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The role of Natural Resources Wales in environmental assessment

Natural Resources Wales has four principal roles to play in implementing the SEA, EIA or HRA Directives, Regulations and processes:

View of a valley
1. Consultee on External Applications -
we respond to SEA/EIA/HRA consultations and provide advice and information to inform emerging plans and proposed projects from external bodies (eg local authorities, developers, etc.)

2. Competent/Responsible Authority we consent certain plans and projects, both internal and external, which require SEA/EIA/HRA

3. Producer of SEA/EIA/HRA - we undertake SEA/EIA/HRA to inform our own plans, programmes and projects - or where we work with others in developing plans and projects that require SEA/EIA/HRA

4. Consultee on Internal Applications - we respond to SEA/EIA/HRA consultations and requests for advice on those plans, programmes and projects developed by Natural Resources Wales

Who does what in Natural Resources Wales?

1. Consultee on External Applications

Natural Resources Wales are a consultation body under many environmental assessment regulations including:

  • SEA Regulations
  • Habitats Regulations
  • Town and Country Planning (EIA) Regulations
  • Gas Transporter Pipeline Works (EIA) Regulations
  • EIA (Agriculture) Regulations

For example, where a proposed project requires planning permission, we are contacted by the determining authority (eg a local planning authority) for our views and advice on the potential environmental effects. The determining authority takes our advice into account when making its decision.

Our Planning Team generally receive and deal with consultations, consulting relevant technical experts or other colleagues where necessary.

2. Competent/Responsible Authority

Certain works proposed by external bodies require consent from Natural Resources Wales before they can commence, for example abstracting water.  Where we are the competent/responsible authority, we determine whether or not such works should be subject to EIA/HRA. Where they do, we take into account the findings of the EIA/HRA when deciding whether to consent the proposed developments. Such works may also be subject to the requirements contained in the Land Drainage Improvement (EIA) Regulations, EIA (Forestry) Regulations and the Marine Works (EIA) Regulations.

Most of this work is dealt with by the Permitting Team, though different teams deal with different work areas. For further information on specific areas, see eg Planning,  Applying for a permit, Tree felling and other regulations, or Marine Licencing.

3. Producer of SEA/EIA/HRA

Natural Resources Wales produces a wide range of plans, programmes, strategies and projects itself, for example Forest Resource Plans and Flood Risk Management Plans.

The Environmental Assessment Team provide advice and support to our own plan and project-makers in relation to environmental assessment.

4. Consultee on Internal Applications

When Natural Resources Wales produces SEAs and HRAs for its own plans and programmes, there is a special procedure for the Statutory Consultee stage of the process.  These arrangements fulfil the legal requirement that the same part of the organisation should not both produce a plan and associated SEA or HRA and then consult themselves over their own plan or programme and accompanying assessment.

The Strategic Assessment Team provide the 'functionally separate' statutory nature conservation body consultee role for all SEAs and plan HRAs that are undertaken to support Natural Resources Wales' own plans, programmes and strategies, or those produced in partnership.

Where to submit consultations

All SEA and plan HRA consultations and queries should be submitted to Natural Resources Wales via the Strategic Assessment mailbox.

EIA and project level HRA consultations and queries should be submitted via the Planning mailbox.

For anything else, contact Natural Resources Wales via the Customer Care Centre on 0300 065 3000 or by email.

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