Welsh Labour to work with Plaid on key farming policies

Both parties will work cooperatively on 46 policies, including on the Sustainable Farming Scheme
Both parties will work cooperatively on 46 policies, including on the Sustainable Farming Scheme

Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru have agreed to work together for the next three years on key policies affecting rural areas, including farm payments and agricultural pollution.

Both parties will work cooperatively on 46 policies where there is a common interest, including second homes, the Welsh language and the post-Brexit Sustainable Farming Scheme.

The deal between the two parties, announced this week, aims to "address issues which take the greatest political and policy effort to resolve".

They have agreed to "introduce a transition period as we reform the system of farm payments so stability payments will continue to be a feature of the Sustainable Farming Scheme during and beyond this Senedd term."

Other policies featuring in the 11-page document include working with farmers and landowners to improve water and air quality.

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) met Plaid Cymru spokesperson on Rural Affairs and Agriculture Cefin Campbell MS, to discuss details of the co-operation agreement.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “There were clear distinctions between the aspirations of Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru in their manifestos in the spring, but given the current balance of votes in the Senedd, Labour was willing to negotiate on a range of issues."

On the transition period to be introduced for farm payments, Mr Roberts said: “We have consistently argued for the inclusion of stability payments that protect Wales’ family farms in any future scheme, and while the commitment is a very high level one we certainly welcome it.”

The agreement also commits to working "with the farming community to improve water quality and air quality, deploying the Water Resources Regulations 2021, taking an approach targeted at those activities known to cause pollution."

“We discussed this with Mr Campbell and the fact that there was a unanimous decision by Senedd Members back in June to review the regulations - a process currently being undertaken by the Senedd Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs Committee," Mr Roberts said.

"We will therefore monitor developments and seek to ensure proportionate and targeted actions that do not unfairly impact on farmers.”

Other sections of the agreement discussed during the meeting included the commitments to implement a community food strategy to encourage the production and supply of locally-sourced food in Wales.

Work will also commence with farmers to ensure the right trees are planted in the right places, while protecting local ownership and control of woodlands.