Alun Davies, Minister for Natural Resources and Food
Our commitments in relation to delivering a fresh and joined-up approach to how we manage our natural resources are a key element of the Programme for Government, supporting delivery not only of our environmental objectives but also critically our social and economic ones, in particular through green growth and our work to tackle poverty in all its forms.
Last autumn I announced a White Paper, Towards the Sustainable Management of Wales’ Natural Resources, setting out my proposals for an Environment Bill. I am today issuing a summary report of the responses we received to that consultation. The report will be published alongside the responses on the consultation page of the Welsh Government’s website later today.
There was an excellent response to the consultation, with 182 written responses received. Many contained detailed and insightful comments that clearly reflect the importance of our natural resources to the people of Wales, and are now helping to inform further development of the Bill prior to its introduction.
Overall, the consultation endorsed the approach we proposed in legislating for natural resource management in Wales. There was strong support for the package of proposals in relation to establishing an integrated framework for natural resource management, and to provide Natural Resources Wales with the right tools to work in new and innovative ways to sustainably manage our natural resources. The responses also confirmed the need to ensure the legislation we introduce, for example in relation to waste management, is practical and proportionate whilst maximising opportunities to support jobs and growth.
This further consultation has built on the responses to the Sustaining a Living Wales Green Paper consultation undertaken in 2012 which informed the development of the proposals set out in the White Paper and has reinforced the support for the direction we are taking. Both consultations will also be used to inform the further development of the supporting policy and guidance and my officials are continuing to work with stakeholders following the consultation to ensure that the Environment Bill and our wider policy delivers for Wales, now and in the long term. This is further supported by our practical delivery, for example through the Nature Fund, which will drive the step change needed to embed a joined up approach to the management of our natural resources for economic, social and environmental benefit.
I look forward now to developing the proposals contained in the White Paper into draft legislation in preparation for its introduction to the National Assembly.