The Environment (Wales) Act came into force on 21 January.stMarch 2016. It creates legislation that will allow Wales’ resources to be managed more effectively, sustainably, and in a better integrated way. It creates the legislative framework required to address climate change. The Act supports the wider responsibilities of the Welsh Government under the 2015 Act for the Well-being of Future Generations in WalesIt allows Wales to enjoy a vibrant economy, a healthy environment, and cohesive communities.
The Act specifically places an enhanced biodiversity obligation on public authorities (see Appendix A, for full text of Section 6).
Sct. 6(1) A public power must maintain and increase biodiversity in the exercise or administration of functions in relation Wales. This should also promote resilience of ecosystems insofar as it is compatible with the proper exercise of those functions.
This duty is designed to ensure that biodiversity is a part of public decision-making. The duty was implemented in May 2016 and requires a formal demonstration of compliance by publishing a plan detailing how we intend complying with the Act.
The Act requires us to publish a report every three years on the delivery of the Plan. Each reporting round would see us update the Plan. However, if necessary the Plan could be modified at any point.
A public authority could be held responsible if it fails to fulfill its obligations under the Act. In addition, the Welsh Ministers can issue directions to a public entity under Section 10 to the Act.
The Plan’s primary objective is to implement changes in work habits that will improve biodiversity without adding financial burden to the Council.
Section 7 of the Act requires Welsh Ministers publish lists of habitats and species of principal importance in Wales. These lists must be considered when we perform our functions. These are called S7 habitats, and these species.
Sct. 7 (1) The Welsh Ministers must publish a list listing the types of habitat and living organisms that they consider to be of primary importance to the purpose of maintaining and increasing biodiversity in Wales.