The First Decade List According to Key Subject Areas





Youth & Lifelong Learning

Older People

The Economy

Health and Social Care

Social Justice

Equality and Human Rights





Sport and Culture


The Welsh Language

Welsh Law

Wales and the World

Introduction to the 'What They've Done For Us'  list 



Environment and Transport

The First Decade

Welcome to Aled Edwards' "What They've Done For Us" Environment and transport list. Written a little in the style of Monty Python's Life of Brian "What have the Romans done for us?"  the list aims to provide a reliable record of the distinctive Welsh policies brought about by devolution (1999-2009). Beyond underlining the distinctiveness of Welsh policies no substantive attempt is made here to evaluate the performance of Welsh Assembly Governments or to list the policies brought about by other UK legislatures but not adopted in Wales. The dates in brackets normally indicate when the development was announced by the Welsh Assembly Government through a press release.

Third Assembly 2007 - 2009

bullet Launched plans to expand and improve transport for pupils and students across Wales with the publication of guidance for local authorities. This marked another step forward for the Learner Travel Measure. (April 2009).
bullet Reminded planners that some planning applications in Wales would required Design and Access Statements showing how the final design was reached and containing information on the sustainability of the development concerned. (April 2009).
bullet Announced that at least 70 per cent of all waste from Welsh households, the commercial sector and construction would have to be recycled by 2025. (April 2009).
bullet Published the revised Environment Legislative Competence Order (LCO) aimed at providing the Assembly with legislative competence to make Measures on the Environment.  The LCO sought powers in relation to three specific areas: waste, pollution and nuisances. (April 2009).
bullet Announced that a £500,000 fund would be launched to help environmental entrepreneurs and small businesses develop their ideas to generate electricity from the River Severn’s tidal power. (April 2009).
bullet Announced a shake-up in the way the Welsh Assembly Government provided support for those in fuel poverty. (March 2009).
bullet Announced a new industry backed group to cut carbon emissions from buildings across Wales. The ‘Zero Carbon Hub Wales’ brought together a coalition of key members of the building industry, housing and voluntary sectors committed to helping Wales achieve its carbon reduction targets. (March 2009).
bullet Wales’ interests were represented (Mon 2nd March) at key EU talks on the environment. The Welsh Environment Minister joined the UK delegation at the European Environment Council meeting at Brussels. (March 2009).
bullet Asked Welsh Assembly Government officials to start work on legislation to put an end to the use of free one-trip plastic bags in Wales. (February 2009).
bullet Announced a new doctorate programme for leading practitioners in the field of sustainable development. (February 2009).
bullet Completed a consultation on a new sustainable development scheme for Wales. (February 2009).
bullet Announced a plan, The Bioenergy Action Plan for Wales, to lessen Wales’ reliance on fossil fuels and increase the use of renewable, low-carbon energy sources. (February 2009).
bullet Published distinctive planning advice on sport, recreation and open spaces. (February 2009).
bullet Unveiled a plan to get Wales walking and cycling more in a bid to make the nation healthier and greener. The four year blueprint aimed to get more people to walk and cycle safely as part of their daily lives. (February 2009).
bullet Set up a group to advise the Welsh Assembly Government on how agriculture can meet the challenge of food security while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. (January 2009).
bullet Announced that the Welsh Assembly Government and Welsh Police forces were working together to develop a plan to improve safety and reduce congestion on some of Wales’ busiest roads. (January 2009).
bullet Announced a distinctive Sustainable Development Scheme setting out how the Assembly Government would use its devolved powers to make every part of the public sector sustainable for the benefit of the environment and the people of Wales. (November 2008).
bullet Agreed to a Carbon Reduction and Resource Efficiency Service for Business that would be a key component of a Green Jobs Strategy. This would comprise action to promote the greening of businesses to meet the twin goals of enhanced competitiveness and contributing to the Welsh Assembly Government’s environmental targets, particularly for climate change. (October 2008).
bullet Gave the go ahead for a new, fast train service between north and south Wales. (October 2008).
bullet Outlined a zero landfill-zero waste future for Wales. (October 2008).
bullet The annual recycling statistics for Local Authorities across Wales showed that the amount of domestic rubbish which was being recycled or composted had gone up from the previous year’s figure of 27.7% to 32.2% – a rise of 4.5%. Seven local authorities were already recycling more than the 40% of household waste – two years ahead of European targets. (October 2008).
bullet Approved plans to expand and improve transport arrangements for pupils and students across Wales, including an all-Wales behaviour code. (September 2008).
bullet Published proposals, through an Assembly Measure, to change the way local authorities, national parks and fire and rescue authorities account for the local services they provide. (September 2008).
bullet Completed a consultation on setting local speed limits in Wales. It was intended that the guidance be used for setting all local speed limits on single and dual carriageway roads in both urban and rural areas. (August 2008).
bullet Announced plans for a national cycle training standard across Wales in a bid to improve safety and the take-up of cycling amongst children and young people. (June 2008).
bullet Published a series of maps showing environmental noise on the major roads and railways in Wales as well as noise from transport and industry in two large urban areas. (June 2008).
bullet Launched a distinctive  consultation on guidance for setting local speed limits on Welsh roads. (June 2008).
bullet Announced that up to £5million extra would be provided for the Welsh Assembly Government's mortgage rescue scheme to stop homeowners who face repossession from being made homeless. Under the scheme, grants can be used by Housing Associations to buy a share of the mortgage or buy properties outright and then rent them back to the former owner. (June 2008).
bullet Announced an investment of £3 million over three years into the “Cylch Capacity Building Investment Fund” for Wales. The Fund aims to provide strategic support for Welsh community re-use and recycling enterprises that need help to grow their business operations (May 2008).
bullet Launched a distinctive Transport Strategy for Wales - designed to deliver sustainable transport networks that both safeguard the Welsh environment and strengthen Welsh economic and social life. (May 2008).
bullet The Welsh Assembly Government consulted on a proposal to improve the way fisheries are managed in Welsh waters. The proposal, for the Welsh Assembly Government to assume full responsibility for the management and enforcement of sea fisheries in Wales was announced in June 2008. Currently, inshore fisheries in Wales are managed by the Welsh Assembly Government, two Sea Fisheries Committees and the Environment Agency. (June 2008).
bullet Announced that climate change would be a key consideration in the design of new building projects, thanks to an  update to planning guidance. (May 2008).
bullet Unveiled  a new deal for drivers with the announcement of a fairer and clearer parking system. The new framework makes it clear that local authorities should not use parking enforcement as a means of raising revenue. It also does away with the setting of targets for the number of tickets issued. (March 2008).
bullet A major step on the path to making Wales a low carbon energy economy was taken with the launch of  the distinctive Renewable Energy Route Map ensuring that all new buildings in Wales are built to the highest possible low carbon standards, with the public sector showing the way in what can be achieved. (February 2008).
bullet The people of Wales got the opportunity to have their say on how the country should develop over the next 20 years as the consultation for the Wales Spatial Plan got underway. (January 2008).
bullet Launched the Plant! scheme. By planting up to 30 hectares of new woodland a year, the scheme represented a significant contribution to the creation of a Welsh National Forest of native trees. (December 2007).
bullet The Welsh Assembly Government issued climate change resource packs to schools and colleges in Wales. The packs included copies of Al Gore’s documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, as well as fact sheets to help lesson planning and two short films to help pupils understand climate change issues. (July 2007).

Second Assembly 2003 - 2007

Invited comments on a strategy and priorities for developing Coastal Tourism. (April 2007).
bullet Completed a consultation on Planning for Climate Change. (March 2007).
bullet Agreed proposals to structurally overhaul the TrawsCambria service to create a new cohesive, integrated, high-quality bus network for longer distance journeys. This included  new management arrangements for the network, with a Management Board chaired by the Assembly Government. (February 2007).
bullet The role of the planning system in tackling climate change was made the subject of a consultation paper. Planning for Climate Change outlined how taking into account at an early stage factors such as development location, orientation and other design considerations could help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (October 2006).
bullet Launched a distinctive education for sustainable development and global citizenship action plan. (September 2006).
bullet Issued planning guidance on coal extraction proposing a buffer zone of 350 metres between future extraction sites and nearby housing. (January 2006).
bullet Launched a consultation on a new suite of scientific priorities for Wales, A Science Policy for Wales?  (January 2006).
bullet Figures published showed that nearly 20 per cent of Wales' waste was being recycled or composted. (December 2005).
bullet Introduced emergency legislation to ban bird markets, shows and similar gatherings in Wales. The legislation was deemed necessary to meet commitments resulting from two European Commission Decisions to put in place measures to protect against the spread of avian influenza. (October 2005).
bullet Announced plans to tackle the anti-social practice of fly-tipping, or illegal dumping of rubbish. (October 2005).
bullet With the completion of a  £17m Assembly Government funded project, direct train services run from the Vale of Glamorgan to Cardiff and Bridgend, opening up the area to the rail network for the first time since the line was closed to passenger trains in 1964. (June 2005).
bullet Hailed May 28 2005 as a momentous day for Wales as 20 per cent of the nation's countryside become accessible to walkers. This amounted to a threefold increase in the amount of Welsh countryside accessible to the public. Some of the land is within our National Parks, but a good deal of it is on people's doorsteps. (May 2005).
bullet Announced that an ancient woodland in Gwynedd would be restored to its natural beauty thanks to £1,222,673 Objective 1 European Funding from the Welsh Assembly Government. The £2m Meirionnydd Oakwood Habitat Management project will see the Woodlands restored. (May 2005).
bullet Launched a pilot scheme to encourage people to incorporate walking into their daily activity. The Welsh Assembly Government invested £30,000 to pilot and evaluate the Urbanwalks scheme in four locations across Wales - Carmarthen, Wrexham, Cardiff and Gwynedd. (May 2005).
bullet Invited organisations to bid for a Welsh Assembly Government grant to support projects that will boost the development of the education for sustainable development and global citizenship (ESDGC) agenda in Wales (March 2005).
bullet Announced that Wales had signed a Charter on Genetically Modified Organisms with its European Regions Network partners at a meeting in Florence. The Charter, amongst other things, presses the European Commission to recognise the growing concerns of an increasing number of European regions about the threats to conventional and organic farming from the commercialisation of GM crops. Wales had a significant input into shaping this Charter, which binds together 20 European regions in ensuring the protection of traditional and organic farming. (February 2005).
bullet Announced giving local authorities an extra £2.83 million to help them meet European Commission requirements on domestic fridge disposal. (February 2005).
bullet Announced details of a major investment to enhance capacity and relieve overcrowding on the Valley Line train network. This additional investment, worth £50 million over the course of the franchise, would allow the leasing of fourteen additional vehicles to be used on weekday peak services, which would double the length of 15 trains every day it was claimed. (January 2005).
bullet Announced steps to assist water customers in Wales, including an increased customer dividend from Dwr Cymru which means a reduction in water bills of £18 per customer for each of the next five years. (January 2005).
bullet Welcomed figures showing that recycling across Wales is on the increase and that tough Assembly Government targets on recycling and reducing waste are being met, and in some places exceeded. (January 2005).
bullet Issued plans to streamline the way complaints about smells from sewage treatment works are handled. (January 2005).
bullet Designated 90 sites across Wales that comprise habitats or species that are rare or threatened as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). under the EC Habitats Directive. (January 2005).
bullet Welcomed the announcement that emissions of the green house gases in Wales had  fallen by 1.2 million tonnes between 1990 and 2002. (December 2004).
bullet Reached a significant mark with the announcement that £8 billion would be spent on a number of transport projects throughout Wales. £8 billion is almost exactly the sum of the whole National Assembly budget when the Assembly was established in 1999. (December 2004).
bullet Published the Wales Spatial Plan called People, Places, Futures. (November 2004).
bullet Announced the launch of the Energy Saving Wales action plan. The plan is aimed at increasing the awareness and interest in energy efficiency and contained a series of comprehensive measures to help deal with the threats posed by climate change. (October 2004).
bullet The Welsh Assembly Government published a top ten of action points to show how it will turn its duty to promote sustainable development into reality. This second Sustainable Development Action Plan was published, three years after the first Action Plan was launched. (October 2004).
bullet Announced proposals to strengthen the National Park Authorities so that they continue to protect some of Wales' most stunning landscapes. (September 2004).
bullet New planning rules issued by the Welsh Assembly Government stated that building on flood plains should be avoided as far as possible, and gave advice on how local authorities should assess proposed developments. Latest evidence at the time suggested that the global climate was changing, and it is likely that the risk to areas already susceptible to flooding will be increased. (July 2004).
bullet Proposed changes to planning policy unveiled by the Welsh Assembly Government in July 2004 paved the way for Wales to meet clean energy targets by 2010. Ministers assessed a range of renewable energy technologies and decided that onshore wind is the only viable option to provide the lion's share of the Assembly renewable target. (July 2004).
bullet To meet the Welsh Assembly Government's aim of producing an all-embracing, collaborative Environment Strategy for Wales, a new reference group was established in July 2004.
bullet Drew to an end the consultation on the Welsh Assembly government’s 20-year strategy for development in Wales, People, Places, Futures – The Wales Spatial Plan. (July 2004).
bullet Announced a series of new measures to improve and streamline the way floods are tackled in Wales. (June 2004).
bullet Bus passengers in Wales to benefit from stronger representation in 2004, as the Welsh Assembly Government funding for the National Federation of Bus Users in Wales increased to £63,000. (June 2004).
bullet On the opening day of the fourth Conference of the Network for Regional Governments for Sustainable Development (NRG4SD)., messages were received from distinguished supporters including the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the Prince of Wales. (March 2004).
bullet Reaffirmed a restrictive approach to GM crop commercialisation. (March 2004).
bullet Took steps towards creating scheduled intra-Wales air services with the launch of a a major consultation exercise. (March 2004).
bullet Launched a ten-year plan to conserve wildlife living along the Welsh road network. The Trunk Road Estates Biodiversity Action Plan (TREBAP). sets out over 250 actions to safeguard rare and attractive habitats and species alongside some of Wales’ busiest roads. (January 2004).
bullet Welcomed the publication of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).’s final report into the Nantygwyddon landfill site. The report raised some important issues as to how public bodies can liaise with communities who are rightly concerned about the potential impact on their health and the local environment ( August 2003).
bullet Announced measures to ensure that additional treatment was provided at waste water treatment works discharging into shellfish waters. The identification of these 12 additional Sensitive Areas in Wales would mean that relevant treatment works would comply with the most stringent requirements of the European Council Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (91/271/EEC). (July 2003).
bullet Announced the classification of a further three internationally important sites in Wales that would ensure the protection and survival of many birds, as well as other fauna and flora. (June 2003).

First Assembly 1999 - 2003

bullet Successfully argued for a restrictive approach to the use of GM crops in Wales. (February 2003).
bullet Environmental Sustainability was established as one of the three cross-cutting themes of the European Structural Funds Programmes 2000-2006.
bullet The Welsh Assembly Government is a co-founding member of the International Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development which was formed at the World Summit on SD in Johannesburg in 2002. The network includes a balance of members from developed and developing countries.
bullet Ensured that Wales, through its First Minister, was represented at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg in August 2002.
bullet Announced a public inquiry into the future of Trawsfynydd atomic power station. (November 2002).
bullet Published Wise about Waste: the National Waste Strategy for Wales in June 2002.
bullet Issued expanded guidance on where Green Belts and green wedge designations may be appropriate. (April 2002).
bullet Provided Wales with the first government in the world to use ecological foot printing as an indicator of real progress in sustainable development. (April 2002).
bullet Announced that the signing of the first Tir Gofal agreement in March 2000 was a landmark in the National Assembly's drive to promote a new sustainable model of farming in Wales. (March 2000).
bullet Announced an extra £10 million in each of 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 from the Capital Modernisation Fund for integrated transport projects.
bullet Announced an additional £257,000 for 2001-02 for Sustainable Development to begin work on the European Regional Innovation Grant Scheme (2000-01).
bullet Revealed in March 2000, that if the original rating for pump storage by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions had been applied to the pump storage schemes in Ffestiniog and Dinorwig, it would have added £6 million to the burden and would have threatened the future of at least one of the plants. At the time, there were no pump storage systems in England and, as the DETR explained in three separate letters of apology, it did not realise that the Assembly had responsibility for making the policy in Wales.
bullet Resulted in the people of Wales acquiring the right to challenge by judicial revue any failure by the Assembly to comply with its sustainable development duty. (1999).