LlyG update – government policy important to community woodlands, Feb 2014

Posted on February 19, 2014 by

Llais y Goedwig Director David Williams gives his bi monthly round up of key developments important to community woodlands in one easy read update.

This update draws on Llais y Goedwig’s ongoing work with organisations including Natural Resources Wales, Wales Environment link (WEL),  Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA), and the National Forestry Policy Group within Welsh Government.

All members are welcome to take part in attending meetings and inputting on consultations. For more information contact the network here.

Policy update

Probably most readers will be aware that a green paper comes out first, highlighting key concepts and ideas, and getting views from across the interested parties in the particular sector involved. The questions relating to this are posed in a fairly open way. Then a more detailed white paper follows, which is the draft legislation setting out powers, duties, responsibilities, etc. This also goes to consultation but with more closed questions.

The Environment Bill

The white paper consultation closed on 15th Jan, with 180 responses– with all set to be published. The Natural Resources Framework set out was endorsed by 90% of responders. Of the 10% most points made were on the lack of clarity as to ‘how’ processes will work although responders liked the concept of payments for ecosystems services (PES), but again question how these will be applied. It is likely to feature in future environmental grant criteria. A  draft report on the white paper responses is due 24th March and there will be a regulatory impact assessment in Sept  2014, with the bill set to come into force for 2015.

Nature Fund

This was a consultation by Welsh Government on how this planned £2million fund might be used. Perhaps unsurprisingly this generated a lot of responses from organisations – 465 here. Some responders rather than give ideas pitched specific proposals  (not what was asked for!) The LlyG response is one of the first listed  – so might get read by some! Proposals will be considered late February and further details due early April.

Proposals for Glastir Scheme

This falls under the Rural Development Plan for Wales for the period 2014 to 2020. The consultation process closes on 28th March. Details here. Within this consultation document the woodland related element is section 3.6 (page 40) – Woodland Management and Creation. There is a proposal to use a greater proportion of the RDP funding (to 2020) to go to woodland planting and management, recognising the value of this to ecosystems service delivery. Do please feed in your views to LlyG.

Future Generations Bill

This continues to be worked up so as to address the future challenges for Wales, from demographic change to halting species loss, from climate change impacts to energy security. An important element to inform detail will be the ‘National Conversation’. More information here.

Finally, NRW undertook a consultation on its partnership funding. Our comments were among 79 submissions made, and now being analysed. A report is due to the NRW Board in April 2014 with the ‘realistic date’ for establishing revised funding system being seen as April 2015.

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