Written by Sue Evans, Director of GWCT Cymru
2 Minute Read
The recent purchase of Pentwyn Farm by the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust has raised much discussion across farming communities where farms are being bought up by non-farming interests to plant trees or focus purely on biodiversity. While anyone creating more biodiversity in Wales has got to be a good thing, it seems unfair that individual farmers would find it almost impossible to raise the funds to create this level of biodiversity on their farms alongside vital food production, and many would like the opportunity to do that. So, while some charities are given large sums of money for carrying out small transformations, which often do not succeed in delivering the intended objectives, they will continue to be completely reliant on public funding at the highest level ad infinitum.
There needs to be serious thought given to corporate purchasers of land for carbon credits where trees will be planted to offset the damage that these corporates inflict elsewhere. This investment in conservation has potential for good, but also has the possibility to be destructive on many fronts. It calls to mind a simple mantra – the right trees in the right places. How much thought is given to the best land use being for trees in that area for biodiversity and our food security, let alone the community who will receive no benefit with another family home and livelihood taken away from already diminishing population?
Would it not be better for the government to focus on an effective Sustainable Farming Scheme that will pay those farmers who are keen to create thriving biodiversity on their farms at a much lesser price to the public purse? To promote the joined-up working of farmers and communities to have landscape-scale biodiversity alongside food security. And even better to start now in focusing funds towards delivering this outcome sooner than the proposed 2025 start date of the new Sustainable Farming Scheme? After all, GWCT has scientifically proven that you can reverse biodiversity decline through our three-legged stool approach, focusing on the provision of food and protection as well as habitat.
It needn’t be a question of biodiversity or food production – we need both to work hand-in-hand. With the right approach, it can.