17 November 2000

Agri-environment fillip

ALMOST 1400 Welsh farmers have applied to join the Tir Gofal agri-environment scheme in the last year, but only 472 were offered agreements.

In his annual report Paul Loveluck, chief executive of the Countryside Council for Wales, which administers the scheme, said that demand for it could not be met in full from the available budget.

"But the enthusiasm of farmers bodes well for the long-term future of the scheme and the shift towards environmentally friendly farming," he claimed.

He also said the CCW continued to operate 1100 agreements covering 80,000ha (198,000 acres) under the predecessor Tir Cymen scheme. &#42