Commoners given updates on Glastir schemes
The land covered by the Glastir Common Land Element is approximately 67,000ha; about 35 per cent of the total common land in Wales, which compares very favourably with previous agri-environment schemes.
Gary Haggaty, Head of the Welsh Government’s Farm Development Division, gave a presentation covering policy developments on Commons, Glastir, Common Agricultural Policy reform, Electronic Identification (EID) tolerances and the recently published ‘Working Smarter’ report.
He emphasised the importance to the Welsh economy of livestock grazing on Common Land, both through the direct benefit of food production and the indirect benefits to the wider rural economy.
Dealing with the Glastir Common Land Element, Mr Haggaty told the forum that 106 grazing associations have entered into contracts.
“The land covered by the scheme is approximately 67,000ha; about 35 per cent of the total common land in Wales. This compares very favourably with previous agri-environment schemes.”
One concern raised by commoners was that joining the scheme might affect future rights of common. Mr Haggaty assured the forum that participation in the Glastir Common Land Element had no effect on the legitimacy of rights of common following exit from the scheme.
Grazing Associations representing commons with Sites of Special Scientific Interest were advised that they should consult with the Countryside Council for Wales if they were uncertain about the restrictions applying in these areas. It was emphasised that these restrictions apply irrespective of whether a Common is entered into a Glastir agreement.
During February 2012 the selection process for the Targeted Element agreements on Common Land was carried out, and letters have gone to Grazing Assocations (GAs) informing them of the result. It is expected that around 50 GAs will be invited to join the Targeted Element in the first year of the scheme. The Targeted Element will offer additional grants towards, for example, bracken control, shepherding and ensuring sustainable grazing on Common land.