HC Deb 22 June 1992 vol 210 cc10-1
10. Mr. Dafis

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales who in his Department has been appointed to oversee and develop green issues; how many civil servants have been allocated new or additional responsibilities to deal with the management and development of green issues; and what additional allocation of resources has been made to support programmes related to green issues in his Department.

Mr. Gwilym Jones

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales has assumed personal responsibility for overseeing the Welsh Office's environmental policies and programmes. The Department's wide-ranging respon-sibilities mean that environmental issues impact either directly or indirectly on the workloads of all Welsh Office staff. All are encouraged to take the environment into account in their day-to-day work. Full details of the financial provision in 1992–93 for environmental program-mes are set out in the departmental report published in February.

Mr. Dafis

Does the Minister recognise that, following the Earth summit in Rio, ecological sustainability is now fundamental to all economic policy and that that has implications for economic development in Wales? Does he further recognise that west Wales has considerable potential for green developments, not least in renewable energy? What plans does the hon. Gentleman have for promoting such developments—[HON. MEMBERS: "Reading."] Yes, I am reading my notes. What plans does the Minister have for promoting such developments and ensuring that when they occur they will not be an almighty rip-off of the Welsh economy? That has happened many times in Welsh economic life, for example, in opencast coal—

Madam Speaker

Order. I remind the hon. Gentleman that this is Question Time; he is making a speech. Will he now come directly to his question, as time is passing?

Mr. Dafis

What plans does the Minister have for developing that green potential—

Madam Speaker

Order. I am much obliged.

Mr. Jones

I join the hon. Gentleman in welcoming the successful outcome of the Earth summit in Rio. I assure him that the Welsh Office was fully consulted before and during the conference.

On the hon. Gentleman's final point, the work of conserving the Welsh environment is well under way. As he will note in the departmental report, the allocation to the environmental services programme is planned to be £194.5 million, an increase of £21.3 million. In addition, the WDA is carrying through its environmental improvement programme, which involves an increase of £15 million. Cadw's programme is up by £4 million and the programme for the Countryside Council for Wales is up by £3 million.