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Map for Wales

Following on from the success of the Map for England study, RTPI Cymru commissioned students (Clare Beaney, Lara Lawrie, Owen Rees, Gemma Bufton and Karen Bolton) at Cardiff University's School of Planning and Geography to consider a Map for Wales, through the Live project, by analysing Welsh Government policy and map spatial themes representing policy approaches and cross-sector activity.

The Study appraised over 150 documents to review examples of spatial planning in policy. The project demonstrated opportunities for the visual representation of policy direction and highlighted where policies deviated between Government Departments.

Questions asked:

  • Do Welsh Government policies create explicit spatial implications?
  • Do these create spatial conflicts or synergies?
  • Can visual representation of these spatial implications benefit decision makers?

Key findings:

  • From over 150 policy documents, only 37% had any form of mapping and very few had 'predictive' policy maps;
  • by topic areas, there were significant variations in the acknowledgement of spatial issues, only 5% of social policies compared to 50% and 75% for environmental and economic respectively;
  • Welsh Government acknowledges the importance of spatial planning and cross sector working
  • However, there is limited application of the approach, very little mapping undertaken and spatial content of policy documents was nominal
  • Wales Spatial Plan (WSP) was referred to in older documents but limited acknowledgement in newer policies, it does not appear to have directly influenced policy direction. Time for a new WSP?
  • Welsh Government policy guides aims and objectives but many documents are unclear about how this will be implemented;
  • A┬ástrong emphasis from Welsh Government that spatial planning decisions are cascaded down to Local Authority level. Potential for Regional level Spatial Plan to increase co-ordination?
  • Very little cross-sector mapping, especially in strategic documents.

The full report is available to download.

Brian Webb's presentation on a Map for Wales at the RTPI Cymru Spring Conference April 2017, provides further detail on the project.