CREATING more green space in urban areas in Wales would improve people's health, increase appreciation of nature and cut littering and fly-tipping, a Newport AM has said.

Speaking in the Assembly this week, Newport East's John Griffiths said he was concerned many urban areas across Wales lack green space.

Addressing first minister Mark Drakeford, the Labour AM said improving the balance between urban development and green space would lead to a number of benefits.

"Most people in Wales live in urban areas, and many of our inner urban areas lack sufficient green space," he said.

"If they were greener, I believe quality of life would be improved, air pollution would be lessened, people would be encouraged to have more of an outdoor life, taking more exercise and enjoying better health.


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"They would also, I think, feel more strongly linked with nature, so that would increase their appreciation of nature, their understanding of nature and their valuing of it, which I think would feed through into many desirable environmental behaviours, such as not littering as much, less fly tipping, more participation in recycling schemes, and enjoying nature further afield, outside their immediate areas.

"So, with those benefits in mind, I wonder what early action Welsh Government will take to make our inner urban areas greener and more enjoyable for our local communities?"

South Wales Argus: Labour candidate for Newport East John Griffiths.Labour candidate for Newport East John Griffiths.

Newport East AM John Griffiths

Replying, Mr Drakeford said: "I'm sure that John Griffiths is right when he points to the many different benefits that would come from a renewed focus on making the very most of the opportunities that there are in our urban areas to contribute to reversing the decline in our basic ecosystem, and to make it resilient again.

"Those of us who live in the inner city of Cardiff are very well aware of actions that are already happening where local people are recolonising bits of green space that had otherwise been neglected, turning them into places where a greater diversity of natural species are to be found, making them more attractive to local residents to visit, planting fruit and vegetables in there as well, and doing all the things that John Griffiths said."

South Wales Argus:

First minister Mark Drakeford

Earlier this week a series of 27 environmental projects across Wales were handed a share of £1 million from the Welsh Government - including Newport's Wastesavers Charitable Trust, which was given £42,000 to increase the number of items being reused rather than thrown away.

Others included Blaenau Gwent-based Promo Cymru, which was given £32,523.60 to improve the Ebbw Vale Institute, while another scheme dedicated to improving Bryn Bach Park in Tredegar was given £17,233.

Meanwhile, Keep Wales Tidy was given £10,638.45 to improve the grounds at Ysgol Y Lawnt in Rhymney, while Gwent Wildlife Trust was handed £6,300 for a scheme preserving the Silent Valley Woodlands in Blaenau Gwent.

The cash came from the Welsh Government's Landfill Disposals Tax Community Scheme - through which income gained through the new tax is put back into the community.