Wales

Climate change 'biggest Welsh issue' says interim report

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionClimate change, jobs and health were issues people highlighted in the report

The biggest issues facing future generations in Wales are climate change, the natural environment, jobs and skills, according to a survey.

The Wales We Want project asked groups like the Women's Institute, young farmers' clubs and businesses what they wanted the nation to be like in 2050.

The Welsh government is using it to shape its Future Generations Bill to set goals on issues like health.

Sustainability Commissioner Peter Davies is publishing the survey report.

Around 100 Futures' Champions were recruited and they asked a range of questions to the various groups across Wales.

The project was launched in February by the Welsh government as part of a "national conversation" to identify long term issues that may be faced by future generations in Wales and set out a number of questions.

Dan Jones, communications officer for Sustain Wales, the group behind the national conversation, said: "What it's going to do is force councils to behave in a much more sustainable manner, but not just sustainability with the environment... but our culture, it's to tell Wales' story," he said.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionA woodland gym in Rhondda Cynon Taf is an example of a project aimed at improving health and wellbeing

It is not just about climate change - the Future Generations Bill is also about health and wellbeing. It is exactly the sort of issue that motivates Martyn Broughton, a trainer at Coed Lleol.

It is a woodland gym in Treherbert, Rhondda Cynon Taf, aimed at encouraging prosperity and health in the community.

The benefits to those who use the woodland are clear, says Mr Broughton.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Climate change was agreed by 69.5% to be the most important issue for Wales

When asked which issues were most critical to the future wellbeing of Wales, 69.5% replied climate change and 69% said employment.

Just 28.2% said culture and language was important, marginally above crime and violence concerns at 24.7%.

And when groups were asked what they believed were the most important issues to be addressed, 81% said health compared with 39% suggesting a thriving Welsh language.

One respondent said: "If you haven't got your health none of the others mean anything."

A prosperous and innovative nation was also considered desirable, with one contributor saying a "clear vision of the economy" was required and a recognition of Wales' strengths and weaknesses.

Friends of the Earth Cymru campaigner Haf Elgar said: "We certainly welcome having legislation to move towards a sustainable Wales. We believe it's essential to have strong legislation in place.

"What we need is a bill that will really make a difference to people's lives."

This interim report has been published to coincide with the Bill being introduced into the National Assembly for Wales with the final report expected next March.

More on this story