NRW report shows increase in regulatory performance

NRW report

A report published by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) reveals that strong environmental regulation is helping businesses in Wales to play their part in protecting the natural environment and tackling the climate crisis.

However, the NRW says that more work needs to be done to prevent pollution incidents from happening in the future.

NRW’s Annual Regulation Report 2021 sets out the regulatory performance of businesses holding environmental permits in Wales and the effectiveness of NRW’s regulatory approach. It looks at compliance, pollution incidents, crime and enforcement activity and how NRW has delivered on its regulatory and enforcement duties over the last year.

By taking a risk-based approach to prioritise and target the most harmful incidents and activities during 2021, NRW says officers attended just over 2,400 incidents over the year.

The report highlights an increase in the number of reported incidents and enforcement cases over the reporting period, with NRW receiving 8,960  reports of environmental incidents in 2021 – an increase of 13% more than in 2020 and 33% more than in 2019.

While this report shows some improving trends, we know that there is so much more to do.

Figures included in the report also show that tackling those organisations and individuals who seek to profit from illegal activity continues to be a priority. In 2021, the number of enforcement cases created by NRW totalled 1,002, an increase of 343 on the previous year.

These cases included 1,373 legal charges taken against 956 potential offenders, made up of 355 companies and 601 individuals.

The report also highlights a significant increase in the number of applications for permits and licences, reflecting a growing understanding and commitment from businesses to comply with environmental regulations.

While the report demonstrates that progress is being made, NRW is underlining the important role compliance and good regulation will have in protecting communities and nature against growing climate risks in the future.

Commentating on the report, Martyn Evans, Regulatory Futures Team Leader for NRW, said: “Strong regulation underpins our purpose to protect, maintain and enhance Wales’ natural resources so that people can live better and healthier lives and our wildlife can thrive.

“While this report shows some improving trends, we know that there is so much more to do. The quality of the Welsh environment is not where we, our partners and the people of Wales want it to be, and we will need a collaborative approach to address the issues Wales faces.

“We continue to see pressures on our natural environment, and regulatory non-compliance, waste crime and pollution incidents inflict needless, yet significant damage. This, in turn, impacts communities and undermines legitimate businesses.”

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