The voluntary sector recently met with the Minister for the Environment, Lesley Griffiths, to discuss the green recovery from Covid-19, issues with environmental funding streams and legislative governance post-Brexit.
The Minister told the meeting that she recognises how much funding is needed to support the environmental sector to play its role in the recovery from Covid-19, but it is also important to focus on how to keep positive behaviours going. She highlighted the recently-published Clear Air Plan as an example of work taking place apart from the pandemic. The group indicated a need for the environmental sector to look at blended funding, with approaches from private companies, but it will need support and development to achieve positive results from this. It was agreed that a group representative will bring a paper to Welsh Government at a later date to initiate a conversation on this subject.
The group told the Minister that issues with the Sustainable Management Scheme and Enabling Natural Resources and Wellbeing funding streams has led to some organisations facing real financial peril. Officials noted that there have been problems with volume and capacity, and will discuss the issue further internally to try to improve the claims process. The Funding and Compliance Sub-Committee, which monitors work around the Code of Practice for Funding the Voluntary Sector, will also discuss these issues.
On environmental governance from January 2021, the Minister said that a task group is working to identify approaches to this subject in Wales from January to complement existing legislation. She added that specific legislation cannot be brought in during this governmental term due to time pressures, but is looking at interim measures for receiving complaints about environmental governance post-December. An independent assessor has been advertised for. An update on this should be available in November.
We will bring you updates on these issues as soon as possible.