Sunday, 29 May 2011

Shocking UK Government report to propose reforesting farmland from Wrecsam to Rhyl to benefit people in Liverpool and Manchester


A report due to be published by the UK’s Environment Secretary Caroline Spellman on Thursday is expected to include recommendations to switch a fifth of Welsh farmland to woodland for the recreational benefit of English cities according to an article in the Sunday Times today.

The proposals and research for the UK governments ‘National Ecosystem Assessment’ (NEA) have been put forward by Ian Bateman, a professor of environmental economics at the University of East Anglia. Hundreds of economists and scientists have been involved in compiling the report intended to ‘quantify the benefits created by the natural word’. The report suggests that Welsh agriculture is so unprofitable, European subsidies should be switched to reward farmers for producing ‘higher value outputs’ such as recreation near cities.

Batemans report outlines which parts of Wales should be reforested and recommends that swathes of farmland around Cardiff and Swansea should switch. He also states that farmland from Wrecsam to Rhyl should be reforested to benefit people in Liverpool and Manchester.

Mr Bateman states: “Woodlands are worth most in areas that are close to cities because they give recreation and other benefits to so many people. Woodlands in north east Wales would have a huge recreational value for nearby English cities.”

20 comments:

Plaid Whitegate said...

That last quote depends on whether Wales is a playground appendage for England or whether it's a nation with its own priorities.
The West Cheshire plan and this latest crazy idea were examples of the former. The Welsh Government needs to stamp on this and quickly.

alunmabon said...

sooner we have real self govt the better

Plaid Queensway said...

The Welsh Government needs to stamp on Westminster, permanently.

Jac o' the North said...

What authority, if any, does the UK Environment Secretary have here?

Plaid Queensway said...

Interesting paragraph from Ian Batemans website who leads the economic team of the NEA: "the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA) funded by Defra, the UK National Assemblies and others".

We're paying for this crap!?

Plaid Queensway said...

NEA funders:

Countyside council for Wales, Defra, Economic and social research council, natural environment research council, Northern Ireland environment agency,the Scottish Government and.... the Welsh Assembly Government.

Al Iguana said...

if it was Welsh Government policy, after wideranging consultation with the farming community, then I'd be all for it. Better environment for us, boost tourism etc.

But for it to be suggested by some minister at UK level, "for the enjoyment of Liverpool"... erm.. no. There is a principle here. Haven't we been "used for the enjoyment of Liverpool" enough?

Jac o' the North said...

If the map is indicative of the scholarship involved then we can relax. For according to the map Neath, Barry, Merthyr and many other sizeable southern towns are to be given over to forestation.

The hundreds of thousands of people who will be displaced might have something to contribute to this debate.

Anonymous said...

I for one would welcome the opportunity to go boar hunting in Cardiff's hinterland.

Tywysog Treganna

Plaid Whitegate said...

Hard to know whether to laugh or cry when you see themap - the dark green sites are (a) heavily urbanised and (b) contain the best agricultural land in Wales (Dee plain and Vale of Glamorgan).
Furthermore, the upland areas of Wales are already heavily forested. If Bateman & Co think they can grow trees on the Snowdonia uplands, they need to go back to school.

Anonymous said...

Interesting to see this site uses a quote from Albert Einstein ..Here's another that a few people in Plaid can think on .. "Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind"..

Anonymous said...

and since when were Cardiff and Swansea "English" Cities ?

John Broughton said...

Forget the Wales / England nonsense.

This is about totally artificial measures. Lamb unrewarding when it costs an arm and a leg to buy as meat?

The picture is much larger than a faux nationalist argument.

Plaid Whitegate said...

Only John Broughton could come on a Plaid blog and tell us to "forget the Wales / England nonsense".

The idea that lowland farmers in N E Wales farm lamb is equably risible.

Consciously or not, the NEA is all about imposing a centralist idea on what should happen to our part of Wales. Not for the good of Wales but the good of English cities.

Anonymous said...

Broughton as usual can't see the wood for the trees

Draig said...

Well, it's up to a Labour-run Assembly to account for why Welsh taxpayers money has been used to help produce this shocking report :-)

Not surprised it's East Anglia though, they seem pretty good at making things up...climategate, anyone?

Ambiorix said...

That map covers the area where I live (Caerphilly) and the valleys.This is going to be interesting how they will pull this one off!

Daniel said...

This should be done all over the UK as we are in dire need of new forest areas. I think the UK as a whole is something like 12% forest with most of that being in Scotland.. and with most of our ancient forest fragmented, the time to act is NOW!

APK said...

Why is there so much opposition to this? Is it just because WESTMINSTER proposed it?
I think that's it really, had this idea come out of Cardiff you'd all be for it. This is nothing more than petty nationalism. I could understand it if the English were building more dams but it's Westminster proposing to restore forests!

Hill farming whether people on here like it or not is failing. Some hill farms will survive, others won't. In the worst areas it would make sense to reforest the land rather than have it remain as depleted grassland scrub.
This shouldn't just happen in Wales though, but also elsewhere in the British Isles (including much of the Pennines - ENGLAND).

No plantations though, the trees should be native species and then maybe in a few decades this country would have some real forests comparable to those on the continent. With agriculture in the lowlands being so reckless towards nature it would make sense to create new habitats. Set aside field margins? Give me a break! They barely achieve anything.

Besides, I doubt reforesting Wales is for the English. Since when were the English known for their love of trees? But it could possibly increase the tourist trade since Wales would have real forests, not just coniferous plantations. That means more money and more jobs.

Gregg Ashcoft said...

I think he has badly w2orded his reasons for such a venture. It would have very big benefits not only to the Welsh economy but also on the wildlife and natural value of wales. He most certainly should have worded it all in a very different way.

If this goes ahead and it is done then it should be done in conjunction with the Welsh government and the locals and incorporate the Welsh language and culture. But it is indeed a good idea for Wales and the economy, if done correctly!!!

Cymru am byth!