Empowering Rural Communities
We would re-set the relationship between the Welsh Government and the agriculture industry. A consultative Rural Senedd, similar in form to Citizens Assemblies will strengthen the voice of rural communities and help influence the decisions that affect them.
Future farm support would target active farmers and Plaid Cymru would develop a strategy to bring new and young entrants into the industry. Local authority farms would play a key role and we will work with public bodies and the wider third sector to identify ways of protecting and enhancing the public farm estate as an important foothold for new entrants in the future.
We also recognise the important wider social contribution made by young farmers’ clubs across Wales and would work with Wales YFC to develop and grow the key role they play in our rural communities.
We commit to using the most effective measures to control and eradicate TB utilising lessons from elsewhere in the UK and beyond. We would also support work to tackle other animal health challenges such as Bovine Viral Diarrhoea and Sheep Scab.
- Work closely with Welsh Police and Crime Commissioners and the UK Government to tackle rural crime, particularly to seek the devolution of powers to take greater action on attacks by dogs on farm livestock.
- Support the Welsh wool industry, through encouraging the use of Welsh wool in, carpets, public buildings and housing construction and renovation projects, as well as supporting efforts to increase Welsh Wool research and processing capacity.
- Invest in rural science and technology to research, develop and promote more sustainable methods of meeting needs. We will particularly focus on innovation relating to climate change adaptation, resource use efficiency, waste reduction, livestock and crop improvement and the control of pests and diseases.
- Work with farmers to reduce the use and impacts of fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and the extent of nitrate run-off.
- Aim to considerably increase the level of organic farming in Wales and significantly grow the horticulture sector.
- Work with the UK Government to improve rural connectivity – particularly broadband and mobile phone services.
- Commit to working with rural mental health charities, farming unions, Wales YFC and others to ensure that support and advice is available and accessible to those who need it.
Plaid Cymru would revisit the Nitrate Vulnerable Zone regulations introduced by the Welsh Labour Government
Enforcing an all-Wales Nitrate Vulnerable Zone was contrary to the advice of the Welsh Government’s statutory advisor, Natural Resources Wales. We believe the regulations are disproportionate and that a ‘farming by calendar’ approach risks causing new pollution incidents. The capital investment required to meet the new regulations (estimated at up to £360 million by the Government) is nearly £100 million more than the total income from farming in Wales in 2019. This will force many farms out of business.
Instead, we would work with the industry, Natural Resources Wales and other stakeholders to repeal Labour’s NVZs and introduce better targeted regulations within our first six months in Government. This would be complemented by a robust voluntary approach elsewhere, based on schemes that have clearly demonstrated success in reducing levels of nitrates.