Natural Resources Wales



Natural Resources Wales ( cy, Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru) is a
Welsh Government , image = , caption = , date_established = , country = Wales , address = , leader_title = First Minister () , appointed = First Minister approved by the Senedd, ceremonially appointed ...
sponsored body, which became operational from 1 April 2013, when it took over the management of the
natural resource Natural resources are resources that are drawn from nature and used with few modifications. This includes the sources of valued characteristics such as commercial and industrial use, aesthetic value, scientific interest and cultural value. O ...
s of
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in ...
. It was formed from a merger of the
Countryside Council for Wales The Countryside Council for Wales (CCW; cy, Cyngor Cefn Gwlad Cymru (CCGC)) was a Welsh Assembly sponsored body responsible for wildlife conservation, landscape and countryside access authority for Wales. It was merged with Forestry Commis ...
Environment Agency Wales Environment Agency Wales () was a Welsh Government sponsored body that was part of the Environment Agency of England and Wales from 1996 to 2013. Its principal aims were to protect and improve the environment in Wales and to promote sustainabl ...
, and the Forestry Commission Wales, and also assumed some other roles formerly performed by the Welsh Government.

Roles and responsibilities


NRW's purpose is to "pursue sustainable management of natural resources” and “apply the principles of sustainable management of natural resources” as stated in the Environment (Wales) Act 2016.


NRW receives a Remit Letter at the start of each financial year setting out what the Welsh Government wants it to achieve during that year. Its main responsibilities are: * Adviser: principal adviser to Welsh Government, and adviser to industry and the wider public and voluntary sector, and communicator about issues relating to the environment and its natural resources. * Regulator of the marine, forest and waste industries, and prosecuting those who breach the regulations that NRW is responsible for. * Designator for Sites of Special Scientific Interest – areas of value for their wildlife or geology, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), and
National Parks A national park is a natural park in use for conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or owns. Although individua ...
, as well as declaring National Nature Reserves, and describing Marine Character Areas. * Responder to about 9,000 reported environmental incidents a year as a Category 1 emergency responder. * Statutory consultee to about 7,000 development planning applications a year. * Manager/Operator: managing seven per cent of Wales’ land area including woodlands, National Nature Reserves, water and flood defences, and operating five visitor centres, recreation facilities, hatcheries and a laboratory. * Partner, Educator and Enabler: collaborator with the public, private and voluntary sectors, providing grant aid, and helping a wide range of people use the environment as a learning resource; acting as a catalyst for others’ work. * Evidence gatherer: monitoring the environment, commissioning and undertaking research, developing knowledge, and being a public records body. * Employer of almost 1,900 staff, as well as supporting other employment through contract work, and work experience.

Regulatory responsibilities

NRW is responsible for more than 40 different types of regulatory regime across a wide range of activities. Some examples are: * major industry (refineries, chemicals, cement, power stations, iron and steel, food and drink etc.). *
waste industry Waste management industry, or waste industry for short, subsumes all industrial branches concerned with waste management, waste dumping, waste recycling and - to a lesser degree - waste prevention. Within Germany, waste management has evolved i ...
(storage, treatment, disposal). * Sites of Special Scientific Interest - consents and assents. * radioactive substances (nuclear and non-nuclear). * European protected species licensing. * marine licensing. * tree felling licensing. * water discharges (surface and groundwater). * water resources (abstraction, impoundment, drought). * packaging regulations and EU/UK trading schemes. * commercial fisheries (eels, salmon, shellfish). * Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 – access restrictions, open access land. For most of these activities, NRW grants permits, undertakes compliance assessment and, where necessary, takes formal enforcement action.

Statutory duties within the Environment (Wales) Act 2016

State of Natural Resources Report

The Environment (Wales) Act 2016 requires NRW to prepare and publish a State of Natural Resources Report (SoNaRR). SoNaRR assesses the current state of natural resources in Wales and whether they're being sustainably managed. It informs the Welsh Government's Natural Resources Policy to set priorities for action at the national level. SoNaRR also looks at how pressures on Wales’ natural resources are resulting in risks and threats to long-term social, cultural, environmental and economic well-being as set out in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. NRW will produce a new report every five years.

Area Statements

The Natural Resources Policy sets the context for Area Statements produced by NRW, which will deliver the national priorities at a local level. The Area Statements will specify priorities, risks and opportunities for sustainable management of natural resources and how NRW proposes to address them.

Statutory duties within the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015

Public Service Boards

The evidence in SoNaRR will also be used to inform the well-being assessments being prepared by Public Service Boards (PSB) as part of the requirements of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. NRW is a statutory member of each PSB. Statutory members are collectively responsible for fulfilling the PSB's statutory duties in relation to, for example, publishing a well-being assessment, a well-being plan and preparing an annual progress report.

Well-being Statement

Natural Resources Wales' first Well-being Statement, 'Managing today's natural resources for tomorrow's generations' meets its obligations under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. It sets out its Well-being Objectives and explains how meeting the objectives will contribute to the achievement of the well-being goals within the Act.

Past and present officers

Chair: * Prof. Peter Matthews (2013–2015) * Diane McCrea (2015–July 2018) * Sir David Henshaw (interim chair; July 2018 – present) Chief Executive: * Dr Emyr Roberts (2013–2017) * Clare Pillman (2018–present)

Merger debate

As a justification for the merger, the Welsh Government claimed that the new body would produce savings of £158 million over ten years. Whilst the three agencies were broadly supportive of the move, the board appointed by Environment minister John Griffiths did not include any representatives from the forestry sector, and Forestry Commission Wales chairman
Jon Owen Jones Jonathan Owen Jones (born 19 April 1954) is a Welsh politician. He was the Labour and Co-operative Member of Parliament for Cardiff Central from 1992 to 2005. He was then an unsuccessful candidate for Change UK in Wales at the 2019 Europ ...
- the former Welsh Labour MP for Cardiff Central - raised concerns that the forestry industry's voice would not be adequately heard in the new organisation.


External links

Natural Resources Wales
{{Authority control 2013 establishments in Wales Welsh Government sponsored bodies Environmental organisations based in Wales
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in ...
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in ...
Law enforcement agencies of Wales