Farming unions in Wales have welcomed plans to create a Ministerial Roundtable which will consider the evidence and lead on the development of a revised Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS).

In response to the announcement by Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change and Rural Affairs Huw Irranca-Davies, FUW President Ian Rickman said: “One of our key asks following the consultation was to establish a small focused SFS design stakeholder group tasked with considering details of different elements of the scheme, along with payment rates and overall budgetary requirements.

“We therefore welcome today's announcement which outlines plans to establish such a group, providing us with a formal platform to scrutinise and rework the scheme so that it properly delivers for Welsh farmers and our rural communities.

“However, I reiterate this message again; the scheme needs far more than touching up around the edges. It needs a radical rethink and this group must now deliver meaningful change within the timeframe presented to us.”

The Cabinet Secretary’s statement also highlights how one of the first tasks of the Ministerial Roundtable will be to look at any further and alternative proposals to achieve additional carbon sequestration within the SFS.

NFU Cymru President Aled Jones said: “We must get the Sustainable Farming Scheme right, neither farming families nor government can afford to have a scheme that fails to deliver on our ambitions for the rural economy, food, nature and climate.

"The scheme must work for all farmers - that’s all farm types, sectors and regions, as well as tenant farmers and for those with common land. The scheme must deliver stability to underpin food production, our farmed environment, our communities, our language and culture for our generation and those that follow in our footsteps.

“I would urge all those that may be involved in the work that the Cabinet Secretary is establishing to take their responsibilities seriously and recognise that the livelihoods of many thousands of farming families will depend on the work undertaken, advice given and decisions ultimately made by the Cabinet Secretary."