The Welsh agricultural sector is shaped by numerous policies, bills, and strategies designed to promote sustainable practices, protect the environment, and ensure the well-being of future generations. This updated blog post provides a comprehensive overview of the key policies and strategies influencing Welsh agriculture, including their launch dates, current stages, and impacts on farmers in Wales.
1. Environment (Wales) Act 2016
Launched in 2016, the Environment (Wales) Act provides the legal framework for the sustainable management of natural resources in Wales. It aims to address climate change, improve biodiversity, and foster resilient ecosystems. The act affects farmers by encouraging sustainable land management practices and reducing environmental impacts from agricultural activities.
2. Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015
Introduced in 2015, this act requires public bodies in Wales to consider the long-term impacts of their decisions and work towards achieving seven well-being goals. It promotes collaboration and integrated decision-making, impacting farmers by encouraging sustainable agricultural practices that ensure the well-being of future generations.
3. Agriculture (Wales) Bill
Published on 26/09/2022 and introduced by Lesley Griffiths MS, Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd, the Agriculture (Wales) Bill is currently at Stage 3. The bill includes provisions for Sustainable Land Management (SLM), support for agriculture in Wales, amending the Agricultural Holdings Act (AHA) 1986, replacing time-limited powers for Welsh Ministers in the Agriculture Act (AA) 2020, altering the Forestry Act 1967, and prohibiting snares and glue traps. The bill aims to establish a new agricultural support system in Wales, replacing the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and supporting the transition to sustainable farming practices.
4. Food (Wales) Bill
The Food (Wales) Bill aims to establish a sustainable and resilient food system in Wales, promoting health, well-being, and environmental stewardship. The bill is expected to impact farmers by encouraging sustainable food production practices and supporting the development of local food networks.
5. Agricultural Diversification Scheme
This scheme supports farmers in diversifying their income streams by exploring alternative farming activities and business ventures. It aims to improve farm resilience and support rural communities, encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship within the agricultural sector. The last application window for this scheme was 10th Oct 2022 to 13 Jan 2023. The objectives of the scheme are to:
Support the establishment of new viable agricultural diversification enterprises on farms.
Support the development of existing novel or niche enterprises.
Build resilience into Welsh agriculture by developing diversified income streams.
Reduce the reliance on traditional agricultural enterprises.
Respond to new market opportunities and develop new markets.
6. Sustainable Farming Scheme - Proposals for 2025
The Sustainable Farming Scheme is designed to replace the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and provide financial support to farmers who adopt sustainable farming practices. This scheme promotes environmental stewardship, improved animal welfare, and increased farm productivity. Read more on SFS 2025 here.
7. Monitoring Schemes: GMEP, ERAMMP, and SoNaRR2020
Several monitoring schemes are in place to assess the effectiveness of policies and strategies in Welsh agriculture:
GMEP (Glastir Monitoring and Evaluation Programme) evaluates the impacts of the Glastir agri-environment scheme on the environment and rural communities.
ERAMMP (Environment and Rural Affairs Monitoring & Modelling Programme) provides evidence to inform policy development and assess the effectiveness of policies in achieving their objectives.
SoNaRR2020 (State of Natural Resources Report 2020) offers a comprehensive assessment of the state of Wales' natural resources, informing the development of future policies and strategies.
The Welsh agricultural sector is influenced by various policies and strategies aimed at promoting sustainability, environmental stewardship, and the well-being of future generations. By understanding these updated policies and their impacts on farmers, stakeholders can work together to build a resilient and sustainable agricultural system in Wales. Note: whilst this post endeavors to be comprehensive it is not exhaustive given the complexities of agriculture and the impacts of devolved governments, some policies may be at UK level including but not limited to transport.