Smaller than the state of New Jersey, and with a population of just over 3 million, the nation of Wales has made a grand, world-leading £8.1 billion ($11 billion USD) commitment to advancing green infrastructure within their borders over the next three years.
Minister for Finance and Local Government Rebecca Evans said, “Our budget set the foundations to strengthen public services, tackle the climate and nature emergency, and support a zero carbon economy. Investment in the right infrastructure, in the right places, will be vital in achieving this.”
“Investment will differ from sector to sector and from programme to programme, but we will look to position all future investments so they play their part in helping Wales reach net zero. All areas of spend will consider environmental outcomes, even those which may have a different primary focus. The overarching ambition of our investment will be to tackle the climate and nature emergency. It will be to ensure we have the infrastructure in place to support the Wales we want to hand on to future generations – a stronger, fairer, greener Wales,” she added.
“Between now and 2025 £770m will support public transport – with a £585m investment in rail and a £185m investment in bus travel. This will provide newer and greener rolling stock, continue development of the Core Valley Lines, and support integrated transport through Metro schemes. The strategy will also support the creation of a National Forest, and improve access to landscapes and outdoor recreation through investment in designated landscapes and the development of the Wales Coast Path, National Trails and Public Rights of Way network. In total more than £153m will be spent to support Wales’ nature and environment,” Evans continued.
The effects of climate change are also being guarded against with investment of more than £100 million on flood defenses.
More than 45,000 homes will benefit from additional flood protection measures in this Senedd term, and more than 17,400 homes around the Welsh coastline will see reduced risk through the Coastal Risk Management Programme.
Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters commented, “By investing in infrastructure we’ll open up greener forms of transport to more people, providing more choice in how we’re all able to get around. And infrastructure is about more than our built environments; we’re dedicating significant funding to enhance Wales’ natural spaces, including through the National Forest. We want to encourage people’s connection to nature and through it support their wellbeing.”
“This is another step in the right direction, and we know we need to do more in the next ten years than we’ve done in the last thirty if we’re to reach our NetZero target by 2050,” he concluded.
The announcement came ahead of a debate on the draft budget in the Senedd.