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Wales must bid for fair share of £42.8million CAP underspend - Mick Bates

July 15, 2009 3:08 PM

Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs, Mick Bates AM, has called on the Minister Elin Jones in the Chamber to bid for a fair share for Wales of the £42.8million underspend from the UK ' s Common Agricultural Policy budget, to support rural development programmes across the country. Commenting in the Chamber Welsh Liberal Democrat Mick stated: " According to Defra there is currently £42.8million of underspend from the UKs CAP budget, which can be used by devolved administrations to fund national envelope schemes or a permanent transfer to rural development programmes. " Meanwhile biodiversity in Wales continues to decline despite Welsh Assembly targets to halt biodiversity loss by 2010 and there will be no entry into Glastir until 2012. " I have urged the Minister to bid for a fair share for Wales of the £42.8million of underspend to enhance rural development programmes across the country, so that environmental land management and the protection of our biodiversity is not neglected over the next three years before Glastir comes into force. " RSPB Cymru's Policy Advocate Raoul Bhambral said: " Any opportunity to put more money into rural development and agri-environment schemes must be grabbed with both hands, and grabbed now. Farmers provide a valuable lifeline for wildlife and they need to be supported so they can continue to manage the countryside accordingly. " The Assembly Government made an international commitment to halt wildlife declines by 2010 which it is likely to miss - so supporting farmers in caring for the countryside is critical. " Sian Anne Cliff Researcher to/Ymchwilydd i Mick Bates AM/AC National Assembly for Wales / Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru sian.cliff@wales.gov.uk Tel: 02920 898 342 Fax: 02920 821 871 http://www.libdemcymru.com