Countryside Council for Wales
The Countryside Council for Wales (CCW; ) is an Assembly Government Sponsored Body. It is the Welsh Assembly Government
Welsh Assembly Government
The Welsh Government is the devolved government of Wales. It is accountable to the National Assembly for Wales, the legislature which represents the interests of the people of Wales and makes laws for Wales...

's wildlife conservation
Wildlife conservation
Wildlife conservation is the preservation, protection, or restoration of wildlife and their environment, especially in relation to endangered and vulnerable species. All living non-domesticated animals, even if bred, hatched or born in captivity, are considered wild animals. Wildlife represents all...

 authority for Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

. As a statutory advisory and prosecuting body, the Countryside Council for Wales champions the environment and landscapes of Wales and its coastal waters as sources of natural and cultural riches, as a foundation for economic and social activity, and as a place for leisure and learning opportunities. It aims to make the environment a valued part of everyone's life in Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...


The Council of CCW consists of a Chairman and a maximum of ten members. They are appointed by the Welsh Assembly Government who also provides CCW's annual budget. The Council gives direction to the around 500 staff. CCW's headquarters is in Bangor, Gwynedd
Bangor, Gwynedd
Bangor is a city in Gwynedd, north west Wales, and one of the smallest cities in Britain. It is a university city with a population of 13,725 at the 2001 census, not including around 10,000 students at Bangor University. Including nearby Menai Bridge on Anglesey, which does not however form part of...

, North Wales
North Wales
North Wales is the northernmost unofficial region of Wales. It is bordered to the south by the counties of Ceredigion and Powys in Mid Wales and to the east by the counties of Shropshire in the West Midlands and Cheshire in North West England...

, with other offices across Wales.

CCW activities

CCW gives advice to Government on a wide range of matters which affect the countryside. This includes threats to the environment, the impacts of developments and changes in land use
Land use
Land use is the human use of land. Land use involves the management and modification of natural environment or wilderness into built environment such as fields, pastures, and settlements. It has also been defined as "the arrangements, activities and inputs people undertake in a certain land cover...

, international environmental matters and new legislation. CCW also advises on the declaration of marine nature reserves, land for protection under European Union Directives and other international obligations, and land designated by local authorities such as Heritage Coasts and Local Nature Reserves.

Establishing protected areas
As well as advising Government and local authorities on land which should be protected, CCW can designate several categories of land to protect and conserve wildlife or landscape. These include National Nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest as well as National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. National Trails are mapped out and negotiated in the first instance by CCW. Protected areas represent the jewels in the crown of the Welsh environment. But CCW's conservation responsibilities transcent these boundaries and cover the whole of Wales. Wales has 70 National Nature Reserves, three National park
National park
A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or owns. Although individual nations designate their own national parks differently A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or...

s, five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), and Sites of Special Scientific Interest cover around 12% of Wales. About 70% of the Welsh coastline is protected.

Most SSSI are privately owned and occupied, and through discussions and management agreements CCW helps ensure that the wildlife value of sites is retained and enhanced.

Protecting rare species
Rare and threatened animals and plants are protected by law so that they are not disturbed or destroyed. But sometimes people may need to disturb these species, and CCW can advise and issue licenses for individuals and organisations. Photographers and research scientists are some of CCW's most regular customers.

Promoting everyone's enjoyment of the countryside
CCW strives to improve opportunities for people to enjoy the countryside. By working closely with local authorities and other organisations the system of public paths is improving, and CCW is working on establishing a Wales Coastal Path by 2012. You can also enjoy open access to most of Wales' mountains and moorland. CCW's website also has details where you can walk. When you are enjoying the countryside please follow The Countryside Code.

Health and well being
The natural environment
Natural environment
The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally on Earth or some region thereof. It is an environment that encompasses the interaction of all living species....

 is vital to the health and well-being of people in Wales. It provides our basic requirements for life - clean air, pure water and healthy soils, whilst its natural beauty is a source of inspiration that offers opportunities for people to enjoy and be physically active outdoors. Enjoying outdoor activities is also an excellent way of keeping fit and healthy. We are working with partners to make sure that people have green spaces on their doorsteps as people are more likely to walk if attractive public green space and footpaths nearby are accessible. For every 10% increase in greenspace there can be a reduction in health complaints equivalent to a reduction of five years in age.

Working with others
Every opportunity is made to work with others on joint projects. Local government is one of the closest partners. Other partnership projects range from joint educational activities to major engineering projects to regulate water levels on wetland
A wetland is an area of land whose soil is saturated with water either permanently or seasonally. Wetlands are categorised by their characteristic vegetation, which is adapted to these unique soil conditions....

s. Many 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.

Research and survey
Without a thorough knowledge of the environment, looking after it would be difficult. An understanding of the state of the environment, its habitats and wildlife is essential before we can start to monitor change, take action or just maintain the status quo. Research and survey are essential tools to guide the work. Much of the research is biological or geological, but CCW is continually seeking to gain a better understanding of the link between people and the countryside both in their everyday tasks and at their leisure. CCW also tries to measure how the environment contributes to other areas of government work including health, social well being and the economy.

CCW and the rest of the UK
CCW is one of a network of Government funded bodies who perform comparable duties throughout the UK. These are
  • Natural England
    Natural England
    Natural England is the non-departmental public body of the UK government responsible for ensuring that England's natural environment, including its land, flora and fauna, freshwater and marine environments, geology and soils, are protected and improved...

  • Scottish Natural Heritage
    Scottish Natural Heritage
    Scottish Natural Heritage is a Scottish public body. It is responsible for Scotland's natural heritage, especially its natural, genetic and scenic diversity. It advises the Scottish Government and acts as a government agent in the delivery of conservation designations, i.e...

    Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

  • Environment and Heritage Service
    Environment and Heritage Service
    The Northern Ireland Environment Agency is a Northern Ireland Executive conservation agency within the Department of the Environment. Unlike the equivalent bodies in England, Scotland and Wales, it aims to promote and conserve both the natural environment and the built environment and to promote...

     (Northern Ireland
    Northern Ireland
    Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...


The Joint Nature Conservation Committee coordinates nature conservation work on a UK and international level.

See also

External links

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