FoE Cymru calls for environment laws to be strengthened

A campaign group has called on the next Welsh assembly government to strengthen laws protecting the environment.

Friends of the Earth Cymru (FoE) said an environmental rights law could defend people against air pollution or opencast mines on their doorsteps.

Green rights are a cornerstone of FoE's manifesto for a greener Wales being launched on Friday.

The group called it a "realistic agenda" ahead of May's assembly election.

The increased law-making powers given to the Welsh assembly by last week's referendum are due to start after May's election, it was announced earlier this week.

Voters resoundingly endorsed an increase in the assembly's powers when they went to the polls on 3 March.

The director of FoE Cymru, Gordon James, said the assembly should use its new powers to strengthen environmental laws which would provide people and communities with added legal protection.

Mr James said: "Friends of the Earth Cymru's 'Manifesto for a greener Wales' sets out a realistic agenda for the next assembly government that would inspire solutions, and offer a vision of a positive future.

"An environmental rights law could protect people in Port Talbot from dangerous air pollution, and communities in the valleys from more opencast mines on their doorsteps. And it could give our best wildlife sites the protection that laws from Europe and London are currently failing to provide.

"An environmental rights law would ensure that no decision made by the assembly government, or other public authorities in Wales, would be allowed to violate the right of people in Wales to live in a healthy environment.

"The new powers, and the coming fourth term of the National Assembly for Wales, offer a great opportunity to deliver ambitious policies that work for people and the environment - and help Wales reap the benefits of the rapidly expanding green economy."

The Welsh Assembly Government said it did not comment on manifestos.

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