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Another layer of red tape.

NFU Cymru are in discussion with National Assembly officials on the implementation of the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations relating to uncultivated and semi natural areas.

Ieuan Lewis, chairman of the NFU Cymru Parliamentary and Land Use Committee, said: "The technical difficulties with the introduction of these regulations in Wales means that they are unlikely to be introduced as planned on 1 February 2002.

"This has given us some leeway for further discussions with NAWAD officials about the implementation of the Regulations here in Wales.

"It is astonishing that a government, which has pledged to reduce red tape to a beleaguered agricultural industry, is going to introduce regulations that will in effect be a form of planning on land use.

"Furthermore it appears that the UK is once again gold plating EU regulations and introducing unworkable regulations."

The EU directive requires that projects for the use of uncultivated land or semi-natural areas for intensive agricultural purposes be regulated.

The directive leaves the definition of terms to member states who have interpreted them in a variety of ways.

Key issues are therefore what constitutes a project, what land qualifies as uncultivated or semi natural and what is meant by intensive agricultural purposes.

Mr Lewis added: "NFU Cymru feels that the terms semi-improved and semi-natural land have somehow been mixed up and also that currently no deminimus areas is planned under the legislation.

"The regulations are not only unnecessary but as they stand they are unduly bureaucratic and will result in many more referrals than is strictly necessary. The impact on the value of some land could be hugely significant.

"The way for the Government to achieve environmental goals is not through legislation but by positive incentives to farmers through proper funding of schemes such as Tir Gofal and a part farm habitat improvement scheme."
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 2, 2002
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