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Section highlightHouses into homes This report details findings to emerge from the evaluation during the first six months of delivery (April to September 2012).
Written Statement - The Draft Control of Dogs (Wales) Bill »We are committed to ensuring that out-of-control and dangerous dogs are dealt with effectively.Learn more »
Minister tells NHS managers: "Listen to your staff and take action"
Health Minister Mark Drakeford has given a clear message to NHS managers to take action in response to the recent NHS Wales staff survey
- Minister supports International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia
- Porth Eirias set to be major North Wales attraction
- Minister tells NHS managers: "Listen to your staff and take action"
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Section highlightAccess to information
The Welsh Government has followed the principles of openness in government for many years. Find out how you can make a freedom of information request or see requests that have already been made.
National minimum standards for regulated child care »These standards determine whether child minding and day care settings are providing adequate care for children under the age of 8.Learn more »
- Continuity and Change - Refreshing the Relationship between Welsh Government and the Third Sector in Wales
- Repealing air quality ‘Further Assessments’ from Part IV of the Environment Act 1995
- Equality Impact Assessment of the 2014-2020 Rural Development Plan for Wales
- Consultation on the Equality Impact Assessments for the 2014-2020 Structural Funds Programmes in Wales
- Development of a national standards and outcomes framework for Children and Young People's advocacy services in Wales
- Strategic Environmental Assessment: Environmental Report, Rural Development Plan for Wales 2014-2020
Featured consultation »Implementing the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011
30 days left
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Section highlightFurther and Higher Education (Governance and Information) (Wales) Bill 2013
Removes a number of technical restrictions and controls on colleges without changing the principal powers of colleges to provide further, higher and secondary education.
Legislative programme 2012 - 2013 »
Addressing the Assembly in the Senedd today, the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, detailed the eight bills in the Welsh Government’s 5-year Legislative Programme that will be brought forward during the second year of the Welsh Assembly.Learn more »
Section highlightCommunity Infrastructure Levy
Local authorities can charge a Community Infrastructure Levy on new developments to support the infrastructure needed.
2nd Supplementary Budget 2012-13 »
Proposes a number of changes to the 1st Supplementary Budget for 2012-13, which was published on 26 June 2012.Learn more »
Written - Planning for Sustainable Buildings
Last Thursday in Ruthin I launched the first National Sustainable Building Planning Policy in the UK. The innovative planning policy sets a minimum national sustainability standard for most new buildings proposed in Wales from the 1st September 2009.
For new homes this will:
- reduce their carbon emissions compared to current building regulations through energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy;
- reduce the consumption of water, and
- increase the use of sustainable materials.
This is the latest demonstration of the Welsh Assembly Government’s commitment to protecting our environment for future generations. Making our new buildings greener will play an important part in reducing our carbon footprint as the built environment is the largest contributor to greenhouse gasses in Wales. The way in which we construct our homes and buildings accounts for 40 per cent of our total carbon emissions. We need to do everything we can to make new buildings as environmentally friendly as possible. I am determined to use the planning system in concert with what we hope to be devolved Building Regulations to help to deliver our carbon reduction targets and move towards low and zero carbon new buildings. The new policy will play a key role in helping to achieve this.
The policy uses two methods for assessing the sustainability of new homes and other non-domestic building such as offices and shops. These are the Code for Sustainable Homes, which last year the Assembly Government adopted as the preferred tool to assess the sustainability of new homes. For non-domestic buildings the policy uses the well-established Building Research Establishment’s Environment Assessment Method (BREEAM).
The policy has taken into account the outcome of the consultation exercise held last summer, the views of an expert stakeholder group, and evidence presented to the Sustainability Committee Inquiry into Carbon Reduction in Wales.
The main parts of the policy are:
Housing proposals will be expected to meet the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 3 and reduce carbon emissions by at least 31%, compared to current building regulations
Non domestic buildings will be expected to meet the BREEM ‘Very Good’ standard as a minimum and achieve ‘Excellent’ for carbon reduction.
Introduction of the policy will be phased to allow local authorities and developers to make the necessary arrangements. Housing developments of 5 or more dwellings submitted for planning permission after 1st September 2009 will be subject to the policy with all new housing developments being included from September 2010.
From September this year the policy will apply to all non domestic buildings submitted for planning permission with a floor area of over 1,000 square metres.
To support delivery of the new policy I also published last week for consultation a draft Technical Advice Note on Planning for Sustainable Buildings. The Draft TAN provides a step by step guide on how to implement the policy for both developers and planning officers.
I was very pleased to be able to launch the policy at the Glasdir Development in Ruthin. This development has achieved ‘Excellent’ under the BREEAM EcoHomes scheme and won the Wales BREEAM EcoHomes award at the Greener Homes event last year. This scheme demonstrates that developers can build to higher environmental standards than required by the Building Regulations. It also demonstrates that there are opportunities to pursue a more sustainable approach to new building throughout Wales.
On the same day I also visited the Eithinog development in Bangor. This housing scheme funded partly by the Social Housing Grant through a partnership between the local authority and the housing association – Tai Eryri has delivered homes that achieve level 4 of the Code. I was very interested to see for myself what a real code 4 home looked like --- a home that points the way to the future of new homes in Wales.
National planning policy can only take us so far and some local planning authorities may wish to go further on certain strategic sites. For this reason the new policy also encourages local authorities to actively seek opportunities where development can exceed national minimum standards.
In November last year I announced the UK first green building charter, with more than 50 representatives of the building sector committing themselves to support progress towards a built environment that contributes low or zero net carbon emissions as soon as practically possible. With Wales leading the rest of the UK in this field, the Welsh construction sector now has a huge opportunity to gain competitive advantage in this growing market, and a substantial role to play in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
We have entered the final stages of negotiations with the UK Government to secure devolution of the Building Regulations and hope to be in a position to inform the National Assembly of the outcome in the very near future. The planning policy announced last week complements our devolution aspirations. It starts us down the road to low and zero carbon new buildings and delivers sustainability in the built environment.
Publishing a new policy is only part of the story and I am very keen to support all involved in implementation. I am seeking to ensure that building designers and contractors have the information that they require to help to deliver our zero carbon aspirations. The 'Zero Carbon Development and Support Programme' will act as a bridge between policy and delivery with the emphasis on sharing of information across the industry. I also welcome the continuing support of the Design Commission for Wales in improving the sustainability and design quality of buildings across Wales.
Planning authorities in concert with their building control colleagues have key role to play in implementing the policy. Whilst I have sought to minimise the impact that the policy will have on local authorities by setting a national minimum standard and using the external quality assurance process provided by Code for Sustainable Home and BREEAM assessors, I do recognise that support needs to provided. I have provided a grant to the Royal Town Planning Institute Cymru to roll out training to over 100 local authority planning officers on 'Planning and Climate Change: Delivering Sustainable Buildings and Good Design’ which is currently underway across Wales. The initial feed back has been very positive and I will consider providing additional support if there is unmet demand.
Addressing the sustainability of new buildings is only part of the story - much more needs to be done to improve the performance of the existing building stock. Our National Energy Efficiency and Savings Plan published in March this year, demonstrates how the Assembly Government will reduce carbon emissions from the existing building stock. We have also published the 'Improving your home - A Climate Change Guide' to encourage householders to improve their homes in a sustainable way. Over 11,000 copies of this guide have been disseminated to local planning authorities across Wales and is available in selected Welsh DIY stores.
The introduction of this policy and the devolution of the Building Regulations will provide a major step towards low and zero carbon new buildings in Wales. When combined with our National Energy Efficiency and Savings Plan it sets out a clear framework to reduce future carbon emissions from the built environment sector.