Report raises questions over whether NRW is ‘fit for purpose’

The decision to sell £39 million of timber to a sawmill without a proper business plan has been described as “extraordinary” in a report by AMs.

The Public Accounts Committee’s recommendations have been accepted in full by Natural Resources Wales, but Welsh Conservatives say serious questions remain for NRW.

It has been claimed that EU competition laws may have been breached by the deal, due to a  failure to follow proper procurement and tendering procedures.  

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Paul Davies, said the affair had done little to instil confidence that NRW is “fit for purpose”.

He said:

“The way this contract was handled from start to finish has raised very serious questions, and done little to instil taxpayers with confidence that Natural Resources Wales is fit for purpose.

“The very fact that the legality of this multi-million pound contract has been called into question is in itself deeply worrying.

“But the haste in which this deal was handled, potentially breaching EU competition laws, is quite extraordinary.  

“Moving forward, we need to see evidence that lessons have been learnt, so that the taxpaying public has confidence in how Welsh Government-sponsored bodies operate.”