Glastir scheme will not be delayed

DESPITE cross-industry concerns over its viability, the Welsh Assembly’s all-embracing Glastir land management scheme is to go ahead as planned from 2012.

Announcing the decision in the Senedd today (Tuesday, March 16) Welsh Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones, said she was ‘fully committed’ to introducing Glastir from January 1, 2012.

Once implemented it will replace the existing Tir Gofal, Tir Cynnal, Tir Mynydd, Organic Farming and the Better Woodlands for Wales schemes.

“Glastir represents a significant shift in approach for Wales and Welsh farming, but in a way that enables the industry to be at the forefront in delivering for Wales a land management agenda that fully justifies the investment of some £90 million per year investment on the part of the taxpayer,” she said.

While the current agri-environment schemes were designed to address different agendas Glastir had been designed to reflect the Assembly’s commitment to tackle the causes of climate change as well as its strategies on food and farming.

“It will contract farmers to manage the land in a way that meets today’s challenges and priorities, including biodiversity, climate change and water management and provide a balance between food production and environmental protection.”

The Minister also dismissed suggestions that the Assembly was rushing the implementation of Glastir before the detail had been properly considered.

“There have been some calls to delay the introduction of Glastir on the grounds that there is a need for more information on the detail of the scheme,” she said.

“However my officials have, for many months, been working very closely with key stakeholders, including the farming unions.

“A considerable amount of information on Glastir is now available on the Assembly Government website and to date, 34 publicised training events have been held across Wales which were attended by more than 2,000 members of the farming community. More events are also planned.

“Glastir is not there to provide support for production, which in Wales is delivered through the Single Payment Scheme.

“Entry is purely voluntary and based on an individual farmer’s assessment of whether or not entry fits with the business plan for the farm.

“But I remain convinced that the vast majority of farmers in Wales will be able to enter Glastir should they choose to do so.”

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