Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs
Today I am launching a 12-week public consultation to inform the development of the first Natural Resources Policy, marking the next significant step forward in implementing our ground breaking Environment (Wales) Act. Building on the ‘State of Natural Resources Report’ recently published by Natural Resources Wales, the Natural Resource Policy’s focus is the sustainable management of Wales’ natural resources, which is in turn fundamental to the achievement of the goals within the Well-being of Future Generations Act.
In developing Wales’ first Natural Resource Policy, especially within the context of the profound implications of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union in this area, my aim is to ensure that this consultation truly takes on an engagement approach in shaping the way forward in keeping with the ways of working in the Well-being of Future Generations Act and the principles set out in the Environment Act. Building on the earlier Roundtable meetings and wider stakeholder workshop events held over the course of the summer, there is a clear opportunity to take forward the consensus that has already emerged from the workshops and roundtables we have held as a department on the UK’s exit from the EU. In particular, by maximising Wales’ reputation for high quality produce underpinned by our environmental, human and animal health standards there is a clear opportunity to support the profitability and resilience of our key sectors.
Looking ahead, the Environment Act and the Well-being of Future Generations Act put in place a strong foundation on which to build, particularly as both Acts enshrine in legislation the commitment to key international obligations that will not change as a result of the UK’s exit from the European Union and are already acknowledged internationally as exemplars. Within this context, the Natural Resources Policy will play a key role in ensuring that Wales can benefit from the significant opportunities that the better management of our natural resources can provide in parallel with addressing the clear challenges we face. In doing so, it can not only drive action to deliver better environmental outcomes but also improvements in our resilience and health as a nation.