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Environment (Wales) Act 2016

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The Environment (Wales) Act puts in place the legislation needed to plan and manage Wales’ natural resources in a more proactive, sustainable and joined-up way.

Our animation tells you more about what we're doing and why.

The act (external link) received Royal Assent on 21 March 2016. It delivers against our Programme for Government commitment to introduce new legislation for the environment. This positions Wales as a low carbon, green economy, ready to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

The act will mean significant economic, social and environmental benefits for Wales. It has been carefully designed to support and complement our work to help secure Wales’ long-term well-being, so that current and future generations benefit from a prosperous economy, a healthy and resilient environment and vibrant, cohesive communities.

The key parts of the act are:

  • Part 1: Sustainable management of natural resources – enables Wales’ resources to be managed in a more proactive, sustainable and joined-up way. It also helps to tackle the challenges we face and is focused on the opportunities our resources provide.
  • Part 2: Climate change – provides the Welsh Ministers with powers to put in place statutory emission reduction targets, including at least an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050 and carbon budgeting to support their delivery. This is vital within the context of our existing UK and EU obligations and sets a clear pathway for decarbonisation. It also provides certainty and clarity for business and investment.
  • Part 3: Charges for carrier bags – extends the Welsh Ministers’ powers so that they may set a charge for other types of carrier bags such as bags for life. It also places a duty on retailers to donate the net proceeds from the sale of carrier bags to good causes.
  • Part 4: Collection and disposal of waste – improves waste management processes by helping us achieve higher levels of business waste recycling, better food waste treatment and increased energy recovery. This will help to decrease pressure on natural resources while also contributing towards positive results for both the economy and the environment.
  • Parts 5 & 6: Fisheries for shellfish and marine licensing – clarifies the law in relation to shellfisheries management and marine licensing.
  • Part 7: Flood & Coastal Erosion Committee and land drainage – clarifies the law for other environmental regulatory regimes including flood risk management and land drainage.

Natural Resources Policy Statement

The policy statement supports the Environment (Wales) Act, which places a duty on Welsh ministers to prepare, publish and implement a statutory National Natural Resource Policy (NNRP). This will set out our priorities in relation to the management of natural resources.

This policy statement is a precursor to the statutory NNRP, illustrating potential priorities and opportunities for our natural resources. It will be used to engage our partners to develop and inform the first statutory policy which will be published in Spring 2017.

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