Local authorities and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) have committed to pursuing a new partnership arrangement which will support enhanced collaboration and co-ordination in environmental matters.
Councils and NRW work together on a range of common interests in areas including planning, flood and water management, countryside and land management and legislative implementation. Enshrined in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by NRW and WLGA, on behalf of all 22 local authorities, the new working relationship will be based on a set of agreed guiding principles which include aiming to:
- Discuss, engage and work together on shared common objectives in relevant matters
- Share examples of work or developments that could be helpful to either party’s work
- Continue to explore and discuss further opportunities to collaborate.
A range of potential areas for future joint working have also been identified, which will be explored in regular meetings between NRW and local government representatives.
Revitalising the working relationship will also help both parties to better meet the requirements of the Environment Act and the Well-being of Future Generations Act.
Councillor Debbie Wilcox (Newport), WLGA Leader said:
“Local government has long been an advocate of collaborating with key partners to improve delivery of local services, and I am pleased that councils and NRW have been able to reach this innovative agreement which will support a new way of working at both operational and strategic levels.
“Combining our expertise and resources and coordinating our efforts, especially at a time of unprecedented strain for the public sector, will help to enhance services for local residents. As part of the MoU, we have also identified other potential exciting areas of cooperation to be explored, including considering joint apprenticeship schemes, shared training opportunities and shared assets.”
Councillor Andrew Morgan (Rhondda Cynon Taf), WLGA Spokesperson for the Environment and Sustainability, said:
“NRW is a key partner for local government and this new working relationship will enhance the many already existing examples of work which we continue to undertake jointly together. Our working relationship remains vital to inform our ability to coordinate the response in emergency situations relating to flood risk management and environmental enforcement in particular. This new shared understanding between us will contribute to improving day-to-day operations in relevant matters, in addition to enhanced strategic oversight of policy.”
Claire Pillman, Chief Executive of NRW said:
“We’re already working closely with local authorities to improve the environment, and this agreement further cements those working relationships.
“But we can all do much more. We are reorganising to focus more on working locally, and this agreement will help us and our partners in councils to find new and better ways to improve the environment, economy and society in Wales.”