The Tenant Farmers Association in Wales (TFA Cymru) has written to the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, to urge the Welsh Government to join with DEFRA in a consultation exercise for changes to agricultural tenancy legislation due in the New Year.
Early next year, DEFRA is proposing to hold a consultation on changes to agricultural tenancy legislation following the report from the cross-industry Tenancy Reform Industry Group. Officials from DEFRA and Welsh Government are in discussions about whether this should be a consultation covering both England and Wales.
TFA Cymru Chairman, Dennis Matheson, said “Both the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 and Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995 cover both England and Wales and predate Devolution. There is an urgent need to press ahead with tenancy reform in Wales to ensure the sector can participate in the new programmes outlined in ‘Brexit and our land’. A joint consultation with DEFRA will provide a suitable platform for building a new policy framework for agricultural tenancies in Wales.”
“Time is very short and we already know about the deficiencies of the UK Agriculture Bill in relation to agricultural tenancy issues. This was discussed at a recent evidence session with the National Assembly Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee. We are already three years behind England in updating the Regulations surrounding statutory repairing obligations within agricultural tenancies and end of tenancy compensation matters. Therefore, a joint consultation with DEFRA at this stage should speed things up,” said Mr Matheson.
“We very much hope that the Cabinet Secretary will take the opportunity afforded by the Welsh Winter Fair to announce some progress on agricultural tenancy matters in Wales. We welcome the positive engagement that we have had with the Cabinet Secretary and her officials and their understanding of the specific needs of the tenanted sector, but we must now see some concerted effort in making the necessary changes to the legislative framework,” said Mr Matheson.