NFU Cymru’s Rural Affairs Board has expressed concern that those who are currently in receipt of a Glastir contract under the current system will lose out when the new temporary scheme comes into force at the start of 2024. The Glastir Scheme’s funding comes through the European Union and its purpose is to encourage environmentally responsible methods of farming by making payments to farmers. The money for the scheme is stopping at the end of 2023 because of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union and so the Governments of the UK are drafting new frameworks that will replace the old system.
The Welsh Government have drafted a plan called the Habitat Wales Scheme, that will temporarily replace Glastir and will last a year until the arrival of the permanent Sustainable Farming Scheme. The Habitat Wales Scheme is expected to give a payment per hectare of habitat land, including habitat land that was managed in 2023; additional habitat land that is mapped and not under paid management along with maintaining environmental support for common land. Neither the scheme’s budget nor the rates of payments due to be made to farmers have been made public by the Welsh Government yet.
Chair of the NFU Cymru Rural Affairs Board, Hedd Pugh said:
‘In a letter to the Minister last month, NFU Cymru stressed the need to provide a stable and well-planned transition from current to future schemes. We have welcomed Welsh Government’s reassurances that it intends to make this period of change as easy as possible for farmers through offering a fair transition over several years and making sure there is no cliff edge in funding.’
‘However, our concern is that Welsh Government appears to have made a decision of such significance without comprehensive impact assessment and economic modelling. This is deeply concerning. Thousands of farmers with Glastir contracts face the prospect of a significant loss of income from the end of the year with Welsh Government unable to provide any reassurance that the new, interim scheme will match levels of income currently received through Glastir. This is far from a ‘fair transition’.’
You can learn more about NFU Cymru’s response to the Welsh Governments farm payment scheme through their website.