Conservative and Labour government policies are having a devastating impact on Welsh farmers said Cefin Campbell, Plaid Cymru Candidate in Mid and West Wales. At a time when the UK Tory government has slashed £137 million from the support for Welsh agriculture, the Labour Welsh Government plans to make the whole of Wales a Nitrogen Vulnerable Zone (NVZ), despite fierce opposition from farming unions.
When conditions are favourable, farmers usually spread slurry on their fields between October and March, but the NVZ will ban slurry spreading for five months over the winter period. Slurry will have to be stored at a time when most cattle are kept indoors, which could result in farmers having to invest heavily in huge slurry tanks to accommodate the increased waste.
‘As agriculture and our rural communities in general face huge challenges following the Brexit agreement and the effects of the Covid pandemic, the Conservatives take millions of pounds of badly needed money away from farmers, and Labour bring in draconian measures that will have a devastating effect on small or medium sized dairy farms,’ said Cllr Cefin Campbell who is also Executive Board member with responsibility for Rural Affairs on Carmarthenshire County Council.
‘Although I fully understand the crucial importance of protecting our waterways from slurry pollution, the Welsh Government should have taken a more targeted approach by implementing restrictions in specific areas or on farms that have a history of poor practice – as proposed by the government body Natural Resources Wales,’ he said. ‘This blanket ban will punish the 95% of farmers who’ve worked tirelessly for generations to maintain that delicate balance between making a living and protecting the environment. It’s a grossly disproportionate over-reaction by Welsh Government.’
‘The investment needed by family run farms to comply with these new restrictions could put their businesses at risk and even result in many leaving the land. The financial support offered by Welsh Government to help farmers adapt to these new conditions is pitiful. The increased costs, coupled with the Tories cutting millions from agriculture aid, clearly shows that neither of the main parties can be trusted to support the farming industry, which is the backbone of our rural communities across mid and west Wales’, he added.