Welsh Government Climate Change Minister Julie James called on farmers, land managers and the rural business community to work together to create a powerful national effort to mitigate climate change at CLA Cymru's annual conference.
Speaking for the first time to a large public audience since Covid restrictions have been eased, the minister said that the conference "couldn't be more timely".
CLA Cymru Director Nigel Hollett says: “At our Rural Wales: the Perfect Climate for Green Growth, in Cardiff this week, the minister heard how the introduction of a workable Sustainable Farming Scheme, vital improvements in the planning system, tax, IT and connectivity, and investment in innovation and skills, can create a rural powerhouse for the Welsh economy. These all form part of our policy document, The Rural Powerhouse in Wales – our response to the Welsh Government’s Programme for Government, 2021-2026.
Our event showed that a dynamic can-do attitude exists in the rural community, and it was a great opportunity to show this to the Welsh Government.
"We learnt more about the exciting, immense potential of the green landscape to mitigate carbon emissions, how tree planting and forest management can be accelerated, and how the oncoming generation has intense commitment and capability to build on the successes of early adopters and make innovation mainstream.
"Speakers from The Rhug Estate, Confor, and YFC (Young Farmers) demonstrated that valuable inroads are already being made.”
Julie James told delegates she has been inspired by meeting representatives from other nations at the United Nations COP26 conference, which concluded last week. As the UK’s only minister with a portfolio devoted to tackling climate change, Julie explained that the Welsh Government has been the first UK nation to declare the climate change emergency. Her department is looking to work together with the rural community to harness the capability of the countryside to continue to produce high-quality food and to play its part in meeting the net zero challenge.
Nigel adds: “It is fitting that the minister chose our event to address the rural business community post COP26. As the leading body representing land management and rural business, we were the first to propose that farmers and land managers be supported for their work in delivering public good such as carbon management.
"Replacement of the EU Common Agricultural Policy’s blanket farm subsidy with the emerging Sustainable Farming Scheme presents a valuable new opportunity to address society’s new priorities. We’re looking forward now to engaging with the Welsh Government to shape this into a workable formula to transform the farming community – the backbone of the rural economy.”