The Environment (Wales) Act puts in place the legislation needed to plan and manage Wales’ natural resources in a more proactive, sustainable and joined-up way.
The Environment Wales Act received Royal Assent
on 21 March 2016. It delivers against Welsh Government's Programme
for Government commitment to introduce new legislation for the
environment. This positions Wales as a low carbon, green economy,
ready to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The act will mean significant economic, social and environmental
benefits for Wales. It has been carefully designed to support and
complement work to help secure Wales' long-term well-being, so that
current and future generations benefit from a prosperous economy, a
healthy and resilient environment and vibrant, cohesive
The key parts of the act are:
- Part 1: Sustainable management of natural
resources - enables Wales' resources to be managed in a
more proactive, sustainable and joined-up way. It also helps to
tackle the challenges we face and is focused on the opportunities
our resources provide.
- Part 2: Climate change - provides the Welsh
Ministers with powers to put in place statutory emission reduction
targets, including at least an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050
and carbon budgeting to support their delivery. This is vital
within the context of our existing UK and EU obligations and sets a
clear pathway for decarbonisation. It also provides certainty and
clarity for business and investment.
- Part 3: Charges for carrier bags - extends the
Welsh Ministers' powers so that they may set a charge for other
types of carrier bags such as bags for life. It also places a duty
on retailers to donate the net proceeds from the sale of carrier
bags to good causes.
- Part 4: Collection and disposal of waste -
improves waste management processes by helping us achieve higher
levels of business waste recycling, better food waste treatment and
increased energy recovery. This will help to decrease pressure on
natural resources while also contributing towards positive results
for both the economy and the environment.
- Parts 5 & 6: Fisheries for shellfish and marine
licensing - clarifies the law in relation to
shellfisheries management and marine licensing.
- Part 7: Flood & Coastal Erosion Committee and land
drainage - clarifies the law for other environmental
regulatory regimes including flood risk management and land
Click here for more information on the
Click here for more information on
natural resource management.
The Biodiversity and Resilience of Ecosystems Duty - Section
Section 6 under Part 1 of the Environment (Wales) Act 2016
introduced an enhanced duty (the S6 duty) for public authorities in
the exercise of functions in relation to Wales.
The S6 duty requires that public authorities must seek to maintain
and enhance biodiversity so far as consistent with the proper
exercise of their functions and in so doing promote the resilience
To follow the S6 duty public authorities should embed the
consideration of biodiversity and ecosystems into their early
thinking and business planning, including any policies, plans,
programmes and projects, as well as their day to day
Natural Resources Report
The State of Natural Resources Report (SoNaRR) assesses the state
of Wales' natural resources, and provides an assessment of the
extent to which Sustainable Management of Natural Resources (SMNR)
is being achieved.
- Provides a national evidence base for Wales on how we are
managing our natural resources and ecosystems and the significant
contribution that our natural resources make towards our
- Highlights the key challenges our natural resources face,
- Supports NRWs' reporting towards its duty to pursue SMNR,
- Provides evidence to support public service delivery including
for local well-being assessments, objectives and plans,
- Provides evidence to support Public Authorities in meeting
their Biodiversity and ecosystem resilience duty ahead of Area
NRW will produce a new report every 5 years to set out the
current best knowledge on the sustainable management of natural
resources in Wales.
Welsh Ministers must take into account the evidence contained with
the State of Natural Resources Report when preparing the Natural
The Natural Resources
The Natural Resources Policy (NRP) is the second statutory product
of the Environment (Wales) Act.
The focus of the NRP is the sustainable management of Wales'
natural resources, to maximise their contribution to achieving
goals within the Well-being of Future Generations Act. The policy
sets out three National Priorities. These are:
- Delivering nature-based solutions,
- Increasing renewable energy and resource efficiency,
- Taking a place-based approach
The NRP covers and integrates a broad range of traditional policy
areas (including water, food and drink, farming and agriculture,
forestry, waste, energy, countryside access and environment) and
intends to maximise contribution across the 7 Well-being Goals from
of Future Generations (Wales) Act.
Area Statements will help to facilitate the delivery of the Welsh
Government's Natural Resources Policy at the local level. The
Environment (Wales) Act requires the Statements to include
information about the natural resources in that place, the benefits
they provide, and the priorities, risks and opportunities that need
to be addressed, to achieve sustainable management of them.
Area Statements are an evidence base to help deliver sustainable
management of natural resources at a local level right across
Wales. They will bring together data, information, organisations,
and ways of engaging others to help better understand the
state and trends of natural resources in an area, the pressures on
them and the benefits we receive. In doing so, they should also
stimulate action and collaboration around management of natural
Area Statements are a fundamental building block for other
planning processes in Wales - in particular (but not exclusively)
Well-being Plans, Local Development Plans, National Park and AONB
Management Plans, Water Company Plans and NRW's own statutory and
operational planning processes. Because they need to feed into
these processes in a relevant and timely way - we need to ensure
the process for their development is done collaboratively, using
the collective knowledge from a broad range of stakeholders.
Read NRW's progress on
the Area Statements so far from their webpages.
emissions reduction targets and first two carbon
Written Statement - Lesley Griffiths AM, Cabinet Secretary
Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs:
"The Environment (Wales) Act 2016 sets our long-term ambition to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% in 2050 and
provides strong foundations to meet our international commitments.
Last year I confirmed we will be accounting for all our emissions
in Wales. The purpose of
this statement is to update the Assembly with regards
setting interim emissions reduction targets and our first two
"Having considered the evidence, including the UKCCC advice,
Cabinet has agreed to set interim targets and first two carbon
budgets as follows (against the 1990 baseline):
• 2020: 27% reduction
• 2030: 45% reduction
• 2040: 67% reduction
• Carbon budget 1 (2016-20): Average of 23%
• Carbon budget 2 (2021-25): Average of 33%
"We will launch a consultation
in July focusing on how to achieve our low-carbon pathway to 2030
and maximising benefits on our well-being goals."