Section 6 – Biodiversity and resilience of ecosystems duty

Section 6 under Part 1 of the Environment (Wales) Act 2016 introduced an enhanced biodiversity and resilience of ecosystems duty (the S6 duty) for public 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, published by NRW
  • Any Area Statement which covers all or part of the area in which the authority exercises its functions, once these are produced.

The Nature Recovery Action Plan for Wales contains six objectives which should be used to help develop and guide actions to comply with the S6 duty, and further technical guidance will be 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.

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.

The current guidance for the Section 6 duty can be accessed here

Public authorities are currently drawing up S6 plans and completed plans will be published here. Completed S6 plans are shown below.

Local Authorities

Statutory Bodies

Natural Resources Wales

Examples of good practice available to organisations to use and adapt in discharging the S6 duty. Further examples will be added as this section develops.

Guidelines for S6 reporting are under development. Public authorities are required to publish by the end of 2019 what measures they have taken to comply with the duty and then every three years after this date.

Species in Wales

Amphibians & Reptiles

Birds

Lichens

Terrestrial Mammals

Bryophytes

Invertebrates

Helping Wildlife

Wildlife Gardening