The Welsh Government has set Natural Resources Wales (NRW) a number of new and repurposed priorities to target renewable energy, flood alleviation, tree planting and biodiversity. Environment and energy minister Lesley Griffiths stresses its pivotal role in supporting the transition to renewable energy. She also urges NRW to “maximise the delivery of its new flood programme in the coming year, including more emphasis on natural alleviation measures in collaboration with local authorities and the public”.
In terms of tree planting NRW is now expected to “adopt a proportionate, evidence-based approach to verifying proposals for planting and for processes to be tailored towards accelerating progress in delivering new woodland in a way that meets or exceeds government targets”. Woodland cover is set to increase by 4,000 hectares annually soon and NRW is also expected to work closely with ministers on the creation of a National Forest, involving improving access to and restoring some of the country’s ancient woodland, as well as identifying “exemplar sites” to form part of the initiative.
She stresses that the green regulator has a key role in halting and reversing the decline in nature, and would like to see NRW make strides to restore its own Natura 2000 sites and to take forward the planned programme for restoration of degraded peatlands to create healthy functioning wet bogs.