Term of Government Remit Letter for the National Park Authorities
Our Programme for Government outlines the Government’s priorities and its commitments to the people of Wales. I firmly believe our National Park Authorities have a key role to play in helping us deliver for the people of Wales. In particular, you should align your work with key Wellbeing Objectives, including:
• Build an economy based on the principles of fair work, sustainability and the industries and services of the future
• Build a stronger, greener economy as we make maximum progress towards decarbonisation
• Embed our response to the climate and nature emergency in everything we do
• Celebrate diversity and move to eliminate inequality in all of its forms
• Push forward towards a million Welsh speakers, and enable our tourism, sports and arts industries to thrive
• Make our cities, towns and villages even better places in which to live and work
In particular, I want to see National Parks become exemplars in responding to the climate and nature emergency. You are uniquely placed to engage with the communities within your boundaries to develop solution which deliver benefits for people and the environment.
The National Parks are home to agricultural communities who have worked in and shaped the landscapes around them for millennia. Sustainable farming is an intrinsic part of our landscape and can underpin many of the policy aims set out in this letter. I would like to see you work with Welsh Government as it develops its approaches to sustainable farming
to support farmers to take actions that lead to the National Parks being more biodiverse areas, with appropriate afforestation and habitat restoration, alongside food production.
As part of our response to tackling the nature emergency I have committed to achieving the 30×30 target. Landscape scale designations such as National Parks will play an important part in achieving the target, but they are not currently managed effectively for biodiversity as
a result of their original designation. I will be holding a deep dive focussing on the effective implementation of the 30×30 target in early 2022-23. I would like the National Park Authorities to participate in this process so we can consider what actions are needed to scale up delivery for biodiversity across these designations. Following the deep dive, I would of course also expect you to work together to deliver on the agreed actions; this can be facilitated by the new collaborative Biodiversity posts I have agreed to support Tourism is another area where I see National Parks playing a key role. Our ambition is to ‘grow tourism for the good of Wales’. People choose to visit Wales to enjoy our superb natural environment, as well as to experience our culture, including the Welsh language.
The role of Park Authorities in supporting the management of visitors to ensure communities are able to benefit from tourism, and minimising the negative impacts for people and the environment, is critical.
It has been evident how the demands placed on local infrastructure can harm the experience of visitors and put a strain on the relationship with local communities. National Park Authorities have played an important leadership role during the recent pandemic and I expect this to continue as we emerge from the pandemic. I would like to convey my thanks to you for the important work you have undertaken in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. I also appreciate the collaborative approach National Park Authorities have taken with other bodies and with Welsh Government teams during the pandemic. This is something I would like to see us build upon in the future.
In our Programme for Government we have committed to establishing a new National Park in north-east Wales, and I would like you to support the process as needed.
It is my intention that our relationship will continue to be based on mutual trust and respect, and on open and honest communication. Through an effective working partnership, the Authority can flourish, and we can maximise your impact for people and the environment.
Your status as a special purpose Authority gives you considerable operational independence, and, of course, you must at all times be guided by your statutory purposes.
I fully expect you to continue to look for ways to reach the very highest standards of governance and we are keen to support you in that where appropriate. In particular I would like to see you implement best practice and any recommendations that emerge from the thematic work being carried out by Audit Wales and do more to promote diversity, making maximum use of the new Inclusion, Diversity and Governance Excellence Strategic lead.
In line with the Framework Document, which underpins the relationship between National Park Authorities and the Welsh Government, you should now review your business plans to set out how you will deliver against the areas outlined in this letter and its appendices. We will, of course, need to monitor progress against these priorities over the course of this government, in a way that is appropriate to your local context. I would like you to work with my officials to identify a small number of appropriate indicators that will effectively monitor progress against these priorities. This data, coupled with a short narrative report, will form the basis of regular discussions through the course of this term of government. Through this we will be able to satisfy ourselves, Audit Wales, and the wider public, that we are truly delivering, and where we do hit difficulties work together to overcome them.
This Term of Government letter is designed to provide you with a clear framework within which to work for the coming years, I have outlined the key deliverables for you in relation to the Programme for Government in Annex A. The strategic context for the National Park Authorities is ambitious and evolving and the key considerations have been captured in Annex B.
As well as this Term of Government letter setting out our aspirations over the coming years, I will also issue you with a shorter grant letter confirming your annual budget allocation.
There is much to do, but I am convinced that my portfolio can make a positive and lasting
difference to people’s lives in Wales. I look forward to working with you to achieve this.
Julie James AS/MS
Minister for Climate Change
(cc Chief Executive Officers)