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
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
"This highly important report should not be allowed to sit
on a shelf and must produce some reaction and action", he
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.
for enquiry as Cherished Uplands face hard choices
Not So Perfect For Uplands Without Help