blank
Connect with us

Environment

Environmental work only possible due to stability provided by basic payment hears Senedd Member

Published

on

Mid and West Wales Senedd Member Cefin Campbell has heard how comprehensive environmental work undertaken on farms – including through cooperation between farmers – has only been possible because of the firm foundation and stability provided through the current basic payment scheme.

That was the clear message from a range of organisations during an FUW Meirionnydd farm visit to Cae Coch, Rhydymain, which is farmed by Alun Edwards.

Advertisement

During the visit, Mr Campbell saw at first hand how a broad range of actions had been undertaken at Cae Coch both by Mr Edwards individually and as part of a group of farmers supported by Parc Eryri National Park and Gwynedd County Council, to improve habitat and carbon sequestration, control, flooding downstream and prevent pollution from the nearby A494 entering the river Wnion.

Speaking after the visit, Mr Edwards said: “There is no part of the farm where some form of action is not being taken to address environmental issues and deliver public goods, but we do not get paid for this work. 

“Where payments are available from the Welsh Government or the National Park, these only pay for materials or costs incurred, so we rely on the Basic Payment to effectively pay us to undertake that work and without it it would not be possible.

“The most important public good we provide is food, and failure to recognise this would be a massive mistake – especially given escalating production costs and the impacts on essential supplies already being felt as a result of the war in Ukraine.” 

Senedd member Cefn Campbell MS and farmer Alun Edwards (Image: FUW)

Mr Edwards said that while Wales’ system of rural payments was going to change – and should change to better meet Welsh goals – it was essential that the current system is evolved into something that retains a ‘stability payment’ that provides genuine income to allow food production and the type of environmental work undertaken at Cae Coch and in the Wnion valley to continue. 

“While there is always room for improvement, Wales has an excellent track record of administering schemes and getting payments out on time compared with other countries – especially England – and we also have a state of the art online mapping system that has been working well for almost a decade. 

Advertisement

“We do not want to see that good track record jeopardised through reckless optimism about the practicality of running a highly complex and costly to run scheme,” said Mr Edwards.

Cae Coch extends to approximately 735 acres, the vast majority of which is mountain land, with only around 36 acres of fields available to gather silage for winter fodder.  The farming enterprise comprises a flock of 500 Welsh mountain ewes with 130 ewe lamb replacements in a closed flock, and 18 Welsh Black suckler cows. All the young stock are sold as stores through Farmers Marts at Dolgellau.

Alun Edward’s farm in Meirionnydd (Image: FUW)

The farm has been in successive environmental schemes and joined Tir Gofal in 2004.

“Most farms in the area continue to participate in these local and national schemes, and there is a great deal more we can do – but we need a solid financial foundation upon which to continue that work,” he said.

Mr Edwards also highlighted the serious implications for farms in the area if the Water Resources ‘NVZ’ Regulations were not reviewed.

“We live in a county where more than 90% of the water pollution is non-agricultural. We have never had a pollution incident here but the tens of thousands that complying with the new rules will entail mean I have to question whether to continue to keep cattle.

Advertisement

“The National Park is extremely concerned that the rules will lead to a further loss of the cattle which are essential for maintaining our upland habitats, leading to species loss, and while I would like to implement a range of ideas to make the farm more environmentally sustainable, these new rules make these impossible,” he said.

Mr Edwards said it was therefore essential that the Senedd acted to review the current regulations in order to make them more targeted to address problems in areas where there is evidence of genuine concern, and that they needed to be more flexible.

Speaking after the visit, FUW Meirionnydd County Chair Edwin Jones said: “We are facing so much uncertainty due to matters that are beyond our, the Senedd or the Welsh Government’s control: The UK Government is undermining our food and farming industry by striking trade deals with foreign countries, and feed and fertiliser prices have gone through the roof  and are now rising further as a result of the war in Ukraine.

“But the Welsh Government and the Senedd do have control over future payment systems and the regulations we face on a day to day basis, whether in terms of what the future Welsh Agriculture Bill looks like, or overhauling the NVZ and bovine TB rules,” he added.

(Lead image: FUW)

Advertisement
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Environment

Cadle Heath is alive with the sound of critters

Published

on

By

From endangered bats to moths, beetles and unusual critters, a Swansea suburb is giving locals an opportunity to discover exactly what’s living on their doorstep.

The Cadle Heath BioBlitz event funded by the Swansea Nature Partnership on Saturday, May 14, is a day packed with scavenger hunts, guided walks, opportunities to learn about the wildflowers, bugs birds, reptiles and mammals and help to gather important nature data by recording the unusual species living in this urban heath.

Advertisement

This nature reserve is one of Swansea’s best kept secrets and stretches from behind Swansea Community Farm on Carmarthen Road, to popular shopping-destination, Pontarddulais Road Retail Park.

The event, which is organised by Swansea Community Farm, South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre and Penderi Green Regeneration project, will take place between 10am and 3pm at the farm. Followed by a bat walk at 8.30pm, giving people the chance to listen for the elusive, red-listed, Lesser Horseshoe Bat in its natural habitat.

Kate McCabe from Pobl, leading on the Penderi Green Regeneration Project, said: “This is an exciting event for us. Cadle Heath is one of the best examples of urban heathland in the country and we are proud to have such a rich, exciting space for nature in the heart of Swansea’s Penderi region. The fact that the heath is home to a red-listed bat species is something we should be really proud of and something we should protect and celebrate.”

“Cadle is in such a highly populated part of Swansea that it is often overlooked, and people don’t often realise the hidden haven that exists for local wildlife. This family-friendly event will really bring the area to life, giving people a unique opportunity to really explore the area with the guidance of passionate scientists and nature experts.”

Katharine Aylett, from Swansea Community Farm, said: “We are proud to be hosting such an important and exciting event for the area, and to be partners of Pobl’s Penderi Green Regeneration Project. At Swansea Community Farm, we know the positive effect activities like this have on the community and local wildlife; it’s about raising awareness of the natural world and bringing people together, outdoors. 

Advertisement

“The Penderi Green Regeneration Project itself, is vital to the area and is already having a clear impact on this part of Swansea. We’re looking forward to working with them on future events and initiatives.”

The Penderi Green Regeneration Project is an initiative to support local people in their desire to improve green spaces in their area which will help boost health and wellbeing. Through a series of physical and educational opportunities, the initiative will bring the wider neighbourhood together to regenerate green spaces in the Penderi area of Swansea.

Funded by UK Government, under the Community Renewal Fund (CRF), Pobl Group is able to deliver the Project with the help of key partners, Swansea Environment Centre, Room To Grow and the Conservation Team at Swansea Council.

For more information on the free event, visit: www.swanseacommunityfarm.org.uk

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Environment

First Minister celebrates 10 years of the Wales Coast Path

Published

on

By

The First Minister will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Wales Coast Path with a visit to meet volunteers and walkers.

A year long programme of events and activities celebrating the Wales Coast Path will take place throughout 2022, including walking festivals, virtual challenges and art installations.

Advertisement

Since its opening in 2012, the Wales Coast Path has established itself as a beacon of our nation’s natural beauty.

The 870 mile path guides walkers along Wales’ picturesque coastline, weaving its way past a hundred beaches and sixteen castles.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The coastal path is one of the crowning glories of Wales and one of the proudest achievements of devolution.

“I would like to thank all those involved in the management of the path. Particularly the staff and volunteers, who are out in all weathers, working hard to maintain the path to such high standards.

“If I had to choose my favourite stretch of the path, the portion between Pendine and Amroth would be a candidate: starting in my own home county of Carmarthenshire, and ending in Pembrokeshire. It may not be the most well-known part of the path, but it offers huge variety: some challenging climbs, outstanding variety of flowers, secret coves and plenty of historical interest”.

Advertisement

The Welsh Government will build on the successes of the first ten years so that more people are able to enjoy the path, from more backgrounds, more easily, and with more benefits for local communities, businesses and the environment.

The Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters MS, asked Huw Irranca-Davies, MS for Ogmore to undertake a review of the Wales Coast Path.

A small group, drawn from academia and the public, private and voluntary sectors was established to undertake the review.

The Group reflected on the key achievements over the last decade and identified how to maximise opportunities for the future.

Their report has been published on the Welsh Government website today (11 May).

Advertisement

The review recognises the potential value and challenges of the Wales Coast Path. It contains 19 recommendations for the Welsh Government to consider when developing its future strategic approach to the path.

Continue Reading

Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

Published

on

By

A man from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to the River Loughor, near Llanelli to fish using a barbaric and illegal method, has been banned from driving for 12 months as part of his sentence.

Vu Quang Tien pleaded guilty to an illegal fishing charge and also to a charge of obstruction of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Fisheries Enforcement Officer on 26 April at Swansea Magistrates Court.

Advertisement

Mr Tien and two other anglers were witnessed by NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers deliberately using the illegal foul hooking method of fishing – also known as snatching – at the river Loughor on 15 August 2021. NRW officers attended the site after several reports of illegal fishing were made to NRW’s 24/7 incident call centre by concerned members of the community.

When approached and questioned by NRW officers, Mr Tien and his accomplices showed significant hostility and reluctance to share identification documents which eventually had to be extracted by use of reasonable force.

All of Mr Tien’s fishing tackle and fish, along with his associates’ fishing tackle was seized by NRW Officers at the time of the incident. The district judge on the day at Swansea Magistrates Court gave permission to NRW to confiscate these items permanently from each of them.

The District Judge disqualified Mr Tien from driving for 12 months due to seriousness of the incident, and the premeditated and deliberate action of travelling such a distance to commit the offence.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,334 in fines, NRW costs and a victim surcharge.

Advertisement

Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “We would like to again thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.

“Foul hooking is a truly barbaric form of fishing carried out by a small minority of anglers in Wales, who have no regard for fish welfare.

“NRW and the Police take these incidents seriously as do the courts.

“Hopefully, the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines and driving ban in this case issued by the courts.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2021 Swansea Bay News