TEN companies across Wales have said they have "no confidence" in Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to manage forestry resources across the country.

In a joint letter to the Welsh Government they have called for an immediate review of NRW’s role.

The leaked letter from forestry and wood group Confor’s national manager for Wales, Anthony Geddes, has been co-signed by companies including James Davies Ltd, based between Cardigan and Cenarth, and Teifi Timber Products Ltd, at Pencader.

Confor (Confederation of Forest Industries) has written to Environment Minister Lesley Griffiths saying it had "no confidence in the ability of NRW to deliver a commercially viable, sustainable and commercially-driven service".

It claims 12,000 jobs are at risk in the rural economy, along with £100m of new investment over the next five years.

In calling for an immediate review of NRW's management of forestry, the letter calls for Welsh Government to consider removing forestry from the organisation's structure and its operation as a separate entity.

Clare Pillman, chief executive of NRW, said: “We fully accept that we have had some significant issues in our commercial forestry operations.

“We are taking these very seriously and have left no stone unturned in getting to the bottom of these issues, which is why we commissioned independent experts to carry out a thorough review, which will conclude very soon.

“Our relationship with our forestry partners is very important to us and we will be meeting with them in the near future to discuss our plans for improvements.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We do not comment on leaked correspondence.”

Plaid Cymru's shadow environment spokesman Llyr Gruffydd said “This letter is a significant development in the ongoing issues surrounding Natural Resources Wales’ handling of its responsibilities over forestry in Wales.

“I am therefore calling on the Welsh Government to establish an independent review to ascertain whether it is still appropriate for NRW to continue to manage the commercial forest estate in Wales.

“If the inquiry finds that a change is needed then it should offer alternative models for the government to consider. If it concludes NRW is the appropriate body then it must make clear recommendations as to how to improve relations with the sector.”