Area Statements and opportunity catchments
These pages are being continuously updated, enabling stakeholders to get a better understanding of how Area Statements applies to their particular areas of work.
The future of our natural environment and energy affects us all. The intricacies when it comes to both are not only huge and complex but also increasingly urgent as the effects of climate change are felt. Everyone needs to be part of the conversation and transition.
We are keen to talk to you about the opportunities and challenges arising from Area Statements relating to energy and our transition towards a low carbon economy.
To get involved, please contact us at email@example.com and we will aim to get back to you within 10 working days.
The Welsh Government’s Natural Resource Policy (NRP), which sets out the priorities, opportunities and challenges for managing Wales’ natural resources sustainably, identifies both renewable energy and energy efficiency as key priorities. The NRP, along with the Welsh Government’s ‘A Low Carbon Wales’ plan, also recognises how Area Statements can help deliver the desired policy in a local context.
Area Statements, among many other things, set out to ensure that the unique characteristics and priorities of different localities are considered when it comes to opportunities and challenges relating to energy. That, in turn, will enable the planning and design of cost-effective local energy systems for Wales. Local areas are, quite literally, best placed to drive emission reductions by managing policy covering land, buildings, water, waste and transport. They can embed low carbon measures in strategic plans across different fields such as health and social care, transport and housing. As such, Area Statements aim to add value to existing practices, tools and resources, enabling the sustainable development and management of energy systems within the constraints of our natural environment. They also present us with a platform to help address the energy ‘trilemma’ – security of supply and infrastructure, social equity, and climate emergency – from a local perspective, creating opportunities for collaborative working.
In 2019, in light of the climate change emergency, the UK government raised the level of ambition, legislating for a net-zero target for all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Wales has also accepted this challenge with a target of reducing its greenhouse gas by 95% by 2050, as recommended by the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC), an independent non-departmental public body. The Welsh target will be strengthened and guided by the Environment (Wales) Act 2016, which provides a statutory framework for action on climate change.
Additionally, in September 2017 the Welsh Government set out the following three key ambitious energy targets for Wales:
To achieve these ambitious goals all stakeholders within the energy realm, from government to the general public, must collaborate to create a future energy system that is low carbon, at the same time minimising the financial cost of the transition away from fossil fuels when it comes to energy bills. In addition, to drastically reduce the energy we consume, there needs to be a greater emphasis on locally integrated systems for heat, power, transport and energy storage, embracing the ‘whole system’ economics of clean energy in order to balance supply and demand on a network with high levels of intermittency.
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has a number of specific roles in relation to energy matters (including land management, advisory and regulatory) which are strongly linked to Area Statements. Building on our role, local authorities are well placed, either individually or working in co-operation, to create a detailed plan describing exactly how their region or area should best decarbonise based on individual challenges, while also sustaining the economy and addressing fuel poverty. Local authorities also have the ability to bring industry and community stakeholders together to ensure that a co-ordinated whole energy system approach is taken across the energy sectors in their regions, one that represents the lowest financial cost to local communities. By developing regional energy strategies, plans and projects, local authorities can drive the decarbonisation of their regions collaboratively with all key stakeholders, tracking progress against targets.
We hope Area Statements will, over time, contribute towards the development and implementation of Welsh local authority ambitions, strategies and plans for decarbonisation. In 2019, we hosted two workshops with stakeholders to explore these opportunities in more detail. They identified that Area Statements could add value in the development and use of local development plans and renewable energy assessments by outlining both the risks and opportunities to the local environment, which could help inform and influence planning decisions and practices. They also highlighted the important roles that government, local businesses, community energy groups and residents can play in helping local authorities achieve these ambitions.
For anyone directly involved in renewable energy and resource efficiency, we encourage you to read through the Area Statements and provide feedback via our online feedback form.
A full description of the different themes that are emerging from across Wales can be found here:
To find out more about NRW’s role and work in relation to energy please go to:
Energy in Wales
Natural Resources Wales’s energy guidance note
Natural Resources Wales’s Wind Energy Programme
Natural Resources Wales’s Wood Fuel Programme
Natural Resourses Wales’s Small Scale Hydro Energy Programme
To find out about some of the funding and incentive opportunities, please go to:
To find about some of the existing tools used in the development of renewable energy (but not limited to), please go to: