"Not all is well": Calls from local authorities to review Natural Resources Wales
The leaders of Wales' 22 local authorities have called on the Welsh Government to review the powers and remit of the public body responsible for looking after Wales's environment - Natural Resources Wales (NRW).
ITV Cymru Wales' Sharp End has seen a letter the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) sent to the Climate Change Minister Julie James last month.
It described how some council leaders suggest "not all is well" in dealing with NRW, saying they find the public body to be "a barrier or unable to assist."
The letter signed by the leader of the WLGA Andrew Morgan on behalf of all local authority leaders calls on the Welsh Government to look at the functions undertaken by NRW, how well they are being performed and whether there might be an alternative including changes in legislation.
NRW said it is proud to serve the people of Wales and to do all they can to protect and preserve the natural environment for future generations.
A NRW spokesperson said: "We are committed to using the resources, knowledge and skills at our disposal in the most effective and transparent way.
"We are already undertaking our own baseline exercise on behalf of the Welsh Government to ensure there is a wider understanding of how we manage, resource and deliver the services within our remit and to ensure that this is completely aligned with the wider expectations of the level of service we are able to provide.”
When asked to respond to the letter a spokesperson for the Welsh Government told ITV Cymru Wales a review into flood risk management responsibilities is taking place.
They said: “The National Flood Strategy published last autumn includes a commitment to review flood risk management responsibilities and functions and Wales’ independent Flood and Coastal Erosion Committee is now taking this work forward.
“Once the Committee’s findings are available, we will bring forward whatever proposals are necessary to improve delivery and enhance the level of flood protection our communities deserve.”
But Natural Resources Wales' remit is much bigger than flood defences. It is largest Welsh Government Sponsored Body, employing 1,900 staff across Wales with a budget of £180 million.
It was formed in 2013 by combining three previous stand alone bodies - Countryside Council for Wales, Forestry Commission Wales and the Environment Agency in Wales.
The letter comes after a report last week by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council found flooding at Pentre in the Rhondda last year was caused by woody debris washing off the mountain side and blocking a local culvert. NRW had been felling trees in the area but deny their harvesting operations caused the floods.
Today the local Senedd Member of the Rhondda Buffy Williams said there was a "very big possibility" the issue could end up in legal action.
You can watch the full interview on Sharp End tonight at 10.45pm on ITV Cymru Wales.