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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 October, 2003, 07:19 GMT 08:19 UK
Assembly green action criticised
Renewable energy needs to be encouraged

A lack of "joined up" thinking in the way the Welsh assembly tackles sustainable development has been criticised by the head of a conservation campaign group.

Morgan Parry, from World Wildlife Fund Cymru, says while the assembly is doing well working with other provincial governments on sustainable issues, it is not doing enough at home.

If things like energy conservation and waste management were actually happening in unison - instead of "little bits here and there and not particularly joined up, we could really begin to make a difference and Wales could become world leaders".

However, Environment Minister Carwyn Jones said it would take time for people in Wales to take sustainability seriously.

Mr Parry's criticisms follow a new academic report" Living Differently" commissioned by WWF Cymru which recommends that Welsh councils which do not improve their environmental and social policies should have funding withheld.

The report outlines two main obstacles to the assembly's plans for a more environmentally-friendly Wales.

The assembly needs to start delivering on its promises
Morgan Parry, WWF Cymru
One reason is a lack of commitment from local authorities, while another is the failure of public bodies like the Welsh Development Agency to embrace the principles in their work.

Mr Parry told BBC Wales that there was "open hostility at senior levels of the Welsh Development Agency" to sustainable development.

"It's a real challenge for the WDA to recognise that this is the way forward.

"There are good projects that the WDA is funding around Wales, but corporately they have not bought into this agenda at all," he said.

Sustainability was " an attitude of mind" which Mr Parry said he believed " did not exist in enough senior places and public authorities in Wales.

Solar power is becoming a popular choice
The Living Differently report from Cardiff University suggests that funding should only be given for sustainable projects like waste reduction, renewable energy, and the promotion of local produce.

The report has been launched to coincide with the assembly's review of the progress of its sustainable development work - first announced three years ago.

It concluded that, while expectations had been raised, key challenges with global significance still needed to be addressed.

The assembly will reveal the findings of its own review on Wednesday.

Environment Minister Carwyn Jones said; "It is true to say{sustainability} has gone from the drawing board into practice.

"But it is going to take time for people to take it seriously.

"We have actually mainstreamed the concept through the work of the assembly, and we have to continue to roll it out to other bodies and agencies in Wales."

Mr Parry said Wales should follow the lead of the Scottish Executive and making local authorities bid for funds that would enable communities to implement sustainable projects.

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