While the Welsh Assembly government has committed Wales to annual carbon reduction-equivalent emissions of 3% per year by 2011 in areas of devolved competence, Plaid has recognised that climate change is more severe than previously realised. The National Assembly agreed, with cross-party support, to reduce emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2020 - this is an important necessary step forward.
Plaid will work to ensure that this decision is turned into meaningful and effective action to achieve the full reduction, and calls on Westminster to follow Wales' lead. Yet, if we are going to achieve this sort of massive reduction, then we must ensure that Wales is able to decide our own energy priorities. Plaid Cymru demands the full devolution of all powers over energy policy to the National Assembly.
Wales can be self-sustaining in energy generation by 2020 and we must take full advantage of our renewable energy resources and support micro generation and other small-scale sustainable power generation schemes, including tidal, wave-power, on-shore and off-shore wind, hydro and biomass.
We are completely opposed to decisions on large energy projects being taken outside Wales by the new Infrastructure Planning Unit. NB - Decisions will now be taken through a new unit formed within the Planning Inspectorate with the final decision on projects being made by Westminster Ministers.
Any future energy projects in Wales should be decided democratically, and by a body which is accountable to the people of Wales. Plaid welcomed the decision to scrap the Severn Barrage Cardiff-Weston project, as we have always believed that, instead, a combination of lagoons and tidal-stream turbines would minimise environmental damage while maximising zero-carbon electricity generation at a cost affordable to consumers.
Plaid has called for emission performance standards for all new power stations and we reaffirm our opposition to the construction of any new nuclear power stations in Wales. We call for research into the creation of a European Smart Power Grid for the sharing of renewable energies across Europe. We all have a responsibility to improve energy efficiency within our homes and to use more renewable energy.
Lets not forget that the old New Labour Government in Westminster made sure that control over water and large energy projects was specifically kept under the control of Westminster. And this situation has continued under the current Conservative–Liberal Democrat Government. Plaid seek to control of our own natural resources. If it's good enough for Scotland, then it's more than good enough for Wales.
The Westminster-based parties are sending a very clear message in the coming election that they clearly don’t believe the people of Wales are capable of taking control over our own natural resources. So the clear message of this election is that - if you vote Plaid, we will demand responsibility over our nation's natural resources in order to ensure our nation can take full advantage of our wind, water, land and sea.
We not only need to take action in response to climate change but also need to tackle fuel poverty so that everybody can afford to keep warm in their homes. Despite the action taken by Plaid in government, the problem is rising sharply with a quarter of all households in Wales are experiencing fuel poverty. Plaid will continue to campaign for a windfall tax on energy companies to help pay for grants for insulation for lower income families in Westminster.
We will also work to ensure that the new feed-in tariffs encourage community-scale community beneficial renewable energy projects. We will continue to oppose the use of waste incinerators and support binding targets for waste prevention.
Plaid supports recycling targets of 80% of domestic waste by 2020 and the introduction of a higher landfill tax. And Plaid will continue to campaign for changes in public procurement legislation so that Local Authorities can favour materials from recycled and local sources, something that benefits the environment and delivers local jobs. So to start the ball rolling make sure you vote Plaid twice on Thursday 5th May!