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Author: Click on Wales

Eliminating fuel poverty: a first step towards halving the energy consumed in Welsh homes

Two documents of importance to Wales have just been published: the National Infrastructure Commission’s Congestion, Capacity, Carbon: Priorities for national infrastructure;  and HM Government’s The Clean Growth Strategy. The NIC report states that its first priority for achieving low-cost, low carbon is to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and it goes on to say that it will consider how an ambitious programme of energy efficiency improvements could deliver this. The Clean Growth Strategy also recognises the importance of improving residential energy efficiency and wants all fuel poor homes to be upgraded to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band C...

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Business as usual?

“It does look like ‘no’. Those were the shattering words of a BBC journalist covering the 1997 referendum. For this snapshot in time, the course of Wales seemed guaranteed to be a monotonous and tedious path along a road already tread many times before. Several minutes went by and the opposite began to come true. The opposite being the very meaning of unpredictability and excitement for something new and different: something called Devolution. Though the devolution referendum was won in 1997, it is clear that was not the start of Wales’ journey to partial autonomy, nor could it be regarded as our destination en route to a settlement whereby consensus intertwines with practicality. The pendulum of public opinion has gradually swung in the direction of affirming support for devolution. From a staunch rejection in 1979 to a perceived vote of confidence in 2011, the people of Wales have become more and more willing to accept the notion. I was born shortly before the millennium, in 1999, so should be in no way regarded as an expert in the matter, but it is undoubtedly clear that the tumultuous clash of visions has not been remedied. Very few people view the current setup of devolution as one that would span generations, avoiding major overhauls. On the week where we celebrate, or rather note, the 20th birthday of devolution, one striking pin...

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Ynni Ogwen – Ceir Gwyllt, Cesig Eira a Babi’r Chwyldro! / Ynni Ogwen – Ceir Gwllt, Snowballs and a revolution baby!

Mae cornel fach o Wynedd wedi bod yn gwneud ei marc yn y byd ynni cymunedol dros y dair mlynedd ddiwethaf ac mae hynny’n bennaf oherwydd dycnwch gwirfoddolwyr sydd eisiau defnyddio ynni naturiol eu afonydd i greu dyfodol gwell i’w hardaloedd. Dyma yn gryno yw hanfod cynlluniau Ynni Padarn Peris dros y mynydd yn Llanbêr ac Ynni Anafon tua’r arfordir yn Abergwyngregyn. Dyna hefyd hanfod cynllun Ynni Ogwen – cynllun hydro cymunedol ym Methesda, Dyffryn Ogwen dwi wedi cael y fraint o weithio arni dros y dair mlynedd ddiwethaf. Roedd Ynni Ogwen yn fabi i fenter gymdeithasol Partneriaeth Ogwen...

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Every vote counts?

Winner-takes-all. It’s an idea that’s fun for rugby and football matches. Not so much when it comes to running a democracy. We saw that last month, when we learnt that under Westminster’s winner-takes-all voting system, a million votes didn’t count in terms of electing an MP in Wales. And a quarter of us took time to go to the polling station, take selfies, tweet or just stop to chat – and then hold our noses as we voted against a party we opposed, rather than for one that represented our views, beliefs and aspirations. These figures come from a report ERS published this week on the 2017 general election – ‘Volatile Voting – Random Results’. It’s a huge spur to remind people that how we elect our MPs isn’t working. In the last 20 months we have had four elections and a referendum – which sounds like a hideous Richard Curtis film – and if we are expecting more people to get out and vote, we need their votes to count. First Past the Post (FPTP) is meant to give the Mother of Parliaments a majority government which is ‘strong and stable’. But it hasn’t done that – in 2010 it brought a Conservative/Liberal coalition, while in 2015 it delivered a slim majority on 38% of the vote. Now in 2017, it forced the Conservatives into a case-by-case deal...

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Improving digital democracy in the National Assembly for Wales

Working in the digital and political sphere, it’s great to see the published recommendations of the National Assembly for Wales Digital Taskforce. As one of our newest institutions, it is vital that the Assembly looks to improve and expand the way it interacts with the Welsh electorate and visitors. The remit of the Taskforce was to understand how the National Assembly can use modern digital communications and social media to identify concerns, collect evidence and opinions, generate real time engagement and see how representatives seek to respond to voters. It also looked to increase awareness and interest in the National Assembly, analysing how and if the current digital services are meeting user needs, as well as critiquing Senedd TV, social media output, current content creation and the possibility of the National Assembly producing and distributing its own content. Broadly, the recommendations of the Taskforce make for encouraging reading. A commitment to storytelling in content. A user friendly Senedd TV. A dedicated open data team. Collaboration with external organisations and the civil society. The report forces the National Assembly and its users to critically look at the current output and use of digital services and what needs to be improved to reach a wider audience and address the democratic deficit. All services and communications should be designed with the interests and needs of the citizen at their core. Too often...

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