Labour’s Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs betrayed farmers in Wales announcing the introduction of a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) across the whole country despite saying in the Senedd Chamber on seven separate occasions* that she would not while the pandemic continues.
Andrew RT Davies MS – the Leader of the Opposition in the Senedd – tackled the First Minister on the subject today (February 2) during FMQs, saying:
“We’re 10 months into this crisis, a crisis that has had a dramatic effect on all sectors of business including farming, and the Welsh Labour Government – propped up by the Lib Dem – decides to introduce a blanket NVZ across all of Wales when she had said she wouldn’t.
“Labour’s farming minister was quite clear throughout the course of 2020 and the pandemic. Labour promised farmers up and down Wales they wouldn’t look at introducing these regulations while we were still dealing with the coronavirus crisis. Labour have broken that promise.
"I asked Labour’s First Minister to personally intervene on behalf of farmers and rural communities across Wales and hold off introducing these regulations when we’re still in the grip of a pandemic. He wouldn’t. He wouldn’t even acknowledge that his Minister broke a promise made seven times.
“It’s yet another broken promise by the Labour Party, and shows that farmers and the Welsh public at large can’t trust Labour when it comes to protecting livelihoods and the food security of Wales and our United Kingdom.”
*From the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs:
8th April 2020: ‘’I am minded to introduce once the crisis comes to an end’’ (para. 130)
7th May 2020: ‘’I will not bring them forward while we're in the current pandemic period’’ (para. 124)
7th May 2020: ‘’We don't know when we will be out of this pandemic, and I certainly won't bring them in whilst we are in this very difficult period’’ (para. 124)
11th June 2020: ‘’we've said that we will not introduce the regulations whilst we're in this pandemic period’’ (para. 100)
16th September 2020: ‘’What I have committed to is not bringing them forward whilst we're in the middle of a COVID-19 pandemic’’ (para. 41)
17th September 2020: ‘’I don't think it's the appropriate time to bring them forward in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic’’(para. 88)
14th October 2020: ‘’I have committed not to do anything while we are at the height of the pandemic’’ (para. 31)