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Welsh environment minister spells out her priorities to the Senedd

Words: Roger Milne
Improve the number of trees key in Wales / iStock-845218618

Welsh environment minister Hannah Blythyn this week spelt out to Assembly Members (AMs) her priorities, which included increased tree planting and reversing the decline in biodiversity.

In a statement to the Welsh Assembly on 17 April she promised “action on green infrastructure” and vowed to ensure that “green engineering” was mainstreamed across everything the government did.

She told the Senedd she wanted the national parks and AONBs to be “exemplars on the sustainable management of natural resources, particularly on biodiversity, trees and woodlands, but also in contributing to the delivery of appropriate solutions of the right scale to improve resource efficiency and decarbonisation in those areas".

"I do recognise that the national parks and AONBs face a funding challenge, and that's why I've already allocated £3.4 million in additional funding.”

She stressed that increasing the number of trees and woodlands in Wales was a key concern.

“Forestry is already an important industry in Wales, both in its own right and as part of our world-class outdoor recreation offer, but our woodland resources are not sufficient or resilient enough to be sustainable, and this is a barrier to making progress environmentally and economically.

“To unlock commercial opportunities, particularly in a rapidly decarbonising economy, having diverse forestry and timber as a resource is crucial if we are to retain as much as possible of the supply chain benefits here in Wales.

“My aim is for high-quality, biodiverse woodland that delivers both economic and environmental benefit. I recognise, however, that to achieve this there will need to be a transition. “

She pledged to revise woodland strategy “before the summer recess” and promised a statement on the government’s clean air strategy next week.

Image credit | iStock