The national Nature Recovery Action Plan (NRAP) was first published in 2015 and consists of Part I (Our Strategy for Nature) and Part II (Our Action Plan). It is an all-Wales plan for everybody involved in biodiversity action in Wales. Part II has been refreshed for 2020-21 following input from a range of stakeholders.
A number of objectives have been identified to address the issues that are driving the decline in biodiversity, and to support recovery:
The original six objectives remain, complemented by five themes of action which flow from the objectives. The five themes are:
The Nature Recovery Action Plan sets out how Wales will address the Convention on Biological Diversity's Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the associated Aichi biodiversity targets in Wales. The Nature Recovery Action Plan will identify actions that can be delivered in the short term and set a course to deliver longer term commitments beyond 2020. The actions in the Plan will be kept under regular review, ensuring they continue to meet objectives and achieve the ambition of nature recovery in Wales. A set of indicators will also be developed to measure the progress of the Nature Recovery Action Plan against objectives. To accompany the plan, a Nature Recovery Framework will set out the roles and responsibilities of the key players for delivery of action for biodiversity in Wales, and how they are linked together.
The Nature Recovery Action Plan links to and complements The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the Environment Act (Wales) 2016.
The Nature Recovery Action Plan Implementation Group (IG) is the main stakeholder group for the NRAP and has a wide range of membership from Welsh Government, Natural Resources Wales, JNCC, environmental Non-Governmental Organisations, the farming sector and other public and private sector organisations. The IG’s role is to steer and prioritise key actions to deliver the NRAP and to reverse the decline in biodiversity in Wales, taking a collaborative approach. The group typically meets three times a year.
A series of groups take forward specific tasks and priorities set by the NRAP Implementation Group. These currently include:
LIFE Dee River is a £6.8m project to transform the River Dee and its catchment by restoring the river and its surroundings back to their natural state. This will bring many benefits to the environment, most notably improving the numbers of salmon, lamprey and freshwater pearl mussels to help them become more sustainable in future.
The Dee is the largest river in North Wales with a catchment area of more than 1,800 km2. It is one of the most highly regulated rivers in Europe, and along with Llyn Tegid it has been designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
Afon Tryweryn- tributary of the River Dee © NRW
The Berwyn and South Clwyd Mountains and Migneint-Arenig-Dduallt SACs contain the two largest areas of blanket bog in Wales.
Although large areas of blanket bog still occur in Wales, the majority have been seriously degraded through afforestation, encroachment by alien species (such as Rhododendron Rhododendron ponticum and Sitka spruce Picea sitchensis), over grazing, drainage, and either deliberate or accidental burning. During the 5 years of the LIFE Blanket Bog in Wales project, significant and sustained improvement in the condition of blanket bogs in key areas of two SACs in North Wales was achieved.
In addition to improving biodiversity, blanket bog restoration provides a large number of additional benefits. These include improving water quality, reducing run-off rates which may impact on lowland flooding, farming, carbon storage and sequestration, education and recreation.
The 56 month project covered an area of 84 square kilometers and LIFE funding ended on March 31st 2011, with the majority of £3m project funding (75%) secured from the EU LIFE-Nature programme. Work is ongoing and future will be reliant on local land management funds and landscape scale project funding.
The project was a partnership led by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, with support from statutory agencies and local landowners.
Local partnerships for nature operate in all areas of Wales and provide a focus for delivering the Nature Recovery Plan objectives and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources at the local level as well as contributing to many of the Well-being of Future Generations goals. These case studies provide a snapshot of the diversity of projects and the range of partners involved with local action for nature in Wales.