Wales is rich in resources and possesses a workforce that is highly skilled. The trouble is that these skills are not necessarily deployed in ways that would help Wales recover from the pandemic, nor prepare Wales for the climate chaos that is just around the corner. “Greens have policies that provide solutions for all these problems and, what’s more, those policies deal with the dreadful poverty in Wales too. It is unacceptable that one in three children is brought up in a poor household.” It is the Green Party’s vision for a more equal society, with a Universal Basic Income at its heart, that made Harry Hayfield join up in the first place and stand for the Senedd.
How does this vision become reality? “The Green Party would invest properly in renewable energy and would use the skills in Wales to build components. For instance, the steel industry could be transitioned to build wind turbines. In Scotland an old shipyard manufactures turbine towers. If the Scots can do it, so can we!” To get to zero carbon by 2030, more energy has to come from electricity which means we need better batteries. “Let’s get our Welsh industries and universities develop such technology,” argues Harry.
Housing and transport also need to become far greener. A Passivhaus uses 90% less energy than a conventional dwelling. Yet we still allow new housing stock to be built without solar panels, with outdated boilers, with parking for two cars, and away from essential local services, in short, as if there is no climate emergency. “We would strengthen the planning regulations to make that a thing of the past. We would also bring empty buildings into use for decent houses.” Harry realises that there are certain problems with this such as VAT which is 20% on refurbishment. “That is not an incentive and Greens will lobby the UK Government to change this immediately.” Planning law should also discourage driving; hence more investment is needed in public transport and in creating safer cycling and pedestrian routes. Harry concludes, “Greens have been saying this for decades. A Green Recovery Plan will create thousands of jobs. It is time to stop tinkering around the edges. Our planet can’t afford to wait any longer.”