Potential benefits to landowners in carbon trading, land management in Wales’ proposed new Sustainable farming Scheme, sourcing employees in the rural community and the future role of National Parks: these were the subject of debate at CLA Cymru’s AGM and event recently. Snowdonia National Park’s Environmental Studies Centre, Plas Tan y Bwlch, was the perfect host as a venue, which tackles all these issues and more.
Director CLA Cymru Nigel Hollett says, “Members heard from experts from Welsh Government and the National Park. These are vital stakeholders, critical to the future of the rural economy. Together we have been able to scrutinise key issues. How the planning system needs to adapt to support “Green Growth” to support new ways of working and embrace a new range of additional benefits the rural landscape provides for wider society.”
“Landowners and rural businesses are highly entrepreneurial. Everywhere in Wales, they’ve demonstrated creativity and commitment to nurture new income-streams while farm profitability has been squeezed by many factors. However, despite the appetite to diversify - on the ground and in government – the process of diversification remains very challenging. Wales is looking to get more out of our green spaces – meeting many sustainable objectives – and meeting demand for a dynamic tourism sector. Government must work together with businesses to achieve shared goals.”
Speaking at the workshop, senior Welsh Government Deputy Director, James Owen explained that the Government wants to keep farms producing food. Within the new scheme farms need to become more efficient and the benefit of the scheme must be felt more deeply in the community. “We want a new relationship between landowners, farmers and the Government,” and this extends further in issues such as mental health.
Nigel Hollett adds, “The EU support system is deeply embedded, both technically and culturally. The process of transition will take some time and must be carefully managed in line with parallel processes in other parts of the UK. It’s going to be a multi-generational process and it will be profoundly influenced by consumer behaviour: changing diets, changing lifestyles and also changing attitudes about how we value what land provides for us – both in physical productivity and in vital well-being.
Lights, Sound, Action! Clarity and support can keep the cameras rolling!
Filming using private land and buildings can offer welcome income, but the fear of unknown consequences and managing it can be daunting, said Richard Williams Bulkeley from Beaumaris. Recently, he has hosted film crews for popular TV shows such as “I’m a celebrity, get me out of here!”
Speaking at CLA Cymru’s North wales AGM and workshop, he said, “A contract which is explicit about duration, scope, and capacity to make physical changes: erect temporary structures, create paths etc, is essential. Land managers need to be on-site, to resolve inevitable questions which arise and appropriately supervise where necessary.”
Richard explained that the Snowdonia National Park Authority have generally been supportive of this activity and the Welsh Government’s ScreenWales facility can be very helpful.
“The benefits are there to be seen,” Richard explained. “But hosting crews can be very challenging. There will be some damage to filing sites. This must be resolved before the teams depart. Given mutual clarity and support: crews will return.”