Afonydd Cymru’s letter to Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales over the latest Core Management Plans for Welsh SAC rivers
Wednesday 30th November, 2022
Afonydd Cymru have today written to Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales about the latter’s updated Core Management Plans for Welsh SAC rivers.
For the past 18 months, we have been asking Natural Resources Wales to publish their updated Core Management Plans for Special Area of Conservation (SAC) designated Welsh rivers. Under the EU Habitats Directive, these are supposed to be updated every six years.
Within each plan the Welsh regulator should give an assessment of SAC features and list what actions will be taken to address any that are not in “favourable condition status.”
This week it became apparent that Natural Resources Wales had in fact revised the Core Management Plans in September this year and published them on October 10th with no announcement or update to stakeholders. This was all the more surprising to us given the number of Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales forums and meetings since that date in which the delay in these plans has been mentioned.
Having now reviewed the Core Managment Plans for all the SAC rivers, the main observation is that there has been no measurable improvement in terms of status for any of the SAC river features, with the exception of otters. This reflects poorly on the ability of Natural Resources Wales to drive improvement in the natural environment.
We consider the plans to be not fit-for-purpose and have requested an urgent meeting with Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales to detail our concerns in a letter sent today.
With a nature crisis declared by Welsh Government, we need a clear, accurate and up-to-date understanding of our catchments if we are to deliver the changes required for our rivers.