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Environment (Wales) Act 2016

Section 5 – General purpose of Natural Resources Body for Wales

29.This section substitutes a provision for article 4 of the Natural Resources Body for Wales (Establishment) Order 2012 (Establishment Order) so that the sustainable management of natural resources becomes the core purpose of NRW.

30.The Establishment Order established NRW as the environmental and conservation body in Wales and sets out its general functions. Article 4 of the Establishment Order set out the general purpose of NRW, which was to ensure that the environment and natural resources of Wales were sustainably maintained, enhanced and used for the benefit of the people, environment and economy of Wales today and in the future.

31.Article 4(1)(a), as substituted by section 5 of this Act, now places a duty on NRW to pursue the sustainable management of natural resources in relation to Wales when exercising any of its functions. Sustainable management of natural resources has the meaning in section 3 of the Act.

32.Article 4(1)(b) requires that, in carrying out its functions, NRW must also apply the principles of sustainable management which are set out in section 4 of the Act. The duties in article 4 only apply to the extent that they are consistent with the proper exercise of NRW’s functions and therefore they do not conflict with or override any provisions in this Act or any other legislation, which confer powers or duties on NRW.

33.An example of applying the principles to a function can be illustrated in the preparation of a state of the natural resources report (a requirement under section 8 of the Act). In preparing the report NRW must apply the principles in section 4, which would include considering all relevant evidence and information that will be required to prepare the report, as well as engaging with relevant stakeholders who may have access to any relevant evidence. In addition, NRW would need to take into account the current variability of species and habitats within ecosystems, the ability of ecosystems to respond to changes or increased demands and be able to continue to provide services such as clean water, food, tourism and flood and disease control.

34.Section 5(4) amends the Establishment Order by repealing articles 5B and 5E. Article 5B requires that NRW must have regard to actual or possible ecological changes when carrying out their nature conservation functions. This requirement will now fall under the principles of sustainable management of natural resources as provided in section 4 of this Act and therefore article 5B is no longer necessary.

35.Article 5E requires that NRW must have regard to the health and social well-being of individuals and communities as well as economic well-being. These requirements are subsumed within the duties placed on NRW by the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, so article 5E is no longer required.

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