Senedd 2021: Size of Wales manifestos analysis

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Ahead of the 2021 Senedd elections, Size of Wales has been campaigning with WWF Cymru and RSPB Cymru to call for Wales to become the world’s first Deforestation Free Nation.

As part of this work, we’ve spoken to officials from across the political spectrum and released our own manifesto with different asks for policymakers on the issue of overseas deforestation.

This blog outlines our analysis of each major party’s manifesto and what it says in relation to our manifesto asks. See a PDF table of the results here too.

Ask 1: Sustainable food systems

Overseas deforestation is driven by just a handful of commodities which are imported into Wales. We need to develop a food system strategy that both drives and rewards local sustainable Farm to Fork supply chains and prioritises only sustainable goods from overseas to support livelihoods at home and abroad.

Labour:

  • Develop a Wales Community Food Strategy to encourage the supply of locally sourced food in Wales.

Plaid Cymru:

  • Introduce deforestation-free targets in procurement policy in Wales as part of transition to utilising locally produced and sustainable goods.
  • All public procurement of food should prioritise the purchase of Welsh-produced food. Local and regional public procurement – for example in schools, hospitals and council offices – can help create markets for local food businesses.
  • Develop a food system strategy for Wales by establishing a cross sector Food System Commission, to be tasked with developing a roadmap towards a food system that is fit for future generations.
  • Create a cross sector Food System Commission to develop a holistic food strategy for Wales.
  • Promote ‘Made in Wales’ on Welsh food products, working with producers to create high value products to appeal to a wider market.

Conservatives:

  • Use the UK’s exit from the EU to encourage the public sector in Wales to ‘Buy Welsh’ to support farmers and reduce environmental costs
  • Introduce healthy school dinners that are sourced locally

Liberal Democrats:

  • Work with the UK Government to ensure that it only enters into trade agreements under which imported goods meet the high environmental, food quality and animal welfare standards expected of home-produced food.

Green Party:

  • Bringing an Agriculture Bill to the Senedd that has been developed with farmers, communities and food movements in Wales. This bill would set out a roadmap for MORE food and farming
  • More food produced in Wales that is consumed in Wales
  • More local food supply chains

UKIP:

  • Strive towards greater self-sufficiency. On average, the UK is only 65% self-sufficient in temperate agricultural products. UKIP will implement a “Buy Welsh Campaign”, targeted at consumers to purchase locally sourced and reared produce.

We found no relevant pledges to this ask in the manifestos for Reform or the Abolish the Welsh Assembly party .

Ask 2: Ethical procurement

Introduce deforestation-free targets in procurement policy in Wales as part of our transition to utilising locally produced and sustainable goods.

Plaid Cymru:

  • Introduce deforestation-free targets in procurement policy in Wales as part of transition to utilising locally produced and sustainable goods.
  • All public procurement of food should prioritise the purchase of Welsh-produced food. Local and regional public procurement – for example in schools, hospitals and council offices – can help create markets for local food businesses. Continue to work with the Size of Wales project and introduce deforestation-free procurement targets

Conservatives:

  • Introduce healthy school dinners that are sourced locally.

No relevant pledges for this ask were found in the manifestos for Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party , UKIP, Reform, or Abolish the Welsh Assembly.

Ask 3: Farming and nature

Introduce sustainable farming practices that do not contribute to deforestation overseas. This includes ending the reliance on imported soy animal feed that originates from forest risk areas and adopting nature and climate-friendly farming methods such as organic farming, agro-ecology and agroforestry.

Labour:

  • Create a new system of farm support that will maximise the protective power of nature through farming, requiring food production in Wales takes place within environmental limits. Farmers will only receive public subsidy for producing food that delivers additional environmental outcomes.

Plaid Cymru:

  • Work with farmers and land managers, as part of their agri-environment role, to extend hedges, shelterbelts, stream side and field edge habitats.
  • Introduce a Welsh Agriculture Bill that will place a greater emphasis on public goods such as decarbonisation, sustainable food production, and enhanced biodiversity.
  • Introduce a baseline support payment to offer the industry greater economic stability. This support will be used to encourage the highest standards of public health and animal health and welfare, and to facilitate a greater shift towards more low carbon and high nature value farming.
  • We will also utilise wider investment to support the transition to more sustainable and diverse forms of land use, including organic farming, regenerative agriculture, agroforestry and mixed farming.
  • Aim to increase the level of organic farming in Wales and significantly grow the horticulture sector.

Conservatives:

  • Introduce an Agricultural Bill for Wales setting out how farmers and land managers will be supported with public money for public goods, whilst helping the sector to invest in new technology, become more productive and receive a fairer price for their produce
  • Use the UK’s exit from the EU to encourage the public sector in Wales to ‘Buy Welsh’ to support farmers and reduce environmental costs.

Liberal Democrats:

  • Ensure that the Basic Payments Scheme is replaced by a system based on public money for public goods, including: sustainable land management for biodiversity gain and for improvements in water quality and pollution levels.
  • Work with the UK Government to ensure that it only enters into trade agreements under which imported goods meet the high environmental, food quality and animal welfare standards expected of home-produced food.

Green Party:

  • Bringing in a Green New Deal for food and farming, designed by the farming communities.
  • and people of Wales, to deliver a 10-year transition to agroecological food production and nature restoration, helping farmers work with nature.
  • Bringing an Agriculture Bill to the Senedd that has been developed with farmers, communities and food movements in Wales. This bill would set out
  • a roadmap for MORE food and farming; More food produced in Wales that is consumed in Wales.

Abolish Welsh Assembly Party

  • We must support Welsh farming, not strangle it by regulation e.g. the all Wales Nitrate Vulnerable Zone. Abolish will treat farmers fairly, by ensuring a level playing field between Wales and England.
  • “Wales must not be singled out as a laboratory for ‘rewilding’. We would instead prioritise support for traditional Welsh hill farming.”

No policies relevant to this ask were found in the UKIP or Reform manifestos

Ask 4: Support ethical business practices

Ensure that the Welsh Government’s Economic Contract, which aims to strengthen a relationship with business and drive inclusive growth and responsible business behaviour, is strengthened so that signatories to the contract commit to deforestation free

Labour:

  • Strengthen our Economic Contract so inclusive growth, fair work, decarbonisation and improved mental health at work are at the heart of everything we do.

Plaid Cymru:

  • Make Wales a deforestation-free nation by working with the UK Government to legislate to end the importation of goods that have caused deforestation.
  • No policies on this issue were found in the Conservative, Liberal Democrats, Green, UKIP, Reform, or Abolish the Welsh Assembly Manifestos.

No relevant policies to this ask were found for the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, UKIP, Reform or Abolish the Welsh Assembly.

Ask 5: Action on Climate change

Labour:

  • Uphold policy of opposing the extraction of fossil fuels in Wales, both on land and in Welsh waters, using the powers available.
  • Expand renewable energy generation by public bodies and community groups by over 100MW by 2026, working towards the target of 1GW in public sector and community renewable energy capacity by 2030.

Plaid Cymru:

  • Ensure all departmental budgets within government are aligned with nature and climate restoration. Review the entire budget to ensure the resource allocated to decarbonising and restoring nature matches the urgent need and is reflective of the government’s ambition.
  • Require local authorities to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions within their area through setting local GHC budgets.
  • Amend Wales’ emissions reduction pathway, setting a target to meet all of Wales’ energy demands entirely from renewables by 2035 and set a target for Wales to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2035.

Conservatives:

  • Create 15,000 green jobs and make Wales the green energy capital of the world
  • Tackle climate change by ensuring Wales meets the net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050.
  • Create the Independent Office for Environmental Protection and Climate Change to hold the Welsh Government and other public bodies to account in tackling climate change and protecting the environment.
  • Set a targets of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and for all new homes to be zero carbon by 2026.

Liberal Democrats

  • Create a package of investment of £1bn per year to fight the climate emergency, create new jobs and stability for supply chains and businesses, and to invest in new technology.
  • Making Holyhead a regional hub for renewable energy and hydrogen production, creating new, long-term jobs and opportunities for local businesses.

Green Party:

  • Advocating for a carbon tax to help reduce Wales’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2030. A steadily rising price will be placed on all sources of greenhouse gas emissions, including agricultural emissions and those embedded in imports. Revenue goes to residents and to greening the economy.
  • Delivering a Green vision to deliver net zero by 2030, replacing fossil fuels with onshore and offshore renewable energy and necessary upgrades to the electricity grid.

UKIP:

  • Scrap the Climate Change Act (2008), which requires the UK to achieve annual decarbonisation rates of more than 5% – a figure no other country in the world has ever or is ever likely to attain.
  • Take the UK out of the Paris Climate Agreement (2016) and any associated carbon trading schemes. Wales’s CO2 emissions account for 0.1% of global CO2 emissions and the UK barely 1%.

Reform:

  • Support and invest in tidal energy to make Wales a world leader in this technology.

No relevant policies for this ask were found in the Abolish the Welsh Assembly manifesto.

Ask 6: Climate Education

Work with non-traditional partners such as NGOs to further strengthen teaching on climate change, nature and deforestation within the new curriculum and support educators towards achieving this goal.

No relevant policies to this goal were found in any of the party manifestos.

Ask 7: Protecting vulnerable countries and communities

Ensure vulnerable countries and communities suffering the effects of climate change, nature loss and deforestation are supported to help them adapt and prosper as part of Wales’ ambition to be a globally responsible nation through the Wales and Africa programme.

Labour:

  • Through our ‘Wales and Africa’ programme, we have planted more than 15 million trees in Uganda securing livelihoods, protecting communities, and helping the environment.

Plaid Cymru:

  • Continuing to work with the Size of Wales project, the Mount Elgon Tree Growing Enterprise and other partners in Uganda.
  • Provide support to producer nations to ensure that supply chains do not contribute to deforestation and are sustainable, inclusive and equitable for farmers, forest communities and indigenous people.
  • We will seek ways of expanding initiatives such as Coffee 2020 which is buying coffee from farmers involved in the Mbale Trees project, and Fair Do’s Siopa Teg which is also importing Fair Trade and Organic coffee from Uganda.

No relevant policies to this ask were found in the manifestos for the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, UKIP, Reform, or Abolish the Assembly.

Ask 8: International trade

Work with the UK Government to ensure that new trade agreements will guarantee high environmental and human rights standards, particularly around deforestation, accompanied by strict enforcement measures.

Plaid Cymru:

  • Make Wales a deforestation-free nation by working with the UK Government to legislate to end the importation of goods that have caused deforestation.

Liberal Democrats:

  • Work with the UK Government to ensure that it only enters into trade agreements under which imported goods meet the high environmental, food quality and animal welfare standards expected of home-produced food.

No policies relevant to this ask were found in the manifestos for Labour, the Conservatives, the Green Party, UKIP, Reform, or Abolish the Welsh Assembly.

 

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