Exploring Sustainable Wales: Minister for Climate Change Visits Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum

Sustainable Wales - A future for Wales

In a compelling showcase of Wales’ commitment to sustainable Wales and its journey towards becoming a greener nation, Julie James MS, the Welsh Government Minister for Climate Change, recently ventured to Pembrokeshire.

Her mission? To witness firsthand the remarkable work being carried out in the region to protect its coastline and drive the transition to Net Zero emissions.

Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum (PCF): Champions of Sustainability

Julie James’ visit was a momentous occasion for Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum (PCF), a community interest company established in 1996 with a vital mission. The Sea Empress disaster, which tragically saw 72,000 tonnes of oil spill into Pembrokeshire’s waters, underscored the need to address issues plaguing the coastline and its communities.

PCF’s role as a stakeholder support organisation is pivotal. It acts as a bridge, connecting communities, businesses, organisations, and decision-makers. Their goal is clear: support sustainable development and preserve coastal and marine environments for future generations.

Paving the Way for Sustainable Wales – Energy

One of the highlights of Minister Julie James’ visit was her exploration of the Marine Energy Test Area (META), expertly managed by PCF. META stands as a pioneering project, offering energy developers the unique opportunity to test a range of technologies – from wave energy to tidal energy and floating offshore wind devices – in authentic sea conditions, all under pre-consented arrangements.

META’s significance cannot be overstated; it’s the first and only facility of its kind in Wales. It exemplifies Wales’ commitment to fostering innovative solutions in renewable energy, crucial for achieving the ambitious Net Zero Wales plan and the UK’s commitment to reach Net Zero emissions by 2050.

Uniting Communities for Climate Action

PCF’s work extends far beyond META. Their initiatives span outdoor health, sustainable recreation, climate adaptation, wildlife conservation, and education. They serve as a beacon of hope, addressing the challenges coastal communities face in an era of climate change and growing pressure on natural resources.

Jetske Germing, Managing Director of PCF, highlighted the importance of their work: “Coastal communities in Pembrokeshire are at the forefront of climate change. Solutions require a dynamic, independent coastal platform to bring relevant stakeholders together. PCF’s endeavours directly contribute to the sustainability and climate change goals of the Welsh Government, including the Net Zero Wales plan. It’s fantastic to showcase our vital work to the minister.”

Collaboration for a Sustainable Future

During her visit, Minister Julie James had the opportunity to meet PCF’s key partners and community stakeholders. Representatives from the Pembrokeshire Local Nature Partnership, the Outdoor Charter Group Partnership, the Port of Milford Haven, and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority were among the distinguished guests. Additionally, developers of floating offshore wind projects, Blue Gem Wind and Floventis, attended the event.

James Parkin, Director of Nature and Tourism at Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, emphasised the significance of collaboration in addressing recreational pressures within the National Park. He said, “Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum plays an integral part in delivering the Marine Code and Outdoor Charter work, supporting our collective efforts to provide sustainable coastal solutions.”

Marine Energy: Wales’ Path to Prosperity

Marine renewable energy is another cornerstone of PCF’s mission, especially through its Marine Energy Wales (MEW) project. MEW is dedicated to establishing Wales as a global leader in marine energy, harnessing its vast wave, tidal, and wind energy resources. It serves as a vital point of contact for the industry, facilitating connections with politicians and key stakeholders. Additionally, MEW is actively involved in education and training in local schools and colleges, nurturing the next generation of green energy pioneers.

The potential is immense: marine energy could contribute over £600 million to Wales and create thousands of jobs within the next five years, particularly in the burgeoning Floating Offshore Wind industry.

Minister Julie James’ visit to Pembrokeshire served as a powerful testament to Wales’ dedication to sustainability. Through the relentless efforts of organisations like Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum, Wales is taking strides towards a greener, more sustainable future, aligning with its Net Zero ambitions and the global push for a cleaner planet.

As we look to the future, it’s organisations like PCF and initiatives like META and MEW that offer hope and inspiration for a world in dire need of sustainable solutions. Together, we can achieve a Sustainable Wales and a sustainable world for all.