IEMA backs Welsh regulator's plans

13th January 2014


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  • Environment agencies

Author

John Wells

Priority areas for activity outlined by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) have received the backing of IEMA, but the Institute has called for more detail

IEMA has welcomed NRW’s proposed corporate plan for 2014–17, which sets its core purpose of ensuring the environment and natural resources of Wales are “sustainably maintained, enhanced and used”. The Institute also backs the regulator’s seven priority aims, including enhancing the environment and supporting skills.

However, IEMA has urged NRW to provide more information on how it plans to work with the other environment bodies operating across the UK, as well as the level of service organisations can expect.

“Many companies have operations in different parts of the UK … Businesses need to know how NRW’s ‘purpose’ will impact on their cross-border operations and what level of service they can expect, relative to that in England,” states IEMA in its formal response to the consultation on the corporate plan.

It asks the Welsh regulator the clarify whether its ‘purpose’ is to provide a similar level of service, including charges, to the Environment Agency and Scottish Environment Protection Agency or adopt a different approach.

The response, which was led by the Institute’s steering group in Wales, also calls for more detail on how NRW will manage its workload across competing priority areas: “There will be times when contributing to one [priority outcome] might act to the detriment of another. Far greater clarity needs to be provided on how such conflicts will be resolved – setting out how to optimise outcomes to deliver net-gain overall rather than simply improving one.”

Other recommendations for NRW’s corporate plan include a more explicit account of how it plans to use market mechanisms, such as payment for ecosystems services, to improve the environment; a more holistic approach to natural resources encompassing minerals and metals; and a greater role in promoting and supporting green skills in all organisations.

“This is a critical time in the development of this fledgling body,” commented Richard Gotheridge, a member of the Wales IEMA steering group. “NRW has a great opportunity to look at how the preceding organisations have worked, and pick the best tools and techniques to help make Wales a greener economy; to really set an example for the UK and Europe in sustainable growth.”

A full copy of IEMA’s response to the consultation can be downloaded from iema.net.


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