No impact assessment took place before decision to end Glastir

THROUGH a Freedom of Information request, Welsh Government has confirmed that no formal assessment of the impact on organic farmers took place before the decision was taken to end Glastir funding.

Patrick Holden, Welsh organic farmer and chief executive of the Sustainable Food Trust, said “I believe that the decision to withdraw support payments will inflict long-term damage, not just on the organic sector but on Welsh agricultural community as a whole.

“I think what the Welsh government are missing is that organic farming is the best exemplar we have of carbon, nature and socially friendly farming. Hundreds of farmers throughout Wales have adopted that system, and it would be sad, as is currently the case, that farmers are actually dropping out of organic farming and going back to conventional because they can’t make it work financially.”

News that Welsh Government failed to commission an economic or social impact assessment will come as another blow to farmers, whose Glastir funding is due to end in December this year. The funding announcement was made during the Senedd’s summer recess and Members of the Senedd have had no chance to scrutinise plans or ask questions.

In answer to our FOI request, Welsh Government indicated that the impacts on organic farmers had been discussed at ministerial level, but no formal assessment had been made.

They said “impact was considered as part of advice submitted to the Minister for Rural Affairs, North Wales and Trefnydd, which included broad assessments of the options and impacts. A formal impact assessment has not been undertaken.”

In response to a question about the level of funding available for organic farmers, Welsh Government said “The interim scheme will be available to all farmers. Existing organic farmers can apply, should they wish to do so, however, they will not receive an equivalent organic maintenance payment.

“The interim scheme will target habitat land and land to manage as habitat. Some organic farmers, who do not have significant areas of habitat land, if successful in their application, will receive less funding.

“However, for some organic farmers with large areas of habitat land, if they are successful, they could receive a higher level of funding.”

Although Glastir ends in December 2023, the new Sustainable Farming Scheme won’t come into effect until 2025. Furthermore, details of a planned interim agri-environment scheme have not yet been published, meaning that organic farmers have effectively been left in limbo.

Patrick Holden told 8.9 TV News that he will be meeting with Rural Affairs Minister, Lesley Griffiths, soon and will be asking her to extend Glastir through 2024 and do more to inform members of the public about the benefits of organic agriculture.

Watch our interview with Patrick Holden

Related: Welsh Government confirms organic funding will end in December

Support a practical, investable and inclusive narrative for land use.

Sign-up to receive our newsletter

Newsletter Signup
Contribute for just £2.50 per week
Skip to content