Success stories

Since being established in 1984, Friends of the Earth Cymru has had many victories protecting the environment, working with Welsh communities and our local groups.





Collection of plastic rubbish on the ground

December 2022: Ban on single-use plastic products


The Senedd approves The Environmental Protection (Single-use Plastic Products) (Wales) Bill, which bans a range of single use plastics. We lobbied to ensure that single use plastic bags used in pharmacies were added to the list.

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Piece of peat in someone's hand

December 2022: Peat sales in wales finally to peter out


Welsh Government announces they will ban the sale of peat-based compost products to the horticulture sector in Wales - something we had long been calling for!

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Two children holding hands as they walk down a country road with fields in the distance

July 2022: Breakthrough on clean air

First Minister, Mark Drakeford announces that a Clean Air Bill will be included in the legislative programme for the next Senedd year 2022/3.

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Picture of a runway

June 2022: North-south airlink subsidy scrapped


Friends of the Earth Cymru has been calling for subsidy to be scrapped for years. We lobbied Welsh Government and worked with the Liberal Democrats, to raise this issue in the Senedd. In June 2022 Welsh Government announced it would now not be renewing the contract and thus the subsidy would cease.

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From L to R: Jack Sargeant MS, First Minister Mark Drakeford and Bleddyn Lake from Friends of the Earth Cymru

May 2022: Progress on pensions


We worked alongside Jack Sargeant to table a motion for the Welsh Government agree to work with the public sector to agree a strategy to decarbonise pensions by 2030. The motion was passed by the Senedd and the Welsh Government supported it.

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Picture of Uskmouth Power Station

April 2022: Uskmouth Incinerator proposal thrown out

In early 2021, we objected to plans to convert the old Uskmouth coal fired power station near Newport into an incinerator which would have burned plastic pellets sourced from around the UK. Welsh Government issued an official ‘call-in’, as there is now a moratorium on new incinerators in Wales, and we kept up the pressure. In late April 2022, the company withdraws their plans. The incinerator proposal is now at an end.

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Climate rally in Llangollen

November 2021: The Climate Talks (COP26)


On the Global Day of Action for the Climate on 6 November our network of Friends of the Earth local groups and Climate Action Groups were front and centre of all the action, joining marches and other events across Wales including Bangor, Llangollen, Ruthin, Newtown, Pontypridd, and Swansea - in Caerphilly, a whole tiny forest was planted!


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Ice sculpture outside the Senedd

October 2021: Call for Climate action!


In the run up to the Global Climate Talks (COP26) over 3000 of our supporters sign our petition to Welsh Government calling for an ambitious climate action plan. We join Climate Cymru, Stop Climate Chaos Cymru and other organisations to present our petition, alongside Climate Cymru ‘voices’, to Welsh Government, in front of a giant ice heart.

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Colin Chambers / Bryn Titli Wind Farm

October 2021:  Net zero plan published


In October 2021, Welsh Government publish their Net Zero Wales plan. The net zero target of 2050 is not ambitious enough and neither is this plan, but it is a definite step forward and proposals from our Climate Action Plan for Wales have been included.

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A main road

June 2021: Freeze on new road building


On Tuesday 22 June 2021 the newly created Climate Change Ministry announces a freeze on new road building projects in Wales, following decades of road campaigning by Friends of the Earth Cymru alongside other organisations, local groups, and activists across Wales.

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Photo of the Senedd

May 2021: Senedd election


In the lead up to the Senedd Election on 6 May, 121 candidates (and 41% of Senedd members) sign our climate action pledge, and some of our local groups arranged online hustings.

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Ilustration with lots of images such as reusable contains, stainless steel lunch box

March 2021: ‘Beyond recycling’


The Welsh Government’s ‘Beyond Recycling’ strategy includes many things we’d been calling for ages, including charges on single-use cups.

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Uskmouth Power Station

March 2021: Incinerators go up in smoke (finally!)


Decades of community and individual campaigning against incinerators finally paid off when Welsh Government introduced a moratorium on any new incinerators in Wales. 

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Lots of people cycling on a road with a bus in the background

March 2021: New Welsh transport strategy


‘Llwybr Newydd’ is a new opportunity to make our transport system fairer on people and communities throughout Wales, and on the planet. The new transport strategy took on board many of the recommendations in our transport report, published in Summer 2020, and our consultation response.

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Illustration of a book entitled 'Climate Action Plan for Wales'

March 2021: Council climate action plans


By the end of March 2021 all councils in Wales have to have some sort of climate action plan. In the months leading up to the deadline, our network of local groups, climate action groups and activists lobbied their councils to ensure they were ambitious enough.

Three children walking down a countryside path with blue skies above

2020: cross party support for clean air


Friends of the Earth Cymru, as an active member of Healthy Air Cymru, is campaigning for a Clean Air Act for Wales. In 2020, the main political parties in Wales – Welsh Labour, Plaid Cymru, the Welsh Conservatives and the Welsh Liberal Democrats – agreed in principle that there should be one.

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Drawing of the Senedd with factory chimneys

2020: Welsh AM pension scheme divests


The Welsh Assembly Member Pension Scheme take the decision to move nearly all their investments away from fossil fuel companies and set themselves a timeline for ditching the rest. This move follows a highly successful divestment campaign by Friends of the Earth Cymru. Friends of the Earth local groups and activists secured the support of individual Assembly Members while thousands of people around Wales took an online action supporting our call to divest.

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People protesting at a M4 relief road rally with the text 'You did it'

2019: M4 Relief Road rejected


After nearly 30 decades of campaigning by local people, Friends of the Earth Cymru, and other campaigning groups, First Minister Mark Drakeford scraps plans to build the M4 Relief Road. The reasons given were cost, the global climate crisis, and the environmental impact on the unique landscape of the Gwent Levels. It was a huge win for everyone involved in the campaign over the years.

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Rainbow over countryside in South Wales (courtesy of Eddy Blanche)

2018: Wales commits to a fossil-free future


In December 2018, the Welsh Government makes the historic decision to place fossil fuels, including by fracking, at the bottom of a new 'energy hierarchy' that promotes renewable energy developments.  Future coal mining applications would be rejected as a matter of policy.

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6 people standing side by side in a balcony holding up 'I suppose a fracking ban in Wales' placards

2018: Effective ban on fracking in Wales


Fracking was a key campaign for Friends of the Earth Cymru for many, many years, until December 2018 when the Welsh Government said that will not issue or support new petroleum licences. This new policy, together with the new edition of the Planning Policy Wales (PPW) means that an effective ban on fracking in Wales is now in place.

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Red squirrel by Hefin Owen on Flickr (creative commons)

2016: Environment Act


A huge win for the Welsh environmental movement was getting a legal framework for cutting emissions in Wales and putting legislation in place to manage our natural resources in a more sustainable way.

Bee on flower

2016: Bee Friendly Scheme in Wales


Following on from our success in 2013 with commitment from the Welsh Government on the National Pollinator Action Plan, The Bee Friendly Scheme was launches in Autumn 2016. It is a new Wales wide accreditation scheme, where communities, schools, universities, businesses etc. can achieve a 'Bee Friendly' status by completing creative and interactive 'tasks' under headings; habitat, forage, pesticides and community involvement. It is backed by the Welsh Government and the various nature and conservation organisations in Wales. 

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L​ocal communities celebrate the council's unanimous decision to reject an application for a new opencast coal mine, in Nant Llesg, near Merthyr Tydfil in south Wales, Caerphilly County Council, 5 August 2015

2015: Nant Llesg


Following a long-running campaign by the United Valleys Action Group, Merthyr Tydfil FoE and local communities, Caerphilly County Council rejects a planning application for a massive new opencast coal mine at Nant Llesg, near Merthyr Tydfil. The proposal to extract six million tonnes of coal from the 478 acre site over 14 years was rejected on grounds of visual impact by 12 votes against and two abstentions.

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Two children with tiger faces at a tree planting event

2015: Well-being on Future Generations Act 


The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act, is the culmination of three years’ campaigning by the Sustainable Development Alliance – a coalition of 30 organisations, which includes Friends of the Earth Cymru.

It is a ground-breaking new law, which places a clear duty on public bodies to put the long term wellbeing of people, nature and future generations at the heart of all decision making. This law will come into full effect in April 2016.


2013 - National Pollinator Action Plan


The Welsh Government announce their commitment to produce a National Pollinator Action Plan – a direct response to our primary campaign ask.

Great news for bees (in Wales at least!) and also for the campaign in its own right which is trying to shift public and political mindsets about the critical importance of biodiversity.

Picture of campaigners outside a council building holding up letters spelling 'UVAG WON'

2011: Covanta scraps plans for incinerator in Merthyr


This massive incinerator would have been able to burn more than all the residual waste in Wales. Covanta's decision is a huge win for communities in Merthyr and Rhymney valley who had fought long and hard against the proposals. 


Three women in front of a stand holding and displaying canvas bags with the title 'The Abergavenny Bag'

2010: plastic bag charge


Friends of the Earth local groups around Wales led the campaign for a charge on single use plastic bags, with many groups also producing their own reusable cloth bags to give away to shoppers in their communities

Waves crashing into the seafront at Aberystwyth

2010: Climate change


The Welsh Government, having been the first in the world to set annual targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions after our persistent lobbying, introduced an action plan including many of our recommendations.

Severn Estuary

2010: Severn Barrage sunk


The long campaign against the large Cardiff to Weston Severn Barrage finally succeeds. The Government was urged to back less damaging ways of harnessing the energy potential of the Severn Estuary.

Friends of the Earth Cymru and Wales local group members visit Pant y Wal wind farm near Bridgend, Wales, October 2013/Aelodau grŵp lleol Cyfeillion y Ddaear Cymru a Chymru yn ymweld â fferm wynt Pant y Wal ger Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr, Cymru, Hydref 2013

2000s: Yes to wind


Busting myths about wind power, and campaigns in support of specific projects helped gain clean green energy from wind farms at Cefn Croes (2002), Tir Mostyn (2002), Gwynt y Môr (2009) and Wear Point (2010).

Friends of the Earth GM campaign

2000: GM-free Wales


Our campaign to keep Wales free of genetically modified crops and to support environmentally friendly farming, launched in 1999, was unanimously backed by Welsh Assembly Members the following year.

Update: GM Free Wales at last as Welsh Government requests ban on all crops October 2015

Pembroke Power Station

1997: "Filthiest" fuel defeated


A campaign against Pembroke Power Station's plans to burn orimulsion, described as the world's filthiest fuel, succeeds alongside calls for greater support for energy efficiency and renewable energy systems.

Picture of a sea bird covered in oil

1995: Sea Empress prosecution


Following the Sea Empress oil spill at Milford Haven in 1996, we gathered evidence of the extent of environmental damage and prepared a legal case. The Environment Agency took up the case and successfully prosecuted the Port Authority in 1999.

Bottlenose dolphins by Rudney Uezu on Unsplash

1995: Marine life protected


A complaint to Europe, made jointly with Friends of Cardigan Bay to protect this rich marine habitat, forced the UK government to require environmental impact assessments for oil and gas drilling in all UK waters.

​  Dawnus construction workers building a roundabout on the A470 at Dolgellau by-pass junction (Image: Daily Post Wales) ​

1990s-2009: road expansion


Strong campaigns defeated a number of unnecessary road building projects, from bypasses through Snowdonia in the early 1990s, to the dualling of the A40 in west Wales and the monstrous Gwent Levels motorway in 2009.

Effects of acid rain, woods, Jizera Mountains, Czech Republic (creative commons)

1980s: acid rain

In 1984, Friends of the Earth Cymru took a lead role in creating greater awareness of the problem of acid rain. We helped to bring about reductions in polluting emissions in Wales.

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