The Welsh Government has created a new climate change ministry, topped by two of our regional Senedd members, which incorporates important themes such as transport, planning and housing.

Julie James, Minister for Climate Change

The climate change ministry will be led by Julie James, MS for Swansea West. As Minister for Climate Change, she will be responsible for the environment, energy, housing, planning and transport.

Women now make up two thirds of the Welsh Cabinet.

Lee Waters, MS for Llanelli, has been appointed Deputy Minister for Climate Change.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has said “The environment will be at the heart of our decision-making. The climate change emergency has not gone away while we have been dealing with the pandemic.

“Wales is a beautiful country with immense natural assets, which will help power our recovery and create the jobs of the future.

“In my new government, the environment doesn’t just have a seat at the cabinet table, it will be a consideration in all we do.”

4theRegion welcome the creation of the climate change ministry. We see it as a progressive step that seems to reflect the new government’s commitment to creating a wellbeing economy. The Welsh Government became the first in the world to put protecting the wellbeing of future generations into law, in 2015, and Wales joined the Wellbeing Economy Governments Organisation in 2019.

4theRegion want a happier, healthier South West Wales with a thriving economy that serves the wellbeing of people and the planet. We want to see Wales leading the way in new ways of living, working and organising our society and economy. We want to fully embrace the principles of the Wellbeing Economy and the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, making sure the purpose of growing our economy is to serve the wellbeing of people and the planet, rather than an end in itself.

We are on a mission to promote and support the people and projects that are addressing the challenges of the climate emergency, and to put this critical issue at the top of the agenda. We believe we must move away from our linear economy (make, use, dispose), closing the loop to conserve resources and ensure long term sustainability. A circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design.

We are pleased to see that transport has been included within the ministry for climate change’s remit. We need greener, cleaner, healthier and better connected travel and transport, and a transport system that meets the needs of businesses, serves communities, and improves wellbeing.

In partnership with Swansea Environmental Forum and Natural Resources Wales, 4theRegion held a major transport conference in February 2021. The conference aimed to help shape the future of transport in Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea.

Drawing from the ideas raised at the conference, we have published our Regional Transport Manifesto for South West Wales, which looks at what the government should be investing in, what local authorities could be doing, and how people, communities and businesses can be part of the solution.