Action No

Priority

Update

1

Develop and maintain a risk register of pests and diseases and their threat to tree health in Wales.

 

·         Welsh Ministers are responsible for tree health matters in Wales.  This responsibility is delivered through a three-way arrangement between NRW, the Welsh Government and the Forestry Commission and its agency, Forest Research.

·         The Wales Tree and Plant Health Steering Group draws together Government, Natural Resources Wales (NRW), representatives from the forestry sector and environment groups to manage delivery of the Wales Tree Health Strategy.

·         The newly formed Wales Tree and Plant Health Surveillance Group comprises of representatives of Welsh Government, NRW, Forest Research and the Animal and Plant Health Agency.  It monitors emerging plant health risks and undertakes contingency planning for response to plant health outbreaks.

·         The Group also undertakes horizon scanning and pest risk assessment through the collaboration of the agencies which inform the priority list of potential pests and disease threats that are likely to arrive in Wales.

·         High profile tree and plant pests for Wales are monitored and reviewed by the Surveillance Group and an updated list is maintained for review by the Steering Group.

·         Farming Connect are working with Forest Research to offer three “Tree Health” days for stakeholders to be briefed on tree and plant health issues.

·         NRW carry out regular surveillance for quarantined organism and key pests and diseases. This includes Phytophthora ramorum and Chalara dieback of ash. NRW produces a monthly Welsh specific report on Phytophthora ramorum and maintains a Welsh specific map showing the spread of Chalara.

·         The Chalara Dieback of Ash – Response for Wales (2016) is available on the Welsh Government’s tree health web pages.

·         Chalara dieback of ash is likely to be more evident across Wales this year, especially in younger trees. The effect of the disease in older trees may take many years to show. Disease progression is being monitored.

·         A Chalara Operational Response Team (CORT) is being convened by Welsh Government and this will represent a range of appropriate stakeholders to provide operational and policy guidance.

·         Staff from Welsh Government, NRW, Forest Research and APHA will be present at the Royal Welsh Show 2017 to provide information and guidance. A simple animation is being produced and there will be printed advice for visitors.

·         NRW has promoted awareness of key pests through 2 joint seminars with Forest Research (attended by approximately 100 people).

·         NRW has provided awareness training to external groups such as the wildlife trusts.

·         NRW supports Welsh Government on a number of GB groups such as DEFRA’s Risk Register Group (Forestry) and the GB and NI Steering Group.

2

Implement the Phytophthora ramorum recovery programme.

 

·         The Disease Management Strategy, made under the umbrella of the Wales Tree Health Strategy has established two zones in Wales:  the core disease zone (principally in South Wales) where there are high levels of infection in contiguous larch stands; and the disease limitation zone (the remainder of Wales) where there is light infection.  Felling is targeted on new infections in the disease limitation zone to combat the rate of spread of the infection.

·         The Welsh Government is assisting NRW to replant areas of felled larch on the Welsh Government woodland estate. The area NRW has replanted in the last six years (both as a result of Phytophthora ramorum and scheduled clear felling) is:  2011/12 986 hectares; 2012/13 1,012 hectares; 2013/14 1,350 hectares; 2014/15 1,107 hectares; 2015/16 1,237 hectares; and 2016/17 is 1222 hectares.

·         The Welsh Government is supporting restocking of infected larch in private woodlands via the Rural Communities Rural Development Plan (RCRDP) and the Glastir Woodland Restoration Scheme.

·         Whilst P ramorum is a disaster for larch in Wales, restocking felled areas is enabling greater ecological resilience to be built in to Wales’ woodland ensuring that the natural resource can deliver a range of ecosystem services from climate change adaptation to timber production to access and recreation for the benefit of current and future generations.

·         In their role as the terrestrial tree health delivery body for Wales NRW carry out regular surveillance for quarantined organism and key pests and diseases, including Phytophthora ramorum.  NRW produces a monthly Welsh specific report on Phytophthora ramorum.

·         Evidence from the most recent aerial survey of larch suggests that there is an increased incidence of Phytophthora ramorum when compared with the last 2 years. If this preliminary finding is confirmed by laboratory analysis, the number of new cases is almost certainly due to winter weather conditions which have favoured the organism.

·         The Welsh Government’s Phytophthora Operational Response Team (PORT) will be reconvened in June to assess the latest observational and scientific evidence in order to recommend action to limit the further spread of this disease within Wales. The PORT will respond directly to the Wales Tree and Plant Health Steering Group.

·         NRW guidance is being developed for local staff to help them prioritise sites for restocking, with the dual aim of reducing restocking costs and maintaining input into future productive sites.

·         A biosecurity media awareness campaign “Keep it Clean” undertaken by NRW Plant Health team.

·         The Welsh Government, through the Rural Communities Rural Development Plan, provides funding via Glastir Woodland Restoration to support the restoration of larch woodland affected by Phytophthora ramorum.

3

Use the statutory and policy framework in Wales to deliver woodland creation to optimise the benefits provided by forestry, woodland and trees.

 

·         The Environment (Wales) Act 2016 provides the framework by which the wider contribution of forests, woodlands and trees can be recognised.

·         The Act puts in place a target to reduce emissions by at least 80% by 2050 and a series of interim targets and carbon budgets.  The Act also requires Welsh Ministers to put in place a Delivery Plan by March 2019 to meet our first carbon budget. Woodland creation will  not only provide opportunities to store carbon but also wider long term benefits.

·         There has been uneven progress towards the goal of creating more woodland in Wales. In the year to 31 March 2016 141 hectares of new woodland was created.  Indicative figures for the year to 31 March 2017 are over 390 hectares of new planting and over 1,400 hectares of restocking and natural regeneration.     New woodland planting and restocking continues to be supported via the Glastir Woodland schemes under the RCRDP.

·         NRW Glastir Woodlands team verify GWC scheme applications against the UK Forestry Standard, GWC rules and value for money criteria. In 2016, they verified134 GWC plans equating to 852.9ha of potential new planting..  There is guidance to support the Glastir Woodlands scheme on the NRW website.

·         Woodland creation is best facilitated through collaboration.  The Welsh Government launched the Co-operative Forest Planning Scheme with an initial allocation of £180,000 to encourage and facilitate co-operation for woodland creation and management. They have received 2 Expressions of Interest which are in the process of being assessed,  and they will be launching a second round of the scheme in the Autumn with a further £300,000 available. NRW is supporting Welsh Government with this scheme.

·         The “Carbon Positive” Project is evaluating NRW’s net carbon status, accounting for both greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration across the whole of NRW's owned or managed estate. It is identifying mitigation opportunities to reduce NRW’s carbon impact as an organisation and delivering projects to demonstrate these measures. Woodland and peatland habitats make up approximately 84% of the Welsh Government woodland estate, and make significant contributions to the estate’s carbon status. NRW is working with Forest Research and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology to better model their carbon stock and sequestration, which will help NRW to plan how best to manage them to protect existing carbon stocks and enhance sequestration e.g. by expanding woodland.

·         In SoNaRR (September 2016), “Increasing woodland cover, and bringing more of our existing woodlands into appropriate management” was identified by NRW as one of the seven key opportunities to deal with the challenges and risks identified, and contribute to the well-being goals. However, five of the seven opportunities in SoNaRR are relevant to wider land management decisions, and woodlands / trees play a part in delivery of these. Building on the SoNaRR 2016 report, NRW are working on improved spatial analysis to inform land use and land management policy development and decision-making including the identification of ‘opportunity spaces’ for new woodland creation to support Welsh Government policy delivery.

·         Engagement with forestry stakeholders has taken place to seek views on opportunities and challenges to forestry and woodland management resulting from EU Exit, including in relation to woodland creation.

·         Farming Connect has recruited a technical forestry officer to promote the support available through this mechanism to the forestry sector. Support includes individual and group advice, demonstration events, training and technical news bulletins.

4

Manage woodland planting and current and future harvesting programmes to ensure long-term continuity of timber production.

 

·         Following consultation with the sector, NRW published in January 2017  a Timber Marketing Plan for the period 2017-22 which explains their approach to the harvesting and marketing of timber from the Welsh Government woodland estate.  NRW has to produce this Plan to help to maintain their certification to the UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS) and to ensure that they deliver against the relevant policy objectives set out in Woodlands for Wales

·         NRW submitted a discussion paper on “Future timber availability - implications for the forest sector and woodland resource in Wales” for consideration by the Woodland Strategy Advisory Panel (WSAP) at their meeting on the 7th November 2016. This discussion paper addressed a range of issues including: forecasts of future wood fibre availability and demand in Wales; current management of the Welsh Government woodland estate (restocking levels, harvesting and marketing volumes, silvicultural management systems); current management of woodland in other ownership; and factors affecting woodland area (woodland creation, permanent woodland removal and competing land uses), from a policy, regulatory and management perspective. At the request of WSAP, NRW are now leading a Task and Finish Group looking at practical actions linked to future timber availability that will report to their Forest Sector Business Group.

·          In response to an inquiry by the National Assembly for Wales into the public forest estate in Wales in 2014, NRW, Welsh Government and sector representatives produced a ’10 Areas for Action’ plan in order to improve support for and communications with the private forestry sector.

·         The 10 Areas for Action was first published in December 2014 and then updated in Dec 2015. The 2016 update will be published on the NRW website shortly. NRW has been working with ConFor to review the document to ensure that successes are recognised and actions remain relevant and are up to date.

·         NRW published in March 2017 three Forest Resilience Good Practice Guides on structural diversity, tree species diversity and genetic diversity for use by all forest and woodland managers in Wales.  Training will be provided to NRW staff on how to implement the Guides in relation to management of the Welsh Government woodland estate.

·         Compensatory planting is a key objective of NRW’s Energy Delivery Programme (EDP) to protect the Welsh Government woodland estate in relation to woodland removal and energy developments. There is a ring-fenced fund that is currently £500,000 and will increase annually, to compensate for woodland loss that occurs on the Estate due to energy developments.

·         NRW recruited a Woodland Creation Advisor in March 2017with a remit to manage this fund, and deliver compensatory planting for this programme.

·         NRW responded to the joint public consultation by the UK and Devolved Governments on environmental impact assessment and transposition of Directive 2014/52/EU.  The consultation included the EIA regulations on forestry and NRW supported the proposals where they took a more enabling approach whilst safeguarding the environment and made a number of recommendations for process improvement in line with their Future Regulation programme. The Environmental Impact Assessment (Forestry) (England and Wales) (amendment) Regulations 2017 will come into force on 17 May. We are in the process of updating our website to reflect the changes.

·         NRW are developing a 10 year sustainable woodland management plan template for use by the forestry sector. This can be 80% funded through Farming Connect up to a maximum of 1500 Euros for eligible businesses. This will encourage longer term management planning in the private sector.

 

 

5

Deliver increased and safeguard existing tree cover in towns and cities and support sustainable urban tree management.

 

·         NRW’s study ‘Tree Cover in Towns and Cities’ presented the world’s first country-wide survey of urban tree canopy cover. In 2016 with Welsh Government funding, NRW updated the report using recent aerial photography to complete analysis of images from 2006, 2009 and 2013 for 220 urban areas.

·         The assessment mapped every tree and wood in all 220 urban areas in Wales. NRW are using this survey when working with others to feed important Green Infrastructure messages into plans, policies and strategies and to inform the development of well-being plans.

·         Wales’ mean urban tree canopy was estimated at 16.3% in 2013, which is mid-range when compared to other towns and cities around the world.  

·         Three iTree Eco Studies have been completed in Wales. iTree Eco is a tool for quantifying the functions of urban trees in relation to air quality improvement, carbon dioxide reduction and flood control. By assessing the values of each function the methodology provides robust basis for management of urban tree populations and the benefits they provide.

·         Evidence about tree cover in towns and cities and the benefits that trees can provide is a resource for Public Service Boards in taking forward their local well-being plans.

·         The iTree methodology provides a means of appraising appropriate nature-based solutions to air quality and flood issues. Welsh Government guidance to local authorities includes reference to iTree Eco as an example for inclusion in environmental revenue bids for 2017/18.  

·      Good urban tree management practice on the ground is critical to their sustainability and provision of multiple benefits. NRW have supported and contributed to leading technical good practice guidance for urban trees.  Produced by the Trees and Design Action Group, the 2 recent publications “Trees in the Townscape” and “Trees in Hard Landscapes” are becoming a benchmark having just won the Landscape Institute Award 2016 for Policy and Research.  They are currently in discussion regarding a further publication in this series “Trees in Development and Planning”.

·      NRW has provided support and advice to Cardiff City Council and Dwr Cymru on tree suitability for the innovative Greener Grangetown project which is retro fitting green infrastructure into Victorian streets to reduce rainfall entering local sewers.

 

6

Explore the issues associated with enabling and building the capacity of community groups and enterprises to be involved in woodland management in order to help them use woodlands to realise well-being goals.

·         Welsh Government directly funds Llais y Goedwig, a national network of community woodland groups. As a result two capacity building officers were appointed by Llais y Goedwig in 2016 to broker new agreements between community woodland groups and woodland owners. The officers provide advice and guidance to public and private woodland owners and to community groups in order to establish agreements for activities which can include woodland management, conservation, enhanced access and activities to improve physical and mental health. 

·         Llais y Goedwig have facilitated workshops with NRW on the benefits of enabling community woodland groups to activity manage suitable sites on the Welsh Government woodland estate, particularly sites which are not economically viable to manage intensively for timber but which provide a setting for community involvement and associated wellbeing and social cohesion benefits. 

·         The statistics for community woodland groups affiliated to Llais y Goedwig for 2016 show that there are 78 active woodland community groups involved with the management of approximately 1850 hectares of woodland.

·         NRW is currently reviewing the process and systems used to issue permissions for activities on the Welsh Government woodland estate. The NRW remit letter for 2017/18 describes an action to ‘identify opportunities to support community development and enterprise through volunteering and continuing support for the Lift programme and continue to support community energy projects and community forests on the Welsh Government Woodland Estate, where appropriate.’

·         NRW is undertaking a position statement review of all recreation and access activities on NRW managed land. The position statements are subject to internal and external consultation and the drafts of the first seven in the suite (there are approx. 60 in total) will go out for consultation after June 8th 2017. The external consultation is ‘closed’ in as much as NRW intends to target organisations representing user groups in Wales, such as those represented on the National Access Forum Wales. NRW’s Timber Marketing Plan (2017-22) provides more scope for communities to use timber.

7

Promote the uses and utilisation of Welsh timber, including as an essential material for sustainable construction central to the delivery of new housing.

 

·         In March 2016 Welsh Government (with Wood Knowledge Wales) organised a conference called ‘Wood Build Wales’ and this was well attended by representatives from across the timber and forestry sector. During summer 2017 Woodknowledge Wales have gone on to hold a further conference and workshops with representatives of timber and housing sectors to explore how to further promote the use of timber in construction. 

·         The Welsh Government’s £20 million Innovative Housing Fund to assist in delivering 1,000 of the 20,000 new affordable homes target during this Assembly term provides an opportunity for partners to collaborate and innovate in terms of materials and methods of construction, including the further use of timber in construction. Technical issues regarding quality of domestically grown timber for construction have been largely overcome and the increased use of timber will help to develop the domestic supply chain to meet demands of the construction sector for a sustainable supply of raw material. 

·         Welsh Government is looking at ways in which to promote innovation and added value across the timber supply chain

·         The NRW Timber Marketing Plan (2017-22) has a commitment to adopt a “carbon hierarchy” of use as a way of comparing the contribution of different wood products to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our marketing. This means that for roadside sales, they will continue to sell and grade out products to suit different markets and encourage the greatest degree of added value in the supply chain e.g. maximise the availability of timber for use in construction.

·         NRW has completed an innovations programme (supported by Welsh Government) with two Welsh companies to develop new products that enhance the longevity of wooden fence posts.

·         NRW are progressing an innovations programme (supported by Welsh Government) with a Welsh company to develop a biochar product which assists regeneration of native species to soils previously inhabited by rhododendron.  Results have been positive where traditional approaches have failed.

8

Develop models for woodland related enterprises and provide opportunities for employment, education and training across the forestry sector by developing sector relevant skills and providing work experience as pathways to employment.

 

·         The Timber Business Investment Scheme has been developed to support investment to bring woodland into management.  Round 1 of the Scheme, which was open for expressions of interest in May 2016, made available £2 million and it attracted 49 applications, 21 of which have progressed to the detailed assessment stage. 

·         Round 2 opened in February 2017 with a further budget of £2 million. This Round has now closed and a total of 46 expressions of interest have been received which are currently being assessed.

·         A further £4 million has been allocated to run further rounds of the Scheme.

·         We expect the demand for woodland products generated by this Scheme to lead to new woodland areas coming into management to provide the benefits set out in the Welsh Government’s strategy for woodlands and trees. 

·         ‘Cyfle’ has been established as NRW’s national scheme for the recruitment, co-ordination, support and management of work experience placements (including those on the Welsh Government “Lift” programme), volunteers, under- and post-graduate placements and apprenticeships.  It builds on legacy body schemes to offer a single, user-focussed, easy to access entry point for people interested in spending time working and learning alongside NRW staff in a range of settings – with progression opportunities where possible.

·         As part of the Cyfle Placement Scheme, NRW had 4 Trees and Timber apprentices. One has moved out of the organisation, two have been successful in securing permanent positions within NRW. These two and the remaining apprentice are progressing with their qualification.

 

9

Examine the adequacy of and scope to improve existing measures and procedures for the protection of valued trees, particularly ancient, veteran and heritage trees.

 

·         The framework now put in place by the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the Environment (Wales) Act 2016 provides the means to plan the use of Wales’s natural resources, including trees, in a more proactive, sustainable and joined-up way.  The new framework, through SoNaRR and the Natural Resources Policy will provide data and evidence to inform the management of valued trees and the protections afforded to them. 

·         A strategic analysis of Plantations on Ancient Woodlands (PAWS) threatened sites has being carried by NRW on the Welsh Government woodland estate and a revised prioritisation methodology has been developed which supports the findings of the Woodland Strategy Advisory Panel (WSAP) Task & Finish Group review of Wales’ PAWS restoration policy (see Action 10).

·         NRW continues to maintain the Ancient Woodland Inventory (AWI), assessing new evidence provided by owners and managers and reviewing the AWI as necessary in light of this evidence. This information is available publically on the Lle portal.

·         Between 2012 and 2019, the UK government will have invested a total of more than £37m into research on tree health and plant biosecurity.   This includes evidence on specific pests and diseases such as Ash Dieback, as well strategic, cross cutting research aimed at improving the resilience of our treescape and our ability to prevent, model, detect and control threats.  In 2014, the Forestry Commission also published its ‘Science and Innovation Strategy for Forestry in GB’, which sets the framework for forestry research over the next 4-5 years and is designed to deliver the policy and operational evidence needs of government and other stakeholders.

10

Continue to bring identified special sites, Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (“PAWS”), native woodlands and priority habitats into favourable management on Welsh Government woodland estate and encourage private landowners to do so.

 

·         A review of the Welsh Government PAWS restoration policy was undertaken by a Task and Finish Group of representatives from the Woodland Strategy Advisory Panel (WSAP) which advises Welsh Government on forestry policy.

·         The review found that while there was no need to change existing PAWS restoration policy, there was a need to be more flexible in the approach to restoration. This was needed to encourage PAWS restoration particularly in the private sector. While it was recognised that all PAWS require a level of restoration and protection, a flexible approach would help to focus limited resources on sites where restoration was more likely to be successful and benefits maximised.

·         WSAP endorsed the recommendations and this is now the Welsh Government’s approach to PAWS restoration.

·         A best practice guidance on PAWS restoration has been developed and has been incorporated into the scheme rules of the next round of Glastir Woodland Restoration (GWR) Additional support is being introduced as part of GWR for the production of a forest management plan for restoration of PAWS where there is larch and up to 50% non-larch. This is in recognition of the additional costs of ensuring the identification of the most appropriate management for each PAWS in line with the guidance.

·         The recommendations of the review  has been applied by NRW to PAWS on the Welsh Government woodland estate and will inform forthcoming grant support mechanisms.

·         Peatland habitat restoration - NRW are undertaking a programme of tree removal from afforested deep peatland sites where there is a clear ecosystem benefit and it is appropriate and viable to do so.

·         NRW monitor surveys are taking place to provide data on the condition of the ancient woodland resource on the Welsh Government woodland estate.

·         Thematic plans have been embedded by NRW into the Welsh Government woodland estate GIS system in order that it is within management programmes and accessible for future reporting.

11

Develop, promote and implement programmes to manage invasive non-native species which damage woodland habitats.

 

·         Additional funding has been provided for NRW to develop a Wales Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) Programme in 2017. The Programme will contribute to the delivery and commitments of the EU Invasive Alien Species Regulation 1143/2014 and the GB Non-Native Species Strategy as well as the Water Strategy for Wales, Woodlands for Wales Strategy, Nature Recovery Action Plan, the Environment (Wales) Act and Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the Marine Plan.

·         The Programme addresses issues related to invasive non-native species as recommended by the National Assembly Wales Environment Scrutiny Committee in 2013.

·      The Programme will ensure Wales is better protected and more resilient against the potential impact of INNS.

·      Welsh Government officials and NRW participate in the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat Board, and contributed to the update of the GB strategy in 2015.

Species specific action:

·      Both Muntjac deer and grey squirrel are on the list of Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern (IASoUC) which forms part of the EU regulation 1143/2014 on Invasive Alien Species (IAS).  This requires management measures to be put in place for IASoUC which Member States have found to be widely spread in their territory, so their impact on biodiversity, the related ecosystem services, and, where applicable, on human health or the economy are minimised. Work to review and update the draft species action plan for Muntjac is ongoing.

·      Management of the Welsh deer population is important to ensure that a balance is maintained between the positive and negative impacts that deer can have on the environment.

·      The Strategy for Wild Deer Management in Wales was published by the Welsh Government in February 2011.   Officials have been working with stakeholders to finalise an updated Action Plan for Wild Deer Management in Wales which is planned to be published by the end of July 2017. This will continue to include actions to raise awareness of, manage and monitor non-native deer populations.

·      Both Muntjac deer and grey squirrel are on the list of species of Union concern which forms part of the EU regulation 1143/2014 on Invasive Alien Species (IAS).  This requires that a species action plan is put in place to set out effective and proportionate management measures. Work to review and update the draft species action plan for Muntjac is ongoing.

·      A draft Grey Squirrel Management Action Plan has been co-produced by Welsh Government and NRW with input from a working group of stakeholders. It seeks to address the WG policy for the management of grey squirrels as set out in the Woodlands for Wales Forestry Strategy as well as meeting the requirements of EU Regulation No. 1143/2014 on the Prevention and Management of the Introduction and Spread of Invasive Alien Species. It supports the delivery of the Conservation Plan for Red Squirrels in Wales as drawn up by the Wales Squirrel Forum, which is being updated. It will also contribute to the aims of the UK Squirrel Accord, to which Welsh Government is a signatory and which focuses on the management of grey squirrel for the benefit of protecting red squirrels and woodland. The draft plan will be developed with further stakeholder input, before a full public consultation is undertaken in the Autumn.

·      NRW is supporting Welsh Government in developing the Management Action Plan for grey squirrels and they continue to work in partnership in all three red squirrel conservation areas to reduce the impact of grey squirrel on red squirrel. 

·      NRW has provided advice to the Welsh Government on the Code of Conduct for species control provisions of the Infrastructure Act.

·      NRW works in partnership with the Wales Squirrel Forum and they sit on the UK Squirrel Accord.

·      NRW participate in the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat board, and contributed to the update of the GB strategy in 2015.

·      NRW’s Board has approved a Position Statement on Conservation Translocations. It will be published in 2017.

 

12

Gather evidence to measure and evaluate the non-timber value of forestry, woodlands and trees in Wales.

 

·         An independent study initiated by the Forestry Commission on valuing the social and environmental benefits of forestry was completed during 2016. Overseen by a steering group including representation of the Welsh Government, the report highlights social and environmental outputs of woodlands as having a much broader role in the economy than is often recognised. While much valuable work has been done to develop the evidence base, further research is needed in certain areas (flood alleviation, water quality, physical and mental health) to better understand the social and economic values woodlands play in these areas.  The full report is available here:  https://www.forestry.gov.uk/PDF/FCRP027.pdf/$FILE/FCRP027.pdf

·         Welsh Government has collaborated with Forest Research and the Office of National Statistics to explore approaches to improving the evidence base for the economic role of woodlands in Wales including in relation to recreation, air quality improvement and timber supply. The resulting report illustrates the importance of non-timber outputs from woodlands with substantial valuations for values provided by trees in Wales in relation to air quality improvement (£285 million), recreation (£84 million) and carbon sequestration (£108 million) annually. Comparison to the annual value of timber extraction in Wales (£28 million) illustrates the wider public importance of trees and woodlands, beyond timber.

·         NRW has produced two case studies (Coed Newydd and Llynfi) which explain how woodland contributes to the objectives of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 goals and how the ecosystem services generated may be assessed using natural capital valuation techniques. NRW is working with the Welsh Government on a natural benefit accounting framework based on those studies which will help demonstrate the flow of well-being benefits alongside the economic value of wood fibre from the Welsh Government woodland estate, with the aim of including this in their 2017/18 annual report and accounts.  This work will also contribute to the review of the “Role and Purpose” of the Welsh Government woodland estate, as per NRW’s remit letter for 2017/18.

·        Work is ongoing on a review of recreational shooting on the Welsh Government woodland estate. A Call for Evidence was launched on 6 February 2017, and closed on 30 April 2017.  NRW will consider the evidence to develop proposals for the use of firearms on land it manages, and then consult further on draft proposals, before making a final decision.

13

Promote and enhance access to forestry and woodlands for more people to participate in and benefit from outdoor recreation experiences more often.  Target resources in areas where the health, well-being and economic benefits will have the greatest impact.

 

·         The Welsh Government’s Natural Resource Policy will take into account the range of ecosystem services of forests, woodlands and trees.

·         NRW-managed woodlands contain 790km of world class mountain bike trails, 955km of our waymarked permissive paths and 3,702km of forest roads which are well used for walking, cycling, horse riding and running. NRW continue to maintain these to provide a high quality visitor experience, and duty of care to the public.

·         There is extensive access provision for horse riders across the NRW managed estate. The latest figures from NRW suggest that horse riders have access to over 3700km of forest roads and over 1000km of bridleway across the estate. NRW have mapped 415km of trails for horse riders via bridleway and forest roads, with provision of soft trails for example in the Crychan and Dyfnant forests developed for equestrian use.

·         During 2016 NRW undertook an internal Business Area Review of recreation and access. The purpose was to provide a rationalised recreation offer for the NRW estate that is focussed on delivering the Recreation and Access Enabling Plan and develop opportunities to maximise commercial income in line with NRW’s purpose to further the sustainable management of natural resources.

·         Welsh Government core funding support for Llais y Goedwig has targeted action for communities to access woodlands in innovative ways and to be involved where appropriate in management activities and decisions.

·         The Welsh Labour Party Manifesto made a commitment to continue with the Plant! A Tree for Every Child Project. A new phase of delivery (2016-2020) is being taken forward by NRW in partnership with Coed Cadw (the Woodland Trust in Wales).  Current planting stands at just over 300,000 native broadleaved trees (143 hectares). An official celebration of the 300,000th tree will be held in September which will kick start a sequence of events throughout 2018 celebrating 10 years of the project.

·         Following their Recreation and Education Business Area Review (BAR), NRW has changed its approach to education and skills but will continue to offer advice and guidance, training for education professionals and resources to enable others to use NRW-managed woodlands.

·         NRW has developed (with stakeholders) a “Trail Users Code” as part of the Countryside Code series. This is currently in publication. NRW continues to implement the recommendations of their Visitor Centre Review.

·         NRW will be updating and realigning their Enabling Plan over the next year to ensure and strengthen the contribution the Well-being goals and objectives

·         NRW contributed to the Wales Year of Adventure through their web and social media outlets.  They will do the same this year for the Year of Legends.

·         NRW hosted the Welsh Rally in October 2016.

·         NRW are improving the user experience of their website including the “Out and About” sections which relate to recreation and access opportunities.

14

Participate in the Forestry Governance Project to shape the future delivery of GB cross-border forestry functions ensuring that the needs of Wales, and of the other GB administrations, are accommodated.

 

·         The Scottish Government is considering the future role of the Forestry Commission in Scotland, with the corollary that cross- border functions are under review.

·         The Welsh Government is a member of the Forestry Governance Project Board together with the Scottish Government and Defra to ensure that the needs of Wales are accommodated in future arrangements for the delivery of cross-border functions.

·          NRW provides ongoing support to Welsh Government in relation to the Forestry Governance Project they and maintain their membership of cross-border groups such as the Strategic Publications Group, IFOS Steering Group, Forest Management Officers liaison meeting,  Hylobius working group, Science and  Innovation Strategy for forestry programme groups.

·          NRW has worked with the Welsh Government to identify future requirements and options for Wales for cross-border functions currently delivered by the Forestry Commissioners, and exit strategy arrangements from Forestry Commission services.  This has included consideration of issues relating to legislation, plant health, the UK Forestry Standard, science and research commissioning, forestry statistics, the UK Woodland Carbon Code, international matters, and strategic publications.