Food labelling – Could Wales lead the way?

In 2008 The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee published a report on environmental labelling. Since then, little has been done.

While food labelling for nutrition has made great progress in the UK, environmental labelling has fallen by the wayside. If consumers are to make informed choices, they need information.


Mockup environmental label

Producers already provide nutritional information, to print one more label should be no problem. Arguments about space and information overload are covered in the 2008 report.

One important decision would be which environmental impacts should be highlighted. The mockup above shows a variety of measures that could be included. Here are some ideas of impact measures that could be used;

Carbon Dioxide – Use the Carbon Trust method to include; Ingredients, manufacturing, distribution, storage, consumer use, disposal.
Water – If not covered by the carbon figure. The carbon figure may include the energy embodied in the water by treatment and transport. However water use is also important where water is not plentiful and is diverted away from natural watercourses causing ecosystem damage.
Land – This covers efficiency of land use, potential loss of biodiversity and pesticide use.
Packaging – Could be a simple packing weight, or a weighted score including weight vs weight of product, energy, material use, re-use/recycling potential.
Number of Earths (Sustainability) – Given rate we consume this product, how many Earths are required for such use to be sustainable.
A more simple scale of A to E grade already in use for outdoor equipment at a large retailer.

A simple A to E scale, giving products one easy to spot rating. This kind of system is already in use for outdoor equipment at a large retailer in the UK.

Producers would need to be provided with simple tools and guidelines to help calculate the impacts of their product.

Smaller, local producers may find favour in this system. Due to reduced food miles, their Carbon measure should be comparatively lower than international producers.

Lots of research exists on this topic. It needs a brave decision from policy makes to implement the research. Is this something we in Wales can lead the way on?

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Llangollen Buzz at Plas Newydd – 27th May 2017


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Llangollen Air Pollution

Pollution levels in parts of Llangollen are comparable to those found in major cities. In one location pollution is close to the legal limit, potentially putting at risk the health of residents.

Located in the picturesque Dee Valley, it is easy to assume that air pollution is something that doesn’t affect Llangollen. If you live alongside a main road in Llangollen, you may have guessed that things aren’t quite so rosey.

In January this year Llangollen Friends of the Earth deployed five Nitrogen Dioxide measuring kits. The kits measured this well known pollutant for three weeks. The results were surprising;

The European Union has set a legal average annual limit for NO2 at 40µg/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre). But even at low levels, short term and long term exposure to NO2 can have significant negative health effects.

One of the measurement sites is very close to the 40µg/m3 limit.


The levels displayed in Llangollen, especially those on the A539 Mill Street and by the A5 / Castle Street traffic lights are comparable to those found in certain locations in major cities. For example; Chester, the outskirts of Liverpool, Walsall and the dockland area of Cardiff.

Although generally lower, the increased average level at the school gate compared to the community garden is likely to be due to droppping off and picking up traffic at the school.

Group member Warren Davies stated, “These readings were taken during January and February when the traffic is pretty quiet. If the rest of the year was taken into account, the average values could be much higher.”

He went on to say “There is a lot of talk about reducing emissions in London and in cities, but localised air pollution in our towns can be just as unhealthy.”

Nationally outdoor air pollution is responsible for 40,000 premature deaths a year in the UK, according to the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

NO2 is associated with vehicle traffic. Nationally Friends of the Earth is calling for restrictions of the dirtiest vehicles. Locally, Llangollen & District Friends of the Earth are calling on our local decision makers to consider our findings, and invest in schemes locally to reduce emissions by encouraging walking and cycling, and discouraging traffic-generating developments.

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Free film showing, The Bliss of Ignorance


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2016 Welsh Assembly Election Videos

We invited all of the prospective Clwyd South candidates to take part in a 60 second video interview. We asked them…

  1. Who are you? Tell us a bit about yourself.
  2. Why are you standing? Tell us what are your priorities.
  3. What are we going to do about climate change?

You can see all of the videos here on our YouTube channel

We invited; Simon Baynes (Welsh Conservatives), Mabon Ap Gwynfor (Plaid Cymru), Mandy Jones (UKIP), Duncan Rees (Wales Green Party), Aled Roberts (Welsh Liberal Democrats) and Ken Skates (Welsh Labour). The following candidates did not respond; Mandy Jones (UKIP).

You can see all of the videos here on our YouTube channel

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Divestment and Election videos

This Winter/Spring Llangollen Friends of the Earth are working on two main campaigns. The first is a divestment campaign, calling on the Clwyd Pension fund managers to divest from fossil fuels.

The second, in the lead up to the 2016 Assembly elections, we plan to make and distribute videos of all candidates providing us with a breif biography and setting out their priorities.

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People’s march London – Nov 29th North Wales Coach


2015 is a crucial year for the climate. In December, governments will come together in Paris to strike a new deal for the climate – we must make our voices heard. Let’s show international solidarity in the fight for climate justice!

Join us on the North Wales Coach…

Where is the coach picking up from?

Pick up points starting at 6.30am Wrexham, Johnstown Vauxhall Industrial estate, Ruabon car park, Llangollen Market street, Oswestry Mile End roundabout, Shrewsbury Dobbies garden centre, Telford near M54. Returning around 9.30pm.

How much does a place cost?

Return cost per person is £25.

How do I book a place on the coach?

Please send a cheque for £25 per person payable to ‘Llangollen & District Friends of the Earth’, to the following address; Llangollen & District Friends of the Earth, C/O Haylaur, Regent Street, Llangollen. LL208HS. Please write your name, phone number and email address on the back of the cheque.

When is the booking deadline?

Your booking must be received by 20th November at the absolute latest. You will receive booking confirmation on 21st November. We must have 49 people by 20th November. If we do not, the coach will be cancelled and no money will be taken.

If you have any questions please contact Warren on 07525 016 503 or .

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2015: Speak up for the love of…

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Llangollen residents urge action on climate change

Members of Llangollen Friends of the Earth are taking part in a national campaign on the 17th June, asking MPs to take action on climate change.

They are calling for action to help protect the things we love in our lives; from the important things like our children, to the small things like a cup of tea. Drought, crop failure, and mass migration are all effects of climate change, which will greatly affect our all aspects of our everyday lives.

Llangollen resident Kay Polley said, “Climate change will affect so many of the things we care about, from our families to our food to our wildlife and our futures. We are asking our MP to press the UK government to take action for the climate.”

Locally people are concerned about how climate change will affect people around the world, but also how it will affect us here in Wales. With the climate talks in Paris, 2015 presents us with an opportunity to make progress on climate change. The UK has a big role to play in bringing countries together at the negotiations. Our position at the forefront of the fight against global poverty can help build a better, fairer global deal on climate change.

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2015 election candidates questionnaire

Friends of the Earth are politically neutral. We believe in environmental and social justice and wanted to see which of our local candidates best suited our beliefs.

We asked all of the 2015 Clwyd South election candidates a series of questions. Here are their responses, in alphabetical order by surname;

Mabon Ap Gwynfor – Plaid Cymru

mabon About you

I live near Corwen, with my wife Nia and three young children. I’m a Governor of our community school, and am a Director with one of our National Theatres.

I am a campaigner, and believe that the community voice should be heard at all levels. I have campaigned for improved health services – including the re-introduction of community hospital beds, and maintaining our neo-natal and maternity services. I am also campaigning to oppose fracking and invest in research and development into renewable technology, including solar and tidal, as well as smaller scale such as geothermal and hydro.

Top 3 policies

1)      Better employment to tackle poverty

Our most valuable resource is our people, with a wealth of talent to be unleashed. We would increase public procurement in Wales by 25%, creating approximately 3000 jobs in this constituency. We would stop the exploitative zero hours contracts, and make the minimum wage a living wage (currently £7.85p/h).

2)      Invest in people and communities

Austerity has had a disproportionate impact on Women, Children and disabled people, with essential services and assistance cut. Yet Government can afford £100bn on Trident and lose £120bn through tax avoidance and evasion. We’d introduce a financial transaction levy and scrap Trident, using the money to invest in communities and services.

3)      Invest in our environment

Solar, Tidal and other renewables offer us an opportunity to create jobs and tackle climate change. North Wales produces more electricity than we consume, yet electricity is dearer here. Fracking: We cannot commit to another generation of fossil fuels, and the possibility of contaminating our water supply. Fracking should be banned.

Vision for Clwyd South

We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to shift politics away from the consumerist self-centred consensus. For too long UK politics has been about attracting the support of the wealthy at the expense of ordinary people. While we’ve suffered cuts the rich are richer. This year, however, instead of choosing the least worst option, you can positively vote for Plaid Cymru knowing that in a hung Parliament our voice could be decisive – we would not balance the books on the backs of the poor. My modest vision therefore is to ensure that we have no more need for foodbanks.

How you would tackle Climate change

Instead of the Big 6 energy companies, we would like to see the Small 1million, with each household having the ability to produce electricity, and look to utilise public buildings to generate electricity. We’d set a target of producing the equivalent of 100% of our electricity consumption from renewable energy by 2035. Changing the National Grid to allow community grids would be essential. We would also invest in community based farming to produce more locally grown food, and save on food miles. More needs to be invested in retrofitting houses with better insulation, which would also help fight fuel poverty.

More information

Twitter: @mabonapgwynfor


Mandy Jones – UKIP

mandyAbout you

I was a Shepherd and Farm Contractor in Clwyd, for 14 years. I brought my family up in Corwen and all of my grown up children, are fluent Welsh. I attended Llysfasi College, for many years, studying Agriculture & Small Animal Care. I am passionate about getting the best deal for South Clwyd :-

“We need extra funding here, South Wales gets everything & North Wales gets the dregs, I will fight for extra funding. UKIP is the only party that represents ordinary people, thus, being able to change things for the better, in South Clwyd & indeed, North Wales”

Top 3 policies

1) Health

UKIP will return NHS management to Qualified Clinicians and cut upper management bureaucracy with their, over-inflated wages. Putting those saved funds, back into Front Line NHS Services. We will make sure the NHS is free at the point of delivery and time of need for all UK residents.Education

2) Education

UKIP will Remove Tuition Fees for students taking approved Degrees in Science, Medicine, Technology, Engineering and Maths, on the condition, that those students, Live, Work and Pay Tax in the UK, for 5 years, after completion of their degrees.

3) Housing

UKIP will prioritise housing for Local People and Ex-Armed Forces Personnel. We will protect the Green Belt and only build on Brownfield sites, thus, lowering the price of homes through relaxed VAT. Homes built on Brownfield sites, will be exempt from Stamp Duty on first sale.

Vision for Clwyd South

We, in UKIP, believe that open and honest communication is a priority and we freely, give our numbers & email addresses out to the people of our communities, so they can contact directly, when they need to.

  • I want to travel on my road and find, NO pot holes.
  • I would like to get the Corwen Skate Park up and running, after a 15 year delay.
  • I want to see communities, coming together more, to support older/disabled residents.
  • I would like more local/community/organised/fun nights/days, for the many, not just the few.
  • I want the old fashioned, Community Spirit back.

How you would tackle Climate change

UKIP supports research of technologies. Pursuing a policy of having an Energy Mix is sensible, but unreliable forms of energy production, would not be part of that mix.

We don’t support policies that make it difficult to keep a home warm, but, the environment needs protecting.

We don’t support measures which have a negative impact at home, while other countries continue to develop their economies without consideration for the environment. We need a global solution that all countries sign up to; any agreement which does not have the support of the US, India and China (Kyoto) is not worth having.”

Susan Elan Jones – Labour

susanAbout you

I was born, brought up and live in the Clwyd South constituency. I am not a career politician and became an MP after 15 years working for charities. This life experience was a key driving factor in my decision to stand for Parliament.

I am currently Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Charities. In Parliament, I worked to secure changes to help small charities and opposed the damaging Lobbying Act. During my time as MP, I helped more than 3,000 local families. I’ve prioritised issues like jobs, road safety, animal welfare, tackling online child abuse and supporting S4C.

Top 3 policies

1)      I will stand up for jobs for local people and abolish exploitative zero-hours contracts.

I don’t think there is any issue in our constituency more important than jobs and tackling zero hours contracts. As MP, I called on the Government to guarantee a job for every young person out of work for a year and for every adult unemployed for over two years.

2)      I will back radical plans to cut heating bills and protect precious energy resources.

The current set-up where the energy companies call the tune has to end. I firmly support radical action to tackle high heating bills and provide improved home insulation that will help protect our precious energy resources. I’m also committed to seeing oil prices brought under the scope of regulator Ofgem.

3)      I will continue to publish all my expenses and oppose MPs’ pay-rises and second jobs.

There can be no compromises in the quest to restore trust to politics in our country. That’s why I’ve always been 100% transparent with finances, publishing every penny my office spends. As MP, I stood up for proper accountability for MPs and opposed MPs’ pay-rises and MPs having second jobs.
Your vision for Clwyd South

The wonderfully diverse 240 square mile constituency of Clwyd South is where I come from and it is where I am proud to call home.

I am passionate about better employment prospects and greater economic justice for our home area. About strong protection of our outstanding natural environment. About more opportunities for young people. And about greater social cohesiveness, where we support community groups and have zero tolerance for the menace of anti-social behaviour.

I would be honoured to be re-elected as your Member of Parliament to serve our home constituency of Clwyd South.

How you would tackle Climate change

I was delighted when Ed Miliband said that climate change would be one of his main priorities as Prime Minister. This is a pivotal issue and I fully support Labour’s global deal to reduce carbon emissions through:

  • Ambitious emissions targets for all countries, strengthened every five years with a scientific assessment of the progress towards the 2C goal.
  • A goal of net zero global emissions in the second half of this century.
  • Transparent, universal rules for measuring/ reporting emissions.
  • All countries adopting climate change adaptation plans.
  • Richer countries providing support to poorer nations in their efforts to combat climate change.

More information


David Nicholls – Conservatives


About you

I was the first person in my family to go to university and I am proud of the sacrifices made by my parents to give me a better start in life. I recognise the importance of aspiration and I want everyone to have access to the same opportunities that I did.

I became a barrister, and I have worked for myself for over 12 years. I believe in the importance of hard work and taking responsibility.

I have only recently become involved in politics – because I believe in taking action to make sure that our communities can grow and thrive.

Your top 3 policies

1)      A stable, growing economy

We have to get our economy right by repaying our debts and living within our means. If we don’t, we will waste vast sums on interest payments and we won’t be able to afford well-funded public services. We are on the right track but there is more to be done.

2)      Increasing employment

As well as getting the economy right, we need to make sure that everyone benefits. And that means jobs. More than 1.9million jobs have been created since 2010 across the whole country. The hopelessness and waste of unemployment is sickening. I am committed to working towards full employment.

3)      Well-funded public services

I believe in well-funded, well-run public services, like schools and hospitals. We want the best for our children or when we are ill. I am committed to making sure that our public services deliver effectively and that our NHS remains free at the point of need.

Your vision for Clwyd South

Clwyd South is a beautiful constituency and has great potential. We need to do more to build our tourism industry – not just in Clwyd South but across the whole of North Wales. This means working together to achieve better promotion of our region, better transport links, and improved mobile reception. I also believe we need to make sure that our farming and agricultural communities can thrive.

Regenerating our local communities should be another key focus, so that we can provide new homes for our young people and allow small businesses to grow, creating new jobs.

How you would tackle climate change

There is no doubt that our climate is changing. This is one of the most serious threats our country and the world faces. Left unchecked, it will have far-reaching consequences for our society. The Conservatives are addressing this by:

  • Making Britain a global leader in the development of clean energy.
  • Investing in low-carbon and green energy with energy market reforms.
  • Supporting carbon capture technologies.
  • Setting up the world’s first green investment bank to fund projects from offshore wind farms to measures to help industries to reduce the amount of energy they use.
  • Helping people make their homes more energy efficient.

More information


Twitter: DavidClwydSouth

Facebook: DavidNichollsforClwydSouth


Duncan Rees – Green Party

duncanAbout you

Duncan Rees was born and brought up in Cardiff, studied at Liverpool University, and has lived for 20 years in the village of Brynteg outside Wrexham.

Duncan has recently ended 21 years working as a membership and community officer for the Co-operative group. He is a strong advocate of a fair deal for producers – both overseas, and in Wales. Duncan Chaired the Wales Fairtrade organisation.

Duncan takes an active interest in local issues, and is particularly interested in environmental matters, supporting local community and co-operative development, and improving public transport.

Your top 3 policies

1)      Prioritise policies for the common good

Defend the NHS, cancel Trident higher taxes for the richest, increase public spending, bring British Railways back into public ownership. Introduce policies to tackle climate change and move towards a carbon neutral energy system.

2) Bring honesty back into politics

Encourage people to vote for what they believe in – rather than voting tactically between two or three discredited “main parties”.

3) More resources for sustainable transport

Better bus services, improved rail frequency, reopen old railway routes, improve facilities for cyclists and pedestrians.

Your vision for Clwyd South

I would like to see an area in which we lived up to our vision of what is possible, and what we want to vote for, rather than believing the hollow promises of politicians, of several persuasions, who have failed us in the past – and will fail us again in the future – if we let them!

I believe that there is a receptive audience for the key Green messages on issues such as climate change, transport, public spending, energy policy, nuclear weapons, and building sustainable communities. In short, I believe we can make a difference – and give the increasing number of people wishing to support us a real alternative to the discredited “main” political parties.


How you would tackle Climate change

This in one of the most vital issues facing the world today. To avoid catastrophic results from climate change we need to make a massive shift from burning carbon fuels towards renewable energy resources, and we need government resourcing to accomplish that. Between 80 and 90% of fossil fuels needs to be kept in the ground to avoid the worst outcomes. This is Green party policy.

More information



Bruce Roberts – Liberal democrats

bruceAbout you

I was born and educated in Wrexham. I have degrees and Physics and Philosophy and am a Chartered Accountant. I worked in industrial research for a time but have spent the last 18 years running my own business as an accountant. I employ 6 people. I joined the Liberal Democrats in the early 1990’s, motivated by the lack of compassion of Margaret Thatcher’s conservatives and the unrealistic Labour alternative.

Your top 3 policies

1) Economic renewal

Clwyd South is typical of much of Wales in its lack of economic dynamism. I would like to see the encouragement of small business and individual economic independence by putting in place incentives for business start-up.

1)      Educational opportunity

As a society we are becoming more divided (economically and socially) and the best place to start to narrow that gap is to give opportunities in education to those from deprived backgrounds. The pupil deprivation grants which are a major plank of Lib Dem policy in England should be extended to Wales. The increasing segregation of children from different backgrounds needs to be reversed.

2)      Climate change

Whatever other policies we might implement they are irrelevant if we do not address the issue of climate change. Realistic but ambitious goals need to be agreed. This cannot be done in isolation and we need to work with our EU partners to set targets and negotiate with the other major trading blocks to decrease our impact on the climate.

Your vision for Clwyd South

The three priorities above reflect my vision. Clwyd South is typical of most of Wales and the UK generally and the wider priorities also stand well here.

How you would tackle climate change

Whatever other policies we might implement they are irrelevant if we do not address the issue of climate change. Realistic but ambitious goals need to be agreed. This cannot be done in isolation and we need to work with our EU partners to set targets and negotiate with the other major trading blocks to decrease our impact on the climate.

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Time to act on climate change! Llangollen supporters


Members of Llangollen Friends of the Earth gathered together this weekend to let the Government know it’s Time to Act on climate change. This local event tied in with a national march in London which saw over 20,000 people converge.

The aim was to ensure climate change is high on the agenda ahead of the general election this May. A broad coalition of organisations are calling for investment in renewable energy, energy savings through insulating and adapting buildings, and greatly improved public transport. It is estimated that these measures would together create one million jobs. The campaigners are also calling for the UK to support a global agreement to cut warming emissions of all kinds.

Warren Davies, chair of Llangollen Friends of the Earth said “We want to ensure parliamentary candidates of all parties know that time is running out to take action. We are already seeing the devastating effects of climate change, and unfortunately the poor are being hit the hardest. It’s imperative that our government takes action now through these measures, which would also create a million new jobs for the UK.”

Some members of the Llangollen group also travelled down to London to take part in the national march. Pauline Smout from Llangollen Friends of the Earth said “The march was absolutely fantastic, the diversity of groups taking part shows how much energy and passion there is for action on climate change.”

See for more information on the Time to Act campaign.

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