'Create new jobs - but protect our environment too'
A VETERAN green campaigner said Wales must seize the opportunity to create jobs while protecting the environment for future generations.
Sir Jonathon Porritt was taking part in discussions today on Welsh Government proposals to introduce new "sustainability" legislation.
He said: "Wales has put itself in a position to demonstrate to people what real leadership on sustainable development looks like — at a time when people are crying out for policies which create jobs and generate wealth whilst simultaneously protecting the environment and addressing the challenge of accelerating climate change.
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"It's an exciting opportunity — and needs to be seized urgently and with real political purpose."
The aim of the Welsh Government's Sustainable Development Bill is to help ensure that decisions were based on what was best for the long-term future of Wales rather than short-term fixes.
The bill, if enacted, will make sustainable development the core of all decisions of the Welsh Government and the country's public bodies.
Sir Jonathon, the former director of Friends of the Earth and current WWF ambassador, was sharing his thoughts today with Welsh Government Environment Minister John Griffiths and a cross-party committee of AMs, among others.
Sir Jonathon told the Post previously that he backed proposals for a Severn barrage from near Cardiff to Weston-super-Mare, as long as it complied with strict European habitat and bird directives. And he also urged people to set aside their hostility to wind farms.
"I think there is a very strong sense among local communities that these schemes are being dumped on them, and that they don't have a chance to have a say," he said.
"Evidence shows that once wind farms are in place, local people become supportive. They don't maintain their hostility."
Speaking ahead of today's meeting in Cardiff, Environment Minister Mr Griffiths said: "As a government we are committed to putting sustainable development at the heart of everything we do.
"In practice this means making decisions that are based on what is best for the long term future of Wales rather than short-term fixes."