Policy in Wales
Much of our work to protect nature happens in Cardiff Bay and in the Senedd, home to the National Assembly for Wales. We have a small team of policy staff who champion the importance of nature with the Welsh Government.
We have worked to influence two of the most important pieces of lawmaking on sustainable development and management of the natural environment - the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, and the Environment (Wales) Act 2016.
We successfully advocated changes as the Bills progressed through the scrutiny stages in the National Assembly for Wales. This meant working with the Welsh Government teams responsible for the Bills, as well as with Assembly Members of all parties. Positive changes for nature were made to both Bills through the process.
We now continue to work with Government and other stakeholders on the roll-out of the new laws to try to make sure all the positive words translate into the right sort of action on the ground.
Special places for nature
It's not just European laws that mark out special places for nature in Wales. We also have sites that are protected by UK law (for example Sites of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserves), as well as special places that are designated through international treaties such as the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
Protected sites on land and at sea are a fundamental part of any plan to restore nature and that's why we need more, bigger, better-connected and well-managed special sites across Wales.
Our special sites provide huge benefits – both for us and for nature in its own right. But they could deliver so much more if measures are taken to improve their size, number, connectedness and condition.
Benefits for people and wildlife
Investing in proper protection and effective management of special sites across Wales will transform the fortunes of nature on land and at sea, as well as delivering well-being benefits for people, both socially and economically.
That's why we are working with Welsh Government and the statutory nature conservation body Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to ensure our special places continue to be protected and are better-managed - individually and as a network - to create a country richer in nature.
We want NRW to be empowered to lead on the essential surveying and monitoring necessary to determine whether our protected sites are in good condition, and to make sure the required management work to improve site condition and drive biodiversity recovery happens.
Welsh Government is currently reviewing protected landscapes in Wales - our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
This programme of work will shape the future of these special places, which cover a large area of Wales and have the potential to deliver so much for nature as well as people and business. Designated landscapes have an important role to play alongside our other special places, to drive nature’s recovery.
We are working closely with Welsh Government, the National Park Authorities, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, partner organisations and other stakeholders to advocate this on the Natural Resources Minister's, Future Landscapes Wales Working Group.
Our mission is to connect young people with nature and empower them to protect the natural world, now and in the future. The RSPB has a target of connecting half a million children across the UK to nature by 2018.
RSPB Cymru has identified five key areas which Government needs to address so that children can have the connection to nature they deserve:
- Provide adequate funding and guidance for all schools so that every child can have regular first-hand experiences of nature
- Ensure the whole teaching profession is confident, competent and committed to teach outside the classroom
- Enshrine the value of outdoor learning and environmental responsibility in national curricula
- Make sure that schools’ performances in outdoor learning are assessed and reported
- Establish and protect natural green spaces that are easily accessible for all children and young people.
RSPB Cymru is a founding member of the Real World Learning Cymru Partnership, which was set up by providers to promote Out-of-Classroom Learning and help support stakeholders, including schools and colleges, teacher trainers and government agencies.
The overall purpose of the partnership is to help ensure that all children have regular opportunities to learn outside the classroom. We make representation to politicians and civil servants responsible for education and respond to consultations about education policy and curriculum matters.
We work to influence the Welsh Government to make sure that the country’s agri-environment schemes do provide real benefits for wildlife and their habitats, and are a good investment of taxpayers’ money.
Our Farming Advisory Focus Area, centred on the Migneint-Arenig-Dduallt Special Area of Conservation, is a key area where we are working alongside farmers, and focusing our resources and advice, in order to demonstrate management for priority species and habitats. Our work here also provides valuable case studies for use in our policy and advocacy.
We also want the Government’s policies to support the High Nature Value (HNV) farming systems that give nature a home in Wales. These farms don’t just help nature - they also have positive effects on water quality and flow, and help stop carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.
Nature and the National Assembly for Wales
It’s time to speak up for nature. On 5 May we elected 60 politicians to the National Assembly for Wales. Find out how you can show them nature is important.