Other legislative and policy context
There is supporting legislation, and a number of national, regional and local plans/strategies which recognise the importance of biodiversity, and the wider benefits it can provide for people and communities. Delivery of the Biodiversity Duty Plan will support delivery of these wider legislations, plans and strategies, the most relevant of which are outlined below.
Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015
The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 (the WBFG Act) is about improving the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales. It sets out new ways of working where all elements of well-being are considered together. It aims to facilitate collaborative working.
The WBFG Act places a duty on public bodies to carry out sustainable development. This is defined as a process of improving the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales. Action should be taken in line with the sustainable development principle so that the well-being goals are achieved.
There are 7 well-being goals that have been identified by the WBFG Act (see appendix B). The information below sets out how the Plan contributes to the goals of the WBFG Act.
A Prosperous Wales
Building environmental resilience underpins future economic growth, especially in the context of climate change. Natural resources provide opportunities for employment and economic activity. For example, wildlife and outdoor activity, tourism is very popular in NPT, bringing in revenue for a variety of businesses.
A Resilient Wales
NPT’s biodiversity, mountains, moorlands and heaths, semi-natural grasslands, woodlands, urban greenspaces, rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands, coastline and marine ecosystems all contribute to supporting Wales’ ability to adapt to climate change.
A Healthier Wales
Natural resources make a significant contribution to the physical health and mental well-being of people in Wales. Access to nature and greenspace through NPT’s many parks and coastline has positive impacts on physical and mental health. NPT’s Working With Nature Project provides that link.
An Equal Wales
Equal access to ecosystems providing cultural services contributes to equality in Wales. By managing areas of our estate for biodiversity, and supporting delivery of community focused activities, we are providing better access.
A Wales of Cohesive Communities
Involving communities in the management of their local parks and woodlands has been shown to improve community cohesion and reduce antisocial behaviour. NPTC are supporting community and friends groups to access the biodiversity of their local sites.
A Wales of Vibrant Culture and Thriving Welsh Language
Landscapes have played an important role in developing distinct cultural practices. These include local building techniques that rely on local materials, along with locally specific art and literature. All our communications about biodiversity are bilingual in English and Welsh.
A Globally Responsible Wales
The environment supplies all our material resources. By looking after our natural resources, we are contributing to global wellbeing and taking a responsible approach to global challenges e.g. climate change and biodiversity loss.
Sustainable Development Principle
The WBFG Act sets out 5 ways of working that public bodies must follow in order to demonstrate how they are applying the sustainable development principle (see appendix C). Any plan/project must now demonstrate that they are following these. These are set out below with an explanation of how this plan meets each one.
- Through this plan the identification of areas for long term management and changes to policy and working practices will allow the safeguarding of long term needs of the people of NPT.
- The Development Management process allows us to ensure long term management of sites with mechanisms for enhancement.
- This plan is the starting point for identifying further improvements to the way we manage our land and resources which will have a long term benefit.
- NPTC have set and published our well-being objectives. Delivery of this plan will continue to form a key part of the delivery of these objectives, and in maximising the Authority’s contribution to the Well-being Goals.
- Through supporting the NPT Local Nature Partnership, this plan allows engagement with residents of NPT in making decisions on the nature conservation priorities of the county borough.
- This plan has allowed better integration of biodiversity into other service areas priorities.
- By assessing the policies and working practices of different service areas of NPTC we are identifying further ways of working together.
- Through the Area Statements we will work with NRW and other partners to deliver action on the ground.
- Supporting the NPT Local Nature Partnership allows us to work in collaboration with a wide range of partners, particularly non-government organisations and community groups.
- Early collaboration between service areas helps to identify potential issues and allows them to be addressed at an early stage.
- Working with the NPT Nature Partnership provides an opportunity for us to benefit from expertise outside the Authority, to allow us to identify issues at an early stage before they escalate.
- National and local data is being compiled to identify local pressures.
Neath Port Talbot Public Service Board (PSB) Local Well-being Plan (2018-2023)
The Well-being Plan sets out the Public Service Board’s (PSB) long term vision for NPT, as required by the WBFG Act. The Plan lays out 4 key objectives to improving the well-being of people in NPT, and identifies the priorities for action. The following has been identified as a cross-cutting objective, delivering against each of the objectives within the plan:
‘Value our green infrastructure and the contribution it makes to our well-being’
Neath Port Talbot Corporate Plan (2019-2022)
A healthy natural environment is at the heart of the Corporate Plan, as set out in its vision:
We want our county borough to be a place where everyone has an equal chance to get on in life – a place where people want to live, learn and work and bring up their family.
We want our beautiful natural environment, and our rich cultural and industrial heritage to be appreciated and protected for many future generations to enjoy. We also want to pursue new and existing opportunities for economic growth so we can sustain our diverse communities for years to come.
The Corporate Plan’s objectives have been set in line with the WBFG Act. Through the following objectives, the Council will maximise its contribution to the well-being goals:
- To improve the well-being of children and young people;
- To improve the well-being of all adults who live in the County Borough; and
- To develop the local economy and environment so that the well-being of people can be improved.
Both the Well-being Plan and Corporate Plan have a strong focus on improving well-being, alongside valuing and protecting our local environment. Delivery of actions outlined within this Plan will be an integral element of meeting the Council’s, and PSB’s, well-being priorities and goals. Furthermore, whilst this plan contributes to all of the goals set out in the legislation, in particular it can be used to demonstrate our contribution to the A Resilient Wales goal.
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) are required by the Act to publish a State of Natural Resources Report (SoNaRR) setting out the current status of natural resources in Wales. The findings of this underpin the Natural Resources Policy (NRP) produced by Welsh Ministers. The priorities identified in the NRP are delivered at a local level through Area Statements.
State of Natural Resources Report
First published in 2016 and updated in 2020, SoNaRR sets out the importance of natural resources and describes the different ecosystems. The report analyses the state of natural resources and ecosystems or broad habitats, dealing with extent, condition, trend and evidence gaps. This allows an assessment of the extent to which natural resources in Wales are being sustainably managed. It then links the resilience of Welsh natural resources to the well-being of the people of Wales, and particularly looks at green recovery post-pandemic and considers the threat of the climate crisis.
Natural Resources Policy
The NRP was published in 2017. It identifies 3 national priorities; Delivering nature-based solutions; Increasing renewable energy and resource efficiency; Taking a place-based approach. It goes on to describe the policy framework that will deliver these and sets out the key challenges and opportunities in relation to our natural environment.
NRW have prepared and published the Area Statements. The Area Statement are informed by SoNaRR and bring together special evidence covering topics such as habitats, ecosystem networks, water quality and population health. It specifies priorities, risks and opportunities to implement the priorities of the NRP.
Wales has been split into seven areas and NPT falls within the South West Wales area along with Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Swansea. In the statement NRW have identified 4 main themes in our area. Many of our actions contribute to several themes.
Reducing health inequalities: examine the opportunities to address health inequalities by using natural resources and habitats.
Our actions relating to awareness raising, green infrastructure and the NPT Nature Recovery Action Plan will aim to allow people to become familiar with the natural world around them. They will encourage interaction and appreciation of natural resources and habitats.
Ensuring sustainable land management: ensuring our land is sustainably managed for future generations.
Our actions relating to development management, providing advice and our own land management all enable us to influence land management.
Reversing the decline of, and enhancing, biodiversity: explore how we can reverse the decline of biodiversity by building resilient ecological networks.
Our actions relating to development management, providing advice, our own land management, supporting the NPT Nature Partnership, Green Infrastructure, invasive non-native species and the NPT Nature Recovery Action Plan all offer opportunities to building resilient ecological networks.
Cross-cutting theme: mitigating and adapting to a changing climate: looks at how we can adapt and respond to a changing climate.
Our actions relating to development management, green infrastructure, air quality and Coed Cymru can all contribute to tackling climate change.
Nature Recovery Action Plan for Wales
The Nature Recovery Action Plan for Wales (2015) (NRAP) was published by the NRAP Implementation Group. The group has a wide range of membership from Welsh Government, NRW, Nature Conservation Organisations, the farming sector and other public and private sector organisations.
The NRAP recognises the importance of biodiversity as underpinning healthy functioning ecosystems, human well-being and the economy. The NRAP builds on the new legislative frameworks set out above and identifies how, in Wales, we can address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss. Specifically by:
- Putting nature at the heart of decision making
- Increasing the resilience of our natural environment
- Taking specific action for habitats and species
It sets out how Wales will deliver the commitments of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the EU Biodiversity Strategy It sets out how the United Nations Environment Programme’s Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the associated Aichi Biodiversity Targets for 2011-20 in Wales would be addressed, and is the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for Wales under Aichi target 17. The NRAP sets out the commitment to reversing the loss of biodiversity in Wales. The ambition of the plan is: To reverse the decline in biodiversity, for its intrinsic value, and to ensure lasting benefits to society.
Part 1 of the NRAP sets out the objectives needed in Wales to achieve the ambition. The objectives are set out below with full details in Appendix D.
- Engage and support participation and understanding to embed biodiversity throughout decision making at all levels
- Safeguard species and habitats of principal importance and improve their management
- Increase the resilience of our natural environment by restoring degraded habitats and habitat creation
- Tackle key pressures on species and habitats
- Improve our evidence, understanding and monitoring
- Put in place a framework of governance and support for delivery
Part 2 of the NRAP (updated 2020) sets out an action plan, with a number of actions allocated to Local Authorities as key partners for delivery.
Neath Port Talbot Local Development Plan (2011-2016)
Adopted January 2016, the Local Development Plan guides the future development of the county. It is an important tool in biodiversity conservation. Policies help protect important habitats and species. This includes sites that have international to local designations. Undesignated but important natural features such as trees, woodlands or ponds are also protected.
Details on how to design a development to achieve this protection is found in the Biodiversity and Geodiversity Supplementary Planning Guidance (May 2018). The Countryside and Wildlife Team (C&WT) screen and, where appropriate, comment on planning applications to ensure the policies are met.
NPTC provide an Annual Monitoring Report (AMR) for submission to Welsh Government. Within the AMR are indicators and trigger points. The hitting of trigger points can result in a number of interventions from training staff to policy review.
The Decarbonisation and Renewable Energy Strategy
The Decarbonisation and Renewable Energy Strategy sets out how we will lead by example and reduce our carbon footprint when carrying out our operations and functions. It recognises the importance of ecosystems for carbon sequestration. Actions in the strategy commit us to explore green infrastructure and habitat solutions to tackle climate change.
Destination Management Plan (2015-2020)
A Destination Management Plan (DMP) is a shared statement of intent to manage a destination, outlining the roles of different stakeholders and identifying the actions that they will take. The DMP recognises the important role that the natural environment and biodiversity play in encouraging visits to the local area, as part of the wider landscape and in allowing us to showcase the species and habitats special to NPT.