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Written Statement - The Environment Strategy Annual Report 2011

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An update on progress against the actions from the first and second Environment Strategy Action Plans for Wales.
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John Griffiths, Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development

The third update against actions from the Environment Strategy Action Plan has been launched today, 21 December 2011.  The Report reflects the range of activity to support Wales’ natural environment, encourage greater access to the coast and countryside and bring people and communities more closely together with their local environment and habitats.

In the report we have provided details of the progress made against the State of the Environment indicators, examples from other parts of the Welsh Government about how they are contributing towards the Environment Strategy and details of work done under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 to conserve biodiversity.

The good progress we have made would not have been possible without the commitment and support of a wide range of stakeholders including members of the Wales Environment Link, the Countryside Council for Wales, Environment Agency Wales, Forestry Commission Wales, Welsh Local Government Association and Wales Council for Voluntary Action.  I am grateful to each for all their hard work.

The current Action Plan has served us well in securing the engagement of organisations and individuals that ensure that Wales’ environment is protected and maintained.  Though the Action Plan will end this year, the Environment Strategy’s outcomes will remain relevant to our key strategies helping to shape activity up to 2026.

We will soon be releasing a Green Paper on our emerging thinking on the Natural Environment Framework.  The Framework adopts an ecosystem approach for how we manage the services that are provided to us via the natural environment.  I hope that it will receive the same level of commitment as the current Environment Strategy Action Plan has received to help deliver a healthier, resilient and more productive environment for Wales.

This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.