Wales News: Assembly Must Issue Urgent Guidance

Leading Breconshire farmer, Powys County Councillor and Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC), Roger Williams, will be urging the National Assembly Rural Affairs Minister to produce
comprehensive guidance for farmers who have had to have their stock culled during the Foot & Mouth (FMD) outbreak, on how to manage their farms over the coming months, when no stock will be allowed on the farms.

” The nature of this disease means that the outbreak is mainly occurring in clusters or certain areas. This means that great areas of countryside will be without stock over the next six to twelve months. Farmers on
infected farms will not be allowed to harvest hay and silage crops on these farms. There are bound to be huge environmental problems to be dealt with, in terms of controlling noxious weed and grass growth, and the prevention of infestation of bracken and other unwelcome pests on to grassland. Without stock, these farms could easily become semi-derelict. There is also the risk that in their efforts to prevent this happening, farmers could unintentionally damage wildlife and its habitats.”

” The National Assembly will have to issue comprehensive guidance to farmers about the way the land should be managed until it can be restocked. There is a great opportunity for the Assembly to promote improved environmental management by increasing the funding for the Tir Gofal scheme, and ensuring that those farms which have been culled receive priority from the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) in accessing that funding and agreeing management schemes, which will prevent the farms becoming semi-derelict but improve habitats for wildlife.”

” It is vital that a strategic approach is taken to deal with the huge change that FMD is going to produce over the spring and summer months. Many of our valleys and open hills are going to be without stock. The
change that this will produce for the environment will be profound, and will require careful and well-funded management to prevent the results being bad for both farmers, wildlife and the general environment.”

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