The National Assembly is standing its ground over fracking - especially as the now unrestrained wholly Conservative Westminster government has announced its plans to speed up the processes by which fracking applications are considered. Here in Wales we have a temporary moratorium on fracking, while in England the pressure is growing from Westminster for fracking applications to be dealt with in 16 weeks.
This cautious approach (at least in Wales) is a sensible one, especially as their are potentially serious environmental implications for the fracking process. During the last Westminster election, my former Conservative opponent was more than happy to demonstrate his lack of concern for the environment, presumably working on the assumption that he will dead and gone before having to face any environmental consequences.
Wales is home to vast natural wealth, but for too long, Westminster has benefited from the exploitation and export of our resources. It makes sense to see control over our natural resources and major energy projects to be devolved from Westminster to the National Assembly so that the people of Wales benefit from them.
That way, we can dramatically increase our renewable energy capacity with a focus on tidal and hydro sources, and protect our communities from damaging Westminster policies such as fracking and over-reliance on fossil fuels. We need to introduce a Climate Change Act for Wales, adopting challenging but achievable greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2030 and 2050.
Our communities should be able to benefit more from energy generation, with local people owning and investing in energy projects as has happened in Scotland. We should also look into establishing local power grids and a Wales-wide national energy grid to secure energy transmission around Wales, linking north and south entry points undersea.
Some 85,000 households in Wales fell into fuel poverty between 2011-2014 bringing the total to 450,000. In such an energy-rich nation this is nothing short of disgraceful. That is why Plaid Cymru is committed to a fairer, greener, more prosperous Wales where our resources can be put to use in a manner that benefits our communities, our environment and our economy.