Rhaid i ni wneud y pethau bychain!
There was exciting news at the Wales RDP 2014-2020 Consultation Event last week. The RDP, or Rural Development Plan makes clear how European funding is to be used to support and improve the rural economy, particularly agriculture, forestry and the like. It seems that Alun Davies, our Natural Resources Minister, really does understand the potentially huge benefits of small areas of woodland, trees and hedgerows within the farmed landscape. Hence after concerted lobbying over the past months by Coed Cadw (Woodland Trust Wales) and Coed Cymru, Bill MacDonald (Land Use and Sustainable Forest Management Advisor to Welsh Government) was able to explain that the proposed new Glastir Small Grants Scheme includes options for small scale tree planting, so an opportunity is on the horizon for all landowners to try out the type of planting which has served the Pontbren farmers and their environment and community so well.
Subject to further discussions with EU about their definition of woodland; options for tree planting support in Wales will include shelter belts, field boundaries, field corners and scattered individual trees. Multiple applications will be welcomed so that landowners can start small but experiment further as their confidence grows. The scheme will be linked to advice on agroforestry and the benefits of tree planting; key to its success will be well rounded facilitation, which identifies tree planting opportunities with ready access to specialist advisers and support with delivery.
We hope that this big step on the part of Welsh Government will lead to many small, positive steps across the Welsh landscape that will not only be of benefit to farm businesses but also to important challenges such as meeting EU Water Framework Directives, reducing flooding, reducing our carbon footprint and helping other species adapt to climate change as we do so ourselves.
So to Welsh Government we would like to say congratulations and thank you for listening to us – llongyfarchiadau a diolch am wrando arnon ni!
Rory Francis, Communications Officer, Coed Cadw