Rollout of controversial new subsidy scheme for farmers in Wales delayed | UK News

The Welsh government has postponed the rollout of its controversial new subsidy scheme for farmers.

The plans – which would require farmers in Wales to dedicate 10% of their eligible land to tree cover and another 10% to natural habitat – will now not begin until 2026.

The delay follows a series of protests, with many in agriculture fearing the proposals will lead to job losses and increase financial pressure on farms by removing workable land.

Another tractor go-slow protest is due to take place in Cardiff today.

Speaking at a farm near Bridgend, Welsh Rural Affairs Secretary Huw Irranca-Davies confirmed the transition period for the new Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) will be delayed.

“We have always said the scheme would not be introduced until it is ready and I stand by that,” he said.

“Since the first day of taking up this role I have been out and about meeting and listening to our farmers, hearing their views and taking on board what they have to say.”

He said farmers had “not been backward in coming forward” with their thoughts and suggestions, adding that he appreciated their candour.

“My commitment to meaningful engagement with the farming sector, Plaid Cymru colleagues under the Cooperation Agreement and other stakeholders on the changes needed will necessitate a change in the implementation timetable,” he added.

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Last week, Mr Irranca-Davies announced a new roundtable group – which will include farming unions – to discuss the scheme.

He said the initial findings of a major consultation with farmers, which closed in March, show changes are needed.

“We received over 12,000 responses and this amazing response has given us a wealth of information to develop the scheme further,” he said.

“I have seen a draft of the analysis and it is clear from what I have seen that some changes will be needed, within the framework the farming unions and others have always supported.”

He added: “During the recent wet weather, we have seen the impact of the changing climate not only on agriculture in Wales, but across the UK. Climate change is not in the distant future, it is already here.”

Mr Irranca-Davies said the new timetable will allow further data to be acquired to provide an “accurate picture” of the habitat and tree cover across all farms, but insisted the government will “continue to promote the benefits and opportunities” of tree cover and woodland on farms.


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