Maximising European programme funds key to supporting rural Wales

ALL available funding through the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020 for Wales has been invested, within the programme period, Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths has announced.

This means more than £846 million, of which over £564 million was European Union funds, has benefited Wales. The RDP has funded thousands of projects, created jobs and supported people and businesses across the country.

Increasing the productivity, diversity and efficiency of farm businesses, encouraging sustainable land management practices and promoting strong and sustainable economic growth in rural areas have all been part of the objectives of the RDP.

More than £409 million was made available to farmers, land managers and foresters to improve biodiversity and help tackle climate change. This has helped to restore more than 300,000 hectares of habitats to capture carbon, improve water quality and support rare biodiversity.

The programme has been key in modernising the farming and forestry industries to increase resilience and competitiveness, while enhancing the productivity of the rural workforce overall. This has seen more than 4,000 jobs created and safeguarded through the RDP.

The Welsh food industry, transport and tourism have all benefited from RDP funding.

With the UK’s exit from the EU, this support ended on 31 December 2023. The Welsh Government will now focus on the implementation of a truly Welsh approach to supporting the rural economy.

Rural Affairs Minister, Lesley Griffiths said: “The overall success of this joint-working programme with the EU and its positive impact on Wales, which has been extensive, diverse and successful, will be felt and seen for decades to come.

“The Rural Development Programme has supported thousands of projects throughout Wales, helping create and safeguard jobs. It is vital we learn lessons and build on the programme’s successes as we look towards the future.

“I committed to delivering full spend of the programme and I am pleased this has been achieved. It is important to recognise delivering full spend of the programme has been accomplished against a backdrop of unprecedented challenges for farmers and rural communities.

“I want to thank everyone who has been involved in the successful delivery of the RDP including our partners in the European Commission. Despite our exit from the EU and the end of our involvement with the RDP, I look forward to continuing to work closely with our European partners in the future.”

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