New Welsh regulator promises fresh approach

3rd April 2013

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  • Business & Industry ,
  • Natural resources ,
  • Environment agencies



Wales' new environmental regulator, Natural Resources Wales, will consider social and economical issues alongside environmental concerns, confirms its chair

The organisation, which replaced the Countryside Council for Wales, the Environment Agency Wales and the Forestry Commission Wales on 1 April and is responsible for all environmental matters in the country.

Having one organisation hold responsibility for enforcing environmental legislation, delivering flood protection and climate change adaptation projects, as well as improving the natural environment and managing the country’s natural resources, is rational said Alun Davies, the newly-appointed minister for natural resources.

“The Welsh government believes one body will result in a more streamlined way of working and will ensure more effective delivery and improved value for money,” he commented.

Emyr Roberts, the chief executive of Natural Resources Wales, said: “We will begin to reshape the work we do with a fresh approach and new direction – to make the environment do more for the people, economy and wildlife of Wales.”

The body will use the next 12 months to help businesses understand environmental, social and economic impacts of new development, and use Wales’ natural resources to support jobs and enterprise.

Peter Matthews, the chair of organisation, confirmed that helping to deliver economic growth was a key element of the new body’s remit.

“We face many challenges – for our communities, our economy and our environment. I believe that the natural resources we have in Wales can play their part in tackling them,” he said.

“The natural environment is worth £8bn to the Welsh economy and we want to build on this. We will focus on maintaining the important services that people and businesses rely on, like our flood warning services, maintaining timber supply and protecting valuable sites.”

Matthew’s comments on the significance of supporting Wales’ economy came as the UK’s business department (BIS) consulted on imposing a “growth-duty” on all non-financial regulators, which include Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive.

Under the proposal, a statutory duty would be created for regulators to consider the financial impacts of enforcement policies and practices. It would, states the consultation, help to strip back the “burdens” of compliance and create a “regulatory environment conducive to growth”.

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