Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, has today confirmed Wales will move away from Basic Payments and support farmers through a new sustainable farming scheme post-Brexit.
Speaking during a plenary debate about the ‘Brexit and our Land’ consultation, the minister will outline a number of policy changes following detailed consideration of the responses received.
Sustainable land management will be at the heart of future farm support in Wales once the UK leaves the European Union. Plans include bringing together the originally proposed economic resilience and public goods schemes in ‘Brexit and our Land’ into a new single sustainable farming scheme.
Sustainable food production is major part of this. The consultation has shown a wide range of public goods can be produced alongside food production.
The policy changes announced today will be explored in detail in a forthcoming consultation, which will be published in advance of the Royal Welsh Show.
A summary of responses to the ‘Brexit and our Land’ consultation has also been published today along with the Welsh Government’s response.
The minister said:
“Last year, we carried out one of our largest agriculture consultations on how we support Welsh farmers and land post-Brexit. We had strong and wide ranging responses and I am extremely grateful to everyone who engaged in the discussion.
“I have carefully considered the views expressed and these have helped adapt our approach. Today I am announcing a number of changes to our policy proposals which will be explored in detail in our forthcoming consultation.
“The case for reform remains and a new approach is needed. This government has therefore decided Basic Payments Scheme will come to an end in Wales. Instead, we want to put sustainability at the heart of our future support, balancing the needs of current generation with our obligations to the next.
“Reflecting on the consultation responses, I am proposing a new single sustainable farming scheme, allowing us to explore economic, environmental and social opportunities at the same time.
“We will propose an annual payment to farmers in return for the environmental outcomes delivered on their farm - targeted at reversing biodiversity decline, meeting our carbon budgets and hitting our clean air targets.
“The responses to the consultation highlighted the production of food and the production of public goods can go hand in hand. In many cases, the same action, done in the right way, can contribute to both outcomes. We want to pay for these environmental outcomes. In this way, we can support sustainable food production. I look forward to publishing further details for consultation ahead of the Royal Welsh Show.
“By promoting sustainable land management, we can work together to create a system which helps farmers thrive, harness the value of Welsh land and secure a prosperous, resilient agricultural sector in Wales.”