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Written Statement - Review of Natural Resources Wales against the Principles of Good Regulation

Carl Sargenat AM, Minister for Natural Resources

Civil sanctions are a set of administrative penalties that allow regulators to impose proportionate, flexible and meaningful sanctions and are only available to those regulators that follow the principles of good regulation - transparency, accountability, consistency, proportionality, and targeting

As an environmental regulator Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has the power to respond to environmental offences, including through use of civil sanctions.  To provide Welsh Ministers with the necessary assurance on NRW’s continued use of civil sanctions, the Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO) were asked by the  Welsh Government to undertake a review of NRW, against the principles of better regulation.

The Review has taken place over the last six  months and BDRO adopted a high level but robust and thorough investigation of the approach to front line delivery of regulation by NRW  and its interface and relationship with the businesses and other regulated entities in deals with . BDRO held a series of focus groups and interviews with businesses and business representative groups. Following on from stakeholder engagement BDRO worked with NRW to identify and map relevant sources of information about NRW and its approach to regulation

The principle recommendation of the report is that Natural Resources Wales should have continued access to civil sanctioning powers.  BRDO notes that NRW is still in the early stages of shaping its regulatory approach as distinct from its predecessor organisations but its commitment to regulatory excellence is demonstrated through commitments made, policy development in train and aspirations to build staff capacity.  The review team have been keen to emphasise that they see NRW as a young and developing organisation that is cultivating a regulatory approach that aims to support compliance and business growth.  Their approach to the hydropower sector was seen as particularly noteworthy and an exemplar of regulatory co-production.

The report entitled the Review of Natural Resources Wales (NRW) against the principles of Good Regulation by the Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO) provides a sound basis for me to be satisfied that NRW will use civil sanctions in a way that is compliant with the principles of good regulation. The report which endorses the continued use of civil sanctions by NRW has been laid before the National Assembly for Wales.

http://www.assembly.wales/laid documents/gen-ld10285/gen-ld10285-e.pdf (English only)

I am pleased with the outcome of the review by BRDO and how far NRW has come in shaping its regulatory approach, particularly in developing a system that is responsive to differing business needs I note that there a series of recommendations made by BDRO that will further enhance and improve NRW’s Regulatory performance. My officials will work with NRW to monitor the implementation of the recommendations