CIfA has produced a joint statement with the Council for British Archaeology (CBA), Clywd-Powys Archaeological Trust (CPAT), and Dyded Archaeological Trust (DAT), in response to the recently published Agriculture (Wales) white paper consultation. The consultation, which ends Friday 26 March, sets out a new 'Sustainable Farming Scheme' for Wales (SFS), to replace the existing agri-environment land management scheme Glastir.
We are calling for CIfA members to support our opposition to the exclusion of culture and heritage form the new scheme. In its present state, the SFS will have devasting effect on the historic environment, undoing over 20 years of successful protection through agri-environment schemes.
If the proposals are not amended, it would mean that farmers would no longer receive financial support for maintaining historic landmarks, features and archaeology on their land. Without this protection and mechanism for funding, our ability to develop stewardship for Welsh rural heritage and landcape will be drastically curtailed, with potentially serious loss for future generations.
We are asking interested individuals to write to their Senedd representatives to encourage them to consider the historic environment in within the Sustainable Farming Scheme. Click here for more details on this campaign and advice on how to write to your representatives.
The joint statement from CIfA, CBA, CPAT, and DAT reads:
"Rural heritage in Wales is under threat from Government proposals to introduce a new Sustainable Farming Scheme for Wales (SFS). Unlike previous agri-environment programmes, the SFS does not include provision for the historic environment.
This means that farmers would not be eligible to receive payments for works which contribute to the delivery of heritage or landscape outcomes, like repairing stone walls, maintaining archaeological sites, or adopting agricultural practices less likely to harm sites.
We believe that the historic environment is an integral part of the rural environment where natural and cultural heritage exist within working landscapes. Farmers and other land managers are stewards of this resource, maintaining the character of the land for the benefit of current and future generations.
We have strongly supported the development of a new post-Brexit system for agricultural subsidy based on the delivery of environmental public goods by land managers. We believe that outcomes which conserve or enhance cultural landscapes and archaeological features must be included in this new system.
CIfA, CBA, and the Welsh Archaeological Trusts will be urging Government to alter its proposals and build on the successes of 20 years of protection for rural heritage under agri-environment schemes. We must not accept this needless backsliding on the protection of the historic environment.
We will be strongly objecting to the proposals in responses to the current consultation (closes 26 March). We expect that an Agriculture (Wales) Bill will be introduced into the Senedd later this year.
We are asking all interested individuals to write to their Senedd representatives to raise these concerns and urge them to include the historic environment within the new Sustainable Farming Scheme"