Welsh Government’s Clean Air Plan must not betray farmers

THE FUW has responded with concernto the recently
lau nched Welsh Government CleanAir Plan, stating that it mu st not betray farmers.

The plan, lau nched last month, aims to improve air qu ality and redu ce the impacts of air pollu tiononhu manhealth, biodiversity, the natu ral environment and the economy by working jointly across sectors to pu t inplace evid enced based policy, legislation, regu lations and investment to

red u ce air pollu tioninline with international air qu ality stand ard s.

Fu rthermore, the Welsh Government stated it will introd u ce a new law to tackle agricu ltu ral pollu tionby in effect introd u cing EU Nitrate Vu lnerable Zone (NVZ) legislationfor the whole of Wales, as well as a National Minimu m Standards based onthe verifiable standards in Cross Compliance.

Responding to the annou ncement, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “As farmers we take the state of ou r environment very seriou sly. It affects everything we do and
it is inou r interest to work together with Governments and others to achieve the best possible standards. Whilst this planis focu ssed inthe mainonu rbanareas, where the worst pollu tionby far exists, the elements relating to ou r ru ral areas wou ld infact u ndermine the good work that is already being done by ou r farmers while also devastating bu sinesses.

“By referring to the introdu ctionof anall‐Wales NVZ inthe paper the Welsh Government is once againfailing to respect

the scientific evidence and their ownadvisors, while also ignoring the drastic and devastating impacts onbu sinesses and families su ch draconianand disproportionate measu res wou ld have.

“They’re also failing to take accou nt of the evidence of detrimental or negligible impacts from other NVZ areas,” he added.

The draft legislation, if introdu ced, wou ld designate the whole of Wales as anNVZ, anarea more thanforty times bigger thanthe cu rrent Welsh NVZ area, and eleventimes bigger thanwhat was recommended by Natu ral Resou rces Wales (NRW) ‐ the Welsh Government’s ownofficial

ad visors.

“Giventhe severe warnings of NRW and expected crippling costs for Wales’ farming indu stry that wou ld ru ninto
hu nd red s of millions, and the extreme u ncertainty d u e to coronaviru s and Brexit, this proposal is wrong and warrants a comprehensive impact assessment so Ministers, politicians and their constitu ent cantru ly gau ge the likely impacts.

“Inaddition, the introdu ctionof the Cross Compliance Verifiable Stand ard s into National Minimu m Stand ard s ‐ a
fu tu re regu latory baseline, needs to be givenmu ch more thou ght interms of su itability for the indu stry as there are seriou s concerns abou t how ou r farmers will absorb the costs if the Basic Payment Scheme is phased ou t,” added Mr Roberts.

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