Environmental charities ‘bewildered’ by cutbacks in Wales

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Wildlife in addition to countryside charities have been left “bewildered in addition to angry” by a 15% cut to environment funding by the Welsh Government.

Eight leading organisations have criticised the plans, set out inside the draft budget for 2018-19.

They claimed an “apparent gap” was developing between ministers’ pledges on environmental issues in addition to actions.

The Welsh Government said the reduction reflected a transfer of funding to local government.

Environment in addition to rural affairs is actually the smallest of the Welsh Government’s seven departments in terms of the funding the idea receives, nevertheless its responsibilities are vast in addition to varied.

They include administrating support payments for farmers, funding schemes to protect animal health through diseases like bovine TB in addition to strategies to promote Welsh food in addition to drink.

Conservation in addition to management of Wales’ environment in addition to seas, preventing flooding in addition to measures to encourage clean energy schemes in addition to combat climate change are all part of its remit too.

Last week’s draft budget allocated £243m to the department – a real terms cut of £43m or 15.27% compared to the previous year.

About £35m of that will is actually because the money has been transferred through a central Welsh Government pot directly to councils as part of their block grants.

One analyst said although the funding was still there, the idea right now had to compete with all the various other priorities of local government.

However, the Welsh Government insisted most of the money might be used for delivering recycling targets in addition to there was less risk the idea will be diverted elsewhere.

Rebecca Williams, director of CLA Cymru, which represents landowners, said the cut represented the largest percentage squeeze faced by any government department.

“The headline figure of a 15% reduction is actually concerning, particularly as This specific is actually a critical year for the rural economy. the idea definitely does raise questions about Welsh ministers’ priorities in addition to the idea doesn’t send a very not bad message to rural Wales.”

Farming union NFU Cymru said the idea was worried the department’s ability to deal with Brexit might be “weakened”.

The RSPB said the idea was “completely bewildered in addition to angry”, Plantlife Cymru said the idea was “extremely disappointed”, while the Angling Trust branded the announcement “terrible news”.

Others, such as the Woodland Trust in addition to the Marine Conservation Society, questioned whether the Welsh Government might have sufficient resources to deliver its own legislation such as much-hailed Environment in addition to Wellbeing of Future Generations Acts.

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Media captionRebecca Williams, director of CLA Cymru, said there were questions which needed answering

“There is actually an apparent gap between Welsh Government pledges on the environment in addition to the reality of what’s happening,” Anne Meikle, head of WWF Cymru said.

nevertheless Guto Ifan of Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre said: “The Welsh Government doesn’t have much wiggle room.

“To a large degree the idea can’t control how much the idea has to spend as that will the idea laid down by the UK government inside the form of a block grant for the next two years.

“We know there are increasing pressures on health in addition to social services, in addition to that will means that will if you protect those areas to meet those demands then the cuts do fall on various other parts of the budget like the environment in addition to economic development.”

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “The reductions to the environment in addition to rural affairs budget reflects the transfer of the £35m through the environment single revenue grant into the local government revenue support grant.

“Taking This specific into account, the reduction to the environment in addition to rural affairs revenue budget in 2018-19 is actually 1.55%.”

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