Plaid Cymru’s climate and nature policies: the verdict

Does Plaid Cymru have good green policies? We’ve analysed their 2024 manifesto to find out if they deserve your vote.


In the run-up to the election, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth have scored the main UK-wide parties’ manifestos and green commitments, to help climate-concerned citizens decide how to vote.

It wouldn’t be fair to score Plaid Cymru against our UK-wide criteria, given the significant areas of devolved powers and asks which are irrelevant to parties who seek independence.

However, their manifesto is still full of important policy commitments to try to win your vote. So we’ve taken a look and analysed it for you!

Plaid Cymru’s green strengths and weaknesses

Plaid Cymru have recognised in their manifesto that “the climate and nature emergencies are the biggest threat to mankind on a global scale”.

Net zero targets

They’ve committed to reaching net zero targets in Wales by 2035. While this sounds bold and ambitious, it is much earlier than any other party has committed to. Delivering net zero by 2035 would require transformative changes to be delivered at speed across Wales – every home and business would need to be powered by electricity only and they would need to revolutionise farming – such bold targets should only be set alongside credible plans for delivery.

Biodiversity decline

And they’re aiming to reverse biodiversity decline by 2030. This is a good, necessary commitment, and totally achievable if the government were focused on achieving it. What’s missing however is a real plan for how they would achieve this target. Without tangible plans, backed up by sufficient funding, we know only too well that targets simply don’t get hit.

Green infrastructure

Plaid have set out an ambition to create a Welsh Green New Deal, and to reform the Development Bank of Wales to enable it to invest in green infrastructure. Again, these are exactly the kind of high-level commitments  we want to see from the government – big public investment into things like railways and wind farms – in the spirit of the Green New Deal, to ensure workers and communities benefit from the transition rather than shareholders of private companies.

Again though, Plaid have not suggested how much money they would commit – meaning that, once again, we can’t be sure that these great words would become real policy.

Public transport

Plaid scored highly on their plans to revolutionise public transport in Wales. They’d nationalise buses and rail and inject a huge amount of funding which would provide much-needed connectivity across Wales. They have also said they’d invest in active travel routes, meaning safer cycling! However, the funding is dependent on the UK government providing the money Plaid calculated they’re owed from the amount of money spent on England-only HS2.

Economic fairness

Their manifesto has a focus on fairness, with plans to tax wealth more progressively. For example, an explicit proposal to tax the windfall profits of energy companies and close the loopholes in an existing tax on oil and gas profits – we love to see it. Plaid also committed to introducing a social tariff for energy, meaning those who can’t afford their bills would no longer be left without.

Bringing down bills

Although there are many great commitments in Plaid’s manifesto focusing on reducing poverty and tackling the cost of living crisis, they are missing out key measures to lower bills for good through lowering energy usage and getting cheap renewables onto the grid.

We need to see all political parties commiting to bold retrofit plans, to upgrade leaky homes with insulation and other energy saving measures to ensure that bills stay lower and energy usage reduces. We know that Plaid have been pushing in the Senedd for a good retrofit scheme with funding focused on the fuel poor, acknowledging that this would need more funding from the UK government to deliver, it would have been good to see that feature in their manifesto.

Standing up to new oil, gas and nuclear projects

Plaid has strong policies to protect our planet including opposing new oil and gas licences as well as new nuclear power stations. While this is great, Plaid have disappointingly not taken a position against the existing nuclear sites in Wales at Wylfa and Trawsfynydd. They would also introduce a Business, Human Rights and Environment Bill, mandating private companies to ensure their supply chains are free of human rights abuses or environmental harms.

No strong offer on nature

What’s missing though, is a strong offer on nature – we can’t find anything in their manifesto that would protect biodiversity or our oceans, or tackle the spiralling plastic, waste and sewage crises. However, waste and therefore plastic, is a responsibility which the Welsh government has power over, and here Plaid have been strong on calling for reductions in single-use plastic, calling for Wales to lead the way in the UK by banning single-use plastic bags.

Plaid have been calling for powers over sewage to be devolved to the Senedd too, and support greater action against water companies which allow sewage to be discharged into open waterways – it was a real shame not to see more of a vision for nature in this manifesto.

Protecting our rights

A key focus of their manifesto is the protection of people’s hard-won rights. They would support workers by repealing the Conservative Government’s anti-strike legislation. They would support the right to non-violent protest by repealing the recent anti-protest laws and to ensure democracy is enhanced, they would extend voting rights to 16 year olds and introduce proportional representation. Alongside these measures, their offer is welcoming to refugees and asylum seekers, they aim to consign the Conservative’s ‘hostile environment’ to the bin.

Overall, Plaid has some good policies for both people and the planet. But their manifesto is missing the key information of how they would deliver, and pay for, the planet-saving policies they’ve identified.

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