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Well-being objective 10: Look after the environment now and in the future

Why is this objective important?

  • The Natural Environment is a core component of sustainable development. The Environment (Wales) Act 2016 expands the duty placed on public bodies, requiring them to maintain & enhance biodiversity & promote ecosystem resilience.
  • A biodiverse natural environment, with healthy functioning ecosystems, supports social, economic and ecological resilience. Carmarthenshire’s natural environment is the natural resource on which much of our economy is based – tourism, farming, forestry, and renewable energy. It is a major factor that attracts people, both young and older to live, work and visit the county, bringing inward investment with them.
  • The conservation and enhancement of biodiversity is vital in our response to climate change and key ecosystem services such as food, flood management, pollination, clean air and water.
  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic showed the strong relationship between residents’ well-being and their surrounding natural environment from providing recreational opportunities, to psychological positivity, health benefits and a connection to heritage and culture.
  • We have declared a climate emergency as a Council and were the first in Wales to have published our Route Towards becoming a Net Zero Carbon Local Authority by 2030. In July 2020 public services across Wales pledged to ensuring decarbonisation.

Why should this concern us?

  • The environment contributes £8.8 billion of goods and services annually to the Welsh economy, 9% of Welsh GDP and 1 in 6 Welsh jobs; with the environment being relatively more important to the Welsh economy than is the case for the other UK nations.
  • Annual budget consultation results show that ‘Looking after the environment now and for the future’ is the second most important Well-being Objective to citizens.
  • A biodiverse natural environment, with healthy functioning ecosystems, supports social, economic and ecological resilience, as well as our health and well-being. Ash Dieback will see significant tree loss.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic saw an increased appreciation of the benefits of access to the natural environment and air quality, and concerns about fly-tipping, littering and recycling.
  • Rising sea levels are likely to impact not only the 6,388 properties in Carmarthenshire already at risk of tidal and rising river level flooding, but additional properties along our coastal and river communities as a result of increased frequency and intensity of storm events such as storms Callum and Dennis. A biodiverse natural environment will be more resilient to both climate change, and changes in sea level.