The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has launched its manifesto ahead of the 2022 Welsh local government elections which will take place next week, on Thursday, May 5.

The manifesto sets out the union’s key asks and calls on incoming Councillors and Local Authorities in regards to local procurement; county council farm holdings; EU replacement funds; local housing; sustainable tourism; carbon offsetting and afforestation; digital connectivity; and trading standards.

It concludes with ten asks of Local Authorities and Councillors:

  1. Instigate procurement policies which encourage the creation of new companies and cooperatives in order to bring benefits to local employment;
  2. Retain and invest in County Council holdings to enable tenants and Local Authorities to become net zero by using complimentative initiatives;
  3. Encourage the Welsh Government and Senedd to ensure the current view of the Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) Regulations 2-21 results in proportionate and affordable legislation;
  4. Work together with the UK and Welsh governments and the other Local Authorities, regardless of political differences, to administer the EU replacement funding in efficient and effective ways to support Welsh communities;
  5. Apply higher council tax premiums to second homes and ensure that the spending of such additional revenue is more transparent and ring fenced for alleviating the impacts of second homes and short-term holiday lets;
  6. Work closely with local police forces and the Welsh government to ensure adequate rural policing, proportionate access legislation and improved education to promote the Countryside Code, particularly in designated areas and tourist hot-spots;
  7. Support moves that would allow the planning process and land-use change rules to be updated, to ensure any large-scale developments such as afforestation must meet objectives that benefit and are not detrimental to local economies, communities and culture, and do not significantly reduce food production or biodiversity;
  8. Ensure the focus across all levels of government is based on reducing carbon emissions first and foremost, as opposed to carbon offsetting;
  9. Work with internet service providers to ensure that all premises within Local Authority areas have access to part or full-fibre technology before the complete phasing out of analogue services by 2025;
  10. Work with the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) and other Local Authorities to ensure a uniform approach to on-farm inspections which is efficient and effective.

Speaking after the launch, FUW president Glyn Roberts said:

“As all corners of society recover from recent and ongoing global events, Local Authorities will have a big part to play in ensuring that all policies work for Wales’ local communities, economies, society and cultures – although the increasing burden on Local Authorities alongside cuts to annual budget allocations must not be underestimated.

“While there remains a great deal of pressure on Local Authorities to maintain and improve local areas and services, one of the biggest lessons global events such as the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing Russian war on Ukraine has taught us is the importance of maintaining our food security.

“As such, there is progress to be made in terms of bolstering and in many cases reconnecting the sustainable and environmentally friendly food produced in Wales with our local communities and public sectors in order to maintain and increase our food security, reduce our reliance on imported products and work towards reaching net zero.

“We are committed to continuing to work with County Councillors and representatives of each of the twenty-two Local Authorities in Wales to ensure that the role of agriculture, food production and family farms in our communities is reflected at every level of decision making,” Roberts added.