FARMING UNIONS have welcomed the Welsh Assembly‘s outline cross-compliance regulations.

NFU Cymru said the requirements appeared to be tailored to the particular needs of farming and the environment in Wales.

The option to introduce 2m wide field boundary strips had been resisted, as had the imposition of additional access requirements and ridid maximum/minimum stocking densities.

Leaders of both unions also applauded the decision to ask each farmer to complete a risk assessment pro-forma rather than a detailed soil management plan as in England.

The forms must identify what, if any, specific soil management issues arise on farms and the onus will be on farmers to say what action will be taken to address specific problems.

“This I believe will be a less onerous approach than was proposed in the consultation paper,” said rural affairs minister Carwyn Jones. 

“It has the benefit that on farm action, when required, is site specific rather than the whole farm approach initially proposed.”

Peredur Hughes, NFU Cymru president, said farmers had feared that the regulations would be over embellished and over zealously applied.

The union had argued for a minimalist approach and the need for measures that were simple, practical and manageable at farm level.

The minister‘s decisions were generally in line with what it had asked for. 

The welcome from FUW president Gareth Vaughan was offset with the warning that the devil could be in the still yet-to-be-published fine details of the regulations.

“There are still a number of issues, such as the restrictions on supplementary feeding areas, which could cause livestock farmers some problems if the interpretation is too rigid,” he said.