CLA Cymru has joined forces with all four Senedd political parties to form a Cross Party Group (CPG) for Rural Growth. “These provide a forum for Members of the Senedd (MSs) to meet to discuss specific subjects – and moreover take evidence from experts,” Nigel Hollett explains. “Fulfilling the role of the secretariat to the CPG, this offers us welcome access to MSs interested in rural affairs – and inroads to present our expertise.”
This Group will be chaired by the Conservative opposition spokesman for Rural Affairs, Sam Kurtz MS. Attendees of the first meeting included representation from Carolyn Thomas (Labour), Cefin Campbell and Llyr Gruffydd (both Plaid Cymru) and Jane Dodds (Liberal Democrat). Eight MSs ensured the CPG met the criteria to be formed; more are likely to attend future meetings on specific subjects. Third party organisations, such as the farming unions and Non Government Organisations (NGOs) are likely to take part.
A CPG must include MSs from at least three political parties represented in the Senedd. Other individuals or organisations can join the group at the discretion of the Group. These bodies last for only the duration of a Senedd period but may subsequently be re-founded. A previous Rural Affairs Group met once in 2018, Chaired by the former MS, Simon Thomas MS,
Nigel continues, “What happens in the Senedd this year – and the remaining 3 years of the Senedd – will be critical for the rural economy. The CPG for Rural Growth is likely to focus on the Agriculture Bill – examining how it will affect farmers and landowners on the ground, possibly influencing MSs to pose questions or propose amendments to the Bill. The Group is likely to tackle a wide range of rural issues: the bTB strategy, the Agricultural Pollution Regulations, Phosphates and planning, rural economic development, housing, tourism and second homes – and the gamut of net-zero and air-quality focused government policies. It’ll have its’ work cut out.”