Access is a vital element of the Sustainable Farming Scheme in Wales

Access is a vital element of the Sustainable Farming Scheme in Wales

We have responded to the Welsh government’s consultation on the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS), whereby money is given to landowners and farmers to deliver public goods.  We warmly welcome the SFS and are pleased that it offers landowners and farmers the opportunity to provide improved public access.  We believe this public good to be of paramount importance for people’s enjoyment, heath, and well-being, and it is in line with the goals of the Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015, and the Welsh government’s access reform proposals (yet to be implemented).

In summary, we have made the following points.

  • Public access is a vital element of the SFS and should be added to the scheme rules, with a requirement to provide a certain minimum level of access.
  • Legal responsibilities on public rights of way and access should be in the additional regulations for scheme rules, with a requirement to have all rights of way and access in good order before funding is provided.
  • Local advice will be needed to ensure that the paths and access are in good order, and that the access is provided where people need it.
  • There should be an option of permanent access under the scheme.
  • New access must be publicised centrally, at least by means of an online map and database.
  • There must be a commitment from the Welsh government to provide its partner bodies with the necessary funding for this work.

We look forward to working with Welsh government and Natural Resources Wales to help shape the scheme and to ensure that public access is at its heart.

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Team @ AberdareOnline

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