Business plan 2022-23

Welcome to our annual business plan for 2022/23

We start the year facing unprecedented uncertainty with the unfolding war in Ukraine, the rising cost-of-living and the continuation of the public health crisis, with the impacts likely to be felt across the globe, not only over the course of 2022/23 but over the longer-term. These immediate crises will rightly absorb the energy and attention of politicians and commentators across the world and may mean there will be less of a global spotlight on the nature and climate emergencies.

Nevertheless, 2021/22 has put in place some key building blocks for global action – with new evidence presented by the UN IPBES reports, international agreements at COP26 in Glasgow and preparations for COP15 in Kunming later in 2022. Closer to home, the Welsh Government has put the nature and climate emergencies at the heart of government decision-making as they set the strategic ambition for the term of government. Key projects are coming online – such as Morriston Hospital in Swansea using a solar farm to generate its own energy, the first net-zero carbon primary school in the Vale of Glamorgan, and the coming together of environment organisations across Wales to work collaboratively to reverse the decline in species through the Natur am Byth programme. In the face of an uncertain future, these projects are beacons of hope that we can all hold onto, showing what we can achieve collectively as ‘Team Wales’.

For us in NRW, much of our ‘business as usual’ work contributes directly to addressing the nature and climate emergencies, and in this year’s plan we have tried to draw this link out more explicitly. We have also given a much stronger focus to ‘nature-based’ solutions, recognising that targeted action on peatland restoration and woodland creation, when done in the right way, will directly benefit the nature and climate emergencies. Following discussions with our board, we have refreshed our focus on water quality, establishing greater focus on working with partners in local authorities, water companies and the economic regulator as well as renewing our commitment to providing evidence and advice to inform the future land management scheme in preparation by the Welsh Government. This is a once in a generation opportunity to ensure that future agricultural support systems enable farmers to deliver multiple benefits – maintaining viable businesses, that continue to contribute to a vibrant culture and economy in rural Wales while also allowing nature to adapt and thrive.

Our pursuit of the sustainable management of natural resources, means that we are constantly striving to maximise the benefits of our work. For example, woodland creation in the upper reaches of a catchment will deliver benefits not just for nature and carbon, but also contribute to flood prevention downstream. Sometimes the funding streams that we work within and the reporting and monitoring of progress against these budgets, prevent us from capturing these multiple benefits. As we prepare the new corporate plan, we will develop our approach to more effectively capture and report on these multiple benefits.

2022/23 is a year of transition for NRW. This is the last business plan aligned to the current corporate plan. Over this year we will be putting in place the corner stones for the future of our organisation. In recognition of the government’s ambition, as well as the ongoing budgetary pressures across the public sector, we have worked with ministers and officials through 2021/22 to build a common understanding of our resources, priorities and the appetite and opportunity for doing things differently. We will bring this work to a conclusion over the course of the year to ensure that the outputs inform the Welsh Government budget setting process for 2023/24 and allowing sufficient time, if necessary, to implement any changes in service that may result. In working through this process we will face very difficult choices, which will have to be informed by priorities. We have made good progress on this work to date and are grateful to ministers for sustaining the level of funding for 2022/23 so that we can maintain the service we currently provide. Nevertheless, given the urgent challenges of the nature and climate emergencies and the pressures on resources across the Welsh Government and Wales, we need to collectively develop radical new approaches to deliver our shared outcomes. Maintaining the status quo will not be enough, we need to reshape the way we do things and harness digital technology to drive the change we know is needed.

We are committed to improving the services we deliver by putting customers at the heart of what we do - simplifying and streamlining processes and making it easier for people to engage with us, with a particular emphasis on our digital provision. Through our adfywio (renewal) programme we will be looking at our accommodation and fleet provision to anticipate the different ways teams want and need to work together as Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed. We are reviewing our working policies and practices, looking to redesign office spaces to make them more inclusive and looking at innovative technology solutions. As part of our net-zero plan, we are also committed to reducing the carbon footprint associated with our accommodation and fleet portfolio.

Alongside environment sector organisations from across the UK, we recognise that we need to do more to ensure that the communities we serve can engage both with and in nature in a way which is meaningful. Through the nature and us national conversation, we will be using a range of different tools and techniques to involve varied and diverse groups and communities in the preparation and analysis of materials, to build a collaborative, inclusive and inspiring vision for the environment of Wales in 2030 and 2050.

Over the course of 2022/23 we will be involving staff and partners in the preparation of the new corporate plan, with workshops and a series of engagement events running through the summer and autumn. While we are energised by the leading role NRW can play in addressing the nature and climate emergencies, we know that we cannot do this alone. We are committed to listening to the voices of the people of Wales, our partners and our staff about what we can all do together to really make a difference now and for future generations.


This business plan sits under our current corporate plan up to 2022 (now being rolled forward to 2023). It sets out what NRW will do in the year ahead and what we plan to focus on to tackle the climate and nature emergencies. This will be the final business plan aligned to our current corporate plan, and we have included both new and ongoing programmes as well as ‘business as usual’ work, to give a fuller picture of the breadth of our planned work for 2022/23. In this year’s plan our five strategic priorities reflect the strategic discussions led by our board as well as five priorities agreed for the year with ministers. These ministerial priorities are for 2022/23 only, while we work together to agree the strategic objectives in our remit letter which will cover the full term of this government and form the basis of our new corporate plan. We are working with our board to develop our new corporate plan, which will set out our well-being objectives and strategic direction against which subsequent annual business plans will deliver.

The updated programme for government and co-operation agreement with Plaid Cymru set out the Welsh Government’s own ten well-being objectives for its term of office. Importantly for us in NRW, this includes the well-being objective to ‘Embed our response to the climate and nature emergency in everything we do’, where we feel we can make a significant contribution to supporting delivery of the identified actions. Through the work we do and the expertise and knowledge of our staff we also contribute to the well-being objectives relating to ‘Build a stronger, greener economy as we make maximum progress towards decarbonisation’ and ‘Make our cities, towns and villages even better places in which to live and work’.

For 2022/23 we have agreed five priorities with ministers, related to the work of the ministerial ‘deep dives’ and other commitments where they have asked us to look for opportunities to take forward specific actions over the course of the year:

  • Marine consenting for renewable energy developments
  • Enabling tree planting
  • Flood prevention and dealing with coal tips
  • Water quality
  • Biodiversity

Covid-19 has challenged us all and forced us to re-evaluate how we work and innovate. Building on this, our adfywio programme is looking at where we work and the way we work – our buildings, transport and machinery and transforming our use of digital technology across our key areas of work to meet users’ needs. This will significantly reduce our carbon footprint, help us become more cost effective, and ensure we care for our staff through flexible working.

During 2021/22 we made good progress across a wide range of our work programmes amidst the challenges of Covid-19 and several serious flooding events. These include:

  • progressing our national peatland action programme
  • acquiring and identifying new sites for woodland creation and undertaking tree planting
  • reaching our target of 800 properties benefitting from a reduced level of flood risk through our capital works by December 2021, with further work to benefit even more properties by the end of 2022/23
  • launching nature and us / natur a ni – helping Wales develop a shared vision for the natural environment in Wales to 2050
  • being a member of all 19 public services boards (PSBs) in Wales, using our area statements and working with other public bodies to help put nature and climate change at the heart of PSBs’ well-being plans and well-being assessments
  • supporting Welsh Government with EU exit work and work such as the implementation of the Wales national marine plan.

Further details can be found in our quarterly performance reports published on our website.

Our roles: what do we do?

As the largest Welsh Government sponsored body, we have a wide range of roles and responsibilities which we deliver in an integrated way to achieve our overall purpose of the sustainable management of natural resources in Wales; these form our ‘business as usual’ work:

  • Adviser to Welsh Government, industry, farming, landowners, land managers, the wider public and voluntary sectors
  • Regulator for industry and waste sites, energy, marine, forest and designated sites for example. Our statutory obligations are to permit, ensure compliance and take enforcement action to reduce the risk of environmental harm, protect people and the natural environment, support legitimate business and facilitate renewable energy generation. We issue about 4,500 permits and species licences in total each year and have a target to deliver 95% of permits to time.
  • Designator for sites of special scientific interest, areas of outstanding natural beauty, national parks and for national nature reserves
  • Responder to environmental incidents: we receive over 8,500 reports of environmental incidents a year and target our response to those categorised as ‘high’: we have a target to respond to 95% high category incidents within 4 hours
  • Statutory consultee for about 7,000 planning applications a year: we have a target to deliver 95% of responses to time
  • Manager of 7% of Wales’ land area, including the Welsh Government Woodland Estate, national nature reserves and our flood defences and assets. We have 500km of flood defences and about 4,000 assets (our target is to maintain 98% of assets in high-risk locations to condition and to deliver our flood risk management capital programme). We also manage recreation facilities and a laboratory
  • 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 working with volunteers

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

Our organisation

Our organisational structure is designed to deliver locally, whilst maintaining high standards in the services we provide across the whole of Wales.

Delivery is supported by our central finance & corporate services; corporate strategy & development; and communication, customers and commercial directorates.

At a local level, we follow a place-based approach with seven place-based teams (including a marine team). These are led by our seven heads of place. This is underpinned by a central directorate for evidence, policy, and permitting led by our heads of business.

Each of the seven places has an area statement which highlights the opportunities and challenges in a particular geographical area to both enhance the local natural environment, provide opportunities for business and improve people’s health and well-being. Working in partnership is key to making the most of these opportunities.

Our well-being objectives and corporate plan to 2022 (extended to 2023)

Our strategic priorities and work this year contribute to achieving our well-being objectives described in our corporate Plan:

  • 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

We are currently preparing our next corporate plan to 2027, which will be published in Spring 2023.

Our strategic priorities for 2022/23

For 2022/23, our board has agreed five strategic priorities:

  • Responding to the climate emergency and the nature emergency, focussing on nature based solutions and decarbonisation
  • Using our expertise, alongside that of others, with evidence from SoNaRR 2020, to support innovative, integrated decision making to tackle the climate emergency and nature emergency
  • Improve water quality through raising awareness, using our regulatory and enforcement powers effectively and working collaboratively with others to reduce the impacts on biodiversity and human health, including agricultural and land management practices
  • Drive a just and green recovery following the pandemic involving a diverse range of stakeholders in our work.
  • Developing NRW into an excellent organisation, with a workforce that drives a strong performance culture and delivers value for money and social and environmental value for the people of Wales

Our strategic priorities for this year reflect evidence that has emerged over the last 12 months including reports from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), COP 26 and the build up to COP 15. Our priorities on climate and nature emergencies have been combined this year – as the two are inextricably linked – looking at nature based solutions that can give wider benefits.

The relationship between our strategic priorities and Welsh Government’s Ministerial priorities for 2022/23 are shown below. Our last two strategic priorities relate to working with stakeholders and making NRW an excellent organisation are not included.

Ministerial priorities 2022/23

Enabling tree planting

Related NRW annual strategic priorities 2022/23:

  • Responding to the climate emergency and the nature emergency, focussing on nature based solutions and decarbonisation

Marine renewable consenting

Related NRW annual strategic priorities 2022/23:

  • Responding to the climate emergency and the nature emergency, focussing on nature based solutions and decarbonisation


Related NRW annual strategic priorities 2022/23:

  • Responding to the climate emergency and the nature emergency, focussing on nature based solutions and decarbonisation
  • Using our expertise, alongside that of others, with evidence from SoNaRR 2020, to support innovative, integrated decision making to tackle the climate emergency and nature emergency

Flood and coal tips

Related NRW annual strategic priorities 2022/23:

  • Using our expertise, alongside that of others, with evidence from SoNaRR 2020, to support innovative, integrated decision making to tackle the climate emergency and nature emergency

Water quality

Related NRW annual strategic priorities 2022/23:

  • Improve water quality through raising awareness, using our regulatory and enforcement powers effectively and working collaboratively others to reduce the impacts on biodiversity and human health, including agricultural and land management practices

This is what we plan to do to help deliver these strategic priorities in 2022/23:

Responding to the climate emergency and the nature emergency, focussing on nature based solutions and decarbonisation

The climate and nature emergencies are inextricably linked - what we deliver to address climate change can also help reduce biodiversity loss and vice versa. Nature based solutions lie at the heart of this. Much of our work provides these multiple benefits, improving biodiversity and locking in carbon through our planned work on peatland restoration, woodland creation, and management of marine inter-tidal habitats.

Our business as usual work reflects a huge part of many people’s jobs. For example, monitoring and collating data to inform our decision making on reducing Wales’ and NRW’s carbon footprint; managing our estate to maximise carbon sequestration opportunities; planning for and responding to drought and flooding incidents as well as the emergence of new threats to our natural environment such as pests and diseases. We control carbon emissions through our regulatory duties, permitting the use of emerging technologies that contribute to the decarbonisation of our economy.

Responding to the climate emergency - decarbonisation

  • Deliver NRW's climate change and decarbonisation change programme, embedding decarbonisation and climate change mitigation and adaptation, including risk management, across our NRW functions
  • Implement adfywio – our renewal programme following the Covid-19 pandemic, which aims to reduce the carbon footprint of NRW’s fleet, buildings, land, and procurement systems and realise the benefits decarbonisation will bring

Responding to the climate emergency - managing flood risk

  • Continue delivery of the remaining improvements identified in the February 2020 Floods in Wales Review Reports, including the required improvements to embed improvements to our flood warning capability, out of hours capacity, whole organisation response, preparedness and recovery
  • Deliver our maintenance programmes to ensure our flood risk management defences continue to provide sustained protection to communities at risk of flooding to the 73,000 properties that benefit, and embed an improved risk based approach to asset maintenance
  • Investigate and deliver options to reduce the risk of flooding to communities through the Flood Risk Management Capital Programme, including key delivery projects at Stephenson St (Newport), Ammanford (Carmarthenshire) and Llyn Tegid (Gwynedd), contributing to Welsh Government’s ambition to reduce the risk of flooding
  • Publish updated Flood Risk Management Plans for Wales, which contain the strategic priorities and plans for all catchments across Wales
  • Ensure the safe and responsible management of structures to ensure their compliance with the Reservoirs Act and deliver the regulatory improvements required following the Balmforth Review of reservoirs

Responding to the nature emergency

  • Tackle biodiversity loss, maintaining and enhancing biodiversity and promoting the resilience of ecosystems across all of our work
  • Deliver the priorities in the protected sites programme to improve the condition and resilience of marine, terrestrial and freshwater protected sites and support Welsh Government in strengthening protection for ancient woodland
  • Deliver the declining species programme to target declining species or those on the edge of extinction such as curlew, freshwater pearl mussel, salmonids and sea trout
  • Deliver priority actions in the invasive non-native species (INNS) programme including biosecurity, to tackle INNS in marine, terrestrial and freshwater environments

Nature based solutions - habitat restoration

  • Deliver habitat restoration programmes, including developing a national grassland action plan
  • Deliver the priorities in the national peatland action plan
  • Deliver our EU LIFE projects including New LIFE for Welsh Raised Bogs, LIFE Quaking Bogs, Sands of LIFE, Four Rivers for LIFE and LIFE Dee River

Nature based solutions – enabling tree planting and woodland creation

  • Deliver the woodland creation programme including Welsh Government's ‘deep dive’ recommendations, providing a Glastir verification service, also helping farmers and landowners to plant woodland on less productive land and support community woodland planting
  • Support the development of the national forest from North to South Wales, through streamlining the provision of advice and guidance including its economic, cultural and recreational potential, helping Wales progress towards a sustainable timber industry

Nature based solutions - managing the NRW Estate

  • Deliver our programmes for peatland conversion; woodland creation to maintain the area of woodland on the NRW Estate; and restocking, growing and harvesting of timber (see commercial section)
  • Deliver our national nature reserves and other nature conservation work programmes
  • Accelerate adaptation of the NRW Estate to climate change by investing in inspecting, maintaining and upgrading infrastructure such as colliery tips and reservoirs; building natural flood management into plans for woodland in areas vulnerable to flooding; thinning more woodland; managing the risk of pests and diseases; and developing a strategy for high nature value sites
  • Improve our provision for visitors whether local or from further afield in the woodlands and national nature reserves we manage

Nature based solutions - managing the marine environment

  • Place the marine and coastal environment at the centre of the response to the climate emergency with a focus on marine renewable energy, blue carbon, marine and coastal restoration and management, including helping Welsh Government to establish a targeted scheme to support restoration of seagrass and saltmarsh habitats along the coastline
  • Deliver the offshore renewable energy programme and deliver the recommendations from the renewable energy deep dive with Welsh Government, including offshore renewable energy and consenting work

Responding to the climate and nature emergencies - regulation

  • Deliver our statutory obligations to permit, ensure compliance and take enforcement action within all NRW regulation to reduce the risk of environmental harm, and protect wildlife to support the sustainable management of natural resources
  • Working with Welsh Government to design, develop and implement the ambitious programme of transformational waste reforms as outlined in Welsh Government’s beyond recycling and net zero Wales strategies including the development and implementation of a UK digital waste tracking service and a new landfill gas emissions reduction programme
  • Recognising the scale of ambition within Wales’ regulated industry, we will be building resilience within NRW to ensure we can deliver our regulator and advisor roles in response to the rapid changes needed to deliver net zero whilst balancing overall environmental concerns in line with the regulators’ code
  • Support Welsh Government in dealing with the legacy of centuries of mining and the programme for coal tip safety through acting in line with Welsh Government’s protocol, ensuring our regulatory and legislative requirements are prioritised so that works on at risk tips happen quickly
  • Deliver the strategic review of charges to ensure we fully recover the costs for our regulatory work from charge payers

Responding to the climate and nature emergencies - incident management and response

  • Undertake a review of our approach to environmental incidents in our remit, to consider how we optimise our risk-based approach and enable further emphasis on preventative approaches, whilst recognising the need for proportionate reactive response capabilities
  • Continue to deliver effective and resilient planning, exercises and training work for incidents and ensure that we are able to provide a sustained and effective response, including training and supporting new staff on our out of hours rotas, and business continuity management improvements.
  • Develop robust systems and approaches to reduce the impact of cyber incidents, so we can continue to deliver an effective service to the people of Wales

Using our expertise, alongside that of others, with evidence from SoNaRR2020, to support innovative, integrated decision making to tackle the climate emergency and nature emergency

Our business as usual activity here involves working with national stakeholders to gather, share, promote and update evidence on the state of natural resources in Wales, and using evidence based Area Statements to inform our priorities, projects and engagement with stakeholders in our seven places, particularly the Public Services Boards as they prepare their well-being assessments and plans. All our work is rooted in good evidence and using and sharing it with partners and communities to advocate for and deliver SMNR.

Improving and presenting evidence about the natural environment

  • Develop and begin to implement our monitoring strategy, improving the quality of our environmental monitoring data and processes and ensuring the information provided meets our evidence needs in relation to SMNR as well as our post EU exit environmental reporting duties
  • Develop our evidence and understanding of nutrient impacts in SAC (special areas of conservation) rivers, to inform a strategy for their long term remediation
  • Provide air quality modelling and monitoring advice for risk assessment in regulatory decision making

Providing advice and guidance

  • Provide advice and guidance on development of Welsh Government policy and our approach to delivering the work needed post EU Exit, including the establishment of an environmental governance body, a statutory duty and targets to protect and restore biodiversity
  • Provide strategic advice to the Welsh Government on the development and implementation of government legislation, strategy, policy and guidance. This includes for example fisheries, land use planning, proposals for gamebird licensing, waste regulation reform and the national air quality service
  • Work with Welsh Government on the ‘deep dive’ on biodiversity and support delivery of the recommendations
  • Assess the case for a new national park as the statutory body for the designation of new national parks or areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs) in Wales
  • Advise Welsh Government on its access reform programme and contribute to the review of the Wales Coast Path and the integration with wider trail networks. Play our part in the development of the 10 year plan to realise the full potential of the network to promote more inclusive access benefitting the diversity of communities across Wales

Work with partners and communities using area statements

  • Work with partners to develop and implement projects and programmes that deliver shared priorities and opportunities as reflected in area statement
  • Contribute to well-being assessments and well-being plans using our area statements as a focus for local environmental issues

Improving water quality, through raising public awareness using our regulatory and enforcement powers effectively and driving collaboration with others, to reduce the impacts on biodiversity and human health, including from agricultural and land management practices

For this year, water management – both the quality and quantity of water in our rivers and streams, is a particular focus for us. We face the ongoing challenge of raising the quality of our rivers and streams for people and biodiversity whilst balancing the competing demands on the use and management of land and water. Our business as usual work here includes monitoring and reporting, providing advice and guidance, regulation and enforcement where necessary, and working with water companies and Welsh Government, as well as specific projects to tackle the legacy of former metal mine workings and their impacts on watercourses

Water Planning

  • Implement the 3rd cycle of river basin management plans with partners and key stakeholders, delivering improvements based on identified pressures and priority areas such as storm overflows and nutrients. Ensure issues such as pharmaceuticals and microplastics, for example, are addressed in current and future planning cycles, and that we develop a robust evidence base so that we can respond to future issues as they arise.
  • Identify the priorities for the environment in water company business plans, considering legislative water requirements and security of supply within Wales. Work with water companies, stakeholders, Welsh Government and OfWAT to develop a robust and evidence based national environment programme and provide our response to water company draft water resources plans. Update our drought plan and work with water companies and partners to ensure we have an effective response to any future droughts or periods of prolonged dry weather, aiming to reduce the impacts of water shortage on people, the environment and other sectors.
  • Provide timely and evidenced advice and technical support to Welsh Government as they prepare legislation and a scheme to transition land management in Wales so that farming and forestry activities are delivered in a sustainable way and the risk to the water environment from poor practices is reduced.

Water management

  • Develop and implement our storm overflows action plan in conjunction with partner organisations, ensuring our regulation, monitoring and stakeholder involvement leads to better perception and management of the issues resulting in securing the improvements required to deliver higher water quality standards across Wales
  • Define and deliver, as part of the special areas of conservation (SAC) rivers project, a programme of work to understand, and where needed improve, the overall status of our nine SAC rivers: the Cleddau, Eden, Gwyrfai, Teifi, Tywi, Glaslyn, Dee, Usk and Wye. This will include working internally and with partners establishing new policy, positions, tools, delivering advice as well as facilitating the establishment of the nutrient management boards and playing our part in contributing to their plans
  • Deliver the next phase of the metal mines remediation programme to deal with the legacy of contaminated land, impacts on water quality and mine hazards; developing and delivering priority projects such as at the Gwydir Parc mine complex, Frongoch and surface water management at Dylife

Involving a diverse range of stakeholders in our work to help drive a just and green recovery following the pandemic

The unique benefits of nature for people’s physical health and mental well-being and the role it could play in a just recovery came into sharp focus during the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to our business as usual activity in this area, we will work closely with Welsh Government, our partners and local communities to promote learning and responsible recreation in the outdoors.

We have a leading role to play in this in collaboration with others. Green jobs – enabling employment whilst looking after the natural environment, as well as driving opportunities to use local green spaces and reconnect with the natural environment will have advantage not only for societal wellbeing, but also nature itself and SMNR.

Diversity and inclusion

  • Implement ‘Gyda’n Gilydd - All Together’ - NRW's diversity and inclusion strategy for both staff and those we work with, working towards its six objectives and deliver against the agreed actions identified for implementation in Year 1
  • Work across NRW functions to ensure that social justice is considered in line with environmental priorities. For example:
    • Embedding health impact assessment alongside our requirement to deliver equality impact assessments.
    • Deliver our placement policy, providing a flexible framework with fair and just opportunities to a range of young people.
  • Deliver the socio-economic data project to enable the layering of both socio-economic and environmental data within the Wales environmental information portal. This will enable us to work with partners to target work to those communities in greatest need.
  • Build relationships and trust with our communities through listening, understanding, and responding, in particular those who are seldom heard. We need to constantly evolve and innovate as we learn more about our stakeholders and how they engage with us so we can meet their needs.

Creating a shared vision for the natural environment to 2050 - Nature and Us

Facilitate Nature and Us - developing a shared vision for the environment to 2050 and action for the next 10 years

Developing NRW into an excellent organisation, with a workforce that drives a strong performance culture and delivers value for money and social and environmental value for the people of Wales

We want to be the best organisation we can be for our customers, for nature and for the people of Wales. To do this, we aim to continue to improve the services we provide, innovating and using digital approaches, whilst building on changes in working practices as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our business as usual work here includes all the services we provide to enable work to take place on the ground and to develop our evidence base – looking after our staff; stakeholders and customers; training and developing our staff to help them reach their full potential; paying our bills on time and buying in goods and services with sustainability in mind; developing commercial opportunities sustainably including harvesting timber; and making sure we have robust governance in place so that we are open, fair and act with propriety.

Our stakeholders and customers

  • Design user-centred digital services - embedding best practise for content design and user research.
  • Improve our service to customers by rolling out a customer relationship management (CRM) integrated contact centre telephony system which is fit for 2022 and beyond and continuously develop the CRM to create and maintain a single view of the customer.
  • Complete the first year of our two year grants programme designed to align with our well-being objectives and strategic priorities. Under four grants themes, we will provide funding to partners delivering priority outcomes for the environment and people of Wales in line with best practice.

Our people

  • Maximise our ability to competitively attract talent to NRW to meet future skills and capability needs.
  • Ensure everyone’s well-being, health and safety, by providing staff the support and equipment they need, monitoring progress to ensure that our work programmes are achievable and allow staff time to develop their skills.
  • Shape and implement a suite of learning and development opportunities that build the knowledge, skill, capabilities, and behaviours that sets NRW up for future success and embeds our values.

Our finances and our commercial opportunities

  • Continue to improve our financial governance including the range of financial mechanisms to support delivery of our outcomes, working with customers and contractors to deliver our purpose.
  • Embed the new 3P approach (people, planet & prosperity) to evaluate commercial opportunities for the NRW estate, to ensure development approvals are considered using social and environmental benefits, not just on income - and that these benefits can be tangibly measured.
  • Market up to 750,000 m3 timber from the Welsh Government Woodland Estate, marketing up to 30% using alternative mechanisms to the standard e-sales process, such as community groups thus widening the market for Welsh timber.
  • Improve and ensure a practical approach in our financial and contractual mechanisms to support the delivery of our outcomes, both with customers and contractors, but also to help facilitate community groups and small businesses to access opportunities on the estate.
  • To explore more opportunities to create a circular supply chain within Wales such as providing Welsh timber for Welsh homes.
  • Continue to support Welsh energy resilience and actively participate in renewable energy developments on the NRW estate in line with the recommendations from the renewable energy deep dive and the new Welsh Government delivery model.
  • Grow and diversify the type of available commercial activity on the NRW estate in relation to tourism and recreation and Welsh culture. Examples include exploring improvements to our visitor centres, estate-wide strategy on car parking and estate access, and more open procurement opportunities to widen the field of potential bidders for greater market exposure.


  • Deliver our IT services including upgrades and maintenance, security and governance.
  • Deliver our programme for new IT development projects in line with affordability.

Our governance

  • Support Welsh Government in the recruitment of six new members of the NRW board, ensuring an appropriate spread of skills and experience across the whole board and providing high quality induction and training for new members. This will be a particular challenge this year due to the unprecedented turnover of half of the board in a single year due to circumstances outside of our control.
  • Deliver the approved internal audit plan to provide assurance over the key identified risks to inform the delivery of an annual internal audit opinion.
  • Continue to oversee, embed and improve risk management throughout NRW to inform the board’s annual risk management opinion.
  • Provide governance and assurance over programmes and projects through the portfolio management office.
  • Prepare our annual report and accounts.
  • Publish our new corporate plan to 2027 in March/April 2023.

Managing our performance

As a place-focussed, 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 to hold our executive team to account. The performance dashboard is an important part of the business plan as it sets out the measures and targets in detail and incorporates a wider representation of what NRW does. Performance is described as either red, amber or green to show whether we are on track to achieve what we set out to do or not; and if not, how we will improve performance.

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 our organisation’s performance. It is key to ensuring we consider holistically both the services we offer and the places we work in and is fundamental to our decision making.

For this year, we have included an internal performance report to sit alongside our business plan dashboard, which gives more detail about how we are operating as an organisation – for example looking at payments on time, well-being, health and safety checks, staff absence and training for example. We hope this will give a more rounded view of both what we are achieving on the ground and how we are running as an organisation. We set ourselves ‘stretch’ targets – so we don’t expect everything at the end of the year to be green, but to help us focus on areas for improvement.


This financial year, we have been able to set a budget of £241.9m, funded from our regulatory charges, commercial income, external funding and grants from Welsh Government. To set a balanced budget Welsh Government will provide written confirmation to address an estimated gap (£7.3m) in our non flood grant in aid revenue and capital funding, based on evidence of need. When Welsh Government published their budgets this year it included indicative allocations for the following two financial years.

So, for 2022/23 financial year:

  • We will spend more on our flood capital programme (£22.3m compared to £17m) and Welsh Government have increased our revenue funding by £0.5m compared to what we spend this financial year.
  • Continue to deliver our non-flood capital programme for the third year with a budget of £17.1m.
  • Set our timber income budget at £40m – our highest ever forecast.
  • Welsh Government have provided match funding for three new externally funded projects – Natur Am Byth, Rivers 4 LIFE and LIFE Quake. We will also continue with our programme of existing projects funded by LIFE and RDP. We are forecasted to spend £9.6m.
  • Set our regulatory charges at £39.0m.
  • Our non-flood grant in aid remains at a similar level to the last financial year.

We have allocated £2.8m of our core budget to grant funding others’ work. This will be supplemented with other funding as well.
Our budget of £241.9m has been distributed across our directorates as outlined in the table below:

Expenditure budget 2022-23

Directorate Staff - Trajectory £000 Workforce recharges £000 Other staff £000 Non staff £000 Revenue projects £000 Capital projects £000 Total £000
Communications, Customer and Commercial 6,245 -592 400 6,599 1,817 0 14,469
Corporate Strategy and Development 6,450 -32 1,135 1,568 0 0 9,122
Evidence Policy and Permitting 31,287 -4,236 924 19,932 7,198 4,888 59,993
Finance and Corporate Services 5,867 -294 1,225 15,006 3,336 8,139 33,279
Operations 62,156 -7,919 1,956 21,053 9,540 38,270 125,056
Total expenditure budget 112,006 -13,072 5,640 64,159 21,891 51,296 241,919

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