Sicrhau Dyfodol i’r Tirweddau – ymatebwch erbyn 30 Medi

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Mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn ymgynghori NAWR – gweithredwch yn gyflym i sicrhau fod ein Parciau Cenedlaethol a’n AoHNE yn cadw’r dulliau amddiffyn mae eu hangen arnynt.

Mae gan Lywodraeth Cymru ymgynghoriad byw ynghylch ‘Bwrw ymlaen â rheoli adnoddau naturiol Cymru yn gynaliadwy’*.  Mae’r ymgynghoriad yn cwmpasu materion amgylcheddol amrywiol.   Mae rhai o’r cynigion yn fanwl ac eraill yn eang a chyffredinol.   Mae llawer o’r cynigion yn gadarnhaol.

Mae Pennod 3 yn canolbwyntio ar dirweddau dynodedig – Parciau Cenedlaethol ac Ardaloedd o Harddwch Naturiol Eithriadol.   Mae gan Gymru dri Pharc Cenedlaethol godidog – Eryri, Bannau Brycheiniog, ac Arfordir Sir Benfro – a phum AoHNE gwych – Dyffryn Gŵyr, Pen Llŷn, Ynys Môn, Bryniau Clwyd a Dyffryn Dyfrdwy.   Rydym ni’n gwybod fod y tirweddau hyn yn hollol unigryw ac anhepgor.   Nid yw sicrhau eu bod felly yn digwydd trwy gyfrwng hud a lledrith.   Mae’n deillio o ddegawdau o waith, yn defnyddio’r dulliau sydd ar gael i fynd ati i ofalu amdanynt a’u gwarchod.   Rhaid i’r gwaith hwnnw barhau, beth bynnag fo’r tueddiadau polisi diweddaraf.

Y broblem â’r cynigion yn yr adran hon yw’r ffaith eu bod wedi’i dylanwadu gan adroddiad ‘Tirweddau Dyfodol Cymru’.   Mae’r adroddiad hwn yn destun pryder difrifol ymhlith yr ystod lawn o sefydliadau sy’n amddiffyn y dirwedd a natur.   Disgrifir rhai o’r pryderon hyn yma:  Papur safbwynt y Gynghrair ynghylch adroddiad Tirweddau’r Dyfodol TERFYNOL

Codwch lais i amddiffyn Parciau Cenedlaethol – erbyn 30 Medi

Mae’n hanfodol fod Llywodraeth Cymru yn cael ymateb clir i adran Tirweddau Dynodedig yr ymgynghoriad hwn*.    Yn ôl yr Undeb Rhyngwladol dros Gadwraeth Natur, pe câi adroddiad Tirweddau’r Dyfodol ei weithredu, byddai’n bygwth statws rhyngwladol Parciau Cenedlaethol Cymru.

Bydd Llywodraeth Cymru yn fwy tebygol o wrando os bydd pobl fel chi yn codi llais i gynrychioli’r lluoedd – pobl, busnesau a sefydliadau – sy’n gweld gwerth yn ein tirweddau dynodedig ac yn dibynnu arnynt.  Mae angen i Lywodraeth Cymru fod yn glir – mai rhagofal pennaf alwampio doeth yw cadw’r holl rannau sy’n gweithio.   Yn achos Parciau Cenedlaethol, mae hynny’n golygu cadw’r holl ddulliau o’u gwarchod sydd wedi profi eu gwerth.  Mae’r dulliau hynny yn cynnwys yr Egwyddor Sandford hollbwysig Atodiad 2 sylwebaeth ynghylch Egwyddor Sandford

Rydym yn cymeradwyo uchelgais Llywodraeth Cymru i arwain y byd ym maes deddfwriaeth amgylcheddol, ond yn achos tirweddau dynodedig, mae angen ailystyried pethau.   Mae angen i gynigion ar gyfer newid fod yn seiliedig ar dystiolaeth a rhesymu – mae’r ddau yn brin yn adroddiad Tirweddau’r Dyfodol.    Fel arall, bydd perygl o gondemnio ein tirweddau dynodedig i ddyfodol ansicr, sy’n anghyson â gweddill y byd.

*Efallai byddwch chi hefyd yn dymuno ymateb i adrannau eraill yr ymgynghoriad e.e. Mynediad (Pennod 4); rydym ni’n argymell holi Ramblers Cymru neu Gyngor Mynydd Prydain am wybodaeth ynghylch yr adran honno.

Sut i ddweud eich dweud:

  • Lawrlwythwch y templed hwn**

Ymateb i’r ymgynghoriad  ynghylch Tirweddau Dynodedig, Pennod 3

  • Nodwch eich enw a’ch cyfeiriad e-bost.
  • Anfonnwch hynny at naturalresourcemanagement@wales.gsi.gov.uk
  • Nodwch yn llinell testun yr e-bost Ymateb i ymgynghoriad ‘Bwrw ymlaen â rheoli adnoddau naturiol Cymru yn gynaliadwy’

Os yw’n well gennych chi, gallwch ei bostio at:  Tîm Rheoli Adnoddau Naturiol, Llywodraeth Cymru, Parc Cathays, Pillar J08, East Core, CF10 3NQ

**Mae’r templed hwn yn seiliedig ar waith gan Gynghrair Cymru dros Dirweddau Dynodedig, sy’n dod â sefydliadau sy’n weithgar ym mae Tirweddau Dynodedig yng Nghymru ynghyd.

Nid oes gennym ni lawer o amser; gweithredwch erbyn 30 Medi os gwelwch yn dda

 

 I weld y cefndir ynghylch pryderon am broses Tirweddau’r Dyfodol a’r adroddiad, trowch hefyd at:

Fel arall gallwch ddefnyddio’r pwyntiau canlynol i lunio eich ymateb eich hun i Bennod 3 o’r ymgynghoriad ‘Bwrw Ymlaen â Rheoli Adnoddau Naturiol Cymru yn Gynaliadwy’: 

[cyfieithiad i ddilyn]

Proposal 6 & Question 11 

Aligning the statutory purposes of designated landscapes solely with the sustainable management of natural resources (SMNR) is not the right way forward. Instead of a blanket alignment, a more rigorous analysis should be undertaken to inform where alignment would be helpful, and whether there would be any unhelpful or unintended consequences.

In 2014 the Minister for Natural Resources commissioned an independent panel to conduct a review of designated landscapes in Wales chaired by Professor Terry Marsden of Cardiff University with John Lloyd Jones and Dr Ruth Williams as members.  Professor Marsden’s report, published in October 2015, made 69 recommendations on purposes, principles, vision, governance models, planning and funding. These were the product of wide consultation, systematic evaluation and structured, logical reporting and were widely supported. The Marsden report offers a clear way forward on how the sustainable management of natural resources can be taken forward in designated landscapes.  Welsh Government should adopt this approach as a strong basis on which to move forward to deliver the sustainable management of natural resources across 25% of the land area of Wales.

The principles of SMNR as set out in section 4 of the Environment (Wales) Act[1] are general principles for management. They are not purposes of designation and nor could they be comfortably aligned as such. It is difficult to understand exactly what Welsh Government envisages by the proposed alignment, as the proposals in the ‘Future Landscapes Wales’ report are so vague, but the risks of moving away from a coherent framework to something so undefined are potentially very serious.

In designated landscapes the sustainable management of natural resources can and should be based on interlocking purposes as recommended by the Marsden report, along with a clear protective conservation principle and a strengthened duty on public authorities.

The UK Assessment Panel of the World Commission on Protected Areas consists of a number of leading UK experts in protected areas. It was set up in 2012 in order to determine which areas in the UK met the IUCN’s international standards for a protected area.  Significantly, the Panel has concluded that, if acted upon, the recommendations in the Future Landscapes Wales report “would make it impossible for the panel to continue to accord international recognition” to Wales’s National Parks and AONBs as protected areas. Such an outcome would undermine the statutory Wellbeing goal of a ‘globally responsible Wales’.

The most startling omission from the Future Landscapes Wales report is an ultimate safeguard for natural beauty and biodiversity, with a resultant risk that they may be diluted or eroded.  The Sandford Principle is a fundamental pillar of National Parks and provides legislative priority for the first National Park purpose in cases of irreconcilable conflict with the second purpose. It was endorsed by Welsh Government as recently as 2013 and was a significant factor in the IUCN’s decision to continue to recognise National Parks and AONBs as Category V protected areas.

The Marsden report recommended that the Sandford Principle should be applied across all designated landscapes and that any changes to purposes should uphold the Sandford Principle, giving priority to the first (conservation) purpose if there were irreconcilable conflicts. This priority, alongside the interlocking purposes, was called the ‘Sandford Plus’ approach.

No rationale has been given in the Future Landscapes Wales report as to why there is felt to be no place for a Sandford-style conservation principle in a set of principles for natural resource management.

 

Proposal 7 & Question 12

It is virtually impossible to understand what is meant by Proposal 7 and what form Welsh Government envisages the “clear formal relationship” between the special qualities and partnerships, powers and policies would take.  There is no basis for the suggestion on page 31 of the consultation document that a ‘contemporary interpretation’ of the special qualities is not explicit or widely understood. The qualities listed such as biodiversity and cultural heritage are already reflected in the statutory purposes and in many policy documents.

Welsh Government has recently taken welcome action to strengthen the duty on public authorities with respect to biodiversity. Welsh Government should now significantly strengthen the current duty to ‘have regard’ to the purposes of designated landscapes. A strengthened duty would strengthen the partnership approach which underpins the sustainable management of natural resources.

The Future Landscapes report confuses ‘special qualities’ with ‘natural resources’; in practice the two are very different.  Special qualities are characteristics which reflect or are unique to a designated landscape, for example the sweeping grandeur of the Brecon Beacons, the sandy, unspoilt beaches of the Gower and the wildlife-rich oakwoods of Meirionnydd in Snowdonia. Special qualities require special, targeted measures for their management and are in many cases the reasons why people visit these special landscapes.  Natural resources, as defined in the Environment (Wales) Act 2016 are more generic and include animals, plants, air, water, soil and minerals. The sustainable management of natural resources requires an approach framed by a set of general principles.

Conflating special qualities with natural resources would be a backwards step and must be avoided. It risks diluting the special management approaches needed to sustain the special qualities of designated landscapes.

One of the most effective ways to give greater weight to special qualities in decision making would be to issue a renewed commitment to the role of National Park Authorities as planning authorities. NPAs set the policy framework through a Local Development Plan and determine all planning applications.  The most recent independent evaluation of NPA planning services[2] found that the planning system works well in National Parks, with many examples of good practice and good performance in relation to national indicators for planning service delivery. The Marsden report found the case for removing planning powers from the NPAs unpersuasive and largely based upon perception and dated examples that did not reflect contemporary experience. These points are not acknowledged in the Future Landscapes Wales report or the consultation document.  Sustainable management of these special areas requires that NPAs have responsibility for both planning and management responsibilities.

 

Proposal 8 & Question 13 

Whilst the good governance principles listed on page 32 of the consultation document are worth supporting, there is no convincing case for the introduction of a wider range of local delivery models for designated landscapes.  After careful consideration, the Marsden concluded that “the overwhelming body of evidence cautions against tearing down the current structures”.

Future Landscapes Wales governance proposals are poorly written and fail to provide clear and unambiguous recommendations. The use of abstruse language means that much of the report is open to multiple interpretations, making it difficult to move forward with certainty.

There is no traceability to many of the recommendations of the Marsden report, despite the working group being explicitly tasked with considering these. The Marsden recommendations were the product of wide consultation, systematic evaluation and structured, logical reporting. They offer a clear way forward on the governance of designated landscapes.

In contrast, the Future Landscapes Wales report lacks clarity on governance, calling instead for the current models of governance within a designated landscape ‘to evolve, informed by core principles, to reflect changing needs and opportunities’ and include ‘a wide range of delivery and partnership models, encompassing shared or delegated responsibilities, linked to a common vision.’ It is difficult to comment usefully on such vague wording.

These proposals introduce an unhelpful degree of uncertainty as it potentially re-opens debate on issues which have been considered and dismissed by subsequent independent reviews of governance models.

There is cause to welcome the proposal in the consultation document to focus efforts on ensuring National Park Authorities are providing effective leadership rather than increasing the cost and complexity of administration through direct elections. However, this appears to contradict with proposal 8 that governance arrangements need to evolve. The Future Landscapes Wales report on one hand seems to accept the conclusion of all other recent reviews, including the Marsden report, that the governance of designated landscapes is operating effectively, whilst at the same time appearing to suggest that it is not content with governance arrangements, but without providing any evidence on this.

Welsh Government should use this consultation as an opportunity to draw a line under the years of speculation which National Parks in particular have faced on their future powers and governance, allowing them to move forward with renewed certainty.

A welcome proposal is that to remove National Park Authorities from the improvement regime of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009.  All public bodies must be transparent and accountable.  However, the current reporting burden on NPAs is disproportionate in terms of their size, staff complement and financial budgets.  A single unified reporting process based on the National Park Management Plan would be clear and cost-effective and would have the added benefit of not needing legislation to proceed.

 

Proposal 9 & Question 14

Recognition of other areas of Wales for their special qualities or the sustainable management of natural resources must complement the existing National Parks and AONBs and must not duplicate, undermine or divert resources away from them.

Welsh Government’s commitment to explore ways in which new areas might be recognised for their special qualities and their sustainable management has some merit.  However a number of issues would need to be addressed to take this proposal forward, demanding that Welsh Government revisits what it is seeking to achieve through this proposal. New legislation at this stage would be both unnecessary and premature.

Clarity is needed on how existing and proposed designations would relate to each other. New designations could prove a distraction from the challenge of delivering sustainable management of natural resources across the whole of Wales.  Care also needs to be taken to avoid confusing terminology – for example, the term ‘designation’ has statutory implications, whereas elsewhere in the consultation it seems that Welsh Government is seeking flexible local approaches that may not require a statutory basis.

 

 

 

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