The framework for environmental regulation in Wales: Natural Resources Wales speaks with ‘One Voice’ – Has the statutory voice for nature been silenced?

Kerry Lewis

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Abstract

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) was created from the amalgamation of the functions of the Environment Agency Wales (EAW), the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) and the Forestry Commission Wales. The statutory functions of the three legacy environmental bodies had previously overlapped to some degree, and the rationale for a single body was to streamline activities and resources. However, the legacy bodies had differing – potentially conflicting – interests and duties, for example, in relation to balancing obligations regarding decisions affecting nature conservation. NRW’s duties now differ according to function. Furthermore, in certain circumstances, legislation required statutory consultation between the former bodies, such that EAW had to seek nature conservation advice from CCW as part of the environmental permitting process. NRW is now required to carry out such consultation internally. This research examines the duties of EAW, CCW and NRW with regard to nature conservation, and critically analyses the effect of the creation of a single body on the statutory consultation requirements. It concludes that the duties imposed on NRW with regard to nature conservation are weaker than those of the former CCW, and that the independence of the nature conservation body as consultee and the transparency of the statutory consultation process has been compromised by the creation of the single body.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-206
JournalEnvironmental Law Review
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sept 2015

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