Glastir land management changes welcomed

CHANGES in the Welsh Assembly Government’s moves towards its groundbreaking Glastir land management support scheme have been greeted by NFU Cymru as ‘a step - but not a leap’ in the right direction’ and an acknowledgement that more needs to be done before it is fit for implementation.

Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones, said yesterday (Wednesday, April 28) that as part of the Glastir transitional arrangements additional support would be given to farmers receiving Tir Mynydd hill payments during 2012 and 2013.

“It reflects my decision to ease the process of transition as we move fully towards Glastir in 2014,” she said.

“All Tir Mynydd farmers who make a claim on their 2010 Single Application Form will be able to claim 60 per cent of the payment on their 2011 SAF and 30 per cent on their 2012 SAF.

She added: “Any eligible farmer who has not made a Tir Mynydd claim on their 2010 SAF and who has already submitted it to the Welsh Assembly Government is encouraged to contact their divisional office as soon as possible, and by no later than May 17 to modify their SAF application if they wish to benefit from the increased support.”

The Minister said that while she was aware of calls for the scheme to be deferred she has decided to proceed with the implementation of Glastir, with Tir Mynydd payments being made on a transitional basis, at a rate of 60 per cent of current levels in 2012 and at a rate of 30 per cent in 2013.

Welcoming the move, NFU Cymru president, Ed Bailey, said the Minister’s announcement was “recognition of our concern that deficiencies still remain with the new Glastir scheme.

“While transitional Tir Mynydd payments will mitigate some of the loss to these farmers, they will still face a reduction in their income in the future.

“The Minister’s decision will help, but many concerns remain and much needs to be done before we can see this scheme as being genuinely fit for purpose.

“The announcement follows on from concerns we expressed at a meeting with the Minister in Meirionnydd, following which she agreed to carry out a pilot of some 40 farmers to establish whether they could reach the required level of points to enter the scheme.

“Half of those approached failed to gain sufficient points.”

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