The Country Land and Business Association is calling on the Welsh
Assembly Government to recognise the value of the contribution
landowners and farmers make to the environment in Wales.
Launching its manifesto in anticipation of the Assembly Government
election on May 3, CLA Wales said secure funding coming from EU
policies for the environmental management of Wales is essential
to underpin the future of rural Wales.
Wales Director, Julian Salmon, told journalists at the Lake Vyrnwy
Hotel in Mid Wales that the spectacular scenery which formed the
backdrop for the press conference was at risk. The Welsh countryside
was a managed environment, which takes cash to continue in its
"The biggest challenge is the future direction of the CAP",
he said. "For us the concern is that UK agriculture is basically
not viable without public support. And we are without confidence
that the market is going to alter that. If we are to retain the
sort of scenery we see here today, then public funding is going
to have to be retained in some form to keep Welsh agriculture going.
"We want to help the politicians to get that right. We are
beginning to pose the question that possibly European Union policy
should include payments for the environmental goods and food security
CLA Wales Policy Advisor Sue Evans stressed that the Welsh Assembly
Government needs to be thinking hard about the future of the countryside. “We
are concerned that the WAG is not taking a long term enough view
in the current reviewing of agri environment schemes. There is
a great need to do so due to the great changes implemented by the
introduction of the SFP. If the WAG does not adequately fund the
environment then there is a great threat of further bankruptcies
within the farming industry.”
The CLA Wales Manifesto was launched at the Lake Vyrnwy Hotel because
its ethos is very much in tune with the organisation's core beliefs.
The venue, built as living quarters for the architects and managers
constructing the Lake Vyrnwy Dam in 1890 it is now a prestigious
hotel, currently constructing a £2.1 million extension, spa
and conference centre, with the help of a three quarters of a million
pound Welsh Assembly grant.
The hotel has signed up to the CLA Wales Just Ask campaign and
prides itself on providing lamb and game sourced on the estate.
Beef, fish, lamb, cheese and other produce is sourced locally.
The key points from the CLA Wales Manifesto are as follows:
Assembly must ensure EU ‘Health check’ and
Budget review of the CAP do not discriminate against Wales and
- The Assembly must recognise the value of Wales’ environment
and secure proper funding from EU rural policies for the environmental
management of the countryside in Wales that the public wish to
see, and which is essential to underpin the economic future of
- There must be fair terms of competition with producers
from elsewhere. The Assembly must campaign for equity in the
regulation and costs levied on Welsh farming, and on the welfare
standards expected on the Welsh, UK, European and wider markets.
agriculture alone will no longer support rural communities, the
Assembly must provide a positive framework for local authorities
to maximise the scope for enterprise in the countryside through
a pro-active approach to local development, integrated Planning,
Housing, Transport policies and a modern Infrastructure to secure
an economically vibrant rural economy.
- The Assembly must incentivise
the use of land based renewables and sustainable products in
development projects, for use in construction and to stimulate
the establishment of local markets for the production of energy,
heat and power.
- Agri-Food Strategy must continue to develop the
quality image that Wales can offer, and encourage market led
investment in food production in support of local sourcing, complimenting
the CLA’s ‘Just Ask’ consumer campaign.
- The Assembly must continue to ensure that fees and
rules on business and on food standards are framed in a way that
small businesses can bear, and that business competes on equal
- Woodland management is often a marginal enterprise
and without support will lead to continuing long term decline
of the existing resource. The Assembly must recognise that consistent
support is required if private owners are to deliver the desired
- Access must continue to work for rural Wales in response
to identified needs, be properly funded, not impose further unnecessary
burdens on land management, and recognise the economic potential
Tourism and Recreation can bring to the communities of rural
Note: The full Manifesto will be available in English and
Welsh and sent to all prospective candidates over the election
period. Copies of the Manifesto will be available from regional
offices or by e-mail, and posted on the CLA website www.cla.org.uk .
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