Filling in the Detail – Area Statements

A previous project we reported on was SoNaRR and the work which led to a ground-breaking report that set out the state of Wales’ natural resources. SoNaRR assesses the extent to which natural resources in Wales are being sustainably managed and recommends a proactive approach to building resilience. Based on the evidence in SoNaRR, Welsh Ministers set out their priorities for policy and since 2017 Environment Systems has been working on the next stage, developing the evidence for Area Statements to put these policies into action…or filling in the detail.

Timber Biomass Opportunities
The map above shows the areas of opportunity for planting timber for biomass.

In this work Wales is split into six areas with five different policy themes for each area –
Woodland Planting, Natural Flood Management (NFM), Enhancing Ecological Resilience, Urban and Peri-Urban Green Infrastructure, Coastal and Inland Water Quality.

Our work brings together data form a wide variety of data sets and delivers detailed maps, technical insight plus a user guide to enable planners and other professionals to make well-informed choices and deliver true sustainable management of natural resources.

The ‘opportunity maps” we are delivering can be used as evidence to support land management decisions in conjunction with other sources of evidence. For example the maps that have been produced for different policy themes can be considered together, to highlight localities where there are both conflicting and complementary policy goals.

Woodland Planting is a good example. The Welsh Government has set a target to increase woodland cover by 100,000 ha by 2030. Whilst more woodland planting is not always popular with the public there are many places where there is a double benefit for example in river catchments where planting can be introduced as part of natural flood management by increasing the water storage capacity of the soil and slowing the flow of water downstream.