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Conservatives warn buying farms for tree planting could hit Welsh language communities

10 Nov 2021 3 minutes Read
Janet Finch-Saunders speaking in the Senedd

The Welsh Conservatives have warned that companies buying farms to plant trees in order to offset their carbon emissions could have a negative impact on Welsh language communities.

Aberconwy Senedd Member Janet Finch-Saunders MS has called on the Welsh Government to establish a commission to ensure that the “burden of decarbonisation” does not fall unequally on rural communities.

Her request comes after a farmers’ union has expressed alarm after receiving reports “almost on a weekly basis” of entire Welsh farms being snapped up for tree planting.

The Farmers’ Union of Wales said 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.

Janet Finch-Saunders said that the Welsh Government had previously pledged that woodland creation targets, in an effort to combat Climate Change, should not affect communities.

“I am aware that the FUW receive almost weekly reports of whole farms or parcels of land being bought up by individuals and businesses from outside of Wales for the purpose of tree planting, including a recent report of a large farm which has been taken over by British Aerospace,” she said.

“This is why I wish to see the Welsh Government establish a Just Transition Commission to ensure the burden of decarbonisation does not fall unequally on our rural communities and have a negative impact on the historically thriving Welsh language in rural Wales.”

Speaking in the Senedd, she said: “For someone who believes in a free market, I believe it wrong to be seeing our farms and agricultural land in our strong Welsh-speaking communities simply being bought up in huge investments for companies and people from over the border.”

‘Concerns’

Jeremy Miles MS, the Minister for the Welsh Language, responded that he was already having discussions with the Minister and Deputy Minister for Climate Change in relation to this matter.

“It has been raised and discussed in this Chamber a number of times, including by Cefin Campbell earlier today,” he said. “I think I will echo the point that the Deputy Minister made in relation to the point raised by Cefin Campbell: we’ll be working very closely together in relation to that particular point.”

Glyn Roberts of FUW Cymru had said last month that the developments risked undermining the ability of farms, Welsh agriculture or Wales as a whole to become carbon neutral.

“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.

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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hdavies15
hdavies15
16 days ago

Smart piece of bandwagon jumping by JFS. Ironic when you consider that the evidence so far suggests that the main culprits are City institutions and corporates engaged in the spurious “carbon offsets racket. Often these are also found on lists of donors to the Tory Party, and funders of many of our recently elected M.P’s. Maybe it’s time that Party got its ducks in a row as it’s been prepared to chuck farming under the proverbial bus on many of its decisions recently.

GILL
GILL
16 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Encouraged by Welsh Labour Gvt grants and their blind intent and impotent policies to support Welsh speaking areas in west Wales

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
16 days ago
Reply to  GILL

Are you confusing governments? Wales is dropping offsetting from the “Net Zero Pathway” while in England offsetting is official Environment Agency policy.

Jeff
Jeff
16 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

But the obsession with climate change dogma, including the concerted attacks on meat and dairy, is a massive threat to rural Wales, its economy and the Welsh language. It is
a every bit as noxious an attack on Wales and its way of life as the flooding of valleys in the 1960s.

hdavies15
hdavies15
16 days ago
Reply to  Jeff

That’s exactly how it is. Threatened by the Labour government in Wales who have some zany ideas about securing a net zero objective more akin to reducing everybody to a zero based existence ! Then to make matters worse a UK Tory regime, with uncritical vocal backing from Welsh Tories, whose only solution seems to be delivered by wealthy City institutions and corporates, and whose treaties with other countries seem to care not one iota for the viability of our agricultural sector mostly built around small and medium sized units. Enough to make one suspect that it’s all designed to… Read more »

Crwtyddol
16 days ago

This is exactly what happened to the communities above and around Soar Y Mynydd chapel. Clobbered by the winter of 1947, most farmers sold up to the then new Forestry Commission. My son tells me that British Airways have just bought a farm at Cilycwm.
In Brazil, recently cleared rain forest land is openly advertised for £700 an acre, or less.
They could buy 10 times more land for their money out there, and with labour costing less, management, etc, would be cheaper, as well as providing local employment based on conservation. Win-win.

Philip
Philip
16 days ago

The utter madness and tragedy of the Green panic continues to destroy our lives. There are environmental – and health – problems (when were there not in a dangerous world?), but the ‘medicine’ we are being prescribed is more toxic than the ‘sickness’. Sober science has been perverted by a monomaniacal Lysenkoist doctrine, propagandised by the emotional blackmail of climate-cultists and an official campaign of political terror. The public health panic is also being conducted along the same dangerously politicised lines. The ‘New Normal’ society we are being herded into is a Death Camp, a Gulag, where we are to… Read more »

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