Wales Green Party manifesto - our response

The Senedd election is on 6 May 2021. We will be publishing blogs commentating on the manifestoes of the Wales Green Party, Plaid Cymru, Welsh Labour, Welsh Conservative and Welsh Liberal Democrats after they have been released, as well as a blog summarising the parties’ commitments once all have been published.

By Haf Elgar
Director of Friends of the Earth Cymru

The Wales Green Party’s ‘Transforming Wales’ is a manifesto where the climate and nature emergencies sit front and centre, with a strong messaging throughout on equalities, social and environmental recovery.  

It has an interesting format, grouping proposals into four broad themes of environment, work, community and government rather than traditional policy areas, which allows for joined up thinking and is a good way for avoiding the siloes and contradictory commitments that can happen in party manifestoes.  

It also includes positive visions of what these changes would mean to different key sections of Welsh society such as the valleys, rural and coastal areas, and urban areas, which shows a clear understanding and awareness of the differing impacts of change on these areas which are often overlooked, and focuses on the positives of where they want to get to and why this would be for the benefit of those communities.   

Ambitious policies include for Wales to become net zero by 2030, a Green Transformation Fund for Wales that can issue bonds, and a Commissioner for Biodiversity and Animal Protection. There is also strong commitment to a wellbeing economy and shift away from GDP, and commitment that no public money should be spent on high carbon nature-destructive companies.   

And it’s good to see reiterated commitment to maintain Wales’ GM Free status, against the cancelled M4 relief road and in favour of alternatives, and calling for disinvestment of local authority funds in fossil fuels. Proposals would also strengthen the involvement of people in democratic process, with new participative processes and a greater say in the planning system.  

It’s also interesting to see that they would advocate for a carbon tax, which can be a useful tool for reducing emissions, but we would want to ensure that it is a progressive and effective measure that doesn’t unfairly burden vulnerable groups or have unforeseen consequences.  

However the manifesto does lack detail of commitments and targets. Whilst there’s very little that we’d disagree with in terms of climate action, and a welcome emphasis on the scale of change needed, rarely is there an indication of how quickly we need to move on specific policies or what scale is necessary - for example in housing refurbishment and energy efficiency, on renewable energy, zero waste or woodland creation. The extremely ambitious target of a net zero Wales by 2030, which is a steeper pathway than experts such as the Tyndall Centre recommend even, is far from being matched by the policies proposed.  

There is also very little detail on key climate justice areas such as transport and air pollution.  

It is a relatively short manifesto which focuses on creating a vision and being clear on their priorities - a high level document rather than a plan for government. But it is a promising start, and as far as it goes it is very positive and strong on transforming Wales in a way that prioritises the climate and nature emergency across policy areas.  

Share this page

Want to make something happenGet Involved or Send us a Donation