Sustainable Development: Better Choices for a Better Future; John Griffiths, Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development

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Byline: John Griffiths

The Welsh Government is committed to ensuring the best possible future for Wales and I believe sustainable development (SD) is the right path to achieve this. This is because the SD approach promotes economic, social and environmental wellbeing and enhances people's quality of life in Wales, both now and in the long term.

We want a Wales where communities are safe, sustainable, and attractive places for people to live and work, where people have access to services and enjoy good health. A fair, just and bilingual nation, in which citizens of all ages and backgrounds are empowered to determine their own lives, shape their communities and achieve their full potential.

To achieve this we need to design and build organisations, infrastructure and public services that will serve us for the long term, and are affordable to run and maintain. The Welsh Government has already put SD principles at the heart of many of its policies.

We were the first UK country to introduce a mandatory charge for carrier bags. Not only has this reduced bag use by up to 96% in some retail sectors in Wales, it has also seen thousands of pounds from bag sales being passed directly to good causes.

The bag charge has delivered real benefits for our local communities and for Wales' beautiful landscape. It symbolises our commitment not to be a throw-away society.

In education we are investing in our children's future through our support for early years and for university tuition fees. This is aimed at levelling the playing field for children from all backgrounds because we want to help all our young people to prosper. We have also invested in the nation's long-term health with our policy of free prescriptions. …