Wales, The Journey to Net Zero: Tackling climate mitigation through accelerated infrastructure investment

Polly Thomas — Newport / 15th April 2023

This new report, based on a roundtable discussion organised in partnership with Arup, sets out a vision for accelerated infrastructure investment in Wales that will enable the nation to achieve its net zero target by 2050.

Cover of our report 'Wales: The Journey to Net Zero'
Wales, The Journey to Net Zero [PDF]
Despite ambitious targets and a swathe of measures to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy, Welsh Government is currently failing to meet the pace and scale of change required by the challenge of the climate emergency. The nation is not on track to abide by its own carbon budget, with the UK Climate Change Committee (UKCCC) warning that current progress does not stand Wales in good stead in a radically transforming climate.


‘Net zero infrastructure is a large and pressing challenge for Wales, which comes with more economic opportunities than it does challenges if empowered by the appropriate vision and direction of travel from government.’

On top of this, climate and net zero policy remains one in which policy levers and investment fall on the so-called jagged edge of Wales’ wider constitutional settlement with the UK, with decision making falling across both sides of the Severn bridge against the backdrop of difficult intergovernmental relations.

Infrastructure will be at the core of shaping the Wales of tomorrow. Following on from our flagship projects Re-energising Wales and Renewing the Focus, we recommend targeted action to drive investment that will enable delivery. In this report written by Joe Rossiter, we argue for an approach to infrastructure policy in Wales that will enable us to meet our targets and adapt to the realities of climate change.

  1. Welsh Government must co-create a comprehensive vision for Wales’ net zero infrastructure needs over the next two decades. This should be a roadmap for delivery.
  2. At the next Senedd, the Welsh Government should ensure closer alignment between economic and energy policy. 
  3. Boost public sector capacity and resource to deliver large scale infrastructure projects at the pace required. This should enable consenting, planning and delivery at pace.
  4. Utilise Ministerial Statements and National Policy Statements to enhance private sector confidence in Wales.
  5. Ensure political decisions in approving schemes of key infrastructure reflect Welsh Government goals. If they do not, they should be subject to Senedd scrutiny.
  6. Reinforce the Well-Being of Future Generations Act, ensuring it is used to deliver the scale of change required the Welsh public sector. 
  7. Strongly encourage the reallocation of Wales’ public sector pension pot towards the net zero mission.
  1. Strongly call for the devolution of the Crown Estate to Wales, as in Scotland.
  2. Seek the devolution of renewable energy project subsidy regimes.
  3. Help establish the mechanisms for a shared net zero strategy shared across all UK nations – underpinned by the Carbon Budget mechanism.

Read the full report here.

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