“Less Favoured Areas and previous area classifications have played a key role in sustaining Welsh upland communities and environments for many decades. Changes to the criteria upon which LFAs are based have the potential to damage valuable environments, while simultaneously causing upheaval in many communities.The Commission’s belief that other rural development measures could offset the loss of socio-economic objectives would simply not make up the damage caused by the declassification of areas currently given LFA status, the union says. Any model that increased economic pressures, either locally or nationally, would reduce the incentive for farmers to continue to manage land, which in turn would have a detrimental impact on delicate natural environments that relied on the continuity of farming.
Coupled with this, the FUW fears the move would weaken the framework for future environmental measures and remove buffer zones around environmentally important areas.Mr Morgan warned that such buffers were currently taken for granted despite being an integral part of wider ecosystems. “The EC should now use this opportunity to take a step back and review their plans in totality.”