AMs baffled by Natural Resources Wales timber deal

(Title Image: Natural Resources Wales)

The Senedd’s Public Accounts Committee examination of Natural Resources Wales (NRW) accounts for 2017-18 concluded that some of the decisions made regarding a timber deal were “inexplicable” (pdf).

NRW entered into a 10-year £39million contract with a single company (BSW Timber) without putting the contract out to tender. NRW is also said to have awarded 59 contracts to three firms in a similar manner after criticism of the original contract.

The Wales Audit Office has  qualified NRW’s accounts for three years in a row.

The Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Nick Ramsay AM (Con, Monmouth), said there had been a “cultural failure within the organisation” and a “serious overhaul” was required.

The new Chief Executive of the arms-length body, Claire Pilman, has ordered an independent review. Meanwhile, the Conservatives have called for NRW to be abolished and split into two organisations – a regulatory body and a commercial arm.