New group to support Welsh tenants in environmental schemes

The Welsh government has announced plans to establish a tenancy working group to identify ways to make new environmental schemes work for tenant farmers.

An estimated 30% of land in Wales is subject to some form of tenancy agreement.

The introduction of an environment-focused agricultural policy has left many tenant farmers concerned about how these changes could affect their businesses.

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In response to lobbying by farming organisations, the government has agreed to establish the new group to allay those concerns.

It will be created in July, following the publication of the outline of Wales’ Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS), which the government plans to phase in from 2025.

It follows the announcement of a similar group in England that has already started work.

Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) chief executive George Dunn described it as great news.

“It is something that our Welsh representatives have been calling for since the announcement of the tenancy working group in England,” he says.

The TFA wants tenants to have fair access to the new SFS and believes landlords must be prevented from ending tenancies to join publicly and privately funded environmental and tree-planting schemes.

Mr Dunn says that in the development of its new schemes, it is essential the Welsh government takes into consideration the specific needs and issues faced by agriculture’s tenanted sector.

“We look forward to working with, and through, the new working group when it is established in the summer,” he says.