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Welsh Legislation Update

13 May 2015

The Environment Bill, third in a series of new Welsh Legislation has been laid before the National Assembly for Wales.

The Minister for Natural Resources introduced the Environment Bill to the National Assembly for Wales on 11 May, the other significant pieces of new legislation include the Well-Being of Future Generations Act 2015 and the Planning (Wales) Bill. 

The Welsh Government states the aim for the Environment Bill is to ‘put in place legislation that will enable Wales’ resources to be managed in a more proactive, sustainable and joined-up manner and to establish the legislative framework necessary to tackle climate change’.

A series of factsheets explaining the changes that the Bill will make can be found on the Welsh Government’s website, and will be updated as the Bill progresses.

The National Assembly for Wales will now begin the process of scrutinising and debating the Bill. The progress of the Bill through the National Assembly for Wales can be followed here:

The Bill has gained media coverage due to proposals for separation of waste for recycling which will apply to schools, hospital and businesses in Wales. The Bill if passed will become law next year (2016).


The Wellbeing of Future Generations Act became law in Wales on 29 April 2015.

This Act strengthens existing governance arrangements for improving the wellbeing of Wales to ensure that present needs are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

The Act:

  • identifies goals to improve the wellbeing of Wales
  • introduces national indicators, that will measure the difference being made to the well-being of Wales
  • establishes a Future Generations Commissioner for Wales to act as an advocate for future generations
  • puts local service boards and well-being plans on a statutory basis and simplifies requirements for integrated community planning.

Public Bodies included in the Act:

  • Welsh Ministersocal Authorities
  • Local Health Boards
  • Public Health Wales NHS trust
  • Velindre NHS Trust
  • National Park Authorities
  • Fire and Rescue Authorities
  • Natural Resources Wales
  • The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales
  • The Arts Council for Wales
  • Sports Council for Wales
  • National Library of Wales
  • National Museum of Wales

In preparation for the Act, the Commissioner for Sustainable Futures has been holding a series of consultation events to gather views to input into the development of Statutory Guidance to help support public sector bodies to embed their sustainable development duty.

More detail on the Consultation can be found here:

More information about the Act can be found here:


The Planning (Wales) Bill was laid on 6 October 2014 and introduced in Plenary by the Minister for Natural Resources, Carl Sargeant AM, on 7 October 2014.

The overall aim of the Bill is to create a more consistent planning system that enables development and enhances built and natural environments.

The Welsh Government has set out five key objectives for the Bill:

  • a modernised framework for the delivery of planning services – the Bill will allow planning applications to be made directly to Welsh Ministers in limited circumstances
  • strengthening the plan led approach – the Bill will introduce a legal basis for the preparation of a National Development Framework and Strategic Development Plans
  • improved resilience – the Bill will allow the Welsh Ministers to direct local planning authorities to work together and for local planning authorities to be merged
  • frontloading and improving the development management system – the Bill will introduce a statutory pre application procedure for defined categories of planning application
  • enabling effective enforcement and appeals – the Bill will make changes to enforcement procedures to secure prompt, meaningful action against breaches of planning control and increase the transparency and efficiency of the appeal system

More information on the Planning Bill and link between the different legislation can be found here: