Farmers and unions call for ‘Key Policy Asks’ not ‘lectures’

A protest by thousands of farmers took place at the Senedd in Cardiff today, Wednesday (Feb 28).

Tractors were diverted to a makeshift car park outside away from the Senedd. Participants driving agricultural vehicles were given an approved route and a designated parking and holding area on the A4232 Eastern Bay Link Road.

This was facilitated by an order under Sections 12 and 14 of the Public Order Act 1986.

This decision was made in order to facilitate the wishes of the protestors to engage in peaceful protest while balancing the safety of the wider public.

The farmers were protesting over the Welsh Government’s proposals which would see farmers receiving subsidies requiring farmers to commit 10% of agricultural land to be used for trees and another 10% for wildlife habitat.

Pics. BBC News Hub

In recent days the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs appeared to be shifting the rhetoric towards a more negotiating stance. The Welsh Government has stated that it is ‘listening to the farming sector’s concerns’.

Farmers have been calling for evidence-based reviews and NFU Cymru has set out what it sees as acceptable policies in their document ‘NFU Cymru Key Policy Asks’

They include a long-term commitment to a Stability payment within the SFS to recognise the economic, environmental, social and cultural contribution that Welsh farming makes to society and to underpin the resilience of food production in Wales and the continued secure supply of high-quality, safe and affordable food from Wales.

Pic. BBC News Hub

A Universal Baseline Payment that goes beyond costs incurred / income foregone, recognising the value to society of the actions being undertaken by Welsh farmers and that incentivises the actions that the Welsh Government want to be undertaken on Welsh farms.

A review of the practicality and cumulative administrative burden associated with the delivery of the proposed Universal Actions. Universal must mean Universal

A review of the 10% tree cover scheme requirements, considers the mandatory element of the requirement and the opportunity to consider alternatives that deliver the same outcome but in different ways (e.g. Northern Ireland work).

The formation of a science panel to look at and evaluate alternatives to tree planting. The tree planting requirement to be put on hold on hold until the science panel has undertaken its evaluation.

Ensuring that the Universal Baseline Payment provides equal access and fair reward to all active farmers.

The protest passed off without any major incidents and roads reopened in Cardiff at around 3 pm.

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