Designated landscapes and natural resource management in Wales

Times are interesting for the designated landcapes of Wales as their purposes and governance have come under renewed scrutiny in recent months.

The final report of the Review Panel into Designated Landscapes is due imminently and in the meantime the Environment (Wales) Bill is being considered by the Assembly in Cardiff.

Writing in our Friends magazine Viewpoint, Edward Holdaway of the Alliance for National Parks Cymru said there was particular interest in the section of the Bill relating to the sustainable management of natural resources.

"By which we mean using natural resources in a way and at a rate that promotes the achievement of the objective set out in the Bill "to maintain and enhance the resilience of ecosystems and the benefits they provide and in doing so, meet the needs of present generations of people without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs."

The Bill also set outs a set of principles for achieving the objective and provides for a "State of Natural Resources Report" by Natural Resources Wales; a "National Nature Resources Policy" by Welsh Ministers; and for "area based implementation of the national policy", with "Area Statements" prepared by NRW.

Mr Holdaway said the Alliance had welcomed the basic aim of the Bill but had reservations: "We do not believe that it supports and enhances the role that designated landscapes can play in securing its aim, because the essential framework that designated landscapes provide for the delivery of an integrated approach to ecosystem management is not recognised.

"Accordingly, in our submission to the Assembly's Environment and Sustainability Committee we have argued how the Bill should provide for a framework setting out the role landscape should provide for managing the interaction between human activities and natural resources - the very essence of the ecosystem approach advocated in the Bill.

"We have also argued that each designated landscape managment plan should be recognised as the natural resources plan for their area."