The Welsh Liberal Democrats have secured a significant amendment to the Welsh Agriculture Bill in the Senedd today after members backed proposals by Mid & West Wales Senedd Member Jane Dodds.
The amendment proposed by the Liberal Democrats and Jane Dodds seeks to ensure there is Welsh Government support available to farmers who are looking to establish small-scale renewable energy production on their land and to support the agricultural industry in making changes to increase energy efficiency in their businesses.
In recent years there has been an increase in demand from farmers seeking to diversify their operations and set up small-scale renewable energy production on their land.
Many were disappointed that a previous Welsh Government scheme to incentivise small-scale hydropower on private land was discontinued by the Welsh Labour Government in 2021 and it is hoped Jane Dodds’ amendment to the bill will lead to increased support from the Government going forward.
Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and Mid & West Wales Senedd Member Jane Dodds said:
“This amendment is a major victory for the Welsh Liberal Democrats.
“Our local farmers feed the nation but also act as guardians of our land, protecting and maintaining the environment and nature contained within it. It is only right that we support them in their efforts to provide renewable energy and diversify their operations.
“The Welsh Agriculture Bill as a whole, is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to effect positive change for our world-class agricultural sector, helping our farmers to do what they do best and to support the links between our farmers, their local communities, and our natural environment.
“My amendment enables the Welsh Government to support farmers across Wales to adopt and adapt to manage energy effectively, including by adopting energy efficiency and energy-saving practices, and generating renewable energy on their land.
“We need to support our local farmers in taking actions that encourage and support their business resilience and support an environment of innovation. Supporting these businesses to adopt innovative practices while maintaining the traditional ways of farming which have been an important part of Wales for generations is crucial for keeping farmers on the land now and in the future.
“This is why my amendment specifically focuses specifically on keeping farmers on our land and helping them diversify rather than promoting the sale of family farms to large corporations for wind or solar farming.
“The Welsh Liberal Democrats are using our influence in the Senedd to help create a thriving future for our farmers in their role as producers of our food and as guardians of our land.”