Who we are and what we do
The Countryside Council for Wales is an
independent public body whose role is to sustain Wales’ natural
environment, both on land and at sea.
What we do?
We also encourage people to enjoy their environment. This could
mean scaling some of our highest peaks or simply sitting in a park
bench watching the world go by.
The natural world provides us with all the basics of life –
clean water and pure air for example. And research has also shown
that we are affected by our physical surroundings – so the better
our natural environment, the better people feel.
However, many of us take our stunning surroundings for granted
and this is at the heart of the work that CCW does. Our vision is
for a country where everyone acts to safeguard the environment
because they understand its importance – both now and for future
CCW’s remit is broad and so we work across the country and with
many different people such as farmers, town and country planners,
scientists, health professionals as well as voluntary organisations
Every year, we receive a remit letter from the Welsh Government
that highlights the targets that Ministers set for us.
Our day to day work
We advise on matters which affect the environment – from global
issues like climate change to local concerns such as the impact of
new developments. We advise government bodies at all levels – the
Welsh Government, Westminster, Europe and Local Authorities.
Our replies to formal Government consultations can be viewed on
We give advice and information on environmental matters to other
organisations, both statutory and voluntary, and to developers or
individuals as requested.
Protecting rare species
Rare and threatened animals and plants are protected by law so
that they are not disturbed or destroyed. But on occasions this may
be unavoidable – if, say, a scientist needs to undertake some
important research. At such times CCW may allow the protected
species to be legally disturbed by issuing an appropriate
Research and survey
An understanding of the state of the environment, its habitats
and wildlife is essential. So we carry out research and survey work
to keep an eye on any changes. Our survey work can be done by
visiting sites, diving the depths of welsh seas or using some more
innovative, high tech solutions like remote sensing which allows us
to look at Wales through satellite images.
We report these to Government and also use them in out advice.
We also publish our research reports on this website.
Maintaining protected areas
Some areas, due to their richness of wildlife, geology or
landscape are granted “protected” status.
These include National Nature Reserves (NNRs) such as Ynyslas,
Newport Wetlands or Coed Dolgarrog in the Conwy valley and Sites of
Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), the largest being the Berwyn
mountain range to the east of Bala.
National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
are also included, as are the three National Trails in Wales.
Much of the land that has “protected” status is owned by
individuals, local authorities or voluntary organisations. So we
work with owners and occupiers of the land to ensure that the
wildlife or geological value of their sites are retained and
enhanced. CCW has an initiative – the Special Sites Project – that
aims to create a healthy series of nationally important sites.
Promoting enjoyment for all
From the experienced hiker meticulously planning an adventurous
trip – or the casual ambler who is just after a bit of fresh air,
CCW strives to make sure that everyone has the information they
need to help them enjoy the countryside and coast. A dedicated map
resource that looks at where you can go or what activities you can
enjoy has been developed.
Working with others
We take every opportunity to work with others on joint projects.
Partnership projects range from joint educational activities, to
major engineering projects to regulate water levels on
Many joint projects are funded by CCW grants, enabling others to
use their special skills and understanding of local communities to
carry out environmental tasks on our behalf.
CCW’s Operational Plan
In our Annual Operational Plan you can see how we will deliver
the outcomes on the areas of work identified above. We do this
through three major programmes of work:
- Action for Wildlife and Landscapes
To safeguard and enhance Wales’ natural environment and distinctive
landscapes, both within and outside of protected areas.
- Action for People, Economy and the Environment
To encourage more people to experience and learn about the natural
environment, to understand and value the different benefits it
provides for society and to become actively involved in helping to
care for it.
- Managing for the Future
To ensure that we have the right structure, people, systems,
process and resources in place so that we can be a high performing
and well respected organisation at all times.