Questions Without Notice from the Party Leaders

Part of 1. Questions to the First Minister – in the Senedd at 1:48 pm on 20 February 2024.

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Photo of Mark Drakeford Mark Drakeford Labour 1:48, 20 February 2024

I think it's important that I remind the leader of the opposition why we are in the position that we are in: it's because farmers in Wales took his advice and voted to leave the European Union. That's why that is—[Interruption.] Well, there we are. Believe me, we are in the position that we are in today because we have taken back control of farming support in Wales, as we were obliged to do. If farmers in Wales were still able to have access to the funds that were available through the European Union, they would be in a very different position than they are having heard and followed his advice. I've answered many of his questions already this afternoon; I won't go over that again.

As far as tree planting is concerned, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of farms in Wales already have 10 per cent of their land under tree cover. Nobody is forced to plant trees in Wales; we were determined to offer farmers the first chance in Wales to grow the trees that we will need, because we will need thousands and thousands more trees in Wales in an era of climate change. We're committed to doing that and we're committed to offering farmers the first chance to do so. Where it is not possible, where, because of the topography of the land or other considerations, it isn't possible to reach 10 per cent, the Minister has already set out proposals so that farmers wouldn't be expected to reach that. Where farmers can, where it is reasonable to expect farmers to make a contribution to mitigating climate change, they will be rewarded for doing so in the sustainable farming scheme.