NRW sets out ambitious plan to tackle triple threat to the planet over this decisive decade

Girl looking at a bluebell in the woods

World Environment Day: “We cannot sit on the side lines of the nature, climate and pollution emergencies”

There can be no more half measures if we are to reverse biodiversity loss, avert a climate catastrophe and turn the tide on pollution.

This is the call from Natural Resources Wales (NRW) on World Environment Day (5 June) as the environment body prepares to launch its plan outlining how it will tackle the nature, climate and pollution emergencies over this decisive decade.

In a speech at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay this week (6 June), NRW’s Chief Executive Clare Pillman will set out how its corporate plan to 2030: Nature and People Thriving Together will focus on three well-being objectives that will guide its response to the triple threats to the planet: By 2030 in Wales, nature is recovering; communities are resilient to climate change; and pollution is minimised.

Named after the vision that will inspire delivery, the plan outlines how NRW will prioritise action so that, by 2030, nature’s recovery will be secure by sharing its own knowledge and expertise and drawing upon the insights of partners to halt and reverse biodiversity’s decline.

It sets out how it will support action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate action to adapt to and mitigate against the risks posed by a warming planet on communities and wildlife, and contributing to the Welsh Government’s ambition for a net zero Wales by 2050.

And as public interest in the state of our waters intensifies, it demonstrates how NRW will prioritise its actions to ensure nature and people will be protected from the impacts of pollution by working with partners to clean up our rivers and seas, regulating business robustly and minimising waste.

It recognises where NRW is best placed to lead the way to meet the 2030 targets for nature and climate with the unique tools and powers it has.

Yet in the face of growing inequalities and a cost of living crisis, it also stresses the importance of pooling resources and collaborating with partners, sharpening the focus on social and environmental justice to make sure no part of society gets left behind.

Speaking at the Senedd event, Clare Pillman is expected to say:

We have set out a corporate plan that is unapologetic in its ambition for nature, climate, and minimising pollution. How successful we will be in how we deliver will not only be determined by how NRW leads the way, but how well we, and the people of Wales, collaborate on our shared ambitions across the public, private and third sectors in a true Team Wales approach.
Now is not the time to sit on the side lines. We know what we need to do, and we all have the collective tools and the knowledge to find the solutions. We simply have to pick up the pace, work together, listen to a range of voices, and use all our evidence and knowledge to make the best decisions for our planet.

NRW’s plan has been informed by landmark assessments made in the State of Natural Resources Report (SoNaRR2020), the State of Nature Report Wales, 2019 and the national conversations hosted through the Nature and Us initiative in 2022 which has led to a vision for 2050, created and inspired by the people of Wales.

In her speech, Clare will also highlight how NRW will work to stimulate real progress on the policy shifts needed to tackle the climate and nature emergencies. Where progress on delivering the three well-being objectives is slowed or hampered by circumstances outside of its control, it will use its voice to call for change.

It is a plan that is already inspiring enthusiasm from a range of voices across Wales.

Welcoming the ambition of the plan, Poppy Stowell-Evans, Chair of Youth Climate Ambassadors for Wales said:

In the face of the climate crisis, it can be easy to feel anxious and hopeless. NRW provides a comprehensive and inspiring plan that leaves you feeling hopeful and empowered rather than out of control.
Their mission is one of unity, collaboration and protecting the ever important and essential connection that Wales has with nature in its past, present and future. Ultimately, climate change is not an issue that one person can tackle alone. It is an issue that must be taken on by a unified country - a country that cares for its people and the world around them. This plan provides concrete steps for how this can happen, emphasising the power that Wales has when we all work together to protect each other and the country and world we love so deeply.

Councillor Andrew Morgan OBE, Welsh Local Government Association Leader and Spokesperson for Climate Change said:

Councils have a fundamentally important relationship with NRW and share its commitment to help nature recover, to make our communities more resilient to climate change and to minimise pollution.
Joint work between us will be vitally important in pursuing these goals. I welcome the focus in the new corporate plan on these three objectives and also the emphasis on delivery.

Karen Whitfield, Joint Director of Wales Environment Link said:

It’s great to see nature, climate and action on pollution at the front and centre of NRW’s new corporate plan. We look forward to seeing the impact this will make to help nature thrive and achieve Wales’ 2030 goals.

Representatives from a range of partners will join Clare Pillman, NRW Chair Sir David Henshaw, the Minister for Climate Change Julie James MS and Future Generations Commissioner Derek Walker at the official launch of NRW’s corporate plan to 2030: Nature and People Thriving Together at the Senedd on 6 June.