Since NRW’s inauguration seven years ago, there has been a steady and noticeable deterioration in Wales’ delivery toward biodiversity and nature conservation.

Wales has been described as one of the most nature depleted areas of the world. Many of its native plant and animal species having already become extinct. A great number of the species that do remain are now rare or threatened, surviving in fragments of their often isolated habitats.

In August 2019, INCC launched its petition. The petition calls on Welsh Government (WG) to explicitly include ‘Biodiversity’ when setting their strategic remit for Natural Resources Wales (NRW).

Currently, ‘biodiversity’ is not explicitly included in NRWs remit –instead, it is assumed that protection of biodiversity will be incorporated as part of ‘sustainable management’.

The petition was brought to the attention of the Welsh Parliament (WP) with the hope of increasing the transparency of the WG and NRW regarding its biodiversity duty.

The petition has been met with an ardent rebuttal from the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs (Lesley Griffiths AM), suggesting that NRW’s biodiversity remit is clear and that the organisation is delivering for nature.

However, with wildlife in Wales disappearing, both in terms of biodiversity and biomass, INCC believes that greater transparency is needed from Government and statutory organisations. The people of Wales need to be able to see exactly what is being done for nature conservation.

Given the right commitment and leadership, INCC believes that Wales still has a chance of reversing the tragic declines in wildlife – but only if action is taken now.

The Minister’s rebuttal to the petition refers to the ‘tools’ (polices and documents) intended to deliver action for biodiversity. INCC believes that the deeper problem is not the strength (or otherwise) of the tools at hand but the lack of their application. In fact, celebrating the ‘tools’ alone without acknowledging the lack of action creates a misleading delusion of success regarding biodiversity delivery.

For NRW to be more accountable to the people of Wales on biodiversity issues there needs to be specific detail from the organisation. Far more transparency is needed over its on-the-ground actions to deliver for biodiversity. Without greater detail, transparency and accountability over biodiversity actions, there is the very real risk that the situation for wildlife in Wales will continue to worsen.


The petition closed on February 14th, 2020 and received over 1,100 signatures from people all over Wales. Since the petition’s close, INCC continues to provide additional evidence to the Petitions Committee to aid their decision.

The Initiative for Nature Conservation Cymru (INCC) is calling on the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to explicitly include ‘Biodiversity’ when setting their strategic remit to Natural Resources Wales (NRW) for 2020 / 2021 and in future. Currently, ‘biodiversity’ is not explicitly included in NRWs remit –instead, it is assumed that protection of biodiversity will be incorporated as part of ‘sustainable management’.

We believe thatbiodiversity should be central to NRWscore purposeof pursuing sustainable management of natural resources, and that NRW should ensure this by:

1. Working towards an overall improvement in the status of Welsh wildlife and preventing or at least minimising the risk of any further extinctions as a consequence of human activities.
2. Establishing sustainable, bigger and less fragmented areas for wildlife, this should initially focus on the consolidation and extensions to existing National Nature Reserves and other protected areas, followed by the establishment of new areas.
3. Prioritising the need to obtain favourable or recovering status for conservation features on all statutory nature conservation sites (SPAs, SACs, SSSIs and NNRs).
4. Developing and improving an effective network of Marine Protected Areas which are sufficient to ensure the adequate protection of marine life and sustainable fisheries around Wales.
5. Ensure that more people are actively engaged with biodiversity issues, and aware of the significance of biodiversity to their health and wellbeing.

Since the inauguration of NRW six years ago, there has been a steady and noticeable deterioration in Wales’ commitment toward biodiversity and nature conservation. Wales has been described as one of the most nature depleted areas of the world having already caused the extinction of many of its native plant and animal species. A great number of the species that do remain are now rare or threatened, surviving in fragments of their often isolated habitats


 

 


Welsh red squirrel by Sorcha Lewis for INCC