Business plan 2020-21

Foreword by Sir David Henshaw and Clare Pillman

Welcome to our annual business plan for 2020/21. We have delayed its publication until now so that we could revise it in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The past year has been a year of change – globally, in the UK, in Wales and for us in NRW. When we originally prepared this Business Plan, none of us could have foreseen the widespread, heart-breaking, continuing effects the Covid-19 pandemic is having on all of us across the world. It has changed the way we behave, the way we interact with others and the way we work. And while we are unsure of what winter might bring, whatever happens we will be experiencing a ‘new normal’.

It’s easy to say we live in unprecedented times, but the pandemic comes at a time when we are facing a climate emergency, a nature emergency as biodiversity loss continues, and we are recovering from the storms and flooding of last winter. We are also facing the challenges and opportunities that will arise now we have left the EU. In NRW, we want to play our part in addressing all of these issues, whilst looking after the safety and well-being of our staff, our partners and visitors to our sites – everyone who lives in or visit Wales. And we want to play our part in a Green Recovery for Wales.

Nature can really help us in these circumstances, providing people in Wales with economic opportunities as part of this Green Recovery – creating jobs, apprenticeships and other training, opportunities for tourism and renewable energy, to alleviate flooding and to provide more green space in our towns and cities - all using nature-based solutions and focusing on the sustainable management of natural resources.

Of course, nature also provides us with clean air and water, our food and raw materials, and many other things on which our lives depend. And seeing and being in nature – however small an area and whether in the city or in the countryside - can be good for our mental health and our general well-being – it can just help us to feel better. A truly Green Recovery - working differently with nature at its core, can help deal not only with some of the impacts of Covid-19, but also help address the climate and nature emergencies we are facing and ensure a better economic, environmental and low carbon future for all our communities in Wales.

Globally, the scale of climate change and the urgent need for action to address it was reinforced by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This gave rise to a growing climate emergency movement recognised by Government: both the Welsh Government and UK Parliament declared a climate emergency in April and May 2019.

Coupled with this, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in its 2019 report described the loss of biodiversity as a threat of equal size – a nature emergency.

We in NRW published our interim second State of Natural Resources Report (SoNaRR2) last December. It made clear that we face these two large interconnected global challenges: climate change and biodiversity loss - we have both a climate emergency and a nature emergency.

Even without the impact of Covid-19, these challenges are enormous. We in NRW can help make a difference by working with others and demonstrating what can be done in Wales to tackle them. Confident that we can respond to both the climate and nature emergencies and make that difference, the Welsh Government is working with us to increase opportunities for woodland creation and develop a Wales wide peatland restoration programme - providing natural solutions to carbon management as well as responding directly to the nature emergency. We are also supporting a boost for Wales’ special sites for nature, the Natura 2000 sites, which are vitally important for the habitats and species they contain, and for improving water quality, particularly by tackling pollution caused by run off from metal mines. And we are preparing for the changes that will occur following our exit from the EU, including working with Welsh Government to help ensure the best outcomes for land and water management and fisheries in Wales.

Flooding and the impacts of Storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge in February may seem to some a distant memory, but have long lasting effects for others. We experienced the wettest February and the fifth wettest winter since records began in 1862. Wales’ resilience to events such as the storms was severely tested, as was the response capabilities for significant flood incidents. Our staff continued to work tirelessly throughout the whole period, alongside partner organisations. What we do here makes a real difference to people’s lives.

The work to recover from these flood events is having a significant effect in 2020/21, in the communities affected, on our staff, and on our workload and priorities. It’s important that we learn from what happened and seek improvements, and that our work on how we adapt to climate change, as well as how to deal with its effects, continues. We need to do what we can directly as an organisation, and also play a lead role in supporting partners, as the whole of society faces these challenges.

Inevitably, although we have continued to operate throughout the pandemic, we have had to change the way we work. We had to close our visitor sites and halt much of our fieldwork in the early stages, and as sites re-open and fieldwork resumes, we need to do this carefully and safely. In common with other organisations, most of our staff are working online from home, many juggling caring responsibilities as well as their job, while others continue to work on the front line. Staff welfare is of the utmost importance to us and we are encouraging staff to work flexibly, regularly asking for their views so that we can help make work as stress-free as possible under exceptional circumstances. We are reviewing our response as an organisation to the pandemic so that we can learn and improve our working practices in the future.

Against this backdrop, how we work - building positive working relationships, focusing on customer service and working in collaboration with established and new partners, as well as part of each of the Public Services Boards, is vitally important to us. Area Statements, published in March 2020, are a great example of working in this way – bringing together partners to identify both the challenges and the opportunities the natural environment can provide for a specific area, and developing innovative, nature-based solutions to problems as part of a much wider, integrated Well-being Plan. Not only is this the right way to work, pulling together and pooling resources is the only way we can all make the changes needed to tackle the climate emergency and the nature emergency we face.

We have place-based teams providing local, integrated services, suited to the area. Our revised grants programme will make applications simpler and more flexible for those who want to work with us. And specific objectives to help tackle the climate and nature emergencies form part of the personal work plans of every member of staff, whether working on the front line or supporting those who do.

We plan to publish SoNaRR2 by March 2021. This will explain how sustainably natural resources are currently managed in Wales and describe the opportunities and challenges we face in future. Developing and sharing evidence and using this to inform and inspire others is one of our most important areas of work. We provide advice and guidance to a wide range of organisations, helping inform future decisions - particularly important as we support Welsh Government in getting better outcomes for land use and the management of marine and fresh waters following our exit from the EU. Over this year and next year, we will also be hosting a ‘national conversation’ to develop a shared vision for the natural environment in Wales for 2050, helping organisations think and plan long term and work together towards a common view.

Underpinning all of our work is our commitment to good governance and compliance. Governance is about how we run our organisation, how we make well-informed and consistent decisions, how we prioritise between things and balance risks. It is important that our system of governance is appropriate and proportionate to the type of organisation we are and to the risks that we face delivering our objectives. Over the coming year we will be working to embed a new and more comprehensive approach to risk management building on previous work on this last year. We will also be acting to implement improvement actions, developed following an assessment of our governance arrangements against external benchmarks - further strengthening our governance.

Although we have had to revise our Business Plan for this year in the light of the pandemic, we have an ambitious programme of work for the future. We have committed and dedicated staff who are keen to deliver it - for the benefit of both the natural environment and for everyone who lives in or visits Wales. We look forward to working with you to achieve it.

- Sir David Henshaw (Chair) and Clare Pillman (Chief Executive)


This Business Plan sits under our current Corporate Plan up to 2022. It sets out what we plan to focus on this year to work towards achieving our Well-being Objectives and delivering the actions we have set out in our Corporate Plan. We have revised this Business Plan and the performance dashboard that sits alongside it, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is based on what we understand now: the effects of a second wave, or weather related events may continue to have an impact on this plan.

Our Well-being Objectives and Corporate Plan to 2022

Our strategic priorities and this year’s work will contribute to achieving our Well-being Objectives described in our Corporate Plan to 2022:

  • Champion the Welsh environment and the sustainable management of Wales’ natural resources
  • Ensure land and water in Wales is managed sustainably in an integrated way
  • Improve the resilience and quality of our ecosystems
  • Reduce the risk to people and communities from environmental hazards such as flooding and pollution
  • Help people live healthier and more fulfilled lives
  • Promote successful and responsible business, using natural resources without damaging them
  • Develop NRW into an excellent organisation, delivering first class customer service

Our Strategic Priorities for 2020/21

For 2020/21, we are focusing on five strategic priorities in our annual business plan:

  •  Responding to the climate emergency
  • Responding to the nature emergency
  • Developing and using our evidence with partners to advocate for and deliver the sustainable management of natural resources
  • Developing NRW into an excellent organisation that supports the communities of Wales
  • Responding to the Covid-19 pandemic and the UK leaving the European Union, taking opportunities for a green recovery

Of course, we will still be doing all our ‘business as usual work’, much of which will contribute to these five strategic priorities – responding to incidents, looking after the woodlands and National Nature Reserves we manage and providing advice and guidance for example. Not all of this will be outlined in this business plan. All our work aims to ensure that we manage natural resources sustainably and apply the nine principles for the sustainable management of natural resources, helping others do the same – this is our purpose and fundamental to everything we do.

As well as our ongoing roles, we have identified key areas of work we will tackle in 2020/21 under each of the strategic priorities. Understandably, some of our work contributes to more than one of the strategic priorities but is listed against the best fit.

Respond to the Climate Emergency

Delivery includes:

Reducing our carbon footprint

  • Progress our priorities in the Carbon Positive programme, including solar panels on offices, electric vehicle charging infrastructure and electric vehicles, enabling active and sustainable travel, behavioural change campaigns, greater consideration of carbon in procurement and planning energy efficiency in our buildings
  • Share the learning from the Carbon Positive programme with the wider Welsh public sector to facilitate collaborative regional working on decarbonisation that supports the ambition for a carbon neutral public sector by 2030
  • Work with Welsh Government to use the United Nations Conference of the Parties in Glasgow (COP 26) now scheduled for November 2021 as a vehicle to gain real momentum for change, particularly to help deliver nature-based solutions to the issues we face
  • Deliver the priorities of the onshore renewable energy programme including facilitating the development of renewable energy projects on NRW managed land as part of our Energy Development portfolio, working with our place-based teams
  • Deliver the priorities of the offshore renewable energy programme and improve our understanding of the role of the marine environment in mitigating climate change
  • Engage with Welsh Government and other stakeholders to deliver effective regulation and approaches for changing legislation

Creating new woodland

  • Develop and deliver our woodland creation programme, including proposals for the development of woodland creation projects such as Plant! (planting a tree for every child born or adopted in Wales) and supporting Welsh Government’s Glastir funding scheme and the ambitious targets for woodland cover in Wales
  • Help deliver new woodland creation as part of the National Forest, creating connected ecosystems, productive woodlands and community woodlands, including supporting demonstrator projects at a number of sites across Wales
  • Acquire and plant land with new woodland, compensating for removal of woodland for renewable energy development and expanding the Welsh Government Woodland Estate

Restoring peatland

  • Develop and initiate a 4-5 year programme to bring Welsh peatlands under sustainable management in order to recover their declining biodiversity and deliver the full range of ecosystem services associated with peatlands in good condition. This includes protecting carbon stored and reducing emissions by re-wetting peatland through restoration of natural hydrological systems – and their natural water balance.
  • Continue to deliver the New LIFE for Welsh Raised Bogs EU project (funded by the EU LIFE programme).

Managing flood risk

  • Complete the significant recovery work from the winter storms, including assessment of defences, studies into flooding mechanisms and possible improvement works, increased work with communities and with partners such as Local Authorities
  • Complete our internal review into lessons learnt and improvements resulting from the significant winter flooding events. Plan, deliver and prioritise the improvement initiatives that will result, resourcing new tasks and managing the impact on other work
  • Continue to manage and deliver significant capital projects that reduce the risk of flooding to communities. Complete the projects at Crindau and Llwynypia, and continue to develop projects at places like Ammanford, Llyn Tegid, Cardigan and Porthmadog
  • Deliver maintenance works to ensure the reduced risk of flooding is sustained to communities living in defended areas
  • Continue to work with partners to develop and implement adaptation plans in response to climate change, particularly at the coast, promoting use of nature-based interventions where appropriate
  • Work alongside partners to deliver tasks arising from Welsh Government’s National Strategy for Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management, due to be published in 2020, including making our new Flood Risk Assessment Wales mapping and modelling information available
  • Regulate all reservoirs in Wales to ensure continued compliance with the Reservoirs Act, incorporating any new requirements from the review of the Toddbrook (Whaley Bridge) incident in England in 2019. Manage our own reservoirs to ensure compliance, including the progression of the major works required at Llyn Tegid.

Responding to the Nature Emergency

Delivery includes:

Putting nature at the centre

  • Recognise the close interaction between responding to the climate and the nature emergencies and identify opportunities to benefit both particularly across habitats that can store carbon and help alleviate flooding such as peatland, woodland and salt marsh
  • Progress the priorities of ‘Vital Nature’, NRW’s strategy for nature, embedding consideration of biodiversity and ecosystem resilience across all NRW’s functions and helping other public bodies do the same
  • Audit biodiversity action across NRW and develop guidance for our staff on what ecosystem resilience means in practice

Protecting special habitats and species - terrestrial, freshwater and marine

  • Help deliver the maintenance and enhancement of Wales’ Natura 2000 Network including supporting capital investment into nature reserves and marine, terrestrial and freshwater projects
  • Continue to undertake biodiversity improvements on the National Nature Reserves (NNRs) and woodlands we manage, leading by example and demonstrating good practice
  • Help reverse the decline in biodiversity through delivering targeted action for declining species or those on the edge of extinction, including curlew, salmon and sea trout, native oyster, marsh fritillary butterfly, shrill carder bee and red squirrel for example
  • Work with Welsh Government to develop a Green Recovery and Environmental Growth Plan
  • Deliver effective biosecurity practices, taking measures to prevent plant disease outbreaks and detect and respond rapidly to any outbreaks that do occur, and reducing the impact of invasive non-native species

Managing land sustainably

  • Provide advice, guidance and support to promote sustainable land management, and act as exemplars on the land we manage
  • Support greater partnership working across Wales’ designated landscapes – its National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Work with land owners and managers including via Farming Connect to promote sustainable practice
  • Implement and support Green Infrastructure planning and delivery through working with others (including Public Services Boards), improved advice, guidance and evidence

Managing the sea sustainably

  • Develop a proportionate approach in our advisory and regulatory functions to implement the Welsh National Marine Plan
  • Deliver the marine ecosystem resilience programme, including our contribution to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive
  • Implement and support further development of the Wales Marine Protected Area Management Framework

Improving water quality

  • Develop and deliver the priorities in the river restoration programme, and for the nearshore marine environment, including via the ‘opportunity’ catchments – those that will provide the best benefits for water quality, biodiversity and other factors
  • Progress investigations and local and national actions as part of our Water Framework Directive (WFD) programme
  • Publish draft River Basin Management Plans for the next six year cycle under WFD
  • Deliver catchment restoration measures to improve water quality or fisheries, improving communication with the public
  • Assess and report to Welsh Government on water company drought plans; assess and audit water company water resource management plans, water company drainage and wastewater management plans and report to Ofwat and Welsh Government
  • Support Welsh Government to ensure Wales’ interests are considered, promoted and protected in the National Framework for Water Resources, due to be published by the Environment Agency in early 2020

Controlling pollution

  • Support Welsh Government in its aim to develop a more circular economy, regulating industry and in monitoring resource use and tackling illegal waste
  • Address issues of environmental crime and at poorly performing permitted sites, including delivery of any compliance improvement plans using remote means where possible and focusing on sites with the highest impact
  • Implement the agricultural pollution initiatives through continued engagement with the Wales Land Management Forum Sub-Group
  • Develop and implement the programme to deal with the legacy of contaminated land and deliver the priorities in the metal mines restoration programme, tackling mine water improvements e.g. at Frongoch, Cwmystwyth and Cwm Rheidol all near Aberystwyth
  • Develop our role in tackling air quality, working with Welsh Government and Local Authorities

Developing and using our Evidence with Partners to Advocate for and Deliver SMNR

Delivery includes:

Creating a shared vision for the natural environment for 2050

  • Undertake the analysis phase of the programme to develop the shared vision for the natural environment, and start the first phase of national conversation events

Improving and presenting evidence about the natural environment

  • Develop and publish our second (SoNaRR2) following publication of the interim report in December 2019
  • Evaluate climate risk and vulnerability using the recently revised UKCP18 climate projections
  • Develop and deliver a Baseline Evaluation of Terrestrial and Freshwater Protected sites (Special Ares of Conservation (SACs) and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs)) to assess the indicative condition of their features and inform the development of a risk-based monitoring programme. Indicative site assessments for marine sites have already been published.

Work with partners and communities using Area Statements

  • Ensure we play our part in all of the Public Services Boards across Wales, using our Area Statements to help identify the opportunities the natural environment could provide in the local area and provide nature-based solutions to local challenges
  • Ensure we provide the evidence required for Area Statements, working as part of Public Services Boards to ensure they are integral to Well-being Plans
  • Engage with stakeholders to collect additional information and deliver tangible benefits with and for local communities

Developing NRW into an excellent organisation that serves the communities of Wales

Delivery includes:

Responding to and managing incidents

  • Ensure we provide an effective and resilient an incident management service. Complete delivery of the training programme started in 19/20 and complement this with a competency framework and ongoing programme of exercises
  • Work with Flood Risk Management colleagues on the Recovery and Review elements of the winter flood events, identifying and implementing any improvements and actions for the wider incident management service
  • Continue to use a ‘triage’ approach to incidents to ensure incidents are prioritised and dealt with in the most efficient and appropriate way and continue to improve incident reporting
  • Protect people, communities and ecosystems from environmental incidents, including working with others to reduce accidental pollution and supporting initiatives to get ready for, and respond to, flooding, as well as other issues such as Covid-19 and the possible implications of leaving the EU

Benefiting communities

  • Develop our approach to engaging and working with stakeholders - both new stakeholders and those we know well
  • Encourage a sustainable and locally connected economy which delivers great opportunities for people living, working in and visiting Wales
  • Support Welsh Government’s Tourism Action Plan, including the Wales Coast Path and National Trails
  • Support initiatives that improve physical and mental health such as the Welsh Physical Activity Partnership, social prescribing and Welsh Government’s Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales strategy.

Developing our organisation

  • Deliver good governance across NRW ensuring we follow due process and are accountable for our actions
  • Embed SMNR and its principles, and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act’s five ways of working across our organisation
  • Develop an organisational approach to climate change adaptation informed by the new international ISO adaptation standard
  • Embed the values and behaviour of #TeamNRW within the organisation
  • Ensure place based teams look to engage and understand the different community needs in their areas, so we hear and understand the issues far better
  • Review our Equality Impact Assessment process so that we assess and engage in a more equitable and meaningful way
  • Ensure we make full and best use of our financial resources, carefully managing our spend
  • Develop our communication so everyone in Wales better understands how and why we work in the way that we do and what we achieve
  • Make our digital services accessible for all users and ensure these services are highly available and resilient
  • Further develop a risk-based approach to our work
  • Develop our workforce plan to ensure we have the capacity and capability to undertake our work now and in the future and deliver effective tools to recruit and retain staff
  • Develop innovative approaches to our work

Ensuring everyone’s well-being, health and safety

  • Ensure those who visit land we manage, or work for us, do so in a safe environment
  • Implement our Forest safety plan
  • Secure an organisation to assess and audit NRW in line with our commitment to attaining registration to ISO 45001
  • Protect the health and well - being of our communities and ecosystems by delivering key regulatory priorities – including for tree plant health, intensive agriculture, tackling waste crime and protected sites

Focusing on our customers

  • Deliver customer focused services to internal and external stakeholders
  • Deliver our customer service programme
  • Ensure our new Grants process allows closer working with external stakeholders in a mutually efficient way, making the application processes as simple and effective as possible, and moving towards a more flexible and responsive longer-term approach. Three types of grant will be available: the Shared Outcomes Request Grant, the Competitive Grant and the Strategic Allocated Funding Grant

Making the most of our commercial opportunities

  • Develop our Commercial Strategy including the development of and consultation on a revised Timber Sales and Marketing Plan and delivery of the NRW Laboratory Business Plan
  • Engage with our suppliers to get a better understanding of the impact of our procurement requirements and reduce carbon impacts in procurement activity across key areas contributing to carbon emissions

Responding to the Covid-19 pandemic and the UK leaving the European Union, taking opportunities for a green recovery

Delivery includes:

Providing advice and guidance

  • Support Welsh Government with the transfer of functions from the EU into UK and Welsh administrations, scoping the extent of this work and how our roles in NRW will be affected: transfer of functions is likely to lead to additional work and responsibility for NRW
  • Contribute to Welsh Government’s work and help to shape the Environmental Principles and governance required following our exit from the EU. This includes the role, remit and function of a new oversight body for Wales and understanding the impact of the new body on NRW’s own role and remit
  • Work with Welsh Government to monitor trade negotiations and developing UK and Welsh legislation, such as the Welsh Agriculture Bill and Welsh Fisheries Bill, and the legislation required to establish the new body, understanding the impact of potential changes

Being ready for change

  • Ensure NRW has plans in place to deal with issues and opportunities that may arise now we have left the EU, providing advice and support for stakeholders and listening to their feedback, including if negotiations lead to a no deal scenario
  • Review contracts / frameworks for EU Exit implications
  • Ensure we communicate changes clearly to staff, partners and other stakeholders alike, as well as supporting staff who are (or members of their family are) EU nationals

Managing our performance

Below shows our high level dashboard – we will publish progress quarterly on our website.​

Respond to the Climate Emergency

  • Reducing our carbon footprint
    • Climate emergency action across NRW
  • Creating new woodland
    • Verification of Glastir Woodland Creation grant scheme applications 
    • Area of new woodland created on the NRW Estate
  • Restoring peatland
    • Actions undertaken to restore Welsh peatlands
  • Managing flood risk
    • Complete Natural Resources Wales’ review of winter storms 2019/20 and report on implementation of recommendations
    • Maintain flood risk assets in high risk systems at target condition

Respond to the Nature Emergency

  • Putting nature at the centre
    • Biodiversity action across NRW
  • Protecting habitats and species - terrestrial freshwater and marine environments
    • Priority actions undertaken on protected sites to improve condition of features
    • Actions undertaken on National Nature Reserves on NRW managed land to improve condition and features
    • Delivering targeted action for declining species or those on the edge of extinction
  • Managing land sustainably
    • Number of UKWAS Major Corrective Action Requests (CARs), Minor CARs and Observations open on NRW managed land from most recent audit against UKWAS (UK Woodland Assurance Standard) and progress in closing them
    • Progress on our support for Welsh Government on Green Infrastructure in urban areas, developing guidance to help the production of Green Infrastructure Assessments (GIA) and advice on using Area Statements during the Local Development Plan making process
  • Managing the sea sustainably
    • Implement the Welsh National Marine Plan
    • Progress of Marine Protected Area network management actions
  • Improving water quality
    • Number of Water Framework Directive (WFD) investigations completed based on number required at start of year; this is this year’s contribution to a multi- year target
  • Controlling pollution
    • Progress of our work to reduce pollution from metal mines
    • Performance of regulated industrial, waste sites, and water quality discharges – number of category 1 and category 2 compliance breaches with appropriate regulatory response determined within 6 months

Developing and using our evidence with partners to advocate for and deliver SMNR

  • Creating a shared vision for the natural environment for 2050
    • Delivery of the programme to create a shared vision for the natural environment for 2050, building on our work for Green Recovery
  • Improving and presenting evidence about the natural environment
    • Publish State of Natural Resources Report 2
    • Use of Area Statements within NRW

Developing NRW into an excellent organisation that serves the communities of Wales

  • Responding to and managing Incidents
    • Incident Assessment (within 1 hour)
    • Response to ‘High category’ incidents (within 4 hours)
  • Benefiting Communities
    • Develop our approach to engaging and working with stakeholders – both new stakeholders and those we know well.
    • Support Welsh Government’s Tourism Action Plan by promoting the Wales Coast Path and National Trails
  • Developing our organisation
    • Develop our NRW workforce plan, progressing priority actions
    • Review our Equality Impact Assessment process so that we engage with communities in a more equitable way
  • Ensuring everyone’s well-being, health and safety
    • Progress towards Corporate Health Gold Standard
    • Number of employee near misses and lost time incidents
  • Focusing on customers
    • Progress customer programme – increasing customer involvement
    • Review and define all funding mechanisms available to NRW, ensuring alignment with our Grants Policy and focussing on customer needs
  • Making the most of commercial opportunities
    • Publish NRW Commercial Strategy
    • Timber volume offered to market/sold/dispatched

Responding to the Covid-19 pandemic and the UK leaving the European Union, taking opportunities for a green recovery

  • Providing advice and guidance
    • NRW’s contribution following EU Exit including milestones on transfer of functions, environmental principles, governance and the new oversight body, and new legislation (development of Agriculture and Fisheries Bills)
  • Being ready for change
    • Progress of NRW’s preparedness for any potential incidents or issues following EU Exit
    • Implement Covid-19 Renewal programme

As a delivery organisation, we need to be able to demonstrate how well we have performed. Using this Business Plan, and its descriptions of our ongoing work and priorities, we have developed a performance dashboard that our Board will use four times a year to scrutinise delivery and hold our Executive Team to account. Following the first quarter, we have revised the milestones and targets on our performance dashboard to ensure we have a deliverable programme whilst working within the restriction placed on us by the pandemic and ensuring we fully consider the welfare of our staff.

Below this Dashboard sit several layers of performance management, which allow our Leadership Team, Services, Places, teams and individuals to monitor performance. Taken together this gives a comprehensive picture of the organisation’s performance. It is key to ensuring we consider both the Services we offer and the Places we work in holistically and is fundamental to our decision making.

Our Strategic Priorities linked to our Well-being Objectives

Our work this year against our Strategic Priorities will help deliver our longer term Well-being Objectives as set out in our Corporate Plan to 2022.


We know finances and resources will continue to change in the future; we have built flexibility and resilience into the design of the organisation so that any resource changes will be focussed on adjusting teams rather than wholescale restructuring. Now more than ever, collaborating closely with other organisations, especially in the delivery of PSBs’ Well-being Plans and with academia and professional bodies to develop innovative approaches, will be fundamental to our success.

Our Finance Strategy highlights the financial opportunities and challenges that we face in achieving the targets in this Business Plan and the commitments in our Corporate Plan. We will seek to maximise our commercial income opportunities, demonstrate that we are efficiently regulating industries in Wales and making best use of the Grant in Aid we receive from Welsh Government. We will employ solutions to ensure that we use the budgets that we set efficiently and effectively to make the most of the resources we have.

Originally our expenditure and funding in the Business Plan amounted to £204.6m, £172.6m revenue and £32.0m capital, to be funded by Grant in Aid (£101.3m), charges (£37.9m), commercial income and external funding (£44.0m) and income brought forward from 2019-20 (£21.4m).

Due to the impact that Covid-19 pandemic has had on our various funding sources and operations, we have revised our plans and budgets. Although we originally anticipated a decrease in our commercial income, we have seen a very strong recovery in June and July and we are now anticipating our commercial income streams to increase (£5.6m) but we have seen our revenue Non-Flood Grant in Aid reduced by Welsh Government (£7.6m) to help fund the costs of addressing the pandemic. In addition, we have updated the budgets to reflect other changes including additional flood revenue Grant in Aid. As a result, our expenditure and funding in the Business Plan is now £204.5m, £173.3m revenue and £31.2m capital, to be funded by Grant in Aid (£97.1m), charges (£37.7m), commercial income and external funding (£49.3m) and income brought forward from 2019-20 (£20.4m).

We have reduced our expenditure plans where capacity and changes in the way we operate have had an impact, for example, reducing our facilities, fleet and travel and subsistence budgets.

Our budget has been prioritised by our leadership group and the internal business boards that manage our services, approved by our executive team and our board and has been distributed across our directorates. This has ensured that resource has been allocated where it’s most needed. Welsh Government has made additional capital funding available for us this year for some exciting projects.

The budget for our Operations Directorate has been distributed between our seven Place teams: they will have the accountability and the funds to deliver against the priorities set out in this Business Plan. The Operations budget of £98.6m is completely allocated to Place.

The budget will be distributed across our directorates as outlined in the tables below:

Budget allocations for 2020-2021 by directorate

Directorates Revenue £m Capital £m Total budget £m
Operations 82.9 15.7 98.6
Evidence, Policy and Permitting 50.2 7.9 58.0
Finance & Corporate Services 17.7 7.6 25.3
Communications, Customer and Commercial 14.8 0.0 14.8
Corporate Strategy & Development 7.6 0.0 7.6
Total budget 173.3 31.2 204.5

Budget allocations for 2020-2021 by place

Directorate - Operations Revenue £m Capital £m Total budget £m
Director of Operations (includes budgets pending distribution) 4.6 0.0 4.6
North West/North East Wales (includes budgets and over programming targets pending distribution) -1.0 0.0 -1.0
North East 14.5 0.6 15.1
Mid Wales 14.1 0.1 14.2
North West Wales 9.5 0.3 9.8
South Central Wales 10.6 13.2 23.8
South East Wales 11.2 0.0 11.2
South West Wales 14.7 0.6 15.3
Development Planning & Marine Services 4.8 0.9 5.8
Total Budget 82.9 15.7 98.6

The delivery of the Business Plan and budget will be monitored against the following services (currently the commercial services budget is allocated across other services):

Services Revenue £m Capital £m Total budget £m
Corporate Services 34.2 3.8 37.9
Evidence 10.7 0.9 11.6
Flood & Incident Management  18.2 8.7 26.9
Land Stewardship 47.4 4.4 51.8
Natural Resource Management 36.1 13.4 49.5
Regulation 26.8 - 26.8
Total budget 173.3 31.2 204.5

The tables below summarises our budget:

Revenue Income

Revenue Income Budget (Opening) 2019-2020 £m Budget (Opening) 2020-2021 £m Approved forecast 2020-2021 post Covid-19 Impact £m Changes 2020-2021 £m
Grant in Aid - Baseline 76.6 76.4 70.7 -5.7
Grant in Aid - Additional 4.3 2.4 2.1 -0.3
Grant in Aid - Invest to Save Payback -1.2 -0.9 -0.9 0.0
Charges 38.5 37.9 37.7 -0.2
Commercial & other income 36.7 39.0 44.6 5.6
External Income 3.2 3.7 3.2 -0.5
Brought Forward Income 24.4 18.1 18.0 -0.1
Total Revenue Income 182.4 176.6 175.4 -1.2


Capital income

Capital income  Budget (opening) 2019-2020 £m Budget (opening) 2020-2021 £m Approved forecast 2020-2021 post Covid-19 Impact £m Changes 2020-2021 £m
Grant in Aid - Baseline 11.2 9.8 10.0 0.2
Grant in Aid - Additional 5.2 13.6 15.2 1.6
Commercial & other income 1.4 1.3 1.5 0.2
Brought Forward Income 4.5 3.3 2.4 -0.9
Total Capital Income 22.2 28.0 29.1 1.1

Revenue expenditure

Revenue Expenditure  Budget (opening) 2019-2020 £m Budget (opening) 2020-2021 £m Approved forecast 2020-2021 post Covid-19 Impact £m Changes 2020-2021 £m
Staff Costs 87.4 89.2 85.6 -3.6
Non Staff 62.3 61.0 54.1 -6.9
Revenue projects 12.6 9.1 21.5 12.4
Reservoir Operating Agreement 9.4 9.6 9.8 0.2
Service level agreements 3.5 3.7 2.7 -1.0
Total Revenue Expenditure 175.2 172.6 173.7 1.1

Capital expenditure

Capital Expenditure  Budget (opening) 2019-2020 £m Budget (opening) 2020-2021 £m Approved forecast 2020-2021 post Covid-19 Impact £m Changes 2020-2021 £m
Flood programme 12.4 9.1 6.2 -2.9
Non-flood programme 17.0 22.9 24.6 1.7
Total capital expenditure 29.4 32.0 30.8 -1.2


Total income and expenditure

Total income and expenditure  Budget (opening) 2019-2020 £m Budget (opening) 2020-2021 £m Approved forecast 2020-2021 post Covid-19 Impact £m Changes 2020-2021 £m
Total income 204.6 204.6 204.5 -0.1
Total expenditure 204.6 204.6 204.5 -0.1
Balance 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

Natural Resources Wales: What we do and how we work

Our roles

These include:

  • Adviser to Welsh Government, industry land owner/ managers, the wider public and voluntary sectors
  • Regulator for industry and waste sites, energy, marine, forest and designated sites for example, protecting people and the natural environment and supporting legitimate business
  • Designator for Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks and declaring National Nature Reserves
  • Responder to environmental incidents targeting our response to those categorised as “high”
  • Statutory consultee for planning applications
  • Manager of 7% of Wales’ land area, including the Welsh Government Woodland Estate, National Nature Reserves and flood defences and assets
  • Partner, educator, enabler supporting and facilitating other organisations’ work and helping people enjoy, learn in, learn for and learn about the natural environment
  • Evidence gatherer monitoring the environment, influencing, commissioning and undertaking research, developing and sharing knowledge and holding public records
  • Employer of our own staff as well as contractors and volunteers

Our Structure

As the core of our revised organisational structure, we provide eight services operating across seven places: the services set out what we do, shared across each of the places.


  • Natural Resources Management
  • Regulation
  • Flood Risk Management
  • Incident Management
  • Land Stewardship

Plus, three services which support the external services we provide above:

  • Evidence
  • Commercial
  • Corporate Services


  • North East Wales
  • North West Wales
  • Mid Wales
  • South West Wales
  • South Central Wales
  • South East Wales
  • Marine and Development Planning

Our values

Our values exemplify the way we want NRW to be and how we work:

  • We are passionate about the natural environment of Wales
  • We care for each other and the people we work with
  • We act with integrity
  • We make a difference now and for the future
  • We are proud to serve the people of Wales

We hope you find our Business Plan interesting and useful.

If you have any queries or comments please get in touch at

Last updated