Wales is to have a new environmental body which will bring together the Environment Agency Wales (EAW), the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) and Forestry Commission Wales (FCW) as one organisation. It is expected to be up and running in 2013.
Welsh Environment Minister John Griffiths has formally decided the merger should go ahead. He said the move would ensure the most sustainable and effective management of the country’s natural resources.
His decision followed nine months of scoping work by Welsh Government officials, representatives from the three bodies and other organisations with an interest in the sector.
The minister made his decision after considering a detailed business case that estimated that the transition from three environment bodies to just one could result in savings of up to £158m over ten years.
He said: “We know that the natural environment is crucial to the Welsh economy and that modern life means that pressure on our natural resources is constantly increasing.
“This means it is more important than ever that our environment is managed as effectively and efficiently as possible to ensure the best outcomes for Wales.
“Having carefully considered the business case, I am convinced that the establishment of a single environmental body will ensure the most sustainable and effective management of Wales’ natural resources.
“Not only will one body result in a more streamlined way of working, it will also ensure more effective delivery, improved value for money and better outcomes for Welsh people, Welsh businesses and the environment.
Consultation on the role and functions of the new body will begin in January 2012. A programme team staffed mainly by people from the three bodies is being established to undertake the preparatory work to ensure that the new body can function properly from 1 April 2013.
1 December 2011