Archiving ‘Sustainable Development and Wales’ websites

Collections - Posted 15-07-2022

Since the advent of Devolution in 1997, Sustainable Development has played a central and increasing role in the way Wales is governed and, as a result, the way that we live. In recognizing this importance, we have been archiving websites on Sustainable Development and the Environment since 2004. The collection now exceeds 700 websites and our next step will be making this valuable collection of websites accessible by creating a special collection on this most important field within the UK Web Archive



A complex blend of determinants contribute to the principle of Sustainable Development across Wales. For instance, our web archiving, and therefore the Collection, will focus on Conservation and protection and the work done conserving Wales’s ecosystems; Natural Resources and Energy and the focus on Renewable energy and Energy efficiency; Environmental protection and the work done on Waste management, Recycling, and Active travel. We will also cover ‘Environmentalism’, ‘Global Citizenship’ and ‘Climate change’ and list the plethora of websites showcasing Wales becoming a far more global responsible nation.

Wales became one of the first nations to have a constitutional duty on sustainable development. The websites that we archive show progress made in the deployment of renewable energy; energy efficiency; reducing fuel poverty; and transforming Wales into one of the top three recycling nations in the world. However, many websites from our past are no longer viewable on the live web but are accessible within the UK Web Archive. Our work also involves capturing current websites addressing Sustainable Development therefore ensuring this work is also captured for future generations.

As Wales is at the global forefront on legislation on sustainable development, we have many firsts. We became the World’s first Fair Trade Nation in 2008; we were the first Parliament in the world to declare a climate emergency in 2019. On top of that, a significant milestone was the passing of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 resulting in the Commissioner for Future Generations, a world’s first with statutory powers.

There is still much more to do to create a better future for our planet and far too much to list in a blog! However, a future ‘Greener Wales’ will see further cuts in carbon emissions; more active travel; ban on single use plastics; addressing diversity loss by creating a national forest; investing in the circular economy; establish world-leading renewable industries such as developing the marine energy sector in Wales. There’s also the legacy of Wales’ past; our disused coal tips will be made safer and our Agriculture sector will be supported to become more environmentally friendly.

It is a journey that we can be proud of and the landscape has been fast changing. Thankfully, our web archiving ensures this all-important journey and its ambitious programme is being documented and made accessible.

We are also reaching out. We will be seeking permission from website publishers to make their content more widely available. The UK Legal Deposit Libraries have been archiving UK websites with the caveat that this material is only available to view on Library premises. We will also contact interested parties to help us select websites for preservation to add to our expanded list of resources being preserved for the nation. You are most welcome to do this through the ‘Nominate a website’ page.

The ‘beta’ collection we are building is viewable from here. An additional blog will appear showcasing the progress we have made with the collection! In the meantime, here is a snapshot of ‘Recycle for Wales’, one of the first websites archived back in 2006!




Aled Betts,

Acquisitions Librarian and Web Archivist

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A blog about the work and collections of the National Library of Wales.

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