In January 2019, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, announced a 5.1 million pound fund for the eradication of sheep scab in Wales. The funds for the project come from the Rural Development Programme.
Prior to the announcement, the FUW and other industry bodies had submitted a paper to the Welsh Government outlining an industry endorsed programme for the eradication of sheep scab. This project was costed at around 8.6 million pounds over 3 years. The priority for funding expenditure in this report was for testing for the disease and for contiguous and co-ordinated treatment where the disease is confirmed on a farm.
The difference in funding has been examined by the FUW and others and we have repeated our funding priorities to the Welsh Government.
In August 2019, the tender for the sheep scab project was released on ‘Sell to Wales’ for expressions of interest. The final programme will depend on how the budget is spent by the winning tender.
An application has been invited by Welsh Government and is due to be submitted in February 2020. Following submission, the Welsh Government then has 90 days to make a final decision.
The timelines involved in the process make it very unlikely that a sheep scab programme will start before September 2020. The FUW has made its priorities known to those involved in the tender process and we will be writing to Welsh Government to ask them to expedite their section of the process in order to ensure that funding is released as soon as possible.