Urban Greening

1. Questions to the Minister for Climate Change – in the Senedd at on 21 February 2024.

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Photo of John Griffiths John Griffiths Labour

(Translated)

9. What assessment has the Welsh Government made of the impact of its policies for the greening of urban areas? OQ60705

Photo of Julie James Julie James Labour 2:29, 21 February 2024

I thank very much, John Griffiths, for that question. The Welsh Government has a range of initiatives to improve urban green spaces, such as Coetiroedd Bach and the allotment support grant. We recognise the importance of evaluating delivery. Local Places for Nature, for example, has commissioned a review to evaluate the social impacts of the programme between 2020 and 2025.

Photo of John Griffiths John Griffiths Labour

Thank you for that, Minister. Most people in Wales live in urban areas and greening that urban environment—their doorstep environment—I think is very important to their quality of life, and also very important in terms of buying in support for the environmental policies of the Welsh Government and the efforts to tackle climate change and develop the sort of behavioural change we need to see.

In my constituency, Minister, we have Greening Maindee as an organisation that has drawn on available funding to create those accessible green areas, turning areas that were neglected and were eyesores into amenities now for local people that are accessible and very much enjoyed. It really draws on that enthusiasm of our volunteers and their commitment and the time that they’re willing to give. So, would you agree with me, Minister, that we need to see more of this activity and progress in Wales, and will the Welsh Government and partners continue to provide the funding to make that possible?

Photo of Julie James Julie James Labour 2:30, 21 February 2024

Thank you very much. I couldn't agree more—it's really lovely to see local communities getting really involved in greening their urban spaces. And indeed, in market towns across Wales, we also see semi- or peri-urban environments getting the same treatment.

Between 2023 and 2025, Newport will be receiving £61,000 under the allotment support grant and, I understand, intend to bring 14 derelict plots back into use at Cae Perllan Road and Market Garden. I really hope that that will mean that many more people get a chance to grow their own vegetables and flowers and so on. Also, it's really lovely to see derelict plots coming back into use. I was recently with Jayne Bryant in a slightly different part of Newport and we were looking at a scheme just along the riverside there, about which I'm very interested in seeing what can be done. The centre of Newport has some really lovely greening schemes in it as well. So, it's clearly something that's of great interest to the people of Newport, both east and west, which is lovely to see. 

The Welsh Government continues to support the Green Flag awards as well. We give an accreditation to publicly accessible parks and open spaces to promote standards of good management and best practice. There are 280 awarded sites across Wales, including seven in Newport, of which two are newly awarded sites. Lliswerry pond and the Bishton village pond community area have also just received the Green Flag awards. So, I think, John, it's fair to say that Newport is a really excellent shining example of what can be done when communities really embrace their natural environment, and of both the mental health impact and the climate change and biodiversity impact of such a policy. I think the people of Newport are to be commended on their embracing of these schemes.