Moving towards being a One Planet City

Cardiff is growing fast – and we’re committed to making sure that Cardiff grows in a sustainable way that protects the quality of life for current and future residents – as well as ensuring we protect the environment.

Here’s just a sample of some of the great things the council is doing to become a ‘One Planet City’

Greener Grangetown

The £2m Greener Grangetown initiative is a new approach to managing rainwater and is the first scheme of its kind in the UK. We’re working in partnership with Dwr Cymru Welsh Water and Natural Resources Wales, on this scheme is aimed at the better management of rainwater in the community, using new techniques to catch, clean and divert rain water directly into the River Taff.

Greener Grangetown 2

Water is currently pumped 6 miles away through the Vale of Glamorgan and into the sea. This scheme will significantly reduce our carbon footprint and the cost of pumping the water away. Check out this video to find out what it’s all about!

If you would like to know more about the scheme, or to share your views and shape the proposed designs, public events will take place on the following dates:

  • Wednesday 10th June, 4-8pm, Salvation Army Hall on Corporation Road

Work begins on Radyr Weir Hydro-Electric scheme

Next week sees work start on a new £2.7 million project to harness the energy-producing power of the River Taff. Water will be channelled through two ‘Archimedes’ turbines which will generate enough sustainable electricity to power 550 homes – as well as providing the Council with around £140,000 in income each year.


This is another exciting project that will help support the city’s drive to boost its green credentials, with other planned projects including a solar farm at Lamby Way, which will help reduce our reliance on non-renewable forms of energy.

Street Lights go white!

You may have noticed in the recent months that the colour of street lighting has changed.  This is because the city has been swapping traditional yellow bulbs in their lamps for new energy saving, white bulbs or ‘Street Wise’ lamps as they are known.

Currently, we use 70 watt bulbs to light lamps in our streets. This will be cut to 50 watts and dimmed from Midnight to 6am which was one of the ideas that you (the residents of Cardiff), put forward in the Cardiff Debate.

You don’t have to be concerned about the amount of light emitted from these lower wattage bulbs, as the ‘Street Wise’ bulbs are actually brighter than the traditional yellow bulbs and far more energy efficient. Once the 24,000 ‘Street Wise’ lamps are installed across the streets of Cardiff there will be an energy saving of up to 35%. This should also bring financial savings of around £340,000 per year for the Council by 2016.

Pollinator Project

One of the reasons Cardiff  is one of the best cities to live in Europe, is down to the fact that our city has more green space per person than any major UK city.

A new Pollinator Project will see Cardiff’s parks and green spaces encourage biodiversity In order to protect our natural environment.

Sixteen locations, which are already home to some interesting wildflower species, have been chosen for a new annual mowing regime which will in time transform them into colourful wildlife havens.  It is hoped that this will help reverse the decline in pollinators, such as butterflies and bees, and gradually result in habitats rich in wildlife.  Pollinators are vital to creating and maintaining habitats and ecosystems.

Paths and edges will continue to be mown regularly in these parks in order to ensure a good contrast with the longer grass and plenty of space will remain available for a picnic or a kick around!

This initiative is one of a number of great projects going on in the city such as the Giving Nature a Home project with RSPB Cymru, which has seen school children ‘re-wilding’ wellies in order to attract and provide a home for bees and butterflies!



Embracing the Challenges and Delivering for Cardiff

Every May, Local Councils across the Country will be formally electing their leaders. At this month’s Council meeting I was formally elected as leader of Cardiff.  It is a great honour to be re-elected, and I’m looking forward to getting on and working hard for our city. I set out my agenda for the next 12 month in my speech to Council. How we will do this is captured in our Corporate Plan, which I blogged about last week. A summary of the Plan is available, which provides a really useful snapshot of what we want to deliver, and why! It also shows our key commitments for the city. Don’t switch off! I know the Corporate Plan may not sound exciting, but it’s our business plan – our roadmap for the city’s future. Check out this video which explains what it’s all about:

There are some exciting opportunities ahead, like the City Deal for Cardiff that could mean big longer term investment in the city and wider region. Having said that, there’s no point kidding ourselves that any of this will be easy; funding is tight, pressures are building and we have difficult choices to make. We also have a new Government in Westminster and they announced last week that they will be holding an emergency budget in July. None of us can know what this will mean but if, as expected, they outline plans to cut £12bn from Britain’s welfare budget we can expect even greater demand for Council services, making them more important than ever.



New council Business Plan, supporting the vulnerable and remembering the sacrifice of many

While the General Election may have come to an end there’s been little sign of newspaper and television interest fading as debate across social media continues.

I have not blogged over the last few weeks because, by law, during the 6 weeks before an election and until the results are announced, central and local government politicians are prevented from making announcements about any new government initiatives. This is to ensure that we don’t act in a way which could provide an unfair advantage to any candidate or Party in the forthcoming election.

Whilst I haven’t been able to blog during this period, it has been very much business as usual at the Council and I’ll be updating you on many of the things that have happened over the past few weeks. Here’s just a snippet of what’s being going on.

Corporate Plan

In March, the Council adopted its Corporate Plan. Don’t switch off! I know the Corporate Plan may not sound exciting, but this is our business plan – our roadmap for the future. Now that it’s been rubber-stamped it sets out our priorities for the next 2 years. Our vision, is to make Cardiff Europe’s most liveable capital city, and if you want to learn more, please click here.

Helping People who need pay day loans

One of the Council’s main priorities is supporting vulnerable people. That’s why we’ve decided to take a closer look at pay day lending.

I was part of the working group that looked at issues for families and people who access short-term loans and I’m only too aware of the pressures people face.

To help support people we have introduced an ‘advice page’ that appears whenever anyone tries to access a pay day lending website from a Council computer – whether in a library, a school or at any council building or office.

Pay day loans are often used by people in low income families who struggle to access credit (or financial loans), but this can lead to debts spiralling out of control because of high interest rates, and fines for not paying on time.

Our aim isn’t to ban people using these sites, but to provide advice about managing finances and debt and let them know where they can go to get support. We hope that this will support people to make informed decisions about borrowing money and to be fully aware of the alternatives available.

If you would like advice or support on managing your finances or how to cope with debt, you can visit:

HubCardiff Advice ServiceMoney Advice Service

National Remembrance Day

National Remembrance Day took place last Friday in order to remember Victory in Europe (VE) day. This day marks the end of World War 2 in Europe and the end of bloodshed that had led to the deaths of approximately 382,700 members of the British Armed Forces and 67,100 British civilians.

In Cardiff, a service was held at Cardiff Castle and it was an opportunity to pay respect to those who fought and gave their lives in this conflict in order to secure our freedom and way of life. It is important that we never forget their sacrifice.

Paying my respects at Cardiff Castle with Minister for Public Services, Leighton Andrew

Paying my respects at Cardiff Castle with Minister for Public Services, Leighton Andrews AM