NRW launches consultation on environmental regulatory charging scheme


Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has launched a consultation on plans to update the charges for some of its permits and licences, which it says are designed to work better for business and the environment and reduce the reliance on the taxpayer.

The current charges, which include permitting and ongoing compliance and monitoring, no longer reflect the full costs of delivering the services, meaning taxpayer funds have been used to fill the deficit, the Welsh Government sponsored body says.

NRW says this is the largest review of its regulatory fees and charges since the organisation was established in 2013. The review of fees and charges has considered all NRW regulatory functions – including those activities not historically charged for.

The consultation on the proposed changes for new permitting charge applications and annual review of subsistence charge balances will run for 12 weeks, closing on midday Friday 6 January 2023. The proposed charges will be introduced in April 2023 subject to Ministerial approval.

The new charges will reflect the amount of regulatory effort actually needed to consider each application.

Under proposals laid out in the consultation, charge-payers pay for the full services they use, which NRW says will lead to a “better-managed” environment for current and future generations.

NRW says that following engagement across a range of sectors, the consultation sets out proposals to make changes to several charging schemes associated with applications for new and amended permits – some charges will be new, and others will see significant increases.

Pending approval from Welsh Ministers, new charges will be introduced from April 2023 for industry regulation, site-based waste, water quality, water resources, reservoir compliance, and introduction of species licencing charges.

NRW is required by the Welsh Government, under ‘‘Managing Welsh Public Money’ to fully recover the costs of regulatory services, rather than through general taxation.

NRW says it has also reviewed its annual subsistence fees, which primarily cover the fees for compliance monitoring, to ensure future inflationary pressures are managed effectively.

We appreciate the financial impact our charging proposals might have on some businesses.

If the new charges and fees are implemented, NRW says it will be able to invest more in its regulatory service to face the challenges of “climate and nature emergencies”.

Head of Regulation & Permitting Regulation at NRW, Nadia De Longhi, said: “We have taken this step to review the charges we set for our regulatory services to ensure they are more closely linked to the actual cost of delivering these activities and to ensure charge-payers, not the public, bear the expense.

“We appreciate the financial impact our charging proposals might have on some businesses, especially given the wider cost of living pressures.

“While some of our permitting charges will be new, others have not been reviewed since NRW was established – or even long before that. The new charges will reflect the amount of regulatory effort actually needed to consider each application and, as a result, some individual charges will increase significantly, while others will decrease.

“We want to recover all of the costs of our regulation so that we can reinvest resources in more compliance activity and in preventing pollution happening in the first place. The outcome should be a fairer and more transparent charging system which will result in more effective protection and improvement of our natural environment.”

Send this to a friend