RSPB Cymru applauds the Welsh Government’s “Brexit and our Land” consultation on Wales’ replacement for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). This is a bold new policy which is clearly from the stable of the Well-being of Future Generations Act and a direction of travel which we think will see farming and conservation objectives coming together for the common benefit of the people of Wales.
It’s great see to the Welsh Government recognising that the CAP failed – it hasn’t supported the farming industry to adapt, it has driven the degradation of our natural environment and fundamentally has been bad value for money for tax payers in Wales. Irrespective of what happens next with Brexit, this is the right policy direction. It is something the people of Wales can get behind, knowing it will bring a more positive vision for future farming, restoring our natural environment and investing in rural communities.
The RSPB has worked with farmers for many years and believes that delivering wider public goods - such as clean water, flood management, thriving wildlife and public access to a stunning countryside - can be delivered alongside food production if the right policy and support is there.
For years, farmers and conservationists have been pitted against each other in a battle for how to manage the land, this consultation is the right foundation to put us all on the same pitch for the benefit of the land and people of Wales. To this end we very much welcome the five core principles of their new policy; in particular that the new policy should centre on Welsh land delivering public goods for all the people of Wales. Farmers and conservationists have common cause to make the sure the maximum amount of money is invested in our land.
Of course, there is a huge amount more work to do on the detail to make sure this policy will really deliver on this early promise. The one area where we would urge caution is the signal that the public goods scheme will follow on from the production-focused scheme – will wildlife be able to wait? Much of wildlife is on the brink right now with many of our habitats in need urgent attention.
RSPB is committed to working with Welsh Government and others to make this vision for nature, farmers and our rural communities, a reality.
Last Updated: Tuesday 28 August 2018