Policy Forum for Wales

For booking-related queries or information on speaking please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk, or contact us: +44 (0)1344 864796.

The future for environmental governance and protection in Wales

Morning, Thursday, 26th September 2024


This conference focuses on the future for environmental protection in Wales, and the establishment and remit of a new environmental governance body for Wales.

Stakeholders and policymakers will discuss key developments, including next steps following the public consultation on the Welsh Government’s white paper Securing a Sustainable Future: Environmental Principles, Governance and Biodiversity targets for a Greener Wales.

With the aim of implementing statutory duties for the protection and restoration of biodiversity, sessions in the agenda will consider practicalities moving forward for embedding environmental principles into Welsh law and introducing a biodiversity targets framework, with the establishment of a domestic statutory environmental governance body and a proposed Strategic Nature Recovery Framework.

Delegates will discuss the structure of the new body, including its oversight and compliance function, and the disciplinary tools and enforcement powers at its disposal. Areas for discussion include priorities for its monitoring and reporting functions, strengthening accountability and transparency mechanisms, and options for future legislative change.

Further sessions assess wider strategies for tackling joint nature and climate emergencies, including setting statutory biodiversity targets, and changes that might be needed to improve the current functioning of environmental law. Areas for discussion include the practical way forward for embedding environmental principles into Welsh law, provision of support and clear guidance for key sectors in meeting these targets, and long-term priorities for nature recovery.

We are pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with: Dr Nerys Llewelyn Jones, Interim Environmental Protection Assessor for Wales; and Dr Victoria Jenkins, Associate Professor, Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law, Swansea University.

Overall, areas for discussion include:

  • policy: assessing proposals outlined in the white paper - embedding environmental principles into Welsh law
  • implementation: priorities for a Strategic Nature Recovery Framework in Wales - putting in place an effective monitoring framework 
  • environmental governance:
    • what can be learned for future policy and implementation from the work of the Interim Environmental Protection Assessor for Wales
    • priorities for the new independent statutory body in Wales - assessing gaps in environmental governance - oversight and compliance functions
  • priorities and next steps: strengthening environmental governance - implementation of statutory duties and targets - delivering upon climate and nature emergency objectives
  • best practice: learning from processes in other jurisdictions - establishing productive joint-working between environmental regulators in the UK
  • environmental law: options for establishing new legislation to strengthen environmental governance and protections in Wales - approaches to disciplinary tools and enforcement powers
  • biodiversity targets and statutory duties: assessing a proposed biodiversity target framework - who the targets will apply to and how they will be monitored - improving environmental outcomes 
  • Strategic Nature Recovery Framework: long-term vision for Biodiversity Net Gain - providing clarity for key sectors - tackling biodiversity loss and actions needed for restoration - species and habitats preservation - embedding conservation principles across decision-making at all levels

The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from the Welsh Government; NRW; PEDW; OEP; Defra; DESNZ; DfT; and The Scottish Government.

The proceedings of the conference will be circulated more widely, to Members of the Senedd, ministerial offices, and government and regulatory officials with an interest in the issues being discussed. All delegates will also receive a video recording of the conference.  

Keynote Speakers

Dr Victoria Jenkins

Associate Professor, Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law, Swansea University

Dr Nerys Llewelyn Jones

Interim Environmental Protection Assessor for Wales


Dr Pippa Wood

Associate Ecologist, Arup

Stephen Sykes

Head, Environmental, Climate and Sustainability Law, Capital Law

Mike Willis

Ecologist and Chair, Wales Policy Group, Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management

Annie Smith

Head, Nature Policy and Casework, RSPB Cymru

Dr Ludivine Petetin

Reader, Law, Cardiff University

Brad Welch

National Park Management Plan Officer, Brecon Beacons National Park Authority