Looking after environment key to better future of Wales’ children

The new Chief Executive of Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has made a plea to look after the natural environment to provide a better future for Wales’ children.

In her first major speech since taking up the post on 26 February this year, she made the statement at the launch of NRW’s new Corporate Plan “Managing today’s natural resources for tomorrow’s generations”. 

In her speech Clare said: 

“The challenges facing our environment are real…yet the opportunities for making a real difference are equally vivid. Wales has legislated to ensure the well-being of its citizens now and in the future and the combination of the Future Generations and Environment Acts is a potent one. 

“Our first wellbeing objective is to champion the Welsh environment and the sustainable management of natural resources. But if we end up as Wales’ only environmental champion we will have failed.  

“Our mission is to be just one of many organisations and individuals working together to ensure that our stewardship of this wonderful country we are lucky enough to call home is such that future generations look back and say that we did OK by them.” 

Clare also spoke about the people who she has met in the first three weeks of working for Natural Resources Wales, saying: 

“After all of three weeks, I have met and talked to many people who work here, who instinctively champion Wales’ natural environment. Their expertise, experience and passion shines through everything we do.”

Diane McCrea, Chair of Natural Resources Wales, echoed Clare’s thoughts: 

“The natural environment in Wales is exceptional and inspiring – it is the foundation of our health, wellbeing and prosperity but all too often we take it for granted and we know in many areas it is under threat. 

“The natural resources we look after are vital to us - providing clean air and water, our food, jobs and the opportunity to improve people’s quality of life. 

“By managing these resources sustainably and thinking about natural solutions to the issues we face – they can provide more benefits to people in Wales in the future.” 

The seven key objectives in the plan, built around the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, outline how NRW will deliver a better future for Wales’ children. They are: 

  • Champion the Welsh environment and the sustainable management of Wales’ natural resources
  • Ensure land and water in Wales is managed sustainably and in an integrated way
  • Improve the resilience and quality of our ecosystems
  • Reduce the risk to people and communities from environmental hazards such as flooding and pollution
  • Help people live healthier and more fulfilled lives
  • Promote successful and responsible business, using natural resources without damaging them
  • Develop NRW into an excellent organisation, delivering first-class customer service 

Brechfa Windfarm is one example of Natural Resources Wales’ work to provide a better future for people and wildlife. 

  • Brechfa Forest West Wind Farm, developed by Innogy Renewables UK Ltd, is a 28 turbine project that will generate enough renewable energy for around 38,800 homes annually
  • This £100 million project will include an £11m community investment fund available over the lifetime of the scheme – approx. 25 years
  • As part of the scheme Innogy will also create new habitats for wildlife like nightjars, dormice and reptiles, with a mosaic of marshy grassland, heathland and native scrub habitats
  • These habitats will also help to store carbon and store water that can help regulate rivers and reduce flood risk
  • They have also built new bridges across the Afon Pib, which runs through the forest, to complement the paths where people can go for a walk or a run against a beautiful, natural landscape
  • The forest will continue to provide high-quality timber for the industry in Wales
  • People from across NRW have helped this scheme to be developed and delivered in a way that looks after the landscape and provides an investment in the natural environment that surrounds it 

People can read the Corporate Plan in full, and hear from some of those who will make it happen, at naturalresources.wales/corporateplan

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