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Frequently Asked Questions


Please note that the Welsh Government have not updated the Frequently Asked Questions document for some time and therefore some of the information in these questions may no longer be correct.

 


 

Section 1 - Why Change?

1    WHY CHANGE

 

Question

Answer

1.1

Why is the Assembly Government introducing Glastir?

 

 

Whose idea is Glastir and what good will it do to the countryside?

 

 

The current agri environment schemes were designed to meet a different agenda. We now face new challenges and opportunities and schemes need to be able to support farmers to respond to future demands. The new scheme reflects the Welsh Assembly Government's new environmental commitments as well as our new strategies on food and farming.

 

Importantly, it also responds to the European Health Check Agenda, agreed by the European Council last November. This refers to the role of farmers in combating climate change, improving water management and maintaining and enhancing biodiversity.  All Member States will be obliged to respond to these challenges in their Rural Development Plans from 2014.

 

The new scheme (Glastir) also prepares for implementation of the Water Framework Directive which will require WAG to ensure that all water bodies achieve an agreed standard of condition by 2015.

1.2

Is there a problem with the current agri environment schemes?

 

The decision is not a criticism about the existing schemes, but responds to the current and future challenges that farmers and wider society face. 

 

The CAP Health Check Agenda agreed by the European Council sets out clear and new challenges that we must meet within our Rural Development Plan. These include climate change, carbon capture, water quality and biodiversity contained. The current schemes were not designed to respond to these issues and under EC rules cannot be enhanced to meet these challenges within the available budget.

1.3

How will Glastir improve matters?

 

 

Glastir is the best approach to delivering environmental objectives of the Assembly Government and EU while extending opportunities for land management to more farmers within the constraints of a 'flat-line' budget.

1.4

Has Glastir got a specific Carbon Reduction target?

No.

1.5

Aren't the existing agri environment schemes principally there to provide support to farmers?

Schemes delivered under Axis 2 of the Rural development Plan provide payment in return for farmers delivering a package of environmental goods.  These payments support farmers to deliver environmental benefits. Tir Mynydd has a socio-economic or income support basis to it but the European Commission, in its review of LFAs', has stated that socio-economic criteria can no longer be used as a basis for this support. Payments rates are established on the basis of income forgone and costs incurred.

1.6

Will the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) be affected?

There is no link whatsoever. Glastir does not affect the Single Payment Scheme (SPS).

1.7

Is Glastir designed to force farmers to take action on climate change and water management?

 

Entry to Glastir is entirely optional.  The Welsh Assembly Government has a duty to use the taxpayer's money it receives responsibly and appropriately. It is important to ensure that we are getting the best possible value for taxpayers' money and prioritise spending on those areas that bring the widest possible benefits.

1.8

What else are you doing to tackle climate change?

The Wales Land Use Climate Change Group has been established to consider how agriculture and land use can adapt to climate change. It will look at impacts, and how to respond in terms of opportunities for farming and forestry businesses as well as considering threats. The Group has produced a report advising on new actions that will help to deliver the 3% target to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to look at ways in which Welsh agriculture can work towards becoming carbon neutral by 2020.

 

In addition, a new Climate Change Development Programme was launched in 2009 within Farming Connect. This will ensure land managers can get the latest information to enable them to adopt new approaches and techniques to address climate change and take advantage of potential cost reductions and new business opportunities presented to them.

1.9

In terms of stability and certainty can we expect Glastir to be in place for many years?

 

 

 

One of the aims of this review is to give farmers a scheme that offers longer term stability. In order to deliver against climate change, water and biodiversity objectives we have to commit to funding actions by farmers over the longer term as in many cases results will not become apparent for several years.

 

Behind the changes announced is the intention that Glastir will be in place through to 2020 and beyond, providing stability for farmers as well as environmental benefits.

1.10

Glastir contracts are only for 5 years, what will happen after that, more changes?

Glastir is likely to be in place for at least 10 years but will be periodically reviewed.  Following the completion of a 5 year contract the contract holder can reapply for another AWE contract.

1.11

How do you know that Glastir will provide the outcomes you are seeking?

 

It is true that in the past it has been difficult to demonstrate that existing schemes have delivered improvements in an obvious and transparent way. - indeed this is one of the issues raised by the recent Wales Audit Office review of Tir Gofal.  One of the problems recognised is that historically monitoring of schemes has too often been an afterthought rather than a built in component of scheme design. For Glastir, we will be working from the outset with farming and countryside interests and experts to ensure that the environmental baseline, operational data capture, and monitoring methodologies are all appropriate to enable us to measure the outcomes achieved. This will enable us to demonstrate value for money in the medium to long term.

1.12

What does 'ecosystem services' mean?

 

Ecosystem services are the benefits people obtain from ecosystems (a community of plants, animals and microorganisms, along with their environment, that function together as a unit). These include provisioning services such as food and water; regulating services such as flood, carbon emissions and disease control; cultural services such as spiritual, recreational, and cultural benefits; and supporting services such as nutrient cycling that maintain the conditions for life on Earth.

1.13

Why don't you divert the resources towards more food production given the pending food shortages at a global level?

The Minister wholly backs food production, the flagship strategy, Farming, Food & Countryside - building a secure future, details a majority of actions to improve food production and farming profitability.  Glastir is a tool to deliver the Assembly Government's environmental commitments.  The scheme compliments food production and will require at most minor modifications to farming systems.

 

Section 2 - Glastir Budget & Farmer Payments

 

Section 3 - Future of Existing Schemes

 

Section 4 - Entry Element

 

Section 4a - Entry Element Options


Section 5 - Advanced Element

 

Section 6 - Agricultural Carbon Reduction and Efficiency Scheme (ACRES)/Efficency Element

 

Section 7 - Commons Element

 

Section 8 - Woodlands

 

Section 9 - Organic Farming

 

Section 10 - Applications and Eligibility Criteria

 

Section 11 - Transitional Arrangements

 

Section 12 - Monitoring, Breaches and Penalties

 

Section 13 - Miscellaneous