1m in the next eight years of the sea, the coastlines around Wales. In conversation with our local authority partners, with whom we have an excellent relationship, we decided to pause it, so it has not gone away. There's a very definite date in the pause for introduction, which gives them a year to redo their serious flood containment assessments for their councils.

We have a problem. Our big cities and towns are built on our coast and at our river mouths, because that's a great place for trade, it's a great place for people, but it's not a great place for climate change. So, in conversation with those councils, we've agreed that they should have a year to put those plans firmly in place and have them ready to go, and we will want to see robust plans for coastal defences, river flooding, natural flooding, relief systems and so on, to defend not only what's there already, but any development sites they have.

This isn't just about development. The whole of the centre of Swansea is in a flood-risk area. We already know that. It's called Sandfields for a reason. All our cities are in that position. So, this is about a sensible pause while we get the flood containment assessment in place and we look at the overarching capital programme to put both the nature-based solutions, which we are very keen on, and the hard solutions where necessary, into play to protect our cities for the future. Actually, it's as a product of the really good relationship we have with our local authorities here in Wales that we've been able to have that dialogue.

So, you don't think that'll lead to a rush of applications to get under the wire before the new controls.

No, because TAN 15 still exists—the current one still exists—and, of course, the Welsh Government still has the power to call things in if they think they're egregious breaches of the policy.

Thank you for that clarity. Okay, thank you. Right. I think there are two other areas of questioning that we wish to cover, so I'll come to Janet first to cover one of them, and then we'll conclude with Joyce afterwards. So, Janet next.

Sorry about the earlier break—my internet just died, but I'll move on. In their advice, the Climate Change Committee indicate capital investment associated with delivering net zero in Wales may need to increase by around 0.5 per cent of GDP in 2022, reaching £1.4 billion in 2025. Given this, what steps has the Welsh Government taken to establish delivery costs for the ambitions outlined in the plan, such as around 148,000 houses expected to receive retrofit measures by 2025, and the investment required to support the proposed increase in electrification in industrial processes by an average of 3 per cent?

10:40

Thanks, Janet. So, the net-zero delivery plan describes how Wales will take action to meet the targets and the financial budget process, and we'll then consider the funding applications. You'll have further details when we publish the draft budget on 20 December. This is always a very frustrating time of year, I know, for both Ministers and committees, because I can't tell you what's going to be in the draft budget on 20 December, and you're desperate for me to do so. The draft budget will set out the Government's ambition across the piece for the budget, of course. The approach is absolutely evidence led, so what we're trying to do is understand where Welsh Government spend has the greatest impact in delivering the carbon budget, and then we'll need to discuss how best we can focus our financial resources to deliver those.

So, we've already put the priorities out in the programme for government, and climate change and tackling biodiversity are right in the middle of all of that. We know that infrastructure is a key lever as well, so there's a big commitment to deliver the 10-year infrastructure investment strategy in that. But some of the biggest levers that drive decarbonisation—carbon pricing, regulatory charge for road vehicles, and so on—are either partially or not devolved to Wales at all and belong with the UK Government. And the Climate Change Committee's own evidence itself said that the net cost will have to be met by the private sector, to a large extent. They estimate that the major levers for 60 per cent of emissions in Wales rest with the UK Government. 

This is a really complicated set of things. So, we need to work with the UK Government to understand what their levers will produce in Wales, and then we need to complement that with our own work. Part of the work that's informing the budget for 2022-23 is considering the incremental impact of the Welsh Government spend as well. And then, an update to the budget improvement plan will be provided alongside that budget, which we'll be able to go into more detail with. So, Chair, I'm sure I'll be back in front of your committee to talk about the budget in due course, and we'll be able to go into much more detail once you've got the documents in front of you.  

Just coming back on that, you're confident, Minister, that, basically, all the projects set out in the plan, you will be able to resource. 

That's the same question the other way round, Janet, so I think you'll have to wait until the budget comes out for that. 

The same answer the other way round as well, then. Okay, thank you. There we are, but we look forward to that scrutiny session, certainly. Okay, the last word to Joyce, then. 

Thank you, Chair. I'm just asking about monitoring and reporting, really. You've got a monitoring and reporting system; it's referred to in the plan. Will it be a publicly accessible document? How will that progress be monitored and reported on, and has the Welsh Government given consideration to doing that on an annual basis? 

So, yes, Joyce. The plan sets out our action over carbon budget 2, and obviously we have to track and drive the implementation. I touched on a little bit of the delivery monitoring. We've got legislation, so we've got statutory duties to do it. We've got indicators and we've got the monitoring and reporting system. We've also got an independent progress report from the CCC, and obviously scrutiny from you. Annual emissions data is published through the greenhouse gas inventory release every June, which is available to the Senedd and to the public. And we also intend to publish performance indicators to accompany and support the statutory progress report at the end of each budget period. So, a publicly accessible document will be produced every five years in line with the statutory reporting requirements, and the next one is due next year, so in 2022. And as I said earlier, we've got performance indicator measures delving deeper into where we have seen the emissions response observed within the greenhouse gas inventory, and so on.  

Chair, I would suggest that we perhaps set up a technical briefing for you on some of the ways that we do the emissions tracking, because they are not things that you want a politician to be explaining to you. I understand it when it's explained to me. I'm not sure that I'm comprehensively able to explain it onwards. So, I think it would probably be better to hear it from some of the scientists and experts in the civil service themselves.  

We'd certainly be interested in taking you up on that offer, so thank you for that. And given that we are at the end of our allocated time, can I thank you for your attendance, along with your officials? There are a few follow-up notes, I think, that you've offered to provide us, and I'm sure there may be some further questions from us in written form as well that we may wish to present. So, with that—

—diolch yn fawr iawn, Gweinidog, am eich presenoldeb chi gyda ni y bore yma. 

—thank you very much, Minister, for your attendance this morning.

3. Papurau i'w nodi
3. Papers to Note

Mi symudwn ni ymlaen, felly, at y trydydd eitem ar yr agenda, sef papurau i'w nodi. Fe welwch chi bod yna chwech o bapurau i'w nodi yn y pecyn. Fe wnaf i ofyn inni eu nodi nhw gyda'i gilydd, oni bai bod rhywun eisiau tynnu sylw at unrhyw beth yn benodol. Gwnaf i jest nodi, fe welwch chi yn y llythyr cyntaf ynglŷn â'r fframweithiau cyffredin, mi fyddwn ni fel pwyllgor yn gallu disgwyl nifer o'r rheini yn dod o'n blaenau ni, dwi'n meddwl, yn y flwyddyn newydd, felly mae hynny'n rhywbeth sydd angen inni fod yn ymwybodol ohono fe. Joyce, rŷch chi wedi codi eich llaw, dwi'n meddwl—ydy hynny'n fwriadol?

We'll move on, therefore, to the third item, which is papers to note. You'll see that there are six papers to note in the pack. I'll ask us to note them together, unless anybody wants to draw attention to any specific issues. I'll just note, with regard to the letter on the common frameworks, we as a committee can expect several of those to come before us in the new year, so that's something that we need to be aware of. Joyce, you've raised your hand, I believe—was that deliberate?

10:45

Yes, just on one of the ones that I would like to bring attention. It's something I've been taking about for decades, and that's the sea-bottom trawling and whether, following on that, and I feel passionately about this, we could do a piece of work. And the other one, obviously, is the sewage discharges from storm overflows. They're two pieces that might help us.

Absolutely, and you'll be aware that we are having a one-day session on marine issues, which will include looking at the bottom trawling issue, which is where, I think, we go next on that, and then subsequent from that, hopefully, we'll be able to move on that agenda further. And in relation to sewage discharge, of course, you know that I've written as Chair to the Minister asking a series of questions. When we get responses to them, I think we'll be in a position, then, to ascertain where we go next on that issue as well. So, I hope—. Whilst we're noting these, it's obviously not a dead-end noting; there are actions stemming from them and hopefully those will lead to further action as well.

Yes, food security, I still think it's a big issue, and I know I've been asked by some organisations, Chairman, whether we can do something on food security in this committee.

Yes, okay. There are a number of valid issues, including that, that have been raised as areas of potential work for this committee. Members will know that we're actually having a strategic session this afternoon to discuss potential forward work programmes and our strategic approach to this Senedd, so I'm sure, Janet, you and others will raise that and other issues when we come to that session later on. So, with that, can we therefore move into private session?

4. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 (vi) a (ix) i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod
4. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 (vi) and (ix) to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting

Cynnig:

bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi) a (ix).

Motion:

that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi) and (ix).

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

Felly, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42 (vi) a (ix), dwi'n cynnig bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu cwrdd yn breifat ar gyfer gweddill y cyfarfod yma heddiw. Ydy Aelodau yn hapus gyda hynny? Ie, pawb yn hapus. Grêt. Diolch yn fawr. Mi arhoswn ni eiliad, felly, er mwyn i'r darllediad ddod i ben.

So, in accordance with Standing Order 17.42 (vi) and (ix), I propose that the committee resolves to meet in private for the remainder of today's meeting. Are Members content with that? I see that everyone is content. Great. Thank you very much. We'll wait a moment for the broadcast to come to an end.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 10:47.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 10:47.