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Conservative call to ban multinationals claiming government funding to buy Wales’ farms for tree planting

29 Nov 2021 3 minutes Read
Left, Samuel Kurtz MS. Picture by Senedd Cymru. Right, Peter Aikman / Edge of Rhyd y Felin forest / CC BY-SA 2.0.

The Conservatives have called on the Welsh Government to ensure that funding for tree planting isn’t given to multinationals that want to buy Welsh farms to offset carbon emissions.

Farmers’ unions have expressed alarm after receiving reports “almost on a weekly basis” of entire Welsh farms being snapped up for tree planting.

The Welsh Conservatives have responded by saying that the Welsh Government’s Glastir Woodland Creation scheme should not be accessible to multinationals from outside the country.

Glastir is the Welsh Government’s sustainable land management scheme, which offers financial support to farmers and landowners.

But Shadow Rural Affairs Minister Samuel Kurtz said it could lead to the use of public funding in order to ‘greenwash’ their emissions through farmland purchases in Wales.

He added that the Welsh Government shouldn’t be handing out taxpayers’ money to “those not active in our society and economy”.

“As the son of a farmer, the last thing I want to see are family-run farms being sold-off to foreign multinational companies to improve their own public-image, whilst they continue to produce an enormous carbon footprint completely guilt-free,” he said.

“By stopping Glastir payments to foreign companies, we’d ensure that money reaches the hands of the farmers and land managers here. That way, we can encourage them to use their own land to help tackle climate change.

“If the Welsh Conservatives were to control the allocation of Glastir funds, you could be assured that farmers would be encouraged to plant trees, and be rewarded for doing so.

“It’s about the right tree, in the right place, for the right reason.”

‘Does nothing to help’

Figures recently released by the Welsh Government confirmed that a growing proportion of Welsh Government Glastir Woodland Creation (GWC) scheme money was used to pay for tree planting on Welsh farmland bought by investors with addresses outside Wales.

The figures also confirmed that the areas planted by such investors are on average many times greater than what is planted by those with Welsh addresses.

The Farmers’ Union of Wales warned last month that the Welsh Government and Senedd needed to take “urgent accent” to control the market.

They said that rather than reducing their own carbon footprint, businesses were now finding it cheaper to buy up entire tracts of Welsh land instead.

“If someone plants trees on Welsh land and sells the carbon outside Wales then this does nothing to help Wales reduce its carbon footprint,” FUW President Glyn Roberts said.

He said that it risked undermining the ability of farms, Welsh agriculture or Wales as a whole to become carbon neutral.

Glyn Roberts added: “Our longstanding concerns were confirmed in a recent Welsh Government response to a Senedd question by Plaid Cymru agriculture spokesperson Cefin Campbell, which revealed that between GWC application windows 8 (November 2019) and 10 (November 2020) the number of applicants with addresses outside Wales grew from 3% to 8%.”


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John Davies
John Davies
7 months ago

In plain language the Tories want government handouts to go to their mates and not to Johnny Foreigner. Gerraway with you!

Katy Fowler
Katy Fowler
7 months ago

For once, I agree.

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
7 months ago

The Welsh Conservatives have responded by saying that the Welsh Government’s Glastir Woodland Creation scheme should not be accessible to multinationals from outside the country.

Which country is that? Is England classed as foreign? Or will this just be a britnat free for all for a bunch of tory scumrats? This to me sounds sounds like they want these lands to go to their rich English mates.

Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
7 months ago

It’s up to the Welsh government to wake up and stop what’s going on in Wales.. Before we are covered in woodlands and windmills they’re just using us again please wake up for our children’s sake

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 months ago
Reply to  Malcolm rj

The Tory may have latched onto a bright idea but it certainly did not originate with him. Anyone with an ounce of sense can see the folly of this carbon credits scam and it is the duty of our government, the lot down the Bay, to act immediately on this. No more sales of Welsh farms to corporates from anywhere, be it the UK or the wider world, so they can plant trees and earn brownie points here while carrying on with their polluting antics elsewhere.

arthur owen
7 months ago

At last,a Conservative supporting a conservative policy.I thought Mrs Thatcher had put an end to that.

j humphrys
j humphrys
7 months ago
Reply to  arthur owen

Agree. Would welcome a Welsh Conservative party, but most of ’em are carpetbaggers.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
7 months ago

Good idea, now how do you do that when the UK Tory government is selling everything, including the kitchen sink, to overseas business? Half the NHS is being flogged off to US venture capitalists and we own that, how does one legislate to prevent private owners selling their property to whoever pays most?
Too many of these “good” ideas are based in fantasy and journalists need to start asking how these bright ideas get realised.

Last edited 7 months ago by Kerry Davies
Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
7 months ago

Whilst I fully support tree planting and re-afforestation, I don’t think it should be used for carbon offsetting. As has been pointed out we end up in a situation whereby public funds are used to ‘greenwash’ the carbon emissions of big corporations who use this as an excuse not to cut their carbon emissions. What we need is a carbon tax so that the big corporations that refuse to cut their emissions get punished for it.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
7 months ago

Usually it’s the Tories that plant seeds, in this case saplings, of doubt The irony.

j humphrys
j humphrys
7 months ago

When you think of forest, what do you have in mind? Sisal (Welsh) oak, birch or pine?
Or acres of densely packed Sitka, with no introduction of forest ants, which are clear felled for cash? Could an expert educate us on this, please?

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