Lesley Griffiths MS, Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd
I am pleased to lay the Agriculture (Wales) Bill together with its supporting documentation today.
The Bill establishes Sustainable Land Management as the legislative framework for future agricultural policy. This ‘made in Wales’ policy framework focusses on the complementary objectives of supporting farmers to produce food sustainably, alongside taking action to respond to the climate and nature emergencies, contributing to thriving rural communities and keeping farmers on the land. Adopting this approach seeks to ensure the economic, environmental, social and cultural outcomes from Sustainable Land Management can be delivered for the long-term benefit of the people of Wales.
The Bill is the result of several years of policy development, co-design, consultation and stakeholder engagement. My sincere thanks to everyone who has given their time to work with us so far. The result is an ambitious and transformational piece of legislation which reforms decades of EU farming support, heralding a significant change in the approach we support the agricultural sector here in Wales.
Earlier this year, I published our outline proposals for the Sustainable Farming Scheme. The proposed Scheme will be the main source of future Government support for farmers in Wales. The Bill provides the Welsh Ministers with the powers necessary to provide future support whilst also ensuring we can continue to support our farmers during a transition period, reflecting our Cooperation Agreement commitment with Plaid Cymru.
The Bill amends the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 to provide tenant farmers with a route to dispute resolution to ensure they are not unfairly restricted from accessing financial assistance delivered under the power of support provisions in the Bill. It also replaces time limited powers in the Agriculture Act 2020 which are due to expire in December 2024.
The Bill will alter the Forestry Act 1967 to give Natural Resources Wales the power to add conditions to amend, suspend or revoke felling licenses to prevent felling that would contradict other environmental legislation.
Following on from our Programme of Government commitment, the Bill also contains provisions to ban the use of snares and glue traps. It is important to note the significance of these provisions. Wales will be the first of the UK nations to completely ban the use of snares and glue traps.
A copy of the Bill and its supporting documentation is available here. I will be making a legislative statement in Plenary on 27 September 2022. I look forward to working with Members of the Senedd during their consideration of the Agriculture (Wales) Bill in the coming months.