Welsh green scheme’s impact overlooked says union

The Welsh Assembly Government failed to carry out a full and proper economic analysis of the impact of its new agri-environment scheme in less favoured areas, according to the NFU.

John Owen, chairman of NFU Cymru‘s LFA board, says the union is concerned the 20% top up payment available is the only feature of the all-embracing Glastir scheme that recognises the difficulties and additional costs of farming LFAs.

He said that without proper analysis there was no way the assembly could show the figure was correctly set.

Mr Owen was speaking as the union submitted written evidence to an assembly rural affairs sub committee inquiry into the future of the Welsh uplands.

This highlighted a viable and profitable upland farming industry could, in addition to its primary role in food production and environmental protection, deliver a number of wider social, economic and cultural activities.

Farmers should be rewarded for the public and environmental good they did in terms of climate change mitigation, improving water quality and maintaining and improving a bio-diverse landscape.

Mr Owen argued the EU wide method of basing agri-environment support payments on an income foregone basis alone was flawed.

“Upland farmers can deliver on the significant challenges ahead,” he claimed. “However, this cannot be achieved without the recognition by the Welsh Assembly Government that there are additional costs associated with achieving what society expects and needs from the uplands of Wales.”

NFU Cymru was particularly concerned about the loss of Tir Mynydd livestock support payments, which had been the difference between people staying in the uplands and depopulation and land abandonment.

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