It may sound a little unusual, but one of my favourite things to do on the weekend is to visit the recycling tip in St David’s. It has almost become a must-do activity. There is nothing better than a good clear out, and a clear out where recycling is involved is better than anything!
It’s great news that Wales is now placed third in the world in terms of recycling behind only Germany and Taiwan. Wales is seen as a global leader due to investment and political leadership – a reflection of the high emphasis the Welsh Labour Government places on recycling levels with Wales now recycling double the amount it did a decade ago.
Some of this activity has been driven by European Union laws that meant it cost a huge amount of money to send rubbish to landfill sites. The idea was to encourage countries to re-cycle, and Wales has undertaken this with gusto! Soon the Welsh Government will take over responsibility from the UK Government for collecting tax from landfill sites. It is one of the first tax laws to be introduced in Wales in over 500 years! The irony is that this is a tax where we will be quite happy to collect less, as it is a tax that tries to incentivise behavior.
Another area where the Welsh Government has shown great leadership is on the issue of flood risk management. Whilst in England they were cutting back on flood risk support, in Wales the Welsh Government realised that homes and businesses were at risk and that something had to be done. I remember once wading back to my home up to my knees in water and sewage and remembering the devastation felt by others when I saw the wreckage in their kitchens and so many of their valuable family items damaged.
Last week the Welsh Government went one step further and announced an extra £32 million to support communities at risk from flooding. This amount comes on top of the £144m already allocated for flood risk management over the five-year Labour Government term, in addition to the £150 million which is protecting homes and businesses along our coasts.