WQ89784 (e) Tabled on 23/11/2023

What consideration has the Minister given to comments from the chief executive of Natural Resources Wales who said that taking firms to court would not achieve environmental betterment at that point?

Answered by Minister for Climate Change | Answered on 01/12/2023

Our starting point, reflected in the NRW’s Chief Executive’s evidence to the Welsh Affairs Committee, is that the starting point for regulation should be prevention and working to ensure harm does not occur in the first place.

Of course, enforcement action has an important role to play, including in dissuading further non-compliance.  However, it is the case that at the point a prosecution is brought, it is very likely there will have been some environmental detriment and that it would be preferable to have been able to prevent that harm from occurring in the first place. The Welsh Government fully endorse the position set out by NRW’s CEO.

NRW has a range of regulatory and enforcement tools at its disposal and

I expect them to use the full range of tools available and to apply judgement as to which tool is likely to deliver the best environmental outcome in each individual case.