Hedges and Edges workshop

On Monday 23rd of May, a payment plan development workshop, 'Hedges and Edges', was held on Fferm Fedw Arian in Rhyd Uchaf near Bala. 'Hedges and Edges' is a Coed Cadw proposal and the charity hopes the Welsh Government will use its proposals as part of the new Sustainable Farming Scheme. The workshop was being held to give the Farmers’ Union of Wales and NFU Cymru an opportunity to jointly develop the plan, and give feedback to Coed Cadw.

As one element of the proposals, this scheme would provide a type of basic payment based on the mapping of existing hedges and wooded edges, with more money available to improve the condition of those hedges and to plant new ones.

For those farmers who have already done a lot to improve and develop the hedges on their farms, there would be a maintenance payment on the work that has already been completed. The aim of the plan is to create a form of additional basic payment that can achieve ecological objectives while being accessible to all. This kind of plan would also enable farmers to increase the number of trees in Wales without losing farms or planting trees in fertile fields.

Representing the Farmers' Union of Wales on the day were staff and members from the Meirionnydd and Montgomery County branches, the policy team as well as the president Glyn Roberts. In the morning we had a cup of tea and a tour around Fferm Fedw Arian, using examples of different types of hedges to stimulate discussion. After lunch we had a conversation facilitated by expert Peter Jackson to discuss the details of the plan. The workshop was constructive and promising. It was very nice to hear that everyone was on the same page, if not the same line.

Thank you to everyone from the Union who came to the workshop to contribute to the discussion, and a special thank you to Geraint Fedw Arian for welcoming us to the farm.