William Powell portrait (Richard Thomas)William Powell AM has reiterated his call for the Welsh Government to use the Rural Development Plan (RDP) to deliver a dedicated Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) support scheme which will target those farming in the Moorlands (Upland areas above 400m).
William Powell AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Rural Affairs, said:
"I have spoken about the importance of the Welsh Moorlands throughout this CAP reform process.
"While I am glad the Welsh Government is at last considering actively a limited transitional scheme in their new RDP consultation, it is critical that Welsh Labour doesn't let our upland farmers down again.
"Welsh Moorland farmers have been left at a significant competitive disadvantage to other European Union nations thanks to the Welsh Labour Government's decision to abandon dedicated support in areas of natural constraint.
"Instead of jeopardising the Welsh hill-farming industry, the Welsh Labour Government should take the time to study imaginative schemes - such as those in Northern Ireland - and use the RDP to deliver a dedicated support scheme to those farming on Welsh Moorlands.
"This dedicated scheme should be in addition to the Government's agri-environmental proposals, as the limitations of farming in the Moorlands make it more difficult to take full advantage of such schemes.
"Due to the redrafting of the Moorland line, a dedicated scheme would cost significantly less than Tir Mynydd. Even with a significant increase in old rates for Severely Disadvantaged Areas (SDAs) such a scheme would only cost a few million a year in a funding programme expected to contain close to a billion Euros up to 2020.
"I argue that safeguarding the future of Welsh hill farms is worth such a scheme.
"Finally I am glad to see that Plaid Cymru have decided to support my call this afternoon."