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Arrangements for a single body to manage Wales' natural resources
The consultation follows the Minister’s announcement in November 2011 in which he said that he was minded to move to a single body that would replace the Countryside Council for Wales, the Environment Agency Wales and the Forestry Commission for Wales.
The aim of the new body will be to ensure the most sustainable and effective management of Wales’ natural resources. Over a ten year period, it is estimated that the transition from three environment bodies could result in savings of up to £158m before costs.
The consultation specifically covers the legal changes needed to establish the new body, its overall purpose, arrangements around customer and stakeholder engagement, accountability and transparency, and the Welsh Government’s wider ambitions for the new body.
Speaking about the consultation, the Minister said:
“Wales’ natural environment is a vital resource that provides us with, amongst other things, food, water, fuel, recreational opportunities, jobs and a thriving tourism industry.
“In the current challenging economic climate it is more important than ever that we manage it as effectively and efficiently as possible to ensure the best outcomes for Wales.
“I am convinced that the establishment of a single body will ensure the most sustainable management of Wales’ natural resources. Not only will it result in a more streamlined way of working, it will also ensure more effective delivery, improved value for money and better outcomes for Welsh people, Welsh businesses and the environment.
“However it is important that we get the detail right. This consultation will give everyone with an interest the opportunity to have their say on how the new body should operate and be managed.
"It covers crucial issues such as purpose, governance, accountability and engagement, and I look forward to considering views and opinions once the consultation process has ended."
The consultation will run from 9 February 2012 to 2 May 2012.