CLA Wales welcomes the launch of Natural Resources Wales (NRW)

09 November 2013

The CLA has called for the launch of NRW to mark the beginning of a radical rethink on the environment in Wales and make sure businesses operating in the natural environment can do so in a dynamic way.

CLA Wales Director Ben Underwood continues: "A quality environment is underpinned by a vibrant rural economy; if there is no money in the rural economy there is a degrading environment - it's as simple as that!"

"This new body not only has a key role in maintaining and enhancing the natural environment but the way in which it conducts itself will have a massive bearing on the vibrancy of the rural economy in Wales which we strongly encourage,

"The repetition of inspections, on-site visits and bureaucratic consenting arrangements that currently prevail need to be urgently addressed," says Mr Underwood, pointing out that fewer clipboards in the countryside has to be a key outcome from the launch of the new body,"

"Before today the three separate bodies making up the NRW were all too often seen as not working as closely as they should, causing unacceptable delays to a number of planning applications and renewable energy schemes, and in so doing halting many opportunities for economic growth in rural areas,

"The CLA wants to see NRW become a showcase for other countries on how to achieve a more sensible approach to interacting with land managers and businesses operating in the natural environment,

"Let's not forget; the best managers of natural resources and those best able to deliver environmental services are the very people who manage the land, its landscapes and its habitats."

The Welsh Government is currently working towards a white paper on the proposed Environment Bill, the contents of which will have a major influence on what direction NRW will take, and the hope is that it will streamline regulation.

"The laws we have for conserving the natural environment are complicated, often overlapping and in many cases counterproductive. All too often the result is a system that discourages land managers from making provision for wildlife and landscape when the aim was to do precisely the opposite.

"We also hope that the new Natural Resources and Food Minister Alun Davies, who will have oversight of the new body, will continue his mission to streamline regulation which he set up under the Working Smarter agenda as deputy minister."