Skip to main content

3. Legislative and Policy Context

International Stage

The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016.

Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate neutral world by mid-century.

The COP15 UN Biodiversity Summit in Montreal focused on conservation and efforts to protect biodiversity.  The outcome was a global commitment to protect a third of the planet for nature by 2030 as well as reduce food waste by 50%

UK Government

In 2019, the UK Government amended the Climate Change Act 2008 to commit the UK to achieving net zero by 2050, enhancing the previous target of an 80% reduction by this time.  Five year carbon budgets are enshrined into law and are legally binding in nature.  The Climate Change Committee, an independent body, reports on progress to Parliament. 

Welsh Government

Welsh Government has established a legislative and policy framework that both enables and drives action on climate change, holding public bodies to account. 

The Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 established seven wellbeing goals into law and requires public bodies to carry out sustainable development (defined as the process of improving the economic, social, environmental and cultural wellbeing of Wales).   The Wellbeing goals include a requirement to work towards

  • a “Globally Responsible Wales,” a nation which, when doing anything to improve the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales, takes account of whether doing such a thing may make a positive contribution to global well-being.
  • a “Resilient Wales,” a nation which maintains and enhances a biodiverse natural environment with healthy functioning ecosystems that support social, economic and ecological resilience and the capacity to adapt to change.

Importantly, the Act also requires public bodies to adopt five ways of working, all of which are relevant to environmental sustainability. 

The Future Generations: 5 ways of working logos. Involvement, Collaboration, Long-Term, Integration, Prevention.

The Environment (Wales) Act 2016 puts into place a modern statutory process to plan and manage our natural resources in a joined  up and sustainable way.   It provides a framework to ensure that managing our natural resources is a core consideration in decision-making and a new biodiversity duty. 

In April 2019, the Senedd became the first Parliament to declare a Climate Emergency.  In June 2021, Welsh Government also declared a Nature Emergency. 

The Climate Change (Wales) Regulations 2021 introduced carbon budgets as targeted reductions against the baseline, working towards a net zero Wales by 2050. 

The Welsh Government has further set an ambition for the Welsh public sector to be net zero by 2030.  As a Welsh Government Sponsored Body, we are aiming for this earlier date, and have been working through our response to the climate and nature emergencies.

Welsh Government and Senedd Climate Emergency Declarations 2019

LegislationStrategyMinisterial Action
Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015Prosperity for All-Economic Action Plan (2017)Net Zero Public Sector by 2030
Environment (Wales) Act 2016 (Amendment of 2050 Emission Target)Prosperity for All - A Climate Conscious Wales (2020)70% of Wales electricity to be renewable by 2030
The Climate Change (Carbon Budgets) (Wales) Regulations 2021Programme for Government 2021 - 20261GW of electricity generated in Wales to be locally owned by 2030
 Net Zero Wales Carbon Budget 2 (2021-25)All new energy developments to have a element of local ownership

A strategic overview for the Welsh public sector has also been provided through the Net Zero Carbon Status by 2030 route map for decarbonisation, which highlights the priority areas for action and milestones needed for the Welsh public sector to collectively reach net zero by 2030.  We have used this framework to support us in the development of this Plan, setting out a three-stage journey towards net zero.

Our remit letter for this term of government also places emphasis on decarbonisation and environmental sustainability as a shared goal and reiterates the support expected for the Welsh Government’s net zero (public sector) by 2030 ambition.

Local Ambitions

Sport Wales owns the Plas Menai National Outdoor Centre for Wales in Gwynedd and the Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff.  The two local authorities have both declared a climate and nature emergency and have produced strategies and action plans in response.  This provides an opportunity for Sport Wales to align with local ambitions on environmental sustainability and to work collaboratively to achieve this.