Environment (Wales) Act 2016 Part 1 – Section 6 – The Biodiversity and Resilience of Ecosystems Duty – Overview
Section 6 under Part 1 of the Environment (Wales) Act 2016 introduced an enhanced biodiversity and resilience of ecosystems duty (the S6 duty) for pubic authorities in the exercise of functions in relation to Wales.
The S6 duty requires that public authorities must seek to maintain and enhance biodiversity so far as consistent with the proper exercise of their functions and in so doing promote the resilience of ecosystems.
To comply with the S6 duty, public authorities should embed the consideration of biodiversity and ecosystems into their early thinking and business planning, including any policies, plans, programmes and projects as well as their day to day activities.
To comply with the S6 duty, most public authorities must prepare and publish a plan setting out what they propose to do to maintain and enhance biodiversity and promote resilience.
This plan can and should be an integral part of any planning document as part of the public authority’s business or corporate planning processes. A standalone plan is not necessarily required.
A public authority, in complying with the S6 duty, must have regard to:
- The section 7 list of habitats and species of principal importance for Wales;
- The State of Natural Resources Report (SoNaRR), published by Natural Resources Wales (NRW);
- Any Area Statement which covers all or part of the area in which the authority exercises its functions, once these are produced.
A report on what the public authority has done to comply with the duty must be published by the end of 2019 and then every three years after this date. The council’s report can be accessed here.
Complying with the S6 duty will help public bodies subject to the Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 (the WFG Act) to maximise their contributions to the Well-being goals.
A leaflet with guidance for Town and Community Councils in managing green spaces can be viewed here.