Local Energy Group Urges Bridgend County Borough Council To Declare ‘Climate Emergency’


Full Document (PDF)

June 25 2019,

Climate Emergency

Climate Emergency

Increasing numbers of councils and government bodies across the UK have responded to the escalating urgency of the climate crisis by declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’.

Today, Bridgend Local Energy Group (B-LEG) urges Bridgend County Borough Council to do the same 

Pressure on governments is increasing. In May 2019, the Senedd took the decision to declare a Climate Emergency in Wales, adding to the growing list of towns and cities internationally.

Some councils have specifically stated they want their authority to be carbon neutral by 2030. (Machynlleth was the first in Wales https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-46961053)

A ‘Climate Emergency Declaration’ and supporting action plan would show that BCBC is committed to adopting strategies, policies and procurement processes fit for the future. 

B-LEG member, Kris Evans said, “By adopting a Climate Emergency Declaration, BCBC would join other pioneering councils in leading the way.

“We simply cannot afford to hand this problem down to our children. By then it will be too late.”

Supporting the B-LEG group, Sustainable Wales Trustee, Peter Morgan commented:  “People from all walks of life, especially the young, are waking up to the disturbing immediacy of the climate emergency, and of the urgent need for action.

Director Sustainable Wales, Margaret Minhinnick added: “Are we planning for a realistic future, one that must be carbon-neutral, renewable and sustainable? Or are we still living in the past, and planning for a carbon-based, consumerist and high waste economy?”

Download the full document Climate Change Declaration


Page 4 of the document enclosed suggests what a Climate Emergency declaration might look like.

The Bridgend Local Energy Group was established by the charity https://www.sustainablewales.org.uk/ to explore options for developing local, community-based low carbon energy initiatives. This occurred with the support of RENEW Wales after a series of engagement activities in 2017 stimulating awareness and highlighted by Sustainable Wales’ production Shine a Light? campaign, https://www.sustainablewales.org.uk/shine-light.

Sustainable Wales - Cymru Gynaliadwy

Sustainable Wales - Cymru Gynaliadwy is a charity that has been based in Porthcawl and Bridgend County Borough for over twenty years. It is progressive in outlook and aims to encourage behavioural change within the community https://www.sustainablewales.org.uk/

Response to Porthcawl Regeneration Plans

Last week Sustainable Wales joined the Climate Emergency Campaigns with a constructive challenge to Bridgend Borough Council.

“When will Porthcawl become a Low-Carbon Community?”

The challenge, outlined in a document  delivered to Chief Officers and Councillors,  is to see Bridgend Borough Council at the forefront of leading Porthcawl’s transition into a low-carbon community.

Porthcawl Regneration

Porthcawl Regneration

The charity’s response is submitted at exactly the same time that voices, from octogenarian Sir David Attenborough to  teenager Greta Thunberg, are being raised to describe our climate emergency, whilst student strikes and Extinction Rebellion demonstrations are occurring internationally. 

Sustainable Wales (SW) wants Bridgend Borough Council to build on its planning, energy and transport strategies and take a pioneering leadership role amongst local authorities.

“Our challenge seems ambitious, says Margaret Minhinnick, SW Director, “but reflect the bare minimum of what should be achieved by any regeneration of Porthcawl.” 

Sustainable Wales has welcomed Bridgend County Borough Council’s outline plans for the regeneration of Porthcawl. “The resort could be ‘on the cusp’ of great things” she continued.

“Porthcawl can showcase the way ahead. The resort’s regeneration provides it with perhaps the most exciting moment in its history.  Ongoing consultation with the community is therefore vital.”

Storm Porthcawl Harbour SW LOGO cover.jpg

SW volunteer, Kristian Evans, a father of two young boys, says: “The ‘climate emergency’ is happening now. Our children will bear the consequences of our choices and we cannot ignore the scale of the challenges they are facing. Kicking the can down the road is not an option.”

"We urge BCBC to seize this opportunity to make our resort relevant”, Margaret and Kris say. “A ‘bog standard’ regeneration is not what the town requires or deserves."

The document, ‘Porthcawl: a low carbon future?’ is now available on-line, whilst copies  have been sent to relevant councillors and community action groups, such as Porthcawl Civic Trust, the resort’s Chamber of Trade, and BAVO.

Download the…

Press Release (Word docx).

Response Document from Sustainable Wales (PDF screen resolution).




As part of Sustainable Wales’ ongoing campaigns regarding the vital issue of plastic pollution here is the text of a letter sent to supermarket management locally and head offices. We will be following up this campaign across 2019 and we will update you with progress reports.

The charity, Sustainable Wales, has urged local supermarket managers and UK bosses to slash their plastic packaging. Research from Greenpeace shows that current supermarket plans are inadequate. (note1)

SW Director, Margaret Minhinnick says: “Plastic-free campaigns are developing UK-wide, but the public cannot be expected to bear the burden alone.”. (e.g. Bridgend Borough Council (lead Cllr Tim Thomas) and also Porthcawl Town Council (lead Cllr Alex Harris, have joined the ‘Surfers Against Sewage plastic-free towns’ campaign. https://www.sas.org.uk/plastic-free-communities/)

Sustainable Wales (SW) encourages behavioural change within the community https://www.sustainablewales.org.uk/ 

We also offer a range of plastic-free, re-fill schemes and remade goods in our shop, SUSSED in Porthcawl.

Indeed, before the introduction of the 5p single use levy by the Welsh Assembly, SW employed a ‘plastic bag free-Bridgend campaign officer’ - working with local traders and the council, also providing evidence to the Welsh Assembly”, added Margaret.

Plaid Cymru Cllr Tim Thomas commented.
"I am always keen to look at innovative ways to reduce our single use plastic and I welcome the initiatives from Sustainable Wales to tackle this problem at source from supermarkets. The public have certainly played their part and many people have changed their behaviour, it's high time large supermarkets reciprocate." 
he continued.

(Note 1)

According to Greenpeace and Environment Investigation Agency (Dec 2018) the top 10 supermarkets collectively put more than 810,000 tonnes of plastic on the market each year. This is in addition to more than 1.1 billion single-use plastic bags, 958 million bags for life and 1.2 billion plastic produce bags for fruit and veg. 

There is also a shortage of plans in place to stem the flood. Most commitments made by supermarkets are weak, with room for improvement, they say.

The league table found that: 

·      Five supermarkets have no specific targets to reduce plastic packaging – Aldi, Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose. And of the supermarkets that do have targets, most are moving at such a slow pace that it would take them 20 years to completely rid their shelves of throwaway plastic.  

  • Iceland has the most ambitious reduction targets aiming to get rid of all plastic packaging of its own brands by 2023.

  • Only four supermarkets offer customers some options to use refillable containers. 86% shoppers support the idea of supermarkets moving towards using more refillable and reusable packaging but only Morrisons is showing much promise on it so far. 

  • Greenpeace wants supermarkets to eliminate non-recyclable plastic, like black plastic, by 2019. Most have agreed to do so by 2025. Only four have adopted earlier time frames – M&S and Aldi by 2022; Waitrose and Co-op by 2023. The Co-op currently has the highest proportion of recyclable plastic packaging, at 79%.

More details here https://checkingoutonplastics.org 

supermarkets plastics.png

FACTS. The plastic in our oceans could circle the planet 400 times threatening marine ecosystems and contributing to climate change.

Plastics have polluted the oceans to such an extent that no area is left uncontaminated. They originate on land, are transported by wind, rivers and untreated sewerage into the sea due to poor waste management systems.

Plastic fragments but does not biodegrade. They are a symbol of a throwaway culture.

1 in every 10 barrels of oil now used to create new plastic.




by Robert Minhinnick

I was very pleased to celebrate Wales ‘Book of the Year’ 2018 in a creative way. Some of the prize money has been invested in shares in the Ynni Teg wind turbine, officially opened in Meidrim, Carmarthenshire, on September 21.

The turbine itself has been officially named “Geraint Gwyllt”, in honour of cyclist Geraint Thomas, in a competition won by 6 year-old Mali Page.

And no, I didn’t read anything from ‘Diary of the Last Man’. Instead, I chose my version of Menna Elfyn’s ‘Ia Cymru’, which I translate as ‘Welsh Ice’.

Click to enlarge

The poem is about climate change, melting ice, rising tides, and the loss of the Welsh language. This latter is a glacier disappearing before our eyes. Especially appropriate, I thought, as Menna Elfyn lives close by.

Shares can be purchased from:

YnNi Teg: fair energy for Wales | Renewable energy in Wales www.ynniteg.cymru/

Our mission is to help Wales develop a clean energy future and mitigate climate change by installing renewable energy generation, in a fair, democratic way.

Between the Trees, 2018

Between the Trees


It was a pleasure for Sustainable Wales / Cymru Gynaliadwyto participate in this new festival, held over 3 days in August and September, 2018.


Dawn Wood, and partner Andrew, whose brainchild ‘Between the Trees’ is, put in an immense amount of work, first planning, then and carrying out all festival demands. 

But the festival could not have worked without the marvelous support of a wonderful team of volunteers.

Indeed, the whole enterprise was voluntary and unsponsored.

‘Between the Trees’ featured music, film, poetry, craft, science workshops, play areas, and a host of local food suppliers. It proved emphatically child-centred, as family  groups camped out in the woods and dunes, in some cases for three nights.

Robert Minhhinnick  gave a reading from his Wales ‘Book of the Year’ winning volume from Carcanet, ‘Diary of the Last Man’.

Eamon Bourke of Park6 screened his 30 minute film of the same name, some of the poetry from which was written about areas of the Merthyr Mawr/Newton Burrows dunes only a few hundred yards from the festival site.

Local businesses were involved from the outset, not least the new Bridgend-based ‘Bang On’ brewery.

Sustainable Wales spoke to Merthyr Mawr estates manager, Rory McLaggan, during the festival, and he seemed well pleased.

Of course, excellent weather helped hugely!

Rory, Dawn and Andrew hope that ‘Between the Trees’ takes place again, possibly at the equivalent weekend in 2019.

Many people feel ‘Between the Trees’ proved a perfect-sized festival, and trust it does not grow.

With Philip Irwin, of the Gem (who has supplied the images in this article), Robert and Margaret Minhinnick stayed until the festival finale, given by singer Charlotte Church, and up and coming songwriter, Al Lewis.

Thanks to all, but especially Dawn and Andrew. It was a pleasure to be part of your great idea. 

Diolch yn fawr iawn i bawb yn yr wyl!





Sustainable Wales co-founder: watch the trailer for Diary of the Last Man film

Following from Diary of the Last Man winning the Wales Book of the Year award (see our previous blog post), Sustainable Wales co-founder Robert Minhinnick's TS Eliot short listed book has an accompanying film by Park6 Films.

"To create the film, we took a series of expeditions, capturing footage and interviews in and around the landscapes that are important to Robert’s work. Lots of the ideas were developed between us during the filming stage."

‘Diary of the Last Man’ has been screened in Cardiff (Seren Poetry Festival), London (Caught by the River), Ewenni Festival, Bangor, Bristol and the Hay on Wye Literary Festival. Upcoming screenings include the Edge Festival, Solva, August 5th and the Between the Trees Festival, Candleston also in August.

“Park6’s direction and editing are brave and always pertinent. The company is brilliant at interpreting text and mood while its thrilling juxtapositions are capable of enhancing meaning. Never over-stated, ‘Diary of the Last Man’ possesses subtleties and nuances that are discovered only after repeated watching. It was a great experience to work together.”

Robert Minhinnick

Sustainable Wales co-founder wins Wales Book of the Year Award

Robert Minhinnick, Trustee and co-founder of Sustainable Wales has won his third Wales Book of the Year Award for Diary of the Last Man (Carcanet). Diary of the Last Man was shortlisted for the TS Eliot prize last year.

Robert Minhinnick

Robert Minhinnick

"A poet has won his third Wales Book of the Year award for his writings on Brexit and the environment.

Robert Minhinnick, who grew up near Bridgend and studied in Aberystwyth and Cardiff, also won the Roland Mathias Poetry Prize.

His book, a collection of poems called Diary of the Last Man, was described as "environmentalism turned into elegy".

Minhinnick accepted the award and a £4,000 prize at a ceremony run by Literature Wales in Cardiff on Tuesday.

The poet also received a specially commissioned trophy designed and created by the artist Angharad Pearce Jones and presented by the Chair of the Arts Council of Wales Phil George.

"This is environmentalism turned into elegy," said judge Carolyn Hitt." ( BBC News article)

Literature Wales (news item):

Photo by Camera Sioned

Photo by Camera Sioned

"At a glittering Award Ceremony this evening in Cardiff, Robert Minhinnick’s highly acclaimed poetry collection, Diary of the Last Man (Carcanet) was named Wales Book of the Year 2018. The award is run by Literature Wales, the National Company for the development of literature in Wales.

Robert Minhinnick first took to the stage to collect the Roland Mathias Poetry Prize, before returning to be crowned winner of the 2018 Wales Book of the Year Award and receiving the overall prize of £4,000 and a specially commissioned trophy designed and created by the artist Angharad Pearce Jones. The prize was presented to Robert by the Chair of the Arts Council of Wales, Phil George.

Diary of the Last Man is described by the author as a walk across Britain; Brexit Britain, a Britain facing political uncertainty and experiencing change of all kinds, not least climate change. In parts immensely local, in others casting its view abroad, this collection is a celebration of the dwindling Earth, and a caution.

Speaking about Diary of the Last Man, Judge Carolyn Hitt said “This is environmentalism turned into elegy. It’s so powerful, so political. These are serious poems for serious times…that will stay with you and make you think about what we’re doing to the planet.”

This is the third time Robert has won the prestigious Wales Book of the Year Award. His poems have twice won the Forward Prize for ‘best individual poem’, and his winning collection, Diary of the Last Man was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot prize in 2017."