Leader of Welsh Greens says new Agriculture Bill is ‘a historic opportunity’ for Wales
The Leader of the Wales Green Party says the Welsh Government’s new Agriculture Bill is “an historic opportunity” but adds politicians must ensure they get it right.
The Senedd will debate the Agricultural (Wales) Bill tomorrow (7 February) and If MSs support the general principles, the Bill will proceed to Stage 2 which has a deadline of 21 April.
There are four stages in all.
Anthony Slaughter, leader of the Wales Green Party, says his view of the proposed Bill is in broad alignment with the Wales Environmental Link (WEL).
WEL is a charity representing a network of over 30 groups which work together to protect nature.
Over the weekend they called on the Senedd to strengthen the Bill “to save nature”.
Mr Slaughter refers to the Bill “as a historic opportunity” for Wales.
“In the light of the recent Cop15 (2022 United Nations Biodiversity Conference) and the nature crisis it’s imperative that we get this right.
“There can’t be any room for slippage and misunderstanding. It’s not so much about what’s not in it – it’s about the need for it to be strengthened. We need a really strong focus on biodiversity and the nature crisis.”
The Agriculture (Wales) Bill is about working in partnership with the agriculture community, he added.
Mr Slaughter said: “We need to take the agricultural sector along with us. I speak with farmers all the time, and people at the NFU (National Farmer’s Union) and they are very much on board. They want to be doing the right thing as regards land management.
“So, I think that using this Bill to ensure that doing the right thing is the easiest thing to do.
“Food production is vital and at the same time everything has to enhance the landscape and the natural world.”
The Bill was first introduced to the Senedd on 26 September of last year, and introduces a new framework for ‘Sustainable Land Management’ whilst transitioning from the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy.
Mr Slaughter said: “When we manage the transition from The Basic Payments Scheme (the biggest grant to the farming industry) we need to make sure that … you don’t do one thing in a policy area that impacts negatively on another. “
A holistic and integrated approach to sustainable agriculture and food production is something the Wales Green Party “has been wanting to see for a long time,” says their leader, Anthony Slaughter.
“We’re very good in Wales at getting these ambitions in place – we’ve got the Well-being and Future Generations Act 2015.”
Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales has previously said: “
“We have big ambitions for protecting our environment and the future generations in Wales and are leading the way with our Environment Act and Well–being of Future Generations Act.”
Mr Slaughter believes that the Agriculture (Wales) Bill, “is an ideal opportunity to tie the two together.
“We’ve signed up to (the Act) so let those things be guiding the policy that comes out of the Agricultural Bill.
“It’s another opportunity for Wales to be a small nation leading the way as well and showing how things can be done.”
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