WQ84715 (e) Tabled on 07/03/2022

What is the Welsh Government doing to strengthen the powers and resources of Natural Resource Wales to combat the numerous cases of illegal tree felling, and to ensure collective action to tackle climate change as stated in the Welsh Government’s climate emergency declaration 2019?

Answered by Minister for Climate Change | Answered on 15/03/2022

The powers open to Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to tackle illegal felling are set out in the Forestry Act 1967. Welsh Government provides Grant in Aid to NRW which covers the cost of resources for a range of the forestry regulation work they undertake, including the investigation and pursuit of alleged illegal felling. It is for NRW to decide how this resource is prioritised.

However, it is important we protect our ancient woodlands, and our Programme for Government commits us to strengthening our protections of ancient woodlands. Alongside this, we intend to include amendments to the Forestry Act 1967 in our Agriculture (Wales) Bill which will enable Welsh Ministers to add conditions to felling licences, and amend, revoke or suspend felling licences where necessary.

Over the course of the last year we have also been working with NRW to undertake a baseline review of their essential activity. Our next step is to work with NRW to co-design service level agreements across its policy and delivery areas to ensure that there is co-ordinated action to tackle both the Climate Change and Nature emergencies.