Environment (Wales) Act

This 2016 Act puts in place the legislation needed to plan and manage Wales' natural resources in a more proactive, sustainable and integrated manner.  The approach in Wales is referred to as Sustainable Management of Natural Resources (SMNR).

The aim is to promote a low carbon green economy that adapts to climate change while providing significant economic, social and environmental benefits for Wales.  A duty is placed on Welsh ministers to prepare, publish and implement a statutory National Natural Resource Policy (NNRP) to set out priorities regarding the management of natural resources in Wales.

The Act also introduces a new "biodiversity and resilience of ecosystems duty" which replaces and enhances the biodiversity duties set out in the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act (NERC) 2006.  Public authorities need to "maintain or enhance biodiversity" and to "promote the resilience of ecosystems".  All public bodies will have to report (by 2019) and publish plans that set out the action they have undertaken to deliver this duty.  These plans have to be updated every three years.