LlyG update – government policy important to community woodlands, Sept 2015

Posted on September 3, 2015 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.

You can read all the woodland policy updates posted by LlyG by visiting here.

Any questions or observations are always welcome. The LlyG network – llygmembers@googlegroups.com – is a good way to do this, or contact David at david.williams@llaisygoedwig.org.uk


Vision and framework for natural resources management in Wales

In this update the aim is to look at the overall vision and framework for natural resources management in Wales, some of the key terms used and what they mean.

How did it begin?

It probably began with proposals in a 2010 consultation ‘A Living Wales’ ; followed in 2012 with a Green Paper ‘Sustaining a Living Wales’, and the establishment of Natural Resources Wales (NRW).

Then came the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act, and the Environment (Wales) Bill aiming to provide the legislative framework for the sustainable management of natural resources/developing sustainably.

National Natural Resources Policy Statement

What is important is that Wales Government recognise that communities (which would include community woodland groups) have a vital part to play, and this is stated in the upcoming National Natural Resources Policy Statement (NNRP) that will be coming out for consultation later this month:

‘Central to this is building resilience into our natural systems and communities so we are able to tackle the challenges we face now and into the future. Taking an integrated approach to the management of our natural resources is fundamental if we are to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Through putting an ecosystem approach on a statutory footing, the Environment (Wales) Bill places international best practice at its heart in addressing the continuing decline in biodiversity. Used well, our abundance of natural resources are a real opportunity to be the foundation for our long term prosperity, providing us with the essentials to drive green growth and support resilient communities’

How this policy statement will be used

This Natural Resources Policy statement is to be used as a basis for discussion with partners (of Wales Government) for developing statutory policy, which will apply across the Welsh Government and draw on a comprehensive statutory State of Natural Resources Report (SoNaRR) to be published by NRW in autumn 2016.

It will also be used to inform the implementation of sustainable natural resource management by NRW, building on the current area trials (which are based on river catchment areas – such as the Tawe, the Dyfi and the Rhondda)

To meet these objectives – the sustainable management of natural resources – the Environment Bill sets out key principles which underpin the sustainable management of natural resources.

Each principle is applied equally –


Building resilience


A resilient ecosystem is one that is healthy and functions in a way that is able to address pressures and demands placed on it, and is able to deliver benefits over the long term to meet current social, economic and environmental needs.


Managing for multiple benefits


Our ecosystems provide us with a wide range of services and benefits. We need to take all of these into account when we make decisions about how we use them, so that they provide multiple benefits for the long term.   This includes taking into account their intrinsic value.


Adaptive management


Ecosystem processes and functions are complex and variable, and our approach will be adaptive with a focus on active learning derived from monitoring and outcomes and taking into account the time lags and feedback times for ecosystems to respond to interventions. It is about ‘learning by doing’.


Long term


It is also important to take account of the short, medium and long term consequences of actions.




This means gathering information and considering all the social, economic and environmental evidence (including evidence in respect of uncertainties) from a wide range of experts and stakeholders at the local, regional and national level as appropriate, both to identify priorities and opportunities for their management and also in delivering the management actions.


Collaboration and co-operation


It is about having a two way communication across local, regional, national and international levels and being interconnected between policy, process and people to break down silo ways of working.   This approach supports the development and implementation of the new, innovative solutions that are needed.


Working at the right scale


An ecosystem is a functioning unit that can operate at any scale depending on the problem or issue being addressed.


There are three key components to take this forward:

  • National Natural Resource Policy (NNRP) produced by the Welsh Ministers
  • State of Natural Resources Report (SoNaRR) produced by NRW
  • Area Statements produced by NRW

How community woodlands are part of this work

Hence it has been useful for community woodland groups (CWGs) to attend events and workshops in the pilot areas, as it is important that woodlands are fully considered in the area statements, and that CWG’s are included partners.

Knowing what is meant by acronyms such as NRRP and SoNaRR should be helpful as we can expect this to be part of the ‘jargon’ going forward. Some useful ‘overview’ background can be found at: http://gov.wales/docs/desh/publications/150622-natural-resources-priorities-booklet-en.pdf.

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