Sustainability in Pembrokeshire

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Pembrokeshire is a Welsh county found in the southwest of Wales in Britain, with a population of approximately 123,000, with 23% of that population being over 65[1]. 75.6% of the population within Pembrokeshire (2016) currently are employed, with 16.6% of this employment being self-employed. Pembrokeshire highest employment industry is the Accommodation and Food Service Activities with 18.2% (8,000) of the population of Pembrokeshire are working in this Industry[2]. Pembrokeshire is rich in history and culture going back to the Roman ages, in modern years the once agricultural society has been changed to be more attractive for tourism and fitting in with the rural idyll and becoming more tourist friendly[3].

Social Sustainability

Social sustainability is often defined as a means for society to maintain the necessary actions required of development to continuing growing, as well as, sharing a sense of purpose with the rest of society to improve social cohesion and integration[4].

Social sustainability is considered a key aspect in the development of community sustainability, two major factors of social sustainability are health and the social services. This is especially true in Pembrokeshire where organisations like the Pembrokeshire Public Service Board have been created to aid in social sustainability. Established under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, the Public Service Board incorporates members from multiple organisations who all work with the community and focuses on long term plans to improve well-being[5]. One of the key members on the Pembrokeshire PSB is the Hywel Dda Health Board, the board spearheaded a strategic programme that would give better care to communities closer to home. There are three hospitals spread across the Pembrokeshire county but not everyone can access them, because of this the main goal is to improve the confidence and quality of life of the residents of Pembrokeshire.

As well as creating strategies to aid in health care there are also schemes in place to deal with Pembrokeshire’s growing housing problem. Issues such as homelessness are often hidden in rural areas like Pembrokeshire, it has been identified that “sofa surfing” and living in Bed and Breakfast accommodation is becoming more common[6]. Because of this the Welsh Government and Pembrokeshire County Council have plans to implement multiple housing schemes to help combat these growing issues. According to the Pembrokeshire Housing Association (2015)[7], there are approximately 8,200 flats, houses and bungalows spanning the Pembrokeshire county that are considered social housing. Along with this there are also 750 empty homes in the country which the Welsh Government has committed £10 million through interest free loans to encourage locals to move into them. One scheme created by the Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Housing (2015) is the “local worker scheme” which is designed to help people in poorly paid employment whose housing needs are not being met, this is a direct attempt to tackle Pembrokeshire’s housing issues. Another scheme introduced by Pembrokeshire Housing (2015)[8] is “Homes for Life”, this is targeted at single individuals, 55 years or older, who currently receive or qualify for social care. When individuals sign up to the scheme they are moved into accommodation or an area that is more appropriate to their care needs, reducing the need for services, the goal of this particular scheme is to create a sustainable community for older individuals with varying care needs.

The majority of social sustainability schemes introduced in Pembrokeshire are funded by the European Structural fund, West Wales especially is one of the regions that receive the most support[9]. The European Social Fund (a section of the Structural Fund) in particular is the sector that helps with funding for housing schemes.

Cultural Sustainability

Cultural Sustainability is often thought to help improve and strengthen cultural identity and a person’s sense of place through a variety of factors, including; heritage, public spaces, public art and education, these factors all come together to further social, environmental and economic sustainability[10].

Wales is often considered to be a country that stands-out due to its unique language, heritage and culture[11]. Pembrokeshire is one of the highest Welsh speaking regions in Wales, with 19.2% of the population speaking Welsh[12], however, this is still only a small portion of the population. In order to make culture more sustainable in Pembrokeshire the Welsh language needs to be made more widely used and taught. The Pembrokeshire County Council Welsh Language Scheme was introduced in 2010, with the main goal being to promote and engage more with the language, the Welsh language commissioner believes that Welsh should be used as widely as English across Wales. Since the introduction of the scheme the council has partnered up with other language groups such as the Urdd to promote the use of Welsh through youth clubs and children’s groups[13]. Schemes like these have helped Pembrokeshire to not only improve its cultural sustainability but also its community sustainability.

One of Pembrokeshire’s biggest marketing strategies is to highlight to tourist the county’s rich heritage and culture. The interest from tourists in the culture has meant that Pembrokeshire is able to maintain local heritage sites and make their cultural sector more sustainable. In recent years regeneration schemes have begun to be implemented, the Haverfordwest Townscape and Heritage Initiative was being funded by the National Assembly Wales in 2011[14]. The initiative was created to begin reconstruction to historic buildings in the town, it was a 5-year plan that ended in 2010 and cost £5.13 million, as a consequence led to 22 historic buildings being restored. Another segment of the Townscape Heritage Initiative also funded by the NAW occurred at the Pembroke dock where they spent £15 million restoring 21 buildings. The restoration of these buildings has meant that they are no longer derelict buildings but tourist attractions that now contribute to the towns culture but to the economy as well.

Economic Sustainability

Since 2016, the Welsh Government established a new act, which focuses on the wellbeing of the people in Wales, called the Wellbeing of Future Generations act. This shift in focus has helped shape many of the recent Welsh policies that have been made; this has been due to the newly found interest from early research in wellbeing, which was more objective view to recent years where research has been focused on having a subjective view when looking at people’s wellbeing[15]. The county of Pembrokeshire is one of those Counties that have been affected by this focus.

Due to the continuous decline in British agriculture over recent years, with a 2016 survey by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Northern Ireland) Welsh Assembly, The Department for Rural Affairs and Heritage, the Scottish Government and the Rural & Environment Science & Analytical Services (2017)[16], found that the total income for farming has fallen by £292 million, this has led to many farmers selling their land or repurposing their land.

Many of the farmers in Pembrokeshire have repurposed their land, from being farmland to now being Theme Park (Oakwood) or holiday villages (Bluestone), this has changed the Economy of Pembrokeshire, which now relies on their influx of tourist to the area during the summer months to help support their economy, during the tourist off season during the winter months.

Tenby is a seaside town located in the south of the Pembrokeshire county, according to Beaufort Research (2012) it is very popular as a tourist destination, it also shows that there was a reduction of tourism during the winter months and many of the businesses, especially around the coast would only open on a seasonal basis.

Due to the 2017 local council elections within Pembrokeshire itself, the county may see a change in their priorities and objectives. A project funding gap of £41.5m has been proposed by the council and three scenarios have been put forward, with one being the most likely to occur[17]. The council is aiming to increase the capital financing costs by £2.1m per annum by 2019-20, which will incorporate the wellbeing objectives set by the Welsh Government in 2017-18.

Pembrokeshire’s Council’s main two sources of income come from Aggregate External Finance (AEF) and Council tax, with the AEF making up 46.9% of Pembrokeshire income in 2017-18[18]. The AEF consists of the Revenue Support Grant (RSG) and Redistributed National Non-Domestic Rates. The Funding per capita in Pembrokeshire is below average with the council only receiving £1,265 per capita, compared to the average being £1,320 per capita. With the council receiving between £2.7m and £11.4m less than the surrounding authorities, working out to be £579 per capita less that the highest per capita in Wales, the Council finds it unsustainable, predominantly if local authorities like Pembrokeshire are to co-operate on a regional basis, which was brought up by the Welsh Government White Paper issued on 31 January 2017[19].

Environmental Sustainability

Sustainability is generally thought to be associated with the existence of the necessary living conditions required to support human life as well as allow it to thrive at a unique level of well-being through future generations[20]. This involves not using non-renewable resources that produce greenhouse gas emissions faster than renewable resources can be found and implemented[21].

In Pembrokeshire, a vital part of the picturesque image that Wales holds, sustainability needs to be at the forefront of any plans or development within the county. Since the turn of the millennium, environmental sustainability has become essential. Now more so with the continued growth of agritourism. This means that Pembrokeshire Coast National Park needs to be maintained to the highest of standards, as well as having to accommodate for said agritourists.

litter is a problem in Pembrokeshire national park. There are 3 main types of litter:

  • Litter on land from members of public (Wrappers etc.)
  • Marine litter (rubbish thrown from ships etc.)
  • Litter from animals (e.g. dog waste)


The smallest things such as cotton ear buds tend to be commonly found on beaches in Pembrokeshire national park. This is because many people still flush them down the toilet. There is no one solution to the problem of litter. The National Park and the groups it works with, use a number of strategies to try and reduce the volume of litter dropped, and do it sustainably:

  • provide litter bins
  • clean up teams
  • polite notices and fines

However, in order for it to be sustainable, these have to be supported by an ongoing educational message, promoted to visitors, shipping users and to local schools. Yet, even these are clearly not enough.

One of the groups that helps aid in these clear ups is Pembrokeshire Friends of the Earth. They are an NGO which receive small grants from PAVS (Pembrokeshire association of voluntary services). They provide small grants to voluntary services that promote sustainability in Pembrokeshire. Funded by the Welsh Assembly Government. Administered by the Pembrokeshire coast national park authority.

Around 7.2 million people visit Pembrokeshire each year. Most of these are day visitors but around 1.1 million people are holiday goers. In an attempt to try to accommodate these holiday makers and in an environmentally sustainable way, Bluestone resort was constructed in 2011. As it was built in a national park, standards had to be extremely high. It couldn’t be detrimental to the local environment and its surroundings. “Our ethos is based on high environmental and sustainable standards and the design of the new development has had this at its heart at all times,” William McNamara.

To become more environmentally friendly Bluestone have identified the areas in their business and how they operate that could negatively impact the environment. They continuously monitor these impacts in order to improve performance in becoming more environmentally friendly. The main areas of impact are:

  • energy consumption
  • resource consumption
  • waste generation

Bluestone however has its own biomass system which is used to heat its ‘Blue Lagoon’ and many of the cabins. The biomass generator is fuelled by miscanthus crops which are sustainable and are also adjacent to the holiday park so transporting it doesn’t create much pollution. Because of this, Bluestone has attained the highest environmental accreditation in Europe, ISO 14001, and Level 5 of the Green Dragon Environmental Scheme.

References

  1. Pembrokeshire.gov.uk. (2018). Data and Statistics. [online] Available at: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/performance-and-statistics/data-and-statistics [Accessed 16 Mar. 2018]
  2. Nomisweb.co.uk. (2018). Labour Market Profile - Nomis - Official Labour Market Statistics. [online] Available at: http://www.nomisweb.co.uk/reports/lmp/la/1946157391/report.aspx#tabrespop [Accessed 16 Mar. 2018].
  3. Whitby, M. (1991). The rural idyll. Journal of Rural Studies, 7(1-2), pp.131-133.
  4. Kamaljit, S. Bawa. Seidler, R. (eds.) (2009), Dimensions of Sustainable Development. Oxford: Eolss Publishers. Vol. 1
  5. Pembrokeshire County Council, (2018), Pubic Service Board, Available at: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/public-services-board, (Accessed: 14/03/18)
  6. Higgs, G. White, S. (2001), ‘Using Measures of Social Capital to Monitor the Impacts of Community-led Regeneration Policies in Wales’, Contemporary Wales, Vol.14 (1), pp.14
  7. Pembrokeshire Housing Association, (2015), Access to Housing, [Online], Available at: file://C:/Users/Autum/Downloads/PEMBROKESHIRE%20HOUSING%20Access%20to%20Housing.pdf, (Accessed: 14/03/18)
  8. Pembrokeshire Housing Association, (2015), Access to Housing, [Online], Available at: file://C:/Users/Autum/Downloads/PEMBROKESHIRE%20HOUSING%20Access%20to%20Housing.pdf, (Accessed: 14/03/18)
  9. Pembrokeshire County Council, (2018), Pubic Service Board, Available at: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/public-services-board, (Accessed: 14/03/18)
  10. Scammon, D. (2012) ‘Sustainability and culture: how do they work together?’, Available at: https://www.academia.edu/1817961/Sustainability_and_Culture_How_do_they_work_together, (Accessed: 14/03/18)
  11. Pritchard, A. Morgan, N. (2001), ‘Culture, Identity and Tourism Representation: Marketing Cymru or Wales’, Tourism Management, Vol.22 (2), pp.167-179
  12. Welsh Government, (2011), StatsWales, Available at: https://statswales.gov.wales/Catalogue/Welsh-Language/WelshSpeakers-by-LocalAuthority-Gender-DetailedAgeGroups-2011Census, (Accessed: 14/03/18)
  13. Welsh Language Commissioner, (2012), Pembrokeshire County Council Welsh Language Scheme – Response of the Welsh Language Commissioner to the 2011/12 Annual Monitoring Report, Available at: http://www.comisiynyddygymraeg.cymru/English/Publications%20List/20120809%20DG%20S%20ymateb%20AMB%20Cyngor%20Penfro.pdf, (Accessed: 14/03/18)
  14. National Assembly for Wales, (2011), Pembrokeshire Regeneration Masterplan, [Online], Available at: http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/documents/s2907/Consultation%20Response%2021.%20Pembrokeshire%20County%20Council%20Annex%20A.pdf#search=pembrokeshire%20regeneration, (Accessed: 14/03/18)
  15. Dolan, P., Layard, R. and Metcalfe, R. (2011). Measuring Subjective Wellbeing for Public Policy: Recommendations on Measures. 23rd ed. [pdf] London: Centre for Economic Performance, p.3. Available at: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/special/cepsp23.pdf [Accessed 19 Mar. 2018].
  16. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Northern Ireland) Welsh Assembly Government, The Department for Rural Affairs and Heritage the Scottish Government, Rural & Environment Science & Analytical Services (2017). Agriculture in the United Kingdom 2016. National Statistics. [online] Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Northern Ireland) Welsh Assembly Government, The Department for Rural Affairs and Heritage the Scottish Government, Rural & Environment Science & Analytical Services, p.110. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/agriculture-in-the-united-kingdom-2016 [Accessed 19 Mar. 2018].
  17. Pembrokeshire County Council (2018). Medium Term Financial Plan. n.p.: n.p., pp.11-40
  18. Pembrokeshire County Council (2018). Medium Term Financial Plan. n.p.: n.p., pp.11-40
  19. Pembrokeshire County Council (2018). Medium Term Financial Plan. n.p.: n.p., pp.11-40
  20. Lele, S. (1991). Sustainable Development. A Critical Review. 1 (4), 609.
  21. Beaumont, P. (1993). Human Resource Management. Key Concepts and Skills. 1 (2), 19.