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Bates calls for Glastir free advisory service for farmers

July 15, 2009 4:33 PM

Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs, Mick Bates AM, has written to the Minister Elin Jones calling for the establishment of a free advisory service to assist farmers to achieve the best outcome from the Glastir scheme, for the enhancement of biodiversity on farmland across Wales. Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Mick stated: "Farmers have a key role to play in the protection of our biodiversity in Wales through the management of their land and the wildlife associated with that farmland is necessarily a very significant component of Welsh wildlife. 80% of Wales' land area is farmland and agri-environment schemes are therefore central to the protection and enhancement of our biodiversity and countryside. "I am deeply concerned that many species of farmed land are in decline, including birds such as curlew, lapwing, corn bunting, turtle dove, yellowhammer and tree sparrow; mammals including lesser and greater horseshoe bats; butterflies such as the marsh fritillary and brown hairstreak; plants associated with arable land and healthland plants. Some of these - such as lapwing and curlew - are in danger of disappearing as breeding species on Welsh farmed land altogether. "It is crucial that farmers receive the best advice and support possible once Glastir comes into force to enable them to manage their land for the benefit of our wildlife in Wales. I am urging the Minister to establish a free advisory service to assist farmers to achieve the best outcome from the Glastir scheme for the enhancement of biodiversity on farmland across Wales."