NDM6989 - Opposition DebateTabled on 06/03/2019 | For debate on 13/03/2019
To propose that the National Assembly for Wales;
1. Notes the Welsh Government’s decision to merge the Countryside Council for Wales, Environment Agency Wales, and the Forestry Commission Wales with the formation of Natural Resources Wales (NRW) in 2013.
2. Recognises the hard work of frontline staff in the organisation but acknowledges their dissatisfaction and lack of confidence in the decisions taken by senior management, as regularly expressed in staff surveys since NRW’s inception.
3. Regrets that NRW has systematically failed the people of Wales through a number of high-profile scandals, including:
a) serious failings in the handling of timber contracts which auditors, Grant Thornton, stated were so bad they "heightened exposure to the risk of fraud";
b) the ‘qualification’ of the organisation’s accounts by the Wales Audit Office for three years running, indicating that there were questions over whether the organisation had acted within the rules;
c) the contradictory approach led by NRW when deciding to intervene on matters of public interest such as shooting on public land and nuclear mud dumping.
4. Calls on the Welsh Government to instigate an independent review/inquiry into the organisation’s failings and to investigate alternative proposals for the management of the natural resources of Wales.
Grant Thornton - Natural Resources Wales - Governance of Timber Sales - 3 February 2019
Natural Resources Wales - Annual Report and Accounts 2015-16
Natural Resources Wales - Annual Report and Accounts 2016-17
Natural Resources Wales - Annual Report and Accounts 2017-18
Delete points 3 and 4 replace with new points:
Notes the findings and recommendations of the reports by:
a) National Assembly Public Accounts Committee inquiry into NRW’s annual report and accounts 2017-2018 – November 2018;
b) Grant Thornton - Natural Resources Wales - Governance of Timber Sales - February 2019.
Welcomes the appointment of a new chief executive and interim chair of NRW and their commitment to implement the recommendations of the two reports and improve the management and governance of NRW.
Public Accounts Committee - Natural Resources Wales
Scrutiny of Annual Report and Accounts 2017-18 – November 2018
In point 3, replace “Regrets that NRW has systematically failed the people of Wales through a number of high-profile scandals” with “Regrets the series of high profile failures in NRW”.
Delete point 4 and replace with:
Calls on the Welsh Government to establish an independent review to ascertain whether it is still appropriate for NRW to continue to manage the commercial forest estate in Wales and consider any potential alternative models.
Add as new point at end of motion:
Calls on the Welsh Government to ensure that NRW is properly resourced to adequately fulfil all of its duties.