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

Posted on December 2, 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.

Wales Government Structure

There have been quite a few developments in the policy field over the past couple of months, and it does seem that things are starting to settle after the last round of Wales Government Ministerial portfolio changes.

The Department for Natural Resources has a very wide remit, and forestry is only a relatively small part – so woodland organisations like Coed Lleol, Woodland Trust and LLais y Goedwig need to  work hard to keep policy makers aware of us. To put this into context, there is a Director General (Gareth Jones) for the Department, with three policy Directorates below this:
– Director, Agriculture, Food and Marine (Andrew Slade)
– Veterinary Officer (Christianne Glossop)
– Director, Environment and Sustainable Development (Matthew Quinn)

It is in the latter Directorate that Forestry lies, along with Waste: Energy, Water & Flood; Climate Change & Natural Resource Management (NRM); Environment, conservation & management; Environment protection & quality; Sustainable Development; National Parks; Coastal Access & Allotments.

Recent Developments

Some key ministerial announcements over the past few weeks have been Climate Change Policy Refresh – 21st October, Green Growth Fund for Wale – 9th October, first 18 successful Nature Fund projects on 11th November.

The focus with Nature Fund projects was to get a broad spread across Wales and a focus on five key activities or themes: 1. action to improve river catchments, 2. action on marine ecosystems, 3. action for local environment, 4. action to realise the potential in our upland areas, 5. action to stimulate innovation. It has been good to see that woodland feature strongly in the successful projects list including:
– A Coed Cymru and Rivers Trust project to work with 300 farmers in river catchment areas  to include woodland creation;
– Elwy Valley Habitat project – led by Conwy local authority and including native woodland planting to stabilise banks along the river Elwy;
– Long Forest phase 2, led by Keep Wales Tidy and encouraging local groups, school and landowners to be involved in management of hedgerows, linear woodland features and ancient trees;
– A pollinators for life project led by Torfaen local authority, including planting of tree pollinator species;

– Llynfi Valley woodland creation project, led by NRW, working with local authority, Health Trust, school and others to create 30 ha of native woodland planting.

Not least is the successful bid by one of our LlyG members – Golygfa Gwydyr, in North Wales, to build community capacity in managing public and private woodland resources and using local contracting. Congratulations to them – and to those other community woodland groups who have linked in for successful funding bids.

Consultations

At present ongoing is consultation on the Nature Recovery Plan closing on 3rd December. Lllais y Goedwig have made a submission, to order a copy contact me.

Wales Government have also invited applications for a revised Woodland Strategy Advisory Panel (WSAP). Jenny Wong, former Llais y Goedwig Director, has regularly attended these in the past, and David Williams has deputised for Jenny on a few occasions. We have made an application to have a place on the new – smaller – panel, and would hope to hear the outcome by the end of the year.

Unfortunately we were not able to attend the Wales Government Natural Resources Reference Group meeting on 27th November, where key topics included: a review of departmental priorities; Nature Fund – looking forward, RDP consultation update, Water strategy, link between Future Generations Bill, Planning Bill and Environment Bill.

At previous meetings we have sought clarification as to which documents (and there are many!) that come to the Resources Group are confidential and which can be shared, so do look out for links on our website for those that are available to view.

Latest News

I haven’t had time here to go through the recent workshop run by NRW on developing their Communities and Regeneration strategy, which was held on 25th November in Abergavenny.

Suffice to say there were some good discussions – and we did feel that the high level outcome  did need changing albeit that the priority themes did look good. We will report back on this once material comes out from the workshop.

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