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Plight of the Uplands to Go Before Assembly
31/10/05

photo courtesy of www.jennifermackenzie.co.uk

The role of the private land manager is paramount says CLA Wales

Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas has pledged to bring to the attention of the National Assembly the issues flagged up in a major new study into the challenges facing the hills and uplands. The Presiding Officer was speaking at a seminar to launch the document Cherished Heartland. It was commissioned by the Brecknockshire Agricultural Society to mark its 250th anniversary.

The event was held in Brecon and drew a lively debate from a large audience. The panel comprised representatives from the National Trust, Brecon Beacons National Park, NatWest and a farming representative. It was chaired by Glyn Mathias.

Responding to a call by the authors of the report, Professors Peter Midmore and Richard Moore Colyer, for an inquiry to be launched and for a major conference to be organised by the National Assembly for Wales, Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas agreed to bring the issue before the relevant committee.

"I will propose that we undertake this study", he said. "The authors have achieved a piece of work which provides us with an enormous challenge. I would like to take up this challenge. I have always been impressed by the commitment shown by my farming friends and constituents".

Brecknockshire Agricultural Society President William Legge-Bourke welcomed the commitment to bring the report to the attention of the Environment, Planning and Countryside committee of the National Assembly.

"This highly important report should not be allowed to sit on a shelf and must produce some reaction and action", he added.

Chris Gledhill, chief executive of the Brecon Beacons National Park, responded to the call for an 'honest appraisal' of National Park planning powers. He acknowledged the role of the people living and working to create the landscape so enjoyed by the public. He hoped the current Management Review would help to integrate the many different interests.

Ian Kenny, Head of agricultural policy at NatWest, predicted that the income shortfall of a quarter of a billion pounds stated within the report could be even greater unless there were changes within the industry. The agricultural industry would need to work on creating 'unholy alliances' with other stakeholders in the rural community in order to bring about some of these changes.

Farmer John Davies, the current chairman of the Brecon and Radnor NFU, said farmers had to achieve much better prices for the very high quality food they produced. This and the environmental problems and food miles incurred in importing food, sometimes from thousands of miles away, should also be brought home to the consumer.

link Call for enquiry as Cherished Uplands face hard choices
link Future Not So Perfect For Uplands Without Help

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