News

Entire Welsh farms being bought by outside companies for tree planting ‘almost on a weekly basis’

04 Oct 2021 2 minutes Read
Peter Aikman / Edge of Rhyd y Felin forest / CC BY-SA 2.0

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 trend comes as international businesses seek to offset their own carbon emissions by growing forests.

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.

“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.

Figures recently released by the Welsh Government have confirmed that a growing proportion of Welsh Government Glastir Woodland Creation (GWC) scheme money is 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.

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%.”

He added that he had recently met the Minister for Climate Change Julie James and received confirmation in the meeting that the Welsh Government was aware of and looking into the issue, and shared many of the FUW’s concerns.

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hdavies15
hdavies15
18 days ago

Greenwash is the game played by large corporates and institutions. It’s part of the network of loopholes created by compliant governments to enable these crooks to pretend they are “green” when in reality they are greedy and don’t really give a sh*t about the environment. Probably the same crowd engaging tax dodging on an industrial scale.

Dim problem
Dim problem
17 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Spot on

countryboi
countryboi
17 days ago

Maybe the people selling these farms, who presumably are farmers themselves, need to think about preserving the rural way of life, producing food and giving opportunities for others to enter into farming, not just selling their farms for the highest amount of money to whoever has the biggest wallet.

hdavies15
hdavies15
17 days ago
Reply to  countryboi

You would be dead right if the matter was as simple as you imply. Institutions buying land or any other asset do so with a feather bed of grant aid ( always scams schemes available for corporate “investments”) and low cost borrowing or share holder funds. Young people, or even older, wishing to buy into farming will face far higher borrowing costs, shallower grant provisions, if any, and fewer opportunities for tax “mitigation” after the event to support cash flows. The links between the tax avoidance/evasion/ mitigation sphere and those engaged in greenwash activity is far more than just coincidental.… Read more »

Last edited 17 days ago by hdavies15
Sam Wan
Sam Wan
17 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

I hear everything you say, but the seller still doesn’t have to sell to these people if they don’t want to.

Ex Plaid member
Ex Plaid member
17 days ago
Reply to  countryboi

From a sample size of 3, the sale is either forced because the original farmer has died and the estate is being split or there has been a falling out between siblings and no one of them has enough money to buy the others out. Also seems to be a trend to split say a 200 acre farm into 30-80 acre lots as it raises more than a just about viable farm would. Complex ecosystem on with zero simple solutions

Nan
Nan
16 days ago
Reply to  countryboi

But that buyer will just then sell it on,how on earth is the first seller able to veto the purchaser, impossible ,same with second homes sales in Wales. You can’t stop the next sale as an individual.

David
David
17 days ago

The Welsh Government Glastir Woodland Creation (GWC) scheme is to blame.

defaid
defaid
17 days ago
Reply to  David

Partly.

But this mode of abusing the scheme wasn’t forseen. Don’t we all believe that any organisation working to reduce its carbon footprint, especially by planting trees, has moral integrity?

hdavies15
hdavies15
17 days ago
Reply to  defaid

just devious abuse of a scheme which may have been created for sound reasons but is being exploited by corporate sharks who do as little as possible to modify the footprint of their core businesses.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
17 days ago

More resource grabbing by foreign capitalists.

Gill
Gill
17 days ago

They are always looking into it and doing NOTHING

Dafydd Iwan
Dafydd Iwan
17 days ago

This is wrong on so many levels, and it is a way of getting away with polluting the atmosphere under the guise of saving it. The Welsh Government must find a way of stopping this travesty.

Dafydd
Dafydd
17 days ago

Just a thought, but instead of complaining about it, can’t the farming unions set up a CO-OP to buy up these farms themselves, take advantage of the grants and then charge Welsh organisations such as County Councils, TATA etc an annual fee to offset their ‘Welsh’ emissions? ,,, and in doing so employ Welsh people to manage these areas, keeping money, culture and language embedded here in Cymru?

hdavies15
hdavies15
17 days ago
Reply to  Dafydd

Go to the top of the class. Smartest suggestion so far. Use the institutions tactics to stop them grabbing more land. These farms could then continue in the uses intended, providing homes and work while developing the huge areas of marginal land for timber, rewilding into bogs and other natural water absorbing/flood mitigation areas.

Andrew Heald
Andrew Heald
17 days ago

In reality only 80 hectares of new woodland was created in the whole of Wales last year. If Nation Cymru was genuinely conferenced about rural issues then this repeated failure would be front page news.
Perhaps next time you write an article about trees, you should speak to a forester … https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/documents/7769/Ch1_Woodland_FS2020_cgadFu3.pdf

philip
philip
17 days ago

The Environmental impact of farming over five millenia has caused insurmountable damge to our enviroment and eco systems. Upland farming causes flooding and prevents Co2 capture plus the Welsh govements pay farmers to cut down trees and wild flowers. The subsidies that farms receive create a false economy and do do enough for the enviroment and sustainble farming. Welsh farming makes about £400m walking £550m and outdoor wildlife activities £1.9b. The NEA say switching from farming to multi purpose woodland would produce an economic gain. The barren uplands are a waste of subsidies and don’t benefit the local economy. So… Read more »

philip
philip
17 days ago

The Environmental impact of farming over five millenia has caused insurmountable damge to our enviroment and eco systems. Upland farming causes flooding and prevents Co2 capture plus the Welsh govements pay farmers to cut down trees and wild flowers. The subsidies that farms receive create a false economy and do not do enough for the enviroment and sustainble farming. Welsh farming makes about £400m walking £550m and outdoor wildlife activities £1.9b. The NEA say switching from farming to multi purpose woodland would produce an economic gain. The barren uplands are a waste of subsidies and don’t benefit the local economy.… Read more »

Michael Rieveley
Michael Rieveley
16 days ago

These schemes where business corporations offset their carbon footprint are a way of avoiding the responsibility of those who pollute our environment to clean up their own actions on the cheap. It is a scam that should be outlawed.
The production of pollutants should be tackled at source.
It can be compared to the actions of Jimmy Saville whose abuse of minors was ignored for years under the guise of his so called charitable acts. Carbon off set is equally corrupt.

Howard Dare
Howard Dare
15 days ago

The obvious problem is ignored by everyone. Today, Boris announced that a brand new teacher will earn £30k on first appointment. Nothing wrong with that. It’s almost impossible for a family farm in Wales, with more than £1 million invested to earn that. Just look at the costs of farming and livestock prices what they were 30 years ago. Everyone is happy to screw the farmer to prices lower than production costs to get cheap food. Next time you go into Tesco just remember that the farmers cannot make a living and are selling up to big business. Perhaps continue… Read more »

Lee Spencer
Lee Spencer
15 days ago
Reply to  Howard Dare

What Boris says isn’t true.

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