Funding concerns over Natural Resources Wales

Flooding in Ceredigion caravan park Image copyright PA
Image caption NRW is responsible for landscape, resources and wildlife and deals with issues like flooding

Concerns are being raised that the service which manages the natural resources of Wales faces finance uncertainties.

BBC Wales understands Natural Resources Wales (NRW), which is responsible for landscape, resources and wildlife, is operating under a financial deficit.

Plaid Cymru said NRW faces a £7m cut next year, double what was expected.

Natural Resources Minister Carl Sargeant is to address the assembly's environment committee on Thursday.

NRW, which deals with issues like regulating power stations and conservation, was formed last year to be the one-stop shop for the environment and its main task last winter was dealing with storms and floods.

It also advises the Welsh government on the environment and managing forests on an annual budget of £180m.

Plaid Cymru environment spokesman Llyr Gruffydd AM said a "perfect storm is now raging because we are seeing Natural Resources Wales running up a deficit of millions of pounds" which was set against further cuts expected in next year's Welsh government draft budget.

Those concerns have been echoed by Welsh Liberal Democrats in the Welsh assembly and North Wales Conservative AM Antoinette Sandbach.

She said: "Every service that NRW operates is now at risk of being squeezed."

NRW said it could not comment until its budget had been ratified.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "There is no shying away from the fact that, following another reduced budget settlement from the UK government, tough funding decisions have had to be made.

"This has led to a £3.2m reduction in the non flood draft budget allocation from Welsh government to Natural Resources Wales, not the £7m reported.

"Key priority areas for our natural resources, such as flood and coastal management, fuel poverty and energy efficiency programmes have been largely protected."

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