Several environmental groups across Wales are set to lose funding following an announcement that the Welsh Labour Government are withdrawing grants previously available through Environment Wales, a voluntary sector partnership.
The Environment Wales grant scheme has been supporting locally based environmental action in Wales since 1992. Groups across Wales as diverse as RAY Ceredigion, Llangattock Community Woodlands and the Red Squirrel Project on Ynys Mon stand to see their funding slashed. In April of this year, funds were awarded by the Welsh Government but which only cover activities up until September 2015.
Speaking in the Chamber this afternoon, William Powel AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for the Environment & Sustainable Development, said:
“Statistics from Environment Wales show that in the 2013 & 2014, 42% of grant recipients contributed to actions on climate change, 64% delivered biodiversity benefits, 30% of grant support contributed to environmental enterprise and 12 recycling and reuse initiatives were supported. Overall, the scheme was said to have delivered a 365% return on grant investment.
“Not only do these statistics show that this withdrawal of funding is unjustifiable, it also unleashes enormous discord with the very organisations with whom the Welsh Government should be intensifying its cooperation, in order to ensure the successful development and implementation of the Environment Bill.
“It’s vital that the Minister for Natural Resources works closely with the core partners within Environment Wales in order to try and mitigate at least some of the damaging impact that these funding cuts will have.”