Dear Senedd Member: make nature restoration a priority in the Agriculture Bill.

Image: Splendid waxcap Hygrocybe splendidissima: found on sensitively managed ancient  grasslands in Wales – part of a rich heritage of farmland nature.

UPDATE – 2nd May 2023

We supported Welsh Government’s early commitment to  support nature’s recovery by rewarding environmental outcomes with public money. However, since then there has been some disappointing backpeddling.  As currently drafted this Bill misses key opportunities to tackle the nature crisis.  Now the Stage 3 debate on the 16th May is the last chance to ensure the Bill does what it was originally intended to do. The clear priority at this final stage is to add ‘restoring biodiversity’ to the Agriculture Bill’s objectives

Please tell your Senedd Members that restoring nature needs to be written in as a clear objective of the Agriculture Bill.  Only then can we have confidence that public money funding the Sustainable Farming Scheme will restore nature across Wales.
Find your Senedd Members here:


Sometimes we have to speak up for vulnerable nature in places we care about. This is one of those times. We are very concerned by part of Welsh Government’s response to scrutiny of the Agriculture Wales Bill. There is a risk of Welsh Government downgrading its commitment to restoring biodiversity. Please take this opportunity to act; write to your Senedd Members, so they know that nature restoration matters to you.

When it passes into law, the Agriculture Bill will establish what could, if properly focused, be the primary tool for restoring nature in Wales – the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) which will influence how the majority of land is managed. The Economy, Trade & Rural Affairs (ETRA) committee’s Stage 1 scrutiny report made recommendations to Welsh Government including Recommendation 8 on Strengthening Biodiversity Recovery.

The Minister’s response to that report says that the Bill, as written, will help nature’s recovery and maintain nature. However, we are very concerned by the Minister’s pushback on inclusion of the words ‘restore biodiversity’ in the third objective:

‘The addition of ‘restore’ into the third objective is unnecessary considering the breadth of the objective as described above. It could also create tension between the third objective and the first objective, the sustainable production of food and other goods, and my stated goal of keeping farmers on their land, running counter to the policy intent’.

This is the most convincing argument yet for including nature restoration as an explicit objective of the Bill. The Minister’s response implies that restoring nature isn’t compatible with farming and food production, that we must choose between food and nature. We strongly disagree. It is imperative that Welsh Government determinedly seeks out solutions where farmers are supported to produce food, tackle climate change and restore nature, together and at the same time.

Ecosystem restoration is key to the new Kunming-Montreal global biodiversity framework. The Bill should make clear that farming, the predominant land use in Wales, has a vital role to play in achieving this restoration. The failure of past policies, which prioritised production before nature and the environment, is why we urgently need a different policy direction.

Please let your Senedd Member know that restoring nature needs to be identified as an objective of the Agriculture Bill, and therefore a priority for the public money which will fund the Sustainable Farming Scheme.
Find your Senedd Members here:

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