NFU Cymru raises concerns about Welsh Government tree planting strategy

July 2023 | Featured, Rural policy

NFU Cymru have once more expressed their concerns regarding the Welsh Governments intention to compel farmers to plant trees on up to 10% of the land they own. In a statement NFU Cymru said that they had raised a number of issues in relation to the plan, that is part of the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) in a meeting with the Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths.

The meeting came following a statement made by the Minister to the Senedd on Tuesday 11 July during the second phase of the co-desing process for the Sustainable Farming Scheme. Aled Jones, the president of NFU Cymru said of the meeting:

‘It was useful to meet with the Minister and her team to discuss the recent statement in more detail. NFU Cymru remains supportive of Welsh Government’s overarching framework for the SFS, built around universal, optional and collaborative tiers, with farmers receiving a baseline payment for carrying out a set of universal actions, provided these universal actions are practical and achievable for farmers to deliver. Our members are deeply concerned to hear that Welsh Government appears more committed than ever to its 10% tree cover target on areas it deems suitable for tree planting under the universal tier of the proposed scheme.’

Jones raised the fact that he has spoken to a number of union members recently and that they were extremely concerned about what they had heard in the statement. He noted that there were some positive signs in the fact that the Welsh Government had recognised that there are different types of land and tenure over that land that don’t lend themselves to tree planting in the way the Government wants. Yet he also underlined that this could lead to a situation where there is more pressure on other farmers who hold more suitable land to plant trees on their land in order to reach the target and the effect this could have on how much productive land is available in order to produce food.

NFU Cymru will be holding a seminar with the Minister Lesley Griffith on their stand at the Royal Welsh Show on Tuesday 25 July at 11am. You can find the full statement by NFU Cymru and more details about the event by following this link.

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