Swansea University lecturer provides evidence to the Environment and Sustainability Committee on the Environment Bill

Dr Victoria Jenkins, Senior Lecturer in the College of Law, appeared before the National Assembly for Wales’s Environment and Sustainability Committee, on Wednesday 24 June, to represent the views of the UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA) Wales Working Party on how this much welcomed legislation could be strengthened to better achieve the protection of the environment in Wales.

The Environment Bill introduces a new governance framework for the sustainable management of natural resources in Wales by its environmental protection agency, Natural Resources Wales (NRW). This was the focus of the evidence of the UKELA Wales Working Party.  However, the Bill also includes measures on land management agreements, experimental measures by NRW, climate change, fisheries, marine licensing, and the collection and disposal of waste.

Victoria Jenkins 300‌Dr Jenkins (left) appeared alongside fellow members of the Wales Working Party of UKELA, Professor Bob Lee, Birmingham University, and Dr Haydn Davies, Birmingham City University.  In their view, although the Bill has great potential to create a truly innovative approach to natural resource management there is still much to be done to tighten up the definitions within the Bill and provide stronger duties for Natural Resources Wales and the Welsh Government. In this initial draft there is also a failure to provide any duties with respect to public participation which is recognised internationally as an essential element of policy making on environmental protection and biodiversity.  

Dr Jenkins, added: “This is the final Bill in a suite of legislation on environmental protection and land use planning that has been considered by the National Assembly for Wales in the past 12 months.  Together this legislation has the potential to provide a coherent approach to the protection of natural resources, land use planning processes and policy making for the well-being of future generations in Wales. However, it is particularly important that amendments are made to the Environment Bill to ensure greater integration between this legislation and the previous Acts.”

Learn more about the Environment Bill on the Welsh Government’s website.