Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru

Yn ôl i Chwilio

Y Pwyllgor Newid Hinsawdd, Amgylchedd a Materion Gwledig

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

21/02/2019

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Andrew RT Davies AC
Gareth Bennett AC
Jenny Rathbone AC
John Griffiths AC
Joyce Watson AC
Llyr Gruffydd AC
Mike Hedges AC Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair

Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol

Others in Attendance

Brendan Costelloe Rheolwr Polisi, Cymdeithas Ecolegol Prydain
Policy Manager, British Ecological Society
Emyr Williams Prif Weithredwr, Awdurdod Parc Cenedlaethol Eryrii
Chief Executive, Snowdonia National Park Authority
Geraint Jones Swyddog Cadwraeth Ffermio, Awdurdod Parc Cenedlaethol Arfordir Penfro
Farm Conservation Officer, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority
Jerry Langford Rheolwr Materion Cyhoeddus Cymru, Coed Cadw
Public Affairs Manager Wales, Woodland Trust
Laurence Brooks Ymgynghorydd Ecolegol, Cynllunio Ecoleg
Ecological Consultant, Ecology Planning
Rachel Sharp Prif Swyddog Gweithredol, Ymddiriedolaethau Natur Cymru
Chief Executive Officer, Wildlife Trusts Wales
Robert Vaughan Rheolwr Defnydd Tir Cynaliadwy, Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru
Sustainable Land Use Manager, Natural Resources Wales
Steve Wilson Rheolwr Gyfarwyddwr Gwasanaethau Dŵr Gwastraff, Dŵr Cymru
Managing Director Wastewater Services, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water

Swyddogion Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru a oedd yn bresennol

National Assembly for Wales Officials in Attendance

Elizabeth Wilkinson Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk
Katy Orford Ymchwilydd
Researcher
Marc Wyn Jones Clerc
Clerk

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:30.

The meeting began at 09:30.

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau
1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest

Bore da. Good morning, everybody. Can I welcome Members to the meeting? Can I thank Helen Mary Jones for her contribution to the committee and can I welcome back Dai Lloyd? I was going to say 'croeso nôl', but he's not here for me to say that to him, so I'll just welcome him back. 

Any interests to declare?

2. Ystyried Cynllun Bioamrywiaeth – Nwyddau Cyhoeddus: sesiwn dystiolaeth gyda chynrychiolwyr grwpiau’r amgylchedd a chadwraeth
2. Consideration of Biodiversity - Public Goods Scheme: evidence session with representatives of environment and conservation groups

If we can move straight on to the first substantive item of this morning, which is consideration of biodiversity—public goods scheme: evidence with representatives of environment and conservation groups. Would you like to introduce yourselves for the record, please?

Hello. My name's Laurence Brooks. I'm an ecology consultant and farmer.

I'm Jerry Langford. I'm now the public affairs manager for Coed Cadw, the Woodland Trust in Wales. 

Good morning, all. I'm Rachel Sharp, the chief executive officer of Wildlife Trust Wales. 

Bore da. Good morning. I'm Bob Vaughan—Natural Resources Wales, and I look after sustainable land management and forestry.

Croeso, and diolch for coming here this morning. If we can perhaps start with questions, and if I can go first: what was the actual limitation to the existing legislation and policy that could be addressed through the proposed public goods scheme to improve biodiversity restoration in Wales? Who wants to go first?

Shall I jump in on that? I think the key thing is that, with regulation, the current regulation—we know that there are improvements that need to be made, there are gaps, there are some interpretations of the legislation that need to be improved. What we would like to see at NRW is a review of that, and then from there look at creating a level playing field and a very clear set of regulations that land managers can understand and adopt, and use that as a regulatory floor. 

There's no doubt we will need to bring in legislation, and I think what we would hope to see is that real acknowledgement of the scale of the challenge that was facing us, and the pace of change. The biggest problem we have is that 'Brexit and our land' is not going to kick in till another five years, and in that time we need to address the huge loss of biodiversity. So, I'd like to see statutory biodiversity targets, for example, in a new piece of legislation, and also for it to be an enabling new piece of legislation, recognising the importance of public good and how you can attract new investment into rural Wales. 

I could add two specifics. I think that there is still a need to prevent the loss of quality habitat, irreplaceable habitat. We are still losing that across lots of different habitats and all over Wales—to development, which is one example, but also pollution is a big issue. By 'quality habitat' I mean mature habitats where there's long-term ecological continuity, there are relatively undisturbed soils, things like ancient woodland but also peat lands, some old meadows, for example. These are what should be our legacy to future generations, because they are literally irreplaceable. 

I'm not an expert on legislation, really, but it seems to me generally that we have plenty of policy and legislation. There is more of a problem in the implementation of that, and the enforcement of things like rural crime and wildlife crime and environmental regulations. It's difficult to enforce those in rural areas because people aren't there all the time seeing it, and we maybe need a more pragmatic approach to enforcement to allow that enforcement to take place. I think with specific regard to the land payment scheme, that's one of the reasons we need to keep the parameters of the scheme quite broad and simple and robust, because having very specific strict measures requires a complicated set of compliance measures, which is going to be expensive and difficult to administer, I think.  

09:35

You've also got the element, as we know, that in a post-Brexit world, there'll be a requirement for legislation to keep our key environmental principles. And what we would want to see—. You know, Welsh Government have been very clear that what we would end up with is as good, if not better. There's a promise consultation coming out on this; we'd want to examine that. We're very disappointed with the consultation presently in England. We don't think the proposed new office for environmental protection in England actually is the same as what we—it doesn't prove it's going to be independent, it doesn't look like it's going to be able to fine Governments. We need to preserve that right of individuals to that access to justice. At the moment, any of us, free of charge, can take a complaint to Europe and have that investigated with no risk to ourselves. That's what we need going forward. 

Thank you. Do you have any views or concerns about the delay of area statements to March 2020? 

I certainly hope that area statements are part of the solution and will provide a framework for creating locally tailored schemes, because I think probably the most important mechanism to deliver action on the ground is in area-based projects, working at a landscape scale, getting landowners in an area to collaborate together towards common objectives. So, I'd hope area statements can provide a framework that will strongly encourage that, and guide the targeting of some of the public goods funding. 

I certainly support what Jerry was saying there. The key thing for us is that area statements are going to be the chance for people at a local level to have an influence on what happens in their backyard, and we're working very closely with Government at the moment to make sure that when we look at 'Brexit and our land' and what comes out of that, the area statement part of that is dovetailed completely into it. 

I think area statements are going to be critical going forward. I'm not worried there's a delay, as long as they are what we need. And fundamentally, what we're looking for is a spatial representation of what nature's recovery looks like. We keep talking about resilient ecosystems. What does that look like? What does it feel like? I know there are concerns from the farming community that, therefore, you're over-targeting certain areas and it might be a postcode lottery, or there'll be these white areas. I think there is scope across the board, and we want to at least maintain what we already have, but we do need to target the new schemes and, hopefully, the area statements will give us the opportunities and the threats. Therefore, we can truly target to produce what we've set out to do, to create resilient ecosystems.    

And it's far more than that. I think the fact is they'll be produced in combination with local people, with local operators, so that's it's about a stakeholder engagement and getting what we need in those local areas, and what people recognise that they need in those local areas, so that it's very, very clear. A delay by a year—that's a small price to pay to get them right, I think.  

Thanks. If the public goods scheme is going to be effective in restoring biodiversity, it's going to need significant funding. So, do you think that it could be supported by other sectors apart from public funding, such as tourism, water and flooding? Is that a possibility?  

You start and I'll follow you. 

I think within the third sector we have put a lot of time and effort. We have trialled and tested these approaches. We've traditionally called them payments for ecosystem services. I think 'public good' is a much more accessible term. And we've got to—let's face reality: austerity is still here as well and, actually, the pressures on the available finances are only going to increase, and as I've said to this committee before, health and education still prevail quite strongly in Government budgets. It's going to be in direct competition. So, yes, what's been missing in that development of those new markets has been a viable contract. So, it would be great for Welsh Government to almost have this as a contract, and we can then, hopefully, attract private investment. And I also think community investment. I think communities want to invest in rural Wales, and I think they should be enabled to do it. And let's not limit it. General practitioner practices might want to invest because they might want access, or health and well-being outturns. Let's be bold and be adventurous here. 

09:40

It's much broader as well, I think, from the work that we've been trying to look at on public goods. As I started saying right at the very beginning—the idea that we have a regulatory floor, and above that we set standards for land management, to ensure that we achieve and deliver the types of things that we want. For those operators that go into that sort of level area above the regulatory floor and start to work in those areas, they will possibly get payments, but they also may get access to markets. So, it's a two-way—it's funding and access, which may—

Llyr Gruffydd is going to come in and ask you some questions on additionality next. 

Just a couple of things to add. Could I point out that organisations such as my own, the Woodland Trust, and Rachel's, are effectively, in themselves, mechanisms for bringing in funding from other sectors and spending it on land management? That is what we do. We raise money from the corporate sector, from our supporters and members; only about 15 per cent of our funding actually comes from Government. So, support us and you are supporting a mechanism that brings in funding from elsewhere. It's a form of incoming investment into Wales, because, like most charities, we raise money principally where the wealth is in the UK and distribute it around the country. But I'd have to say: Government does have a central role in this, because, for example, we have a major partnership with Sainsbury's, which is worth about £1 million a year to us, which we then spend on supplying tree packs, but that's very small beer compared to the total funding that Government can command. And there need to be mechanisms to encourage the corporate sector. So, for example, in forestry, there is a woodland carbon code scheme, which creates a framework to invite private sector investment. It's not very effective, because it's voluntary, and the corporate sector are not—there are far more registered sites available than there are funders for it. So, I think it is important to look at what Government can do to encourage support from other sectors. 

I personally don't really like the idea of having private money so specifically allocated to the public sphere. You're going to have distortions in funding because there's going to be preferences for funding certain things over others, and it really seems an abdication of Government's role to try and get the money. As far as I'm concerned, the simple set-up of taxing everybody, including corporations, a fair amount, and then having us, society, Government decide how that money is spent—that seems the best, simplest and most effective way of doing things. 

Of course, people could say, 'Why should the public fund be subsidising insurance companies by investing in flood prevention?', but let's not have that argument—

I can understand that, but as long as the taxation is proportionate. That obviously needs to be fair, and I think it should be fairer. 

Sure. Can I just make one point because we have been talking about payment for ecosystem services for many, many years, and we've still not had the breakthrough that I was hoping we would have seen in the many years that we've been talking about this? There are isolated examples of companies taking on that corporate social responsibility role. You mentioned that we need to encourage private investment, but that encouragement hasn't worked in the past, so surely we need to create a stronger, regulatory environment, where they are required now to invest, because, otherwise, it ain't going to happen. The reason we're moving in this direction is, yes, we want to achieve the outcomes in terms of the public goods and the ecosystem services, but also, the other driver here is that the public purse is shrinking, so what's traditionally been funded by the public sector isn't being funded any more, so we're now looking to alternative sources. Well, private sector funds are shrinking as well, very often, so they're not going to come to you in this economic climate and say, 'Do you know what? We'll give you a few million to do this.'

Our practical experience of this is that, actually, the very big corporations get this. To them, it's all about the supply chain risk. And it's not just CSR. And also, it's being driven by the consumer. I agree with my colleagues—we do need Government intervention here; I think that the third sector has taken it as far as we can take it. So, we have been to insurance companies, and sat in the room, and basically their feedback is, 'Why should I invest if my competitors' customers also benefit?' Well, what you need then is you have to bring all of the insurance companies collectively together, and that is your role. And the other thing is, Welsh Water, I think, would invest tomorrow, but they are not reassured that the regulatory floor is in place. So, until we actually get that enforcement—and we welcome new regulation around pollution—

09:45

That's where Government can play an important part, is in setting that—

So, do you use the planning system, for example, as one way of leveraging some of that?

You can use the planning system, certainly. We can look at collective sums, we can look at—like in the forestry estate at the moment, there's a ruling, I think Schedule 9 says only profits made in forestry may be spent in forestry. Why can't we have that wider? We've been talking to Government about a tourism tax. The majority of people who come to Wales come because of our landscape, because of our natural beauty, okay. So, we need to start to acknowledge that, and get it back to—. The key thing here is that this new contract could then get it back to the people who count, and land managers, the farmers, the people who are providing this. And that's what's missing as well.

Thank you. We're going to have to move on. John Griffiths, on additionality.

Yes, additionality, Chair. I'd be interested in your views on the public goods scheme, and how it might operate, and to what extent it should be about additionality, as opposed to recognising previous good practice in conservation management. What are your thoughts on that?

It's a really difficult area, and I don't think we have the answers; we have some views on it. I think the key thing is we have worked for a very long time on the polluter-pays principle, and how do you then take that and apply it to a land management situation where, by way of an analogy, if somebody's taken hedges out, and now we propose to pay them to put them back in, whereas their neighbour hasn't—how do you balance that out? So, I think it's a very difficult thing, and it needs a lot of thought, but we need to make sure that the outcome that we get at the end of it is the outcome that we want. And how do we make sure we get to that point, in the easiest possible way?

I have one specific suggestion on this, where I think the public goods scheme could be transformational. What I would like to propose is what I call a 'hedges and edges scheme'. So, picking up on Bob's point about hedges, what this would do is reward farmers, say, for securing and maintaining the network of habitats they have on the farm—in hedges, in shelter belts, in ditches, banks, walls, riparian protection zones. And they receive a payment for that connected habitat network that meets certain quality criteria. That gives that habitat value; farmers derive an income from it. And that's not the case at the moment. So, I think the payment is for providing the outcome, not for doing particular work. So, in that sense, it doesn't meet some additionality requirements—it's for what's there, and what's being maintained. It's also extendable, of course. And I point out that just planting 4 per cent of farmland—there's extra trees on the farm, in extra hedges, shelter belts—would largely meet the Welsh Government's woodland expansion target. But, as an option, it's universally available, it delivers several public goods—biodiversity and landscape, in particular; it also helps support the farm. So, I think that's where a scheme really could change the way things are done.

Isn't the core issue, though, around—? In the next five years, before this new scheme cuts in, we need to have restored nature. Because we've only got, at the most, 50 years to do this job. So, when this new scheme comes in, you should almost be looking at it as to the maintaining. And so the problem we've had in the past is, sometimes, schemes have been very good at general habitat, But when you get down to specific species, we haven't had the interventions. The core issue here is: yes, it should be about additionality. So, there have been calls that every farm already provide a public good—they do; so does my back garden. And it's going to be really hard for us to set that baseline. What would you normally expect within a landscape and what would be additional? I agree with Bob—it's really difficult to answer that. We would like to keep the habitats we already have maintained, but it's going to be about how much money is in the pot to do this, because if we spread it too thinly, we are not going to have the impact that we need. So, I don't think farmers have ever been given the resources at the scale to do the job we're asking them.

09:50

So, the system I've set out, which is based on the issues as I see them—the underlying issues in the set-up of all schemes and the problems with the implementation of those schemes—. I've come up with a system that's based on payments for habitats that are currently present and not based on a contract that goes forward for the next five years. It sounds a lot like what Jerry has said, but there's no reason it needs to extend just to boundary features, because all habitats provide ecosystems services. Public goods include access as well, which is a separate issue really, but grasslands store carbon and they're biodiverse and they can help to alleviate flood issues, if they're managed in a sustainable way. So, these criteria apply to all land, basically, and they can all contribute. If we can pay for what exists already, then there just inherently isn't a problem with worrying about what they've done historically, because what they've done historically is there in the land as it currently is, because what is there is a sum of the past management and the current management. 

If we keep it simple and look at habitats, it's a very robust, simple system that everybody can understand, and you can turn up at any point and see what that management is and has been in the past. I wouldn't absolutely exclude certain measures for certain things if that's what the agencies think is required. But personally, what I want is for the system to encourage farmers for a set rate per habitat to manage on a sustainable basis rather than pay them for very specific prescriptions that maybe they don't understand and that are hard for them to implement—it's harder for them to fit it into their whole-farm plan. 

But part of the problem with that is—it sounds like you're saying, 'Keep what we have.' The problem with that is that, unfortunately, there hasn't been enough investment to stop the loss of biodiversity—it's still in decline, and unless we bring in very specific measures and start to target this, then that will continue. So, we have to change; we have to fundamentally change the system. We should see this, not as subsidy, but as investment—everything that the public goods scheme will give us. Those demands are only going to increase in the future. 

But if you're paying for things that are there at present, you're admitting that this is an ongoing issue and it is maintenance, as you brought up. It's maintenance, not creation. We're always going to have to pay for these public goods and we should do because they're constantly providing them. If you're paying for what's there already, there is a cumulative investment by that farmer. If they've spent 10 years managing something well and got it to a good state and therefore are getting a higher rate of payment for it, they're not going to want to throw that all away. Whereas, if you have a five-year contract and it applies to one field on their land—say, they're getting paid at the moment for not putting input into this particular field, and they get paid for five years, that isn't long enough for that field to have significant biodiversity gains. And then, after that five-year contract, that's the end of the contract. So, they can still get paid for a different field and have another set of five-year payments, and they can just put the inputs into the field you’ve just paid them for. So, it actually never gets to a point where it’s good, because, basically, that five-year period fits into their ongoing management of reseeding fields, you know, so, you’re never getting anything for your money.

09:55

Yes, if I may. Just back to Rachel, if I may. The point that you were making about the pot needing to be big enough, I’ve come in and heard everyone talk about farmers, and the one criticism I have—and, personally, I think it is a very fair criticism—is that the ‘Brexit and our land’ consultation talks about land managers and doesn’t give a definition of what that might be. Do you accept that there’s a real risk that the pot might be shrunk by just too much being able to claim, such as, if you like, the municipal councils, for example, big industry as well, then, who have landholdings, rather than, as you’ve all been talking about, farmers? That’s the name that’s come over time and time again, that is. So, do you believe there should be a definition of who should be eligible for funding going forward?

I think common sense should prevail here, and, again, this is going to be a difficult one, because we will no longer technically need the term ‘active farmer’. That was an EU requirement. That goes. So, we also wouldn’t want to—you know, as I’ve quoted, would Cardiff Airport would be eligible, because of its landholdings?

At the end of the day, this is public money and it's public investment. So, it’s got to be who can provide those public goods. But, predominantly, that is going to be in our rural areas, and there also will be an element of a political decision here, because what’s absolutely critical to this is that we keep people on the land. So, we do need to do some research into what type of payments could we give land managers and farmers, predominantly, to enable those services that we all require, that public good, going forward. So, that does need to be researched. And I agree that it’s got to be a long-term, very adaptive, flexible scheme that looks at outcomes, so it isn’t as over-prescriptive as it is today. So, I think that, in that way, you can also make it very attractive and, hopefully, we’ll see a higher pick-up rate in those rural areas.

Again, that comes back over to you guys. You’ve got to direct—. You know, this is public money; it’s up to you where the public purse is spent. There is also the reality of trying to keep the rural economy intact, and also that has a lot of cultural reference as well—

But could I just—? I appreciate the points that you’ve made, but do you believe, getting back to the core of this, that there does need to be a clearer definition, then, of what a land manager is, which at the moment, isn’t there in the consultation? The consultation talks of land managers per se, and you introduced Cardiff Airport. You could have introduced Tata Steel, who have large landholdings around their businesses. Likewise, you have authorities like councils who have parks, et cetera. So, do you believe that there should be a definition of what a land manager actually is, and then you can move into the scheme itself, then?

The scheme itself has to be flexible. I think Rachel is quite right in saying let’s look at the outcomes that we are trying to purchase as citizens in Wales, and who are those who can provide those benefits. I think that, in that way, it would focus really on those that are willing to work with us and deliver the benefits that we want to see. So, I think the flexibility is really important.

I would agree with that, and I think that if you’re making definitions in that way, it’s going to be very difficult. When I went into Glastir, I rang up Welsh Government to ask them what the definition of a farmer was by their remit, because it affected how much I got paid for woodland creation, and they didn’t know. So, they had to get back to me in a week or so with the answer to that. And it leads to exclusion of people, and, as I see it, we’re paying for public goods, we’re paying for a product, and we should pay whoever can deliver that product. And I wouldn’t myself worry about whether needing to define and worry about whether or not the land is going to be worked or who’s working it— Because, if you’re paying them for the product, under my system, anyway, it would be a kind of market-based approach, really. And if you can supply that product and make the land productive, which I believe is perfectly possible in most instances, then, obviously, the people who are doing that in the best way, i.e. getting the most productivity out of the land and the most biodiversity and other public services, they're going to be the ones in the best position, they're going to be getting double payments from that land. So, it already encourages both production and public goods, simply by not being a prescription-based thing. They can choose their own management. So, that's their own productivity, really. 

10:00

Okay. Can I just remind people that we are less than a third of the way through and we've used up half our time? Llyr Gruffydd.

Thank you, Chair. I was going to ask a few questions about scale here, and at what scale we can best deliver some of the outcomes that we all want to see. You've all indicated, I think, that it's the catchment—you've spoken a bit about habitat, and there is a difference, isn't there, I suppose?

In terms of at what scale do we deliver this potential programme. My issue with catchment is, in theory, yes, it needs to be big enough to have that impact, but in practice it needs to be small enough to be manageable and coherent. So, how do you strike the balance?

This is where the area statements come in. We can get a catchment scale, but we have to have a flexibility within the scheme to be able to pick out those areas within that catchment that we need to do the work on. So, in my mind, we have a scheme where we have public goods, some of them are delivered on farm because they gain access to markets and not necessarily payments, and then we use the funding—the limited funding, because we all recognise that it'll be limited funding—the limited funding to look at particular issues within particular areas where we want to try and accelerate improvements. So, use a very, very flexible system with the basis that ecosystem resilience is the core part of how you're trying to deliver that programme. 

It all depends what you're trying to deliver. So, if you're trying to deliver water quality, you've got to take it to the catchment. If you're trying to increase access or health and well-being, it's actually going to be proximity that's going to devise the scale that you'll be operating at. I think the other issue is going to be at what—. The other end of the spectrum is at what scale do we want to have public goods delivered. So, there is a real friction at the moment between wanting to maintain all the good work that's already been under way and how we still then have enough meaningful budget to be able to have these targeted interventions that are going to produce what citizens need. This is clean air and clean water and soils to produce—. You don't have farming without nature. We've got to invest in our soils. We've got to invest in our pollinators. So, the crux of this is, unless we start seeing this as investing in citizens' futures, rather than subsidising the farming sector—

Yes. Food production is definitely—sustainable food production is something the public want to see. However, at the moment, public good seems to be slightly tarnished because it's this new thing that's untried and untested. No, it's the future. Actually, farmers are already delivering public good and they should get recognised and they should get payment for it, but not just for maintaining what's already happening. It's got to be additionality.

One delivery mechanism we know that works is to have on-the-ground facilitators engaging with landowners in a particular target area and attempting to engage with all the landowners in that area, and that sort of sets a practical operational scale. There are plenty of examples of that actually working quite well, so long as the facilitator has the local community contacts and the range or access to a wide range of expertise that's not too narrowly focused.

I'm glad you brought the word 'practical' in, because we need flexibility on scale, we need flexibility on who's eligible, as long as they can deliver public goods. Such a flexible scheme I've never seen before, really. It doesn't mean that we can't do it, but I think there are some practical considerations that will limit and dictate the scope of this kind of programme. 

I think flexibility is key. I think the biggest problem with the current scheme is people don't want to go onto it because the rulebook is this thick and there's a lot to read. From day one, you're tied in to this contract, and it's very specific and there isn't really the space. If you want to explain why you want it done, the rulebook is going to be twice as thick as it already is.

If we had a more simple scheme and it's based on habitats, it's such a robust measure that it can be flexible, because it doesn't matter what management they're doing particularly. If it's good you'll be able to see it in the habitat, because the habitat just is a measure of that management and the underlying soil factors and all the other natural factors. I think if you make the system simple and robust then you can allow that flexibility and not have to have such a prescriptive scheme overall.

With scale, it needs to be big scale. If we're not aiming to have results that can be seen at a landscape level then we're setting up to fail. As Rachel said, it's an urgent issue with biodiversity particularly, but also with soils and flooding and things. Yes, so, it needs to have significant effects and needs to be rolled out.

How I've set the system up—. I didn't speak on area statements, but I think they are key, and what I would like to see is that kind of data collection and analysis, which is already going on in terms of flood risk in different areas, obviously on a catchment level. We've already got all the conservation data at local levels, regional levels, national levels. We need to feed that in to a national system that could be geographic information system based. All of this can be analysed with the IT that we currently have, to give a localised payment structure so that you wouldn't necessarily need to go out and specifically organise things on local levels. If you can set the payment rates at that local level then the uptake is going to naturally be higher, and you can do it that way, in a loose way that is co-ordinated but doesn't require all of the administration of formal organisation. 

10:05

Can I just pick up as well, because I'm mindful of time? I want to come back to—. You briefly referenced the postcode lottery in all of this, and clearly if we are looking at where we're likely to go, I think, then there will be disproportionate opportunities for some land managers or farmers or whatever we want to describe them as. So, is it not the case that the real argument here isn't the environmental one, it's the recalibration of the rural economy in Wales, and that's where the debate politically is? I think we all know where we want to get to in terms of the environment, but unless it delivers on an economic level for all parts of Wales, and the vast majority of land managers in Wales are farmers at the moment, then it's politically unpalatable. 

As we all know, there are real and tangible risks and we're very aware of those. When we do know what we are coming out of Brexit with, then we'll know the true scale and the reality that we're facing. The only thing that we know about Brexit is that it's going to be change, and what scale of the change—. I was part of the evidence and scenarios group, and there are drastic changes coming our way.

I think everyone is agreed that people are critical here and we've got to keep people on the land and delivering, because if we don't have those people, who's going to deliver this public good that we all say we want? How do we make it economic? I agree the contract should be a lot longer. We need to attract that new investment coming in, that should be of urgency now, and we should be trialling and testing that at the moment. And there are opportunities across the board, but only if there's sufficient budget going in. And also another part of that is going to be—. I think what we need to do is to look at re-training, marketing, the brand Wales work that we want to undertake. We need to prepare for—.  

We need sufficient budget, but there's not going to be more money. At best, there's going to be as much as we have at the moment. So, if you're looking—. If you accept that there will be disproportionate opportunities depending on where the farm is and what the circumstances are to deliver public goods, then the money will follow that. So, you will have winners and you will have losers.  

I would disagree that we need to have a postcode lottery at all.   

I'm not advocating one, I'm just saying that's the actual consequence. 

No, I mean I don't think it's an inevitable outcome of the system, because, as I said earlier, all habitats in every single area supply public goods. You know, there is an ability within every habitat to soak up rainwater and to store it and alleviate floods. So, this should be a payment that is universal and, I think, if you're paying by habitat, it will be universal. And if you can set it up with a system of payment rates that are set differentially, and that is factored on the priority areas for the public goods you're paying for—. How I've thought of it is that—

10:10

Well, basically, everybody, if they're managing their—. Yes, if they've got the product, they will get the payment.

No, no, I don't think so—

The other issue you have here—. The present scheme concentrates on habitat because, fundamentally, we feel they're easier to understand. Don't forget, we are here to talk about the loss of biodiversity. If you purely look at the economics, about the habitats are easier to imagine and, therefore, to manage, we are going to keep on the same trajectory. This committee, 10 years ago, said, 'Let us not be sat here in 2020 and we have not halted the loss of biodiversity.' Well, next year, you will be. We cannot enter this in—. There is friction there, with the economic model, but that's the political friction, isn't it—how do we invest in rural Wales?

And you've just said that it's us who decides where the money goes, so, ultimately, it's a political debate.

Just, very briefly, I feel we do have to aspire to have an element of universality, because biodiversity decline is everywhere and arresting it only in a few special places is not success. So, I think we have to try and have some sort of balance that looks both at a universal option and some targeting.

Can I just put this on the table? I appreciate that time is going to beat us, so I'll leave you to think on it and maybe send a written response or something. You talk about inclusivity, no postcode lottery, and longer contracts. For a lot of land, most farmers or land managers can only access it maybe on a 12-month grazing licence or a 10-month grazing licence, and so there might by the aspiration from that land manager to take that land forward into a conservation scheme, but the rental market prohibits them from doing it. I think we're overlooking that, because we're talking, maybe, as much as a third of the land mass of Wales—24 per cent—is tenanted, and I think that's a piece of work that needs to be reflected on, because, in effect, a quarter of the land is excluded if you're talking five-year, 10-year, 15-year contracts as such.

And we have been working with the Tenant Farmers Association exactly on trying to unpick that.

I'm not talking about longer term contracts, because I can't see how you can get the flexibility under a contract. You're either contracted to provide something for a certain amount of time—that's going to have to be specified, so where does the flexibility in management come in? But if you're paying for something that's already on the ground there—

I'll just say that, if you're a tenant, you have to have a contract, because your landlord will insist on that. Therefore, it feeds into the scheme— 

Yes, the tenancy contract is different, but I'm talking about a contract for the delivery of public goods.

Time has beaten us quite significantly. We move on to Jenny Rathbone.

Thank you. We've already talked quite a lot about how we're going to persuade people to do what we want to do to achieve the outcomes we want. Robert, you have set out what successful schemes look like—being specific to a region, landowner training, et cetera. Do you use GIS at the moment?

Yes, and as we prepare the area statements, GIS is a core part of that, to look at those area statements, all across Wales, to pick out the types of things that are there. They are not a tool that you can say, 'We will plant something here, or do something there.' They are a decision-making tool where you can look at the options and make decisions in an informed way, because they are an evidence-portraying approach.

Okay. So, we have the technology then to have this regional approach without actually having to walk every single field. 

Yes. You have to be fairly careful. When we look at trying to monitor—and I think we'll come on to monitoring later on—but when you're trying to monitor, you have to do field-scale monitoring as well as remote sensing, because the two things don't cover everything.

10:15

At the rate we're going, we probably won't get to monitoring. [Laughter.]

Yes, okay. Well, I've covered it, perhaps.

I want to really explore a little bit further as to how we're going to persuade land managers to do the things that are going to achieve the biodiversity outcomes that we want.

Yes, the sort of experience we've had with land managers—and we touched on it earlier—is that most of them, the best schemes we've seen, both here and abroad, have involved getting advice and guidance down to the local scale, where we can hold discussions with stakeholders and with land managers, whether they're foresters or farmers or whatever. We can talk with them and get them to make informed decisions. Recognising the outcome that we want to achieve, if you can give them the evidence, show them the techniques, give them the advice and guidance, then you have the chance of moving towards that sort of outcome that you want to achieve. And it's key that you have informed, well-developed knowledge and evidence and the people who can talk with the land managers to deliver it.

NRW have produced extremely good mapping data, looking at resilience, looking at all different factors—all the public goods, et cetera. So, we have the data; we just need to be able to apply it. I think what's going to be critical is having that on-farm advice. That was what was definitely missing in the last scheme. I think it should be a single point of contact and I think it should be going on farm and actually exploring with the farmer what could be achieved, and then you start bringing out the very specific elements you need for biodiversity. The problem here is we're trying to simplify something that's quite complex, and you can only do that, I believe, field by field at farm by farm. In the past, that's been seen as too cost prohibitive. It's absolutely critical. You can't get the scheme right without that.

The key thing is on that that a lot of land managers will operate their land in a way that will deliver benefits without any exchange of money—and that's the key thing for me. When we talk about, 'There's a limited pot,' then, fine, we accept that: how do we make sure that people manage? And, if you can show that they've either got market access because they achieve a certain standard, or they're in a position where following that standard means that they operate at a more economic scale. Because it isn't all about productivity; you can have farms operating quite profitably in different ways—there are different models that can be applied. So, by giving them that advice and support, you may find that the cost that you need to operate those things is not as big as you perhaps thought it was in the past, where we were paying for things to be delivered.

Okay, but I'm still struggling to understand the reward system that's going to deliver for—. You know, there's no point in having a reward system for farmer A if land manager B next door is doing something that completely undermines what the good guy is doing.

Yes. That's going to be particularly difficult if farmer B isn't in a scheme—so, say they are the 20 per cent of the productive farms—but that's where a very strong regulatory base has to be there, so at least you then know they're not doing any harm.

They're achieving the standard that we want them to achieve, and then we're looking for the standards that push them above and beyond that level, and that's where the goods, public goods, comes into it.

I think that's mainly an issue of scale, because it's less important—. If there is a majority of farmers who are managing sustainably, it's less important about the others, really.

Yes. We find that all the time, when we take—

There are a lot of farmers—. A lot of agriculture is moving to sustainable methods of its own volition, because the high-input, high-output model is declining in productivity, because it isn't sustainable, by definition. It's running out of steam, and farmers are turning to sustainable land management, which is delivering all of the public goods that we want. I don't see it as a payment for benefiting biodiversity, it's—. What I would like these payments to be is a top-up to encourage sustainable management that will deliver those public goods inherently. Because nobody has ever before decided—. Farmers haven't decided, 'I'm going to create a biodiverse meadow.' It's just been inherent because they've been managing the land sustainably. Up until the agricultural revolution, that was true, and it can be true again; we just need the sustainable management. So, a lot of the—. As others have said, the cost might not be as high as you think, because people are choosing to do it anyway, without payment, so we just need to push them over that threshold. The advice is important, but I think the engagement is the key, and there is a huge amount of information on how farmers can manage sustainably—best practice of hedge-cutting and things—but the system has to inherently encourage people to take that up, and I think that's their decision, and you can give them all the advice you want, but, if it's not a results-based payment, there's not really an incentive for them to carry out that practice. 

10:20

I want to just move on to how we measure outcomes. So, on the one hand, you say that:

'Good habitat is too complex to be faked',

and it's easily recognisable, but, on the other hand, you say:

'it is not possible to determine whether insecticides have been used by looking at habitat'. 

Yes. I think organics is a slightly other issue because, if you're looking at habitat, you can't tell how many insects are in there, but—you know, a biodiverse habitat would support a large biodiversity of insects, say, but, if they've all been killed with insecticide, you can't tell that just from going there. But we already have an organic scheme that people pay to go into, and there's no reason for that to change, particularly. 

We're overlooking two things here. One is we also have a resilience payment that is being proposed, going forward. Now, wouldn't that be great to move us towards those sustainable—? Because, I agree: I think that high-input farming is going to diminish, just because the costs are going to exceed. And, also, as a society, the challenges are only going to increase. At the moment, one of the main reasons why we're facing this biodiversity loss—you know, day one at school, on your food chain, is that insects are the bottom of the food chain. We have systemically knocked out that fundamental of the food chain. And so it's not surprising that we're seeing these huge declines. We are in the middle of a mass extinction event at the moment. It just doesn't feel like it, because it's hard to compare to yesterday because our memories don't allow us. 

Okay. So, just moving back to the schemes we're going to implement—. I agree with all that. How would we fairly measure the outcomes of effort, given that you can't predetermine—? I mean, you can't control whether the lapwing's going to land on your land.

Before you come in, I'll just say that, after this, we're going to have to move on to the next stage, which is resilience. 

So, fundamentally, restore the habitat and then get an extra payment if you get the species. It then becomes a farm asset. Because, it is—. You could have the perfect habitat for a lapwing, and it may or may not come. So, you have to have the right to fail as well, but let's then increase the payment towards that and have it in the long term, because if it's too short term, you can't—it takes time. 

The trouble I have with that is that it's very—. How are you going to know where there's a lapwing nesting? It's going to take a huge amount of cost to ensure a results-based system on that principle, and if—

Well, I think habitat is the basis, as far as I can see, and, if you've created good habitat, there's no reason why lapwings aren't going to use it. 

Yes. You can measure things over time, because I do it locally, and I've seen the biodiversity producing the different species that weren't there before—I've kept a record for eight years, and that is clearly the case. So, my question is about economic resilience and how an economic resilience scheme and a public goods scheme can be designed to complement each other, because, ultimately, that's what we're trying to do. 

This is a key fundamental core of the whole thing, and when 'Brexit and our land' was first published, one of the first things we said as an organisation is, 'You can't have them as independent issues'. They have to overlap. One thing supports the other, and I think Welsh Government's view on that now—or in putting the scheme together, it has twigged that both the revenue and the capital sides of things have to overlap. So, we would like to see that happen. I think it would be a core part for land managers to recognise that the two things work together, and, as a consequence, we think that a scheme that provides funding for both will deliver stuff. 

We probably—. Brexit is very uncertain, and we need to enable people to adapt to new systems, whether that be new market opportunities or more sustainable production methods. But, in the long term, we need to move from the resilient payments of the public goods—you know, I would see them counterbalancing as we go forward. And, you know, let's invest in—. Because this is major change, so let's make sure we get the investment right, give a bit of reassurance and stability to the sector. There's a lot of very, quite rightly, worried people out there presently. Because this, I can only—. We need to tell the public what a public good is. That would really help because I think that would then give more—it would enable you politically, therefore, to justify the investment.

10:25

Yes. So, I suggest an example from forestry. I think, for the public goods scheme, there needs to be very clearly a focus on the public good—so, in a commercial forest, for example, a payment for the network of the non-forest habitats that those forests contain. Again, it gives them a value, produces an income to the forest manager to actually maintain those stream-side, ride-side open ground, former woodland habitats within the commercial forest. But where the economic resilience scheme could come in, then, is in supporting more of the forestry activity in the infrastructure creation, for example, or, for example, in dealing with the impact of tree disease, which is a very current issue. I think the public good element needs to be clear, but the two can complement each other.

My thoughts on economic resilience, from the information that's been put forward in the consultation, would—it seems a bit muddled to me. I think I would fit it into two or three streams because you clearly have, on holding, funding that's required for new equipment on the farm or for other rural businesses, whatever they are, and then there's shared infrastructure.

I'm involved with heritage grain growing, and there's a network that is building, even without any inputs, but they need things. There are very few mills around in Wales and they need things like seed-cleaning equipment. It's not that much money, really, and as a shared resource it's really cheap and it would enable smaller farmers like myself to grow grain and have a Welsh grain economy. So, things like that need funding.

And then, either the third one, or you could lump it in with the shared resources, is the advice side of things, and there's a lot of agricultural advice people. There's a Welsh grain forum working on that thing, and they're doing a lot of co-ordination work, and I think with a bit of funding—. The issue is it's everybody's voluntary time, you know, and it's very difficult for them to get things done, and I think a bit of funding for groups like that would really help grow a local, sustainable, productive economy.

You led in, Laurence, to advice. We've talked here for the last hour about changes and the changes are coming, as it were, but I would suggest, over the last 20 years, certainly many packages of advice and help have been put in place, and it's debatable how effective those changes have been. In the Farmers Weekly this week, there was a poignant example of a person in Cheshire—I appreciate on the other side of Offa's Dyke—who'd made the decision to go out of milk because it wasn't viable, and only some months later is his father now speaking to him again, he said, because it was such a fundamental change to that business that the older generation thought, 'How could those cows possibly go down the road? Because that's what we've always done on this place'. And the importance about getting an advice scheme in place that supports the transition and informs that transition—it's going to be critical. I'd welcome your comments on what maybe you have seen in other parts of the UK or, indeed, here in Wales, that might form the basis of a strong and stable advice network that doesn't merely line the consultants' pockets but actually does the change that we want to have.

We saw some work last week from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, where they'd been doing quite a lot of work. And there, as you know, they've introduced general binding rules to set the regulatory floor, and that has improved compliance with regulations on a lot of farms in certain key parts of Scotland. But the advice bit has been one of the key parts that's driven the compliance further and further up the scale. And that has been a very key part of people visiting the farm not once, but twice or three times, just to make sure that the land manager has understood what's needed to happen and what advice and investment they needed to achieve the compliance. And it's taken two or three visits before they've got to 80 per cent or 85 per cent compliance across farms. So, it's a very, very key part of the whole package, really; it isn't just a case of giving advice, it's having all of the mechanisms in place—advice, communities getting together to understand the problems, the regulatory floor that picks up those who are never going to accept the advice or adhere to what the community wants to see happen. There is a whole range of things that all fit together to deliver the product that we want to see at the end of it.

10:30

Yes, and I would agree: learn by what works. You know, the Scottish model, in regulatory floor terms, has been very, very successful. Let's make sure that farmers are involved in the development of that advice. And farmer-to-farmer learning is by far the most effective we've seen. But whatever we have going forward has to be independent as well. And also, the range of advice is going to increase, so if we're saying, 'Continue to diversify your business', and things like brand Wales, et cetera, you'll need advice on how you develop, say, on-farm manufacturing, say, if you want to go into ice cream production, or whatever it might be.

And it's having access to that guidance and the investment as well. And that's where the two parts come in; it's not just a payment for providing an outcome, it's the investment that might be needed to make that step change in things.

One of the benefits I see with paying people for what they've got rather than what you want them to have is that I think the scheme would be less off-putting for farmers in that they're not signing up to something prescriptive and they can—. They'll think, 'I can maybe lay my hedges, and that will get me x payment', but then, if they find the system works and they like it, they could then start to think about, 'Well, maybe I could include my grassland in this', and they can step change their management and gain kind of cumulative and higher payments just on a more organic basis—sorry, that's a confusing word to use. But, you know, they can just naturally progress into a more sustainable method of management, rather than have to read through all of these rules and make a decision, and then go, 'From this point forward, I've got to comply.' You know, they can find out, 'This sounds like it's doable, I'm going to implement it', and if it doesn't work, then they can tweak it and eventually, they'll rise up that scale and get the higher payments.

The prescription at the end of it, it's not a policy we've had in the past. The idea of having an outcome that you generate, often is then—. If you have that approach, it's down to the land manager, often, to set out how they're going to achieve that, and I think that's one of the key things on that; it releases this idea of, 'You must follow a very, very strict approach to delivering what we want you to deliver before we pay you.' If you're there just delivering the outcome that we want, then—

I think you've just hit the nail on the head there, where it says, 'You must', actually, the advice should be, 'You can'.

And then the person takes ownership of it and is on the journey, rather than they feel it's a regulatory environment that they're shackled to.

Absolutely. We've got a programme at the moment visiting dairy farms and it's been very successful. Why? Because we're going along to work with them, to work with the farmer, to look at how they're operating, to give them suggestions on how they can take steps to perform better, and then, if we see that there is more investment needed, we bring in other experts from elsewhere, from Farming Connect and so on, to help them move further on. And that's a way of trying to raise the bar for them.

And the farmers want it.

They might want very specific advice on biodiversity, you know. And again, the exciting thing about the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 is the five ways of working. Let's work collectively, in partnership, in that long term, together.

It is about partnership—

We've gone over time, but I know that Jerry hasn't had an opportunity to say anything on this. Do you want to make any comment?

The only thing I would say is to go back to what I said earlier. I think it's that crucial relationship that's built up by land managers with a trusted adviser or facilitator, someone who is locally based, so it's a local delivery structure. The great challenge is that the range of expertise necessary is vast, so I think there has to be a pool of various different advisory sources that those trusted or those lead advisers can have access to. As Rachel says, it comes back to collaboration across organisations, because I don't think it's possible just to have one sort.

10:35

Can I take this opportunity to thank you all for coming along and for your answers to a series of questions? Thank you all very much. It's been very informative, and as much as I'd like to carry on, we've gone five minutes over and the next group are due shortly. Thank you very much.

Thank you very much. Diolch yn fawr.

Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 10:35 a 10:44.

The meeting adjourned between 10:35 and 10:44.

10:40
3. Ystyried Cynllun Bioamrywiaeth – Nwyddau Cyhoeddus: sesiwn dystiolaeth gyda chynrychiolwyr o Dŵr Cymru, Awdurdodau Parciau Cenedlaethol a Chymdeithas Ecolegol Prydain
3. Consideration of Biodiversity - Public Goods Scheme: evidence session with representatives of Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, National Park Authorities and the British Ecological Society

Bore da. Good morning. Can I welcome you here to this evidence session? For the record, could you introduce yourselves, please? 

Emyr Williams, Snowdonia National Park Authority. 

Geraint Jones, Awdurdod Parc Cenedlaethol Arfordir Penfro. 

Geraint Jones, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority

Steve Wilson, Welsh Water. 

Brendan Costelloe, British Ecological Society. 

Thank you very much. If you're okay, can we go straight into questions? The first one comes from me. What are the gaps or limitations in existing legislation and policy that could be addressed through the proposed public goods scheme to improve biodiversity restoration in Wales? Who wants to go first? 

Dwi am siarad yn y Gymraeg. Dŷn ni'n meddwl bod y ddeddfwriaeth yn ddigon derbyniol i ymateb i her bioamrywiaeth, ond hwyrach mai ychydig bach o'r ewyllys sydd ar goll. Mae yna faterion, dwi'n meddwl, ar y cyrion sydd eisiau rhoi ystyriaeth iddyn nhw, pethau fel sut mae tenantiaeth yn mynd i allu ymdopi efo cynlluniau amaeth-amgylcheddol newydd. Hefyd, efo porwyr tir comin, os ydyn ni'n sôn am nwyddau cyhoeddus, pethau megis carbon, mae'r rheini fel arfer yn y pridd a dim yn y glaswellt, felly mae'r porwyr ond efo hawl efo'r glaswellt, a dim hawliau dros y pridd.

Ac mae yna faterion eraill fel sut mae defnydd presennol yn cael ei ddefnyddio, er enghraifft, pan fo coed yn cael eu tynnu oddi ar fawndir, mae'n ofynnol i ailblannu'r mawndir efo coed. Hwyrach, o ystyried yr her sydd o'n blaenau ni efo newid hinsawdd, ei bod hi'n amser inni newid y canllawiau efo hynny.   

I'm going to speak in Welsh. We think that the legislation is acceptable enough to meet the challenge of biodiversity, but some of the will is perhaps missing. There are issues, I think, on the periphery that need to be considered, such as how tenancy will cope with new agri-environment schemes. Also, with common land grazers, if we're talking about public goods, things such as carbon, for example, are often sequestered in the ground rather than on the surface, so grazers only have rights relating to the grasses, but no rights relating to the soil.

There are other issues, so if you look at the current use, for example, when trees are taken from peat land it's a requirement to replant that peat land with trees. Perhaps, considering the challenge ahead of us with climate change, it is time to change the guidelines on that. 

10:45

Byddwn i'n ategu'r hyn mae Emyr wedi ei ddweud. Rwy'n credu bod yna rai rheoliadau deddfwriaethol sydd eisiau edrych arnyn nhw. Rwy'n meddwl yn benodol am y rheoliadau llosgi grug ac eithin. Mae angen diwygio a diweddaru'r rheoliadau hynny. Yn sicr, yn wyneb y peryglon cynyddol o danau gwylltion yng nghefn gwlad, mae angen rheoliadau sy'n ffit i bwrpas. Ond, yn sylfaenol, fe fyddwn i'n ategu'r hyn mae Emyr yn ddweud. Mae'r ddeddfwriaeth yn ei lle—cenedlaethau'r dyfodol, Deddf yr Amgylchedd (Cymru) 2016—ond mae angen yr ewyllys i weithredu, a hefyd yr adnoddau i ganiatáu i hynny ddigwydd. 

I would support what Emyr has said. I think there are some legislative regulations that need to be looked at. I'm thinking specifically about the regulations regarding the burning of heather and gorse. There is a need to amend and update those regulations. Certainly, in the light of the increasing dangers of wildfires in rural areas, there is a need for regulations that are fit for purpose. But, essentially, I would support what Emyr is saying. The legislation is in its place—future generations and the Environment (Wales) Act 2016—but there is an need for that will to implement it, and also the resources to allow that to happen. 

I'll just add a bit to what Geraint was saying. I'm very much supportive of my colleagues here, but I think we need to underpin this with what we call a regulatory floor. We do need a system of basic regulatory measures that underpin this, so that we're not in a position where we're paying polluters not to pollute—a very basic set of regulations at the bottom end of that standard that we can build on top of. 

Thank you. Just to again echo what my colleagues here have been saying. I think the legislative framework is largely in place. What this does is give you the tools to actually implement it, and given that 90 per cent of Wales is farmed at the moment, I don't think we'll be able to meet the commitments in things like the environment Act unless there is a new, revised public goods scheme that is more targeted, operates at a bigger scale, and operates alongside a solid regulatory baseline for you to be able to deliver on those targets.  

Okay, thank you. My next question is: do you have any views or concerns about delaying area statements until March 2020? Do you want to start at that end?

Yes, thank you. I think that the concern here for us would be around whether or not that interferes with pilot projects. I'm not sure it's a problem otherwise in terms of timing, but you'd like to see some pilot projects put in place before whatever comes next is rolled out, and I think the area statements will be really crucial in terms of informing a spatial strategy for the future scheme.  

Mae yna saith datganiad ardal ar draws Cymru. Dwi'n meddwl bod gan Gymru ychydig bach o fantais yn y ffaith bod gennym ni dri pharc cenedlaethol a phum ardal o harddwch naturiol eithriadol, ac mae'r rheina i gyd efo cynllun rheolaeth eu hunain. Felly, mae hwnna yn arf ychwanegol sydd gennym ni yng Nghymru i roi gwell ffocws i nwyddau cyhoeddus. Mae'r unedau yna yn cymryd y dystiolaeth o gyflwr natur, o beth sydd yn y datganiadau ardal, ac yn rhoi gweledigaeth i'r nwyddau cyhoeddus yna. So, dwi'n meddwl ein bod ni'n llai pryderus yn y parciau cenedlaethol am yr oedi yma yn y datganiadau ardal, oherwydd bod gennym ni gynlluniau rheolaeth. 

There are seven area statements across Wales, and I think that Wales has a bit of an advantage with the fact that we have three national parks and five areas of outstanding natural beauty, and they all have their own management plans. So, that is an additional tool that we have in Wales to give better focus to public goods. Those units take the evidence from the state of nature, from what is in the area statements, and give a vision to those public goods. So, I think we are less concerned in the national parks about this delay in the area statements, because we have these management plans.    

Rwy'n credu efallai fod y cynlluniau rheolaeth yna yn cynnig ffordd ymlaen i'r datganiadau ardal yna o ran gweithredu yn ymarferol. 

I think perhaps that those management schemes provide a way forward for the area statements in terms of operating on a practical level. 

I think, for us, particularly in Welsh Water, the delay is a little bit unfortunate, as we work in a very five-year regulatory cycle, so our investment plan from 2020-25 would have been great if we could've shaped that based on those area statements. That said, I don't think it should delay anything. There's opportunity here for us to pilot in certain areas. There are plenty of opportunities where we know we can start making real progress on, and we'll wait to see what those statements come with. 

Y peth arall sydd angen, wrth gwrs, yw adnoddau, ac mae pres cyhoeddus yn mynd yn brinnach. Tra ein bod ni i gyd eisiau gweld gwireddu canlyniadau cadarnhaol o ran bioamrywiaeth wrth gwrs, un o'r elfennau sy'n gyrru'r symudiad yma tuag at dalu am wasanaethau cyhoeddus neu wasanaethau ecosystemaidd yw crebachu'r pwrs cyhoeddus. Felly, mae angen tynnu arian o ffynonellau eraill—o'r sector breifat, er enghraifft, ac yn y blaen. 

Nawr, ie, rwy'n gwybod, yn amlwg mae Dŵr Cymru ar y panel, felly fe gawn ni glywed beth sydd gyda chi i ddweud am hyn. Ond, wrth gwrs, rŷm ni wedi bod yn sôn am hyn ers blynyddoedd, a dyw e jest ddim wedi digwydd i'r graddau y byddai rhywun wedi gobeithio. Felly, sut ŷm ni'n mynd i allu 'leverage-o' yr arian ychwanegol yma—oddi wrth y sector breifat, er enghraifft—er mwyn cyfrannu tuag at y canlyniadau rŷm ni eisiau eu gweld?

The other thing that's needed, of course, is resources, and public money is getting scarcer. While we all want to see the realisation of positive results in terms of biodiversity, one of the elements that is driving this movement towards paying for public services or ecosystem services is the public purse being constricted. So, there's a need to pull money from other sectors—from the private sector for example, and so forth.

I know, obviously, that Dŵr Cymru is on the panel, so we can hear what you're saying about this. But we've been talking about this for years, and it just hasn't happened to the extent that one would have hoped. So, how are we going to be able to leverage this additional funding—from the private sector, for example—in order to contribute towards the outcomes that we want to see?

10:50

Dwi'n credu bod yna ddwy elfen, a dweud y gwir. Hynny yw, mae sicrhau bod yr adnoddau sydd ar gael yn cael eu gwario yn y modd mwyaf effeithlon ac effeithiol yn hollbwysig. Byddwn i'n dadlau'n gryf fod angen isadeiledd cadarn o arbenigedd i fod o gymorth i amaethwyr i sicrhau eu bod nhw'n gallu manteisio ar y gorau o'r adnoddau sydd ar gael iddyn nhw—hynny yw, yn syml iawn, y cymorth yn ogystal â chymhorthdal.

Ond, ar y llaw arall wedyn, dwi'n credu bod yna gyfleodd drwy'r egwyddor o daliadau am wasanaethau ecosystem, yn enwedig efallai o edrych ar yr elfen ddŵr. Mae gennym ni brosiect ar y gweill yn sir Benfro, sef BRICs, Building Resilience In Catchments, sy'n anelu i greu marchnad am—wel, 'nutrient marketing' yw'r term sy'n cael ei ddefnyddio, o fewn ardal y Daugleddau. Ac mae rhai enghreifftiau da yn ardal Poole yn swydd Dorset, lle mae modd creu marchnad effeithiol rhwng perchnogion tir a diwydiant, a chreu'r masnachu yma a fyddai'n cyfrannu yn sylweddol ac yn creu rhyw fath o system win-win, os mynnwch chi.

I think there are two elements, to be honest. That is, ensuring that the resources that are available are spent in the most effective and efficient way is vital. I would argue strongly that a strong infrastructure of expertise is needed to assist farmers, to ensure that they can take advantage of the best resources that are available to them—very simply, the support as well as the subsidy.

But, on the other hand, I do think that there are opportunities through this principle of payments for ecosystem services, especially maybe in looking at this water element. We have a project in the pipeline in Pembrokeshire, BRICs, Building Resilience In Catchments, which aims to create a market for—'nutrient marketing' is the term that's used, within the Daugleddau area. And in Poole in Dorset, for example, there are good examples where an effective market can be created between landowners and industry, to create this kind of trading that would contribute substantially and create a kind of win-win system, if you will.

Ond ydyn ni'n mynd i gyrraedd y lefel o fuddsoddiad rŷm ni ei angen drwy ryw approach gwirfoddol fel yna, neu ydych chi'n credu bod yn rhaid i ni greu rheolau cryfach, er enghraifft, drwy'r system gynllunio neu rywbeth sydd yn gorfodi bach o'r leverage yna, yn hytrach na jest dibynnu ar gwmni? Achos, dwi jest yn meddwl am gwmnïau yswiriant, er enghraifft, sy'n cael eu cyfeirio atyn nhw. Hynny yw, y pwrs cyhoeddus, yn aml iawn, sy'n buddsoddi mewn mesurau atal llifogydd, ond wrth gwrs, mae hwnna'n creu elw i gwmnïau yswiriant. Oni ddylai fod yna reidrwydd fod y rheini yn cyfrannu i bethau fel yna? Rwy'n gwybod bod Dŵr Cymru yn gwneud tipyn o'r gwaith yma yn barod, ond byddwn i jest yn lico clywed lle ŷch chi'n gweld y cydbwysedd yma rhwng rhyw approach gwirfoddol ac approach mwy rheoleiddiol, efallai.

But are we going to reach the level of investment that's required through a voluntary approach such as that, or do you think we have to create stronger rules, for example, through the planning system or something that brings that leverage in, rather than depending on companies? I'm just thinking of insurance companies, for example, which we referred to. Quite often, it's the public purse that invests in flood prevention systems, but that creates profits for insurance companies. Shouldn't there be a requirement that they contribute to things such as those? I know that Dŵr Cymru does a lot of this work already, but I would just like to hear where you see this balance between a voluntary approach and a more regulatory approach.

Dwi'n meddwl ei bod hi'n wir i ddweud dydy'r ymdrech wirfoddol ddim wedi llwyddo hyd yn hyn, so hwyrach bod yn rhaid sbïo ar reoleiddio. Mi ydym ni wedi gwneud darn o waith efo Llywodraeth Cymru ar weld sut dŷn ni'n gallu datblygu'r farchnad garbon yng Nghymru. Y gwirionedd ydy, does gennym ni ddim mo'r arbenigedd i fynd i ddechrau trafod efo'r cwmnïau mawr yma yng Nghymru. Mae'n rhaid i chi gael pobl o'r cefndir masnachol yma i wneud y gwaith yna ar ran tirfeddianwyr a ffermwyr.

Hefyd, dwi'n meddwl mai'r gwirionedd ydy, os dŷn ni'n mynd i farchnad garbon yn benodol yn yr ucheldir yng Nghymru, fyddwn ni'n methu â chystadlu efo'r ardaloedd mawr yn yr Alban, achos mae'n rhannau carbon ni wedi cael eu darnio bach yn fach. Er eu bod nhw'n fawr yn lleol, maen nhw'n fach ar lefel Prydain a'r byd. Felly, mae hwnna.

Fel mae Geraint wedi dweud, dwi'n meddwl ei bod hi'n bwysig, hwyrach, ar eich rhan chi fel Aelodau yn y fan yma, yn gyntaf, i warchod yr adnoddau sydd yna yn barod. Achos, os dŷn ni'n fodlon i gymryd agwedd 20 mlynedd neu 25 mlynedd i'r amgylchedd, hwyrach bod yr arian sydd gennym ni yn gallu gwneud gwahaniaeth mawr. So, bydd yn rhaid i ni beidio â bod yn teimlo ein bod ni ar golled yn y fanno. 

Treth: mi ydym ni wedi trio, yn lleol yn Eryri, pethau fel treth ymwelwyr yn wirfoddol, ond y gwirionedd ydy bod y lefel o gyfraniadau sy'n dod yn ôl yn fach iawn. Dwi'n siŵr y buasem ni, fel parciau cenedlaethol ac ardaloedd o harddwch, yn gallu gwneud defnydd da o rywbeth fel treth twristiaeth i gefnogi'r amgylchedd.

I think it's true to say that the voluntary effort hasn't been successful so far, so perhaps we need to look at regulation. We have done a piece of work with Welsh Government on seeing how we can develop the carbon market in Wales. The truth is that we don't have the expertise to try to start discussing with these big companies in Wales. You need people from this commercial background to do that work on behalf of landowners and farmers.

Also, I think the truth is that if we look to move to a carbon market specifically in the highlands of Wales, we won't be able to compete with the large areas in Scotland, because our carbon areas are quite bitty. Even though they're large locally, they're small at a British level and world level. So, there's that.

As Geraint has said, I think it's important, possibly, for you as Members to protect, first of all, the resources that are there already. Because, if we are willing to take a 20 or 25-year approach to the environment, then perhaps the money that we have could make a big difference. So, we need not feel that we're at a loss there. 

Tax: we have, locally in Snowdonia, tried things such as a visitor tax on a voluntary basis, but the truth is that the level of contributions that comes back is very small. I'm sure that we, as national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty, could make good use of something like a tourism tax to support the environment.

10:55

I'm sure you want to hear Welsh Water's view on this. [Laughter.]

So, clearly, we invest a lot of money on behalf of our customers in environmental improvements, and our customers are very supportive of us doing more work in this space. We are working closely with Geraint and his colleagues down in Pembrokeshire—he's already mentioned that scheme. Our own kind of PestSmart piece of work we've been doing over the last few years to try and help the environment through the safe disposal of pesticides, working with farmers on that is a good example.

But, I think, before a water company will start to invest heavily into this area, there's a couple of things we've got to get right. The solution has to be more cost-effective than the alternative, which is to pour concrete and build a treatment works, which we can manage, and we can measure very easily. One of the advantages of doing it in that kind of way is that you've got a point source that you can measure the impact very quickly, and gosh, you know, we've spent the last 25 years doing this and we're quite good at building treatment works, et cetera. So, it's got to be more cost-effective than the alternative.

The second area is that we've got to change the regulatory framework to allow us to do such things, because, at the moment, our permits are very much strict limits based on the discharge at that point source. If we're going to go into a catchment area and start to potentially do some nutrient trading—. So, let me give you an example. We've got a small sewage treatment works, not too far, actually, out of Emyr's area up in north-west Wales, 600 population equivalent, and the river there has got too high a level of phosphorous in there. The solution for Welsh Water to take that phosphorous out is spending £4.5 million for about 600 population equivalent, and then £0.5 million a year running costs of lots of chemicals to actually have taken that phosphorous out. If we could use some of that money to actually work with the farmers, the other land managers in that catchment, and find ways of taking that phosphorous out, we're absolutely up for doing that, but we've got to make sure then that we don't have to pay twice, that we do that, and then our regulator comes along and says, 'Well, I tell you what, we still want you to build that new treatment works.' So, it's got to be in a way in which we can measure the benefit in the river, and then we can actually be permitted to take that kind of load out on a catchment basis, and there's a good—back to the resources point—we've got to have a good framework that supports land managers in terms of doing the right thing, picking those things, but then a very evidence-led measurement of, 'Are we achieving that good?'

Does the regulatory system not exist at the moment to enable you to stop people poisoning the water, so that you've got to go through these expensive chemical methods?

When we look at the way in which we work with our environmental regulators around the water framework directive, these kinds of cycles we go through to try and improve the water quality, there's diffuse pollution—some of that's coming from farming; some of it's coming from septic tank owners; some of it's coming from forestry; some of it is coming from the discharges from Welsh Water assets, from the treatment of customers' waste. Actually, permits are set on discharge points, not necessarily on a river measurement. But, actually, to do that, we would need to have a consent for what we're trying to achieve in the river in terms of milligrams per litre, or whatever, of phosphorous, and when we've got that measure for the river, how we get there—the regulator needs to stand back and let the partners, let everybody work together to achieve that standard. But if we don't hit it, what do we do? That's the problem. So, the regulators tend to default to, 'Well, the easiest things to do to get certainty is to put a permit level on the water company because we've got somebody on the hook if we don't get there.' And that's the way we've driven those environmental improvements. 

Some questions in terms of the public goods scheme and additionality really. To what extent do you think there should be a requirement for additionality, as opposed to recognising previous good practice in conservation management, for example? I'd be interested in your thoughts really as to where the balance is best struck. 

11:00

Dwi'n meddwl ei fod o'n bwysig i gydnabod beth sydd wedi digwydd yn y gorffennol, achos mae yna beryg inni fynd i fwy o gostau yn y tymor hir os dŷn ni ddim yn cynnal y buddsoddiad sydd wedi digwydd. Esiamplau o’r rheini fuasai'n gallu bod fel cynyddu’r risg o danau yn yr ucheldir, os ydyn ni jest yn gadael i dir fynd. Dŷn ni’n gwybod efo newid hinsawdd a cholli pori yn yr ucheldir, yn enwedig yn Eryri, bydd pethau fel Rhododendron ponticum yn cynyddu, a bydd costau enfawr i gael gwared o hynny. A hefyd—mae’r trydydd pwynt wedi mynd, ond hwyrach y daw yn ôl mewn munud.

Ond, dwi’n meddwl y pwynt o ran y public goods ydy ein bod ni fel parc cenedlaethol yn meddwl bod y parciau cenedlaethol eu hunain yn public good hefyd. Felly, mae yna angen buddsoddiad yn y public good yna, er mwyn budd yr economi, twristiaeth, os ydy hynny’n ddim ond un cyfiawnhad, felly.

I think it's important to acknowledge what’s happened in the past, because there's a risk that we will incur more costs in the long term if we don't maintain the investment that has happened. Examples of that could be an increase in the risk of upland fires, if we just let land go. We know that, with climate change and the loss of grazing in the uplands, especially in Snowdonia, things like Rhododendron ponticum, for example, will increase, and the costs for removing that will be huge. And also—the third point has gone, but it may well come back to me.

But, I think that, in terms of public goods, we as a national park do think that the national parks themselves are a public good as well. So, we need investment in that public good, for the benefit of the economy, for tourism, for example, if that’s just one justification.

Dwi’n credu bod y pwynt yna am gynnal buddsoddiad cyhoeddus sydd wedi'i wneud yn barod yn hollbwysig, ac nid mater o wobrwyo am waith yn y gorffennol yw e, ond cydnabod a chynnal y buddsoddiad yna at y dyfodol a, gobeithio, cynyddu ei effeithlonrwydd e. Felly, byddwn i’n ategu’r hyn y mae Emyr yn ei ddweud, ond yn sicr yn pwysleisio hynny. Yn ogystal ag elfen o newydd-deb a mynd â’r cynllun i diroedd newydd ac ymhellach, mae yn hollbwysig gwarchod a chynnal y buddsoddiadau sydd eisoes wedi digwydd.

I think that that point about maintaining public investment that has already been made is vital, and it’s not a matter of rewarding work that has been done in the past, but acknowledging and maintaining that investment for the future and, hopefully, increasing its efficiency. So, I would echo what Emyr is saying, but I would certainly emphasise that. As well as an element of innovation and taking this scheme to new ground and beyond, it is vital to look after and maintain the investments that have already happened.

Gaf i? Dwi wedi cofio’r pwynt yr oeddwn i wedi ei anghofio fo, sef sgiliau. Mae gennym ni rai rhywogaethau yn Eryri, ac mae arfordir sir Benfro yn esiampl wych, lle mae wedi cymryd blynyddoedd i gael y sgiliau i mewn i’r ffermwyr i watsied ar ôl, er enghraifft, melyn yr eithin, aderyn bach ar arfordir Eryri, a’r frân goesgoch felly. Mae’r ffermwyr yn deall beth i’w wneud o dan y system yma. Felly, mae angen cadw’r sgiliau yna, neu mi fyddwn ni’n gorfod mynd yn ôl mewn degawd eto i ailddysgu eto ac wedi colli cyfleon.

May I? I’ve just remembered the point that I’d forgotten, which is skills. We have some species in Snowdonia, and the coast of Pembrokeshire is an excellent example, where it has taken years to get these skills in for the farmers to look after, for example, different birds, such as the yellowhammer, a small bird on the Snowdonia coastline, and the chough. The farmers know what to do with these various birds under this system. So, we need to maintain those skills, or we'll have to come back in a decade to relearn them and we'll have lost opportunities.

I absolutely support the point that we need to protect the good work that’s already gone on around conservation. We don’t want to see a step back. It’s difficult around rewarding people who maybe have already done that piece of work, but we've got to maintain that. So, the regulatory mechanism has got to allow for those who are doing good work in conservation to continue.

But then, it’s about setting a kind of—you know, back to this kind of regulatory floor around what’s the baseline we want to see, and then how we build on that. And I think there are lots of exciting opportunities to get into, both in the uplands—. We were talking, as we were coming in, about flood management in the uplands. Welsh Water is about to embark on a—well, we’ve already started it—a huge investment programme in trying to climate change-proof our Victorian dams. The maximum flood kind of calculations now in the weather are such that those great Victorian dams are fine, but the spillways, we’re now having to widen and make bigger to deal with bigger floods. Actually working up above those reservoirs around how we can turn that land back into more of a sponge would have huge benefits from that. So, it’s not just further down, where we're talking about sewage works, discharges, and nutrients in the lowlands; I think there is opportunity further up the catchments as well.

Yes, just to echo that again on regulatory baseline, it’s really important, and the enforcement of that regulatory baseline is important. But also, it’s important to understand the environmental baseline, and that comes down to proper monitoring prior to the schemes, so that you understand what’s there and then you really understand the changes that are happening over time.

I think that if you don't reward landowners for previous measures, you potentially create a perverse incentive to degrade the land and allow it to run down so you can then potentially receive money, and I don't think that’s in anybody’s interests.

I think there’s also a question around statutory obligations—so, public bodies that have a statutory obligation to manage, for instance, a protected site. Should they be able to receive public goods if they are already compelled to be managing that land in a certain way? I'm not sure whether that should be considered additional. So, I think there’s a question around that.

Diolch. Dwi jest eisiau gofyn ambell i gwestiwn ynglŷn ag ar ba raddfa y byddem ni'n fwyaf effeithiol yn gweithredu fel hyn. Ai—? Wel, efallai y gallwch chi ddweud wrthyf i. Pa scale dŷch chi'n credu fyddai fwyaf addas ar gyfer delifro yn rhesymol y canlyniadau rŷn ni'n chwilio amdanyn nhw o safbwynt y cynllun nwyddau cyhoeddus, er enghraifft?

Thank you. I just want to ask a couple of questions on what scale we would be most effective working here. Would it—? Well, perhaps you can tell me. What scale you think would be suitable for delivering reasonably the outcomes that we're looking for in terms of the public goods scheme, for example?

11:05

Un o'r egwyddorion sylfaenol dwi'n credu dŷn ni'n awyddus iawn i'w dilyn yw'r egwyddor o daliadau am ganlyniadau neu allbynnau. Dwi'n credu, ynghlwm â'r modd yna o weithio, fod yna lot o bethau cadarnhaol yn dilyn. Mae'r elfen leol yn amlygu ei hunan, mae'r elfen o ganiatáu i berchnogion tir unigol chwarae rhan fwy blaenllaw yn y penderfyniadau ynglŷn a'u tir nhw—mae hwnnw'n holl bwysig. Mae'n darparu cyfleon iddyn nhw allu monitro yn ogystal â gweithredu cynlluniau—mae honno'n elfen bwysig. Mae yna nifer o enghreifftiau da o'r cynlluniau allbynnau yma neu'r cynlluniau canlyniadau yma i gael—y Burren yn Iwerddon, er enghraifft, ac mae yna gynlluniau yn Dartmoor ac yng ngogledd Lloegr yn ogystal.

Mae'n bosibl mai rhyw hybrid, efallai, o gyfuniad o daliad sylfaenol—[Anghlywadwy.] Ie, cyfuniad o daliad sylfaenol, ond yn sylfaenol y bartneriaeth yma o drafodaeth rhwng perchennog y tir i weld beth yw'r allbynnau delfrydol a wedyn grymuso a rhoi'r adnoddau i'r perchennog hwnnw i gyrchu'r nod hwnnw gyda chymorth a help. Dwi'n credu bod hwnnw'n allweddol. Rŷn ni'n dod mewn, fel dywedais i, â'r elfennau lleol ac mae hynny'n cryfhau ac yn grymuso ar lefel llawr gwlad.

One of the fundamental principles I think that we are very keen to follow up is the principle of payments for outcomes or outputs. I think, tied in with that way of working, there are many positive things following on from that. The local element comes to the fore, and the element of allowing individual landowners to play a more prominent part in the decisions about their land—that is vital. It provides opportunities for them to be able to monitor as well as implement schemes—that's an important element. There are a number of good examples of these output schemes or outcome schemes—the Burren in Ireland, for example, and there are schemes in Dartmoor and in the north of England as well.

It's possible that a hybrid, perhaps, of a combination of basic payment—[Inaudible.] Yes, a combination of basic payment, but in essence this partnership of discussion between landowners to see what the ideal outputs are and then empower and provide the resources for that landowner to achieve that aim with support. I think that's vital. We bring in, as I said, these local elements and that strengthens and empowers at a grass-roots level.

Ond ai targedu rŷn ni'n ei wneud—neu mae'n debyg mai cyfuniad yw e, ontefe, o scale ardal, hynny yw, edrych ar y catchment, er enghraifft—neu ydyn ni'n edrych ar rywogaethau penodol a habitats penodol neu—? Dwi'n cymryd mai cyfuniad o'r ddau beth fyddech chi efallai yn ei arddel, ontefe?

But are we targeting—or it's probably a combination, isn't it, of area scale, that is, looking at the catchment, for example—or are we looking at specific species and specific habitats? I take it that it's a combination of both of those things that you'd subscribe to, is it?

Hynny yw, mae'r cyfuniad—

Well, the combination—

—yn dibynnu ar beth yw'r blaenoriaethau sy'n amlygu eu hunain. Gallai fe fod yn rywogaeth, gallai fe fod yn gynefin, gallai fe fod yn dirwedd. Enghraifft dda efallai fyddai mewn cwm lle, dywedwn ni, mae gwarchod sgwarnogod yn nod y mae pob un yn cytuno â fe. Hynny yw, byddai'r cynllun gwarchodaeth yna'n gweithredu ar y fferm unigol, ond hefyd yn gweithredu dros ardal gyfan, a byddai gofyn i berchnogion tir gydweithredu, sy'n nod yn ei hunan. Bydden nhw'n monitro, yn cydweithio, yn cydweithredu, a byddai'r ardal gron yna yn uno yn y nod hwnnw. Byddai yna nodau gwahanol wedyn a chanlyniadau gwahanol.

—depends on what the priorities are that come to the fore. It could be according to species, it could be according to habitat, it could be according to landscape. A good example perhaps would be a valley, where say, the protection of hares is an aim that everyone is agreed upon. That protection plan would operate on an individual farm, but it would also be implemented across the whole area, and would require landowners to co-operate, which is an aim in itself. They would monitor, co-operate and work together, and that whole area would unite in that aim. There would be different aims then and different outcomes.

Ond ydy cael y cydbwysedd yna—ac dwi eisiau clywed beth sydd gyda'r lleill i ddweud hefyd—ydy cael y cydbwysedd yna rhwng sicrhau bod yr ôl troed yn ddigon mawr i gael effaith ystyrlon ar lefel eang, ond hefyd wrth gwrs bod gyda chi gynlluniau sy'n gweithio i'r ffermydd unigol o fewn hynny—. Mae'n siŵr bod yna enghreifftiau, ond mae'n anodd, rwy'n siŵr, i gael y cydbwysedd yna'n iawn ar adegau, byddwn i'n tybio.

But is getting that balance—and I want to hear what the others have to say as well—is getting that balance between ensuring that the footprint is big enough to have a meaningful impact on a wide level, but also that you have schemes that work for those individual farms within that area—. I'm sure there are examples, but I'm sure it's difficult to get that balance right at times.

Dwi'n meddwl, jest i ategu beth mae Geraint yn ei ddweud, un peth dŷn ni wedi dysgu allan o'r cynllun presennol ydy bod y cynllun mor fawr ac mor amhersonol doedd e ddim yn gweithio. Felly, y ffordd busawn i'n trio i'w ddisgrifio fo fuasai ei fod o'n cael ei gyflawni mewn ffordd lle mae pobl yn gallu cael eu pennau rownd o, fel bod y ffermwyr yn gallu cymryd perchnogaeth ohono, bod y cadwraethwyr yn deall ar ba raddfa dŷn ni'n gweithio, a'r mwyaf lleol dŷch chi'n mynd, y mwyaf sensitif dŷch chi'n gallu ei wneud o. Wedyn, medrwch chi gael sawl peth yn digwydd efo'i gilydd. Hwnna ydy'n profiad ni yn Eryri o gydweithio efo ffermwyr. Unwaith dŷch chi'n cael y dealltwriaeth yna, y perchnogaeth a'r balchder—dwi wedi gweld ffermwyr yn falch iawn o'r rhywogaethau sydd gyda nhw—mi fedrwch chi lwyddo wedyn, felly.

I think, just to echo what Geraint says, one thing we've learned from the current scheme is that it's so large and impersonal that it wasn't working. So, the way I would try to describe it is it's achieved in a way where people can get their heads around it, so that farmers can take ownership of it, and conservationists can see on what scale we're working, and, the more local you go, the more sensitive you can make it. Then, you can have several things happening together. That is our experience in Snowdonia of working with farmers. Once you come to an understanding, and have that ownership and pride—I've seen farmers very proud of the species that they have—you can then be successful.

So, just, again, to echo the need for a hybrid model: so, you want your basic payments, and I think you want your more complex payments. By their very nature, the basic payments should be for things that you can do anywhere. So, you would really want to see that everywhere. In terms of the complex payments, I think one of the biggest issues that's affected Welsh biodiversity is habitat loss and habitat fragmentation. So, really, what you ideally want to be doing is restoring ecological connectivity—bigger, better, more joined up, essentially. So that's going to have to be spatially targeted and at as big a scale as you can practically do it. There's a lot of evidence that shows that delivering those wider, large-scale proposals requires a lot of facilitation, actually, to make it work, to get landowners to work together—the way you have peer-to-peer models. And, where you facilitate that engagement, you stimulate interest, and there's much better delivery of those objectives. So, spatially, yes, big scale, as I said, and then there's the human dimension, where you have to work really hard to get people to do that together.

11:10

Of course, the Government isn't proposing a hybrid scheme, in terms of potentially a basic payment for everybody. So, there is a risk that there will be a postcode lottery, which is something that's been regularly referenced in this debate. So, there will be, will there not, people who have disproportionate opportunities, in terms of their local situation or circumstances? So, how do you avoid a situation where you end up with that sort of postcode lottery, or are you saying that that basic payment would—

I think the basic payment is the way to do that. Otherwise, you inevitably have to target it in some other way—as you do with lots of other areas of public investment.

That's the view of Welsh Water as well, actually, that we do need some form of incentive mechanism for all farmers—that kind of basic level, for the good reasons that Emyr and Geraint and Brendan have already mentioned, that you don't want to disincentivise people who are doing the right thing. That said, clearly, there will be benefits on a catchment kind of basis that require co-operation. There is no point in somebody taking invasive species out of one part of the river, and somebody else is not doing anything further down, et cetera, or, you know, back to nutrient trading again, that's one that is going to require multiple land managers working together. But I think if we start to look at that there can be higher levels of support and payment if a scheme promises multiple benefits—. So the different parts of those benefits—so, if we are doing a piece of work on a water body, which actually has water-quality benefits, so Welsh Water clearly benefit, it supports more fish, more water voles, et cetera, how do we try and create a scheme that actually incentivises those different parts, to try and pull that up? But we do probably need a baseline.

Yes. If I'm listening and hearing correctly—and, forgive me, my head sometimes is a bit foggy—but the earlier evidence we took was that we shouldn't be so prescriptive in the schemes that we bring forward, and, actually, what we should be looking at is what the farms, or the land, has on them at the moment, and actually paying for what's there at the moment, and then moving on the journey, and actually doing away with prescriptions. Because, really, what I've heard from this session is that, really, what we've got at the moment is pretty good—Glastir, if you like. We've got Glastir and Glastir Advanced, which has prescriptions in it, so you pay people for a base level of conservation if they want to go into that scheme, and, then, if they want to go into the upper level, they then sign up for more widespread conservation measures, via the prescription list that's available to them. Or have I misunderstood?

No. I think we're advocating an outcome- or results-based agri-environment approach that, in a sense, turns things on its head, really. Rather than provide a landowner with a set of prescriptions, which that person has to stick to or there won't be a payment, what we're advocating is a joint recognition of outcomes that are achievable between the landowner and the grant scheme, which are jointly agreed and which then are pursued by the landowner. And it's for the landowner then to determine what prescriptions he will stick to in order to achieve the outcome. So, he decides, he's in charge of delivering that outcome.

Would we be better off looking at the Tir Gofal model, then, rather than the Glastir model, which seemed to be more along that line of the farmer looked at what they wanted to achieve and entered into the contract with the Countryside Council for Wales, and it was far more, I would suggest, farmer-driven or land manager-driven, than Glastir, which I would suggest is more top down, it is, then? Is that a fair way of—?  

11:15

Yes, I think the outcome approach—. Again, I think all agri-environment schemes have been prescription-led. So, we need to go beyond those schemes, all of those schemes, be they Tir Cymen or ESA or—you know, going back to the mid 1980s. We need to get to an outcome or results-based approach where landowners are empowered to deliver agreed outcomes in the way they know best, based on their intimate knowledge of their own land.

Jest un cestiwn olaf gen i ar hwn. Does yna ddim diffiniad clir o reolwr tir yn 'Brexit a'n tir'. Mae yna ddadl, wrth gwrs, ynglŷn ag a ydy unrhyw un sy'n gallu delifro y nwyddau cyhoeddus rŷn ni eisiau eu gweld yn gymwys, neu a ddylai fe fod yn targedu'n benodol y ffermwyr gweithredol—yr active farmers—rŷn ni wedi clywed amdanyn nhw. Oes gyda chi farn ar hynny?  

Just one final question from me on this. There is no clear definition of a land manager in 'Brexit and our land'. There is an argument, of course, about whether anybody who can deliver the public goods that we want is eligible, or whether it should be specifically targeting those active farmers that we've heard about. Do you have a view on that? 

Wel, mae aelodau'r parc cenedlaethol wedi picio i fyny yn bendant ar hwn, achos rhaid i chi gofio mai cyd-destun i barciau cenedlaethol ym Mhrydain ac yng Nghymru ydy'r gyd-berthynas yma rhwng dyn a'i weithgaredd a'r amgylchedd. Felly, maen nhw'n ofidus o—dwi ddim yn gwybod beth ydy'r gair Cymraeg—perverse outcomes. Os dŷn ni'n agor y drws i gyrff sydd ddim yn ymarferol ar y tir i ddod i mewn a phrynu a rheoli tir byddwn ni'n colli rhywbeth cymdeithasol. Felly, mae angen bod yn ofalus nad ydyn ni, mewn 20 mlynedd, yn gweld bod y pwrs cyhoeddus wedi dreifio rhywbeth oedd ddim yn fendithiol i'r pictiwr mawr, felly. 

Well, national park members have definitely picked up on this, because you must remember that the context of national parks in Britain and Wales is this co-relationship between man and his activity and environment. So, they are concerned about—I don't know what the Welsh word is for it—perverse outcomes. If we do open the door to bodies that aren't active on the land to come in and buy and manage land we'll lose a social element. So, we need to be careful that we don't, in 20 years' time, see that the public purse has driven something that wasn't beneficial to the big picture.  

Byddwn i'n cytuno gyda'r hyn sydd gan Emyr i'w ddweud ar hynny, yn bendant. 

I would agree with what Emyr has to say on this, certainly. 

We're no experts on this issue, but I think we take a very clear position that public authorities, bodies that are subject to section 6 duties around biodiversity, shouldn't be classed as land managers, shouldn't be eligible for these kinds of payments. We've got to—. As much as I would love some contributions to help with the work that we do, that's not the right place for us to be, and we have to encourage as many active land managers to be able to access these funds. 

Yes, I would agree. I think it should open to anyone who's a land manager, not necessarily just farmers, except for public bodies with a statutory responsibility to be managing for nature conservation anyway. 

Obviously, the national parks' paper is very clear on the importance of rewards-based rather than prescription. Does the British Ecological Society agree with that, because you seem to be—in your paper, you seem to be talking about conservation targets, which would indicate they're more prescriptive? 

Yes, it's a tricky one. So, again, I think with the more basic payments you can be quite prescriptive, because it should be quite easy to deliver. For the more complex work, I think—. So, creating a habitat for a certain species, you don't necessarily know whether the species will arrive, if you like. As long as they have done what—. Well, first of all, you should be measuring the habitat quality, and then I think you need some kind of reasonable interpretation of what's been done on the ground. So, if they have delivered all the actions they should have done to create that habitat and then you've had a one-in-100-year flood and the habitat hasn't been delivered, whoever it is that does the monitoring should have some discretion to say, 'Okay, they did everything they could have done to deliver that, but circumstances outside of their control meant they weren't able to do that'. So, I think there has to be a degree of discretion. But, yes, you should ultimately be aiming for payment by results for the more complex work. 

Okay, but how do you devise such a scheme when—? How are you going to, in terms of biodiversity restoration, if it's to do with particular species, and then they don't arrive for whatever reason—? 

So, I think habitat quality in the first instance, in terms of whether or not you reward the farmer, should be the best way of doing that. It's the fairest way of doing it, I think, in terms of rewarding the farmer. I think you also need a monitoring system that very clearly monitors species so the Welsh Government knows ultimately which schemes are delivering and which schemes aren't delivering. I think they're two slightly different things. Does that—?

Yes. Yes, I think so. Dŵr Cymru, your paper's very clear that nobody should qualify for public payments unless they're not polluting already. That's the sort of baseline. Clearly, that's not what's happening at the moment. But how do we continue to reward those who are already doing the right thing, whilst, obviously, wanting to hugely widen the numbers of people who are engaging in all the conservation and biodiversity objectives we want to set? 

11:20

I think, as Brendan's alluded to, it's a tricky task in how we are going to measure this. I think, to build on Brendan's point, clearly, land managers—. It's outcomes that we want—Geraint's already stated that—but you can't, necessarily, expect a farmer to measure the number of wildlife, the number of birds that might have been attracted to a woodland, but you could maybe pay them based on the number of trees they've planted and are healthy, six months, 12 months down the line. So, in that kind of thing, it's about trying to come up with the right measures, and I think, to make this work, really thinking about what resource we've got to measure and advise is going to be really critical to make this work. But I think there does need to be enforcement around this regulatory floor. 

I want to ask, particularly Dŵr Cymru, how we can ensure that we're paying people for public good rather than pollution that they've already been part of for some time. You'll know what I'm talking about, so I'll say it again: the river pollution that's happening in my area—Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion—and some of it is repeated. So, it's bad practice, quite frankly. So, what I'm concerned about here is that we're not paying the polluter to rectify their bad behaviour, when that's what they should be doing. So, that's my question. I could ask you another 100 questions on this, but I'm sure you're aware that I keep raising it. But it does worry me.

Well, thankfully, I'm not the regulator in this difficult balancing act—

Absolutely, and we do see what is going on, and we're quite strong around the point that we do need some enforcement around this. I think the Scottish model—the Scottish Environment Protection Agency—around general binding rules is a good example of how this gets done in a slightly better way, and I think we can learn a little bit from what they're doing. But then I think it's a case of having to be a bit pragmatic—we are where we are and we've now got to create an incentive mechanism for people to change. We certainly don't want to be encouraging people to continue to pollute, or even the worst perverse example we talked about, where, actually, you degrade the land then to get the money to put it back—that would be a nonsense. But it's very difficult at the moment balancing the economic need for probably more intensive farming versus, then, the land management piece. So, getting that trade-off right and particularly thinking about slurry management in west Wales, a enforcement regime from Natural Resources Wales—. We've got existing regulations around how that is managed—what's adequate silage and slurry storage—we've got to start to enforce that and then build a scheme that enhances on top of that.

Okay. Can I just ask Geraint and Emyr—? In your paper, you argue that we could consider elevating existing voluntary codes of good practice into regulatory status. Could you just tell us what impact you think that would have?

Wyt ti eisiau mynd gyntaf?

Do you want to go first?

A regulatory floor is exactly that—it goes no further than the floor. We want to aim for the ceiling and above, really, don't we? So, I think it's a combination of both—of regulation and enforcement. But to get above that, we need to be providing positive incentives. So, looking at regulation, looking at incorporating elements of best practice and codes of practice into regulation is a way ahead, and actually ties in with produce marketing as well, so that best practice can be used as a means of ensuring product quality. But I think that has to be in combination with working with landowners to go way up and beyond the basic regulatory requirement, and that can be done through, as we discussed, nutrient trading. And I think the other point is that regulation is a sometimes blunt and a very limited instrument. So, if we want to go up and beyond, then we need to engage with landowners in different ways as well, and more positive ways. So, it's a combination of both, I would say. 

11:25

But in the national parks, you have considerable powers that don't exist outside the national parks. Why is it not working both in engaging farmers and ensuring that they're not actually—?

I'm not sure we do, actually. 

Does gennym ni ddim pwerau ychwanegol uwchben hynny. Y prif bŵer, hwyrach, sydd gennym ni ydy un gwirfoddol, sef y gallu i ymgynnull pobl at ei gilydd i drafod hyn. Ond beth sy'n poeni fi am y drafodaeth ar y llawr rheoleiddiol ydy ein bod ni'n sbïo yn fan yma o safbwynt amgylcheddol, ond fy mhryder i ydy fydd o'n cael ei benderfynu'n unol ag amodau masnachu, a sut bydd y masnachu'n digwydd rhwng Prydain a gwledydd eraill, a beth fydd y llawr rheoleiddiol yn cael ei benderfynu yn San Steffan. Felly, hwyrach y buaswn i'n dymuno cael y llawr rheoleiddiol uwch yma, ond y gwirionedd ydy hwyrach fydd o ddim mor uchel ag y byddem ni'n leicio oherwydd anghenion masnachu—er mwyn gallu masnachu.

I fynd yn ôl i'r pwynt y gwnaeth Geraint dwtsh arno fo, dwi'n meddwl bod Llywodraeth Cymru wedi rhoi'r uchelgais i nwyddau amaethyddol a chefn gwlad o Gymru fod o safon uchel yn nhermau plismonaeth anifeiliaid, neu'r amgylchedd ac ansawdd bwyta, ond a ydy'r ymarferiad yn mynd i ddilyn y ddelwedd rydym ni'n trio ei greu am y cynnyrch? So, mae o lle mae'r llawr rheoleiddiol a'r ffactor amgylcheddol yn nwylo'r bobl sydd yn ystyried y safbwynt masnacha, yn fy marn i.

We don't have any additional powers above that. The main power, perhaps, that we have is a voluntary one, which is to bring people together to discuss this. But what does concern me about the discussion in terms of the regulatory floor is that we're looking here from an environmental perspective, but my concern is that it will be decided in accordance with trading conditions and how that trading will happen between Britain and other countries, and what that regulatory floor will be set as at a Westminster level. So, perhaps I would like to have that higher regulatory floor, but the truth is that perhaps it won't be as high as we would like because of trading requirements—the need to trade.

To go back to the point that Geraint touched upon, I think that the Welsh Government has set the ambition for Welsh agricultural and rural produce and goods at a high level in terms of husbandry or the environment and food quality, but, in practice, will it follow the image that we're trying to set for this produce? So, it's where the regulatory floor and the environmental factor is in the hands of the people who consider trading, in my opinion. 

But is it not possible to use these standards to ensure that we don't have a rush of environmentally polluted products coming from elsewhere?

Buasai rhywun yn gobeithio bod hynny'n wir, ond mae digon o drafod wedi bod am bethau fel chlorinated chicken a'r safonau amgylcheddol y mae eidion yn cael ei gynhyrchu ynddo fo yn yr Amerig ac yn Ne'r Amerig yn benodol. So, dwi ddim yn gwybod os bydd yn amgylcheddol—

You would hope that that's true, but there's been enough discussion about chlorinated chicken and things like that, and the environmental standards in which beef is produced in America, and South America specifically. So, I don't know if it'll be environmentally— 

We're all aware of these arguments, but I think Wales is asserting that we're not going to be party to all that. But, you know, obviously—

Gawn ni weld. 

We'll see.

Okay. But, clearly, locality, freshness and quality are standards that we ought to be able to not just aspire to but insist on in our public bodies, surely. 

Yes. I think there's general agreement on that. Joyce Watson. 

I want to talk about the economic resilience scheme and public goods scheme. How can those be designed to complement each other? 

Well, in terms of the economic resilience scheme, I think one of the things we're keen on is to ensure those investments—that there's a differentiation between investment in what, potentially, the market will pay for, and the sort of infrastructure that'll be required to bring the whole enterprise up to standard. So, for example, the prognosis for the dairy industry is quite positive that it seems to be, in our area particularly, that dairying will increase, and if the market is going to pay for additional milk, then that's fine, but the infrastructure around effluent management and around increases in farm production need to be catered for. So, any investment needs to be targeted to ensure that it isn't supplementing what the market would pay for anyway.

11:30

Gaf fi jest ychwanegu at hynny? Mae yna sawl stori am y grantiau sydd wedi dod allan yn ddiweddar. Dwi wedi nodi un buddsoddiad gwerth £400,000 mewn sied i gadw anifeiliaid, sef sied a fuasai wedi digwydd beth bynnag, yn union fel y mae Geraint wedi'i ddweud, drwy'r farchnad. Felly, y cwestiwn i mi yn fan yma ydy: ble mae ymyrraeth angen digwydd? Pam fod angen rhoi pres cyhoeddus i mewn i'r strwythur yna? A'r categori o fuddsoddiad, hwyrach, sydd o dan risg ydy'r ffermydd canolig a bach—rheini sydd efo gwerth cymdeithasol, ond hefyd hwyrach rheini sydd â gwerth amgylcheddol uwch iddyn nhw. Ac os dŷn ni'n gallu gwneud yr unedau yna'n hyfyw trwy ddefnyddio llafur yn fwy effeithiol, rydyn ni'n rhyddhau potensial y bobl yna i wneud rhywbeth arall yng nghefn gwlad neu i wneud gwaith amaeth-amgylcheddol hefyd, felly. So, mae eisiau cael gwell diffiniad ar beth yw amaethyddiaeth gynaliadwy—ydy o'n un economaidd ynteu amgylcheddol hefyd?

Could I just add to that? There are a number of stories about the grants that have come out recently. I've seen one about an investment of £400,000 in a shed in which to keep animals, which is a shed that would have happened anyway, exactly as Geraint said, through the market. So, the question for me here is: where does intervention need to happen? Why is there a need to put public money into that structure? And the category of investment, perhaps, that's at risk is those small to medium-sized farms—those that have a social value, but also, perhaps, those that have a higher environmental value. If we can make those units viable through using labour more effectively, we're releasing the potential of those people to do something else in rural areas or to undertake agri-environmental work as well. So, there is a need to have a better definition of what sustainable agriculture is—is it an economic one or an environmental one as well? 

I wasn't just talking about agriculture, though—I was talking about the whole economic resilience and public goods scheme, and you've given some examples, but I'd like, Brendan, your opinion, and, Steve, yours as well.

The first thing for me on the economic resilience pillar is that it doesn't undermine the good work from the public goods scheme. Part of the problem with the common agricultural policy was always that pillar 1 payments were incentivising methods of farming that were undermining a lot of the pillar 2 payments. So, it needs to be designed in a way that ensures that that doesn't happen—whether there's some kind of cross-compliance, so that, again, you have to adhere to a minimum set of environmental behaviours, then that might be one way of doing it. I think it's also worth bearing in mind that the public goods payment should be boosting the economic resilience of the farming industry as well, whether that's to increase pollinators and numbers et cetera, et cetera, cleaner water—those kinds of things.

I support what Brendan says. It's important that the economic resilience piece and the market-driven approach doesn't undermine the public goods piece and that's why the important linkage between those things is having that regulatory baseline—that regulatory floor. But I think we do absolutely recognise that we need managers to manage the land—we can't drive this to a point where it's not economic any longer to farm, so we've got to strike that right balance. But, clearly, this is where the planning process and the farm monitoring process around, if people are going for a more intensive approach, then everybody's going into that eyes wide open—. And I think the resources on the ground, and which body it is that will start to actually manage that, need to be quite clear. I think that's an area that we've got to focus on: who is being the regulator in that sense.

Can I—? I just want to pursue it further, because—and I need to understand this—it seems a given that we have to go into more intensive farming. It's not a given to me that that's the case, because we went to see a farm that was doing quite the opposite just two weeks ago, and was producing a lot of public good in any way. And I've also alluded to the fact of the repeated pollution of the rivers as a consequence of the dairy farming and the intensity that's happening. So, I suppose my question here has to be, and perhaps more to Geraint than anyone else: how are we going to ensure that we don't spend public money and not have public good? And when we're talking about public good here, we're talking environmental public good.

11:35

I think, as Steve has said, there is this—it's a combination, really, of effective regulation, but equally of targeting funding that will complement market developments. So, where the market will pay for produce, it's important that farming is forward looking, dynamic and developing, and following demand, if you like. But equally, where there are gaps in that formula, then that's where public investment can usefully be made to complement, to make sure that the output and the outcomes are of the highest quality standards, both environmentally and in terms of sustainable development, really. The economic, social and environmental are equally weighted and supported.

Yn ychwanegol at hynny, clywsom ni gan Llyr yn gynnau am sut mae'r sector breifat yn helpu hyn. Mae yna symudiad, ac mae yna rai ffermydd neu glystyrau o ffermydd yn ardal y Gwy sydd efo contractiau llefrith lle mae'r archfarchnad yn rhoi gofynion amgylcheddol ar y llaeth yn y contract. So, mae'n rhaid sbïo ar y pen yna hefyd, dim jest ar y rheoleiddio a'r sector gyhoeddus i wella ansawdd dŵr.

In addition to that, Llyr mentioned earlier how the private sector's helping with this. There is a movement, and there are some farms or clusters of farms in the Wye valley that have milk contracts where the supermarkets set environmental conditions on the milk in the contract. So, you need to look at that end as well, not just the regulations and the public sector to improve water standards.

I just want to come back—if these results-based schemes look too difficult to farmers who aren't engaging at the moment, then there's a danger that we don't widen the base of people involved in biodiversity schemes, and I—

It's pitching it correctly. As has been said by Steve—[Inaudible.]—and Emyr, really, if it's pitched wrongly, people aren't going to go for it. I think if it's pitched below the market, for the dairy sector particularly, they're just going to say, 'Stuff your public goods and your environmental resilience. We'll just go with the market, and happy days. We don't want to deal with you anyway.' But, if it's pitched correctly, and if landowners feel they're empowered and involved in agri-environment, then there will be a greater take-up. One of the big problems that there have been with Glastir is that it hasn't been inclusive of the bigger, more intensively managed units.

Yes, just to say I think the advisory services are really critical here. If you want value for money through the scheme, you're going to have to have some kind of payment by results. If you want to deliver that and you want it to be fair to landowners, and you want landowners to enter into an agreement, you have to give them appropriate levels of advice. So, that's a really crucial investment in terms of getting value for money from the scheme, and also just investing in monitoring as well.

Thanks for your evidence so far this morning. Advice—what is advice? You could use 101 different models, and as an active farmer myself, and now at the age of 50, I've most probably seen various forms. In the days when ADAS used to provide free advice, pretty comprehensive advice, to 101 companies setting up and working either under the Farming Connect umbrella or many other umbrellas—. If we are to make this transition, what type of advice schemes should be made available and funded under any future schemes that the Welsh Government would be bringing forward? Because I used as an example to the other group of witnesses the very poignant example in Farmers Weekly this week of a farmer who decided there wasn't a future for him in dairying, so he took the decision to go out of dairying, yet his father wasn't—. Or he thought now his father and him were back speaking, then. It was such a fundamental decision that that farm had been milking cows for three, four generations, and the one generation—'No way, we shouldn't change'. The younger generation—'Yes, we've got to change'. If you can be informed in that change and show a way out of the situation you find yourself in, it's a damn sight easier to sign up to that journey than if you're not getting that advice. So, what would your best advice be to us when we're looking at these advice packages?

11:40

I ateb eich cwestiwn chi, dwi’n meddwl—achos os ydyn ni’n mynd yn ôl mewn amser, NAS, ADAS ac felly, roedd yna fuddsoddiad mawr gan y Llywodraeth yn ganolog i roi'r cyngor technegol i reolwyr tir a ffermwyr ar sut i wella cynhyrchiant. Pan wnes i ddechrau fy ngyrfa yn y parc cenedlaethol, roedd yna 10 swyddog ADAS yn cynghori ffermwyr yn ardal Meirionydd ar sut i ddraenio, aredig, tynnu gwrychoedd allan, tynnu waliau allan. Felly, mae ffermwyr, gyda chefnogaeth, yn gallu gwneud rhywbeth mae polisi—wel, o fewn rheswm, mai polisi'n ei ofyn. Felly, dwi’n meddwl dydy hwn yn ddim gwahanol: bod eisiau rhoi cefnogaeth a rhoi cyngor cyson iddyn nhw.

Mae gennym ni bach o fantais yn y parciau cenedlaethol achos mae’r berthynas yna gennym ni’n barod ac mae’r cysylltiadau gennym ni efo’r sector amaeth. So, os ydych chi’n cymryd gweledigaeth Llywodraeth Cymru i’r parciau a’r ardaloedd o harddwch naturiol, maen nhw’n gofyn inni wneud y gwaith yna, ac weithiau y tu allan i’n ffiniau hefyd. So, mi fedrwn ni gynnig rhyw fath o strwythur i roi cyngor, ond mae’n bwysig ei fod o’n gyngor sy’n cael ei bitsio’n iawn a bod ffermwyr yn gyfforddus efo fo achos nhw sydd yn gwneud y gwahaniaeth ar ddiwedd y dydd, felly.

To answer your question, I think—because if we go back in time to NAS and ADAS, there was great investment from the Government centrally to give land managers and farmers technical advice on how to improve productivity. When I started my career at the national park, there were 10 ADAS officers who advised farmers in the Meirionydd area on how to drain, cultivate, take out hedges and take out walls. So, farmers, with support, can do whatever the policy asks—well, within reason. So, I don't think this is any different. We need to give consistent support and advice to them.

We have a bit of an advantage in the national parks, because we have that relationship already and we have those links with the agricultural sector, so, if you take the vision of the Welsh Government for the parks and areas of natural beauty, they ask us to do thatwork, and sometimes outside of our boundaries as well. So, we can offer some kind of structure to provide advice, but it's important that it's advice that's pitched correctly and that farmers are comfortable with it because they are going to make the difference at the end of the day.

Dwi’n ategu’n llwyr yr hyn mae Emyr wedi’i ddweud. Hynny yw, mae angen y buddsoddiad yna upfront, os mynnwch chi, oddi wrth Lywodraeth Cymru i sicrhau bod y buddsoddiad yna yn mynd i fod yn effeithiol ac yn effeithlon. Dwi’n credu ein bod ni wedi bod trwy gyfnod lle'r oedd yna wasgfa ar gostau gweinyddu cynlluniau amaeth-amgylcheddol, ac roedd honno’n cael effaith andwyol ar delivery y cynlluniau yna. Os ydy’r adnoddau'n mynd i gael eu defnyddio’n iawn, mae’n rhaid cael cyngor ac mae'n rhaid cael strwythur ac isadeiledd digonol ac effeithiol i sicrhau bod y buddsoddiad yna ar ei fwyaf effeithiol.

Enghraifft dda fyddai pori cynefinoedd lled-naturiol. Mae gyda ni ym Mhenfro gynllun pori lleol i sicrhau bod rhai o’n cynefinoedd mwyaf bregus ni yn cael eu pori, ac mae’r pori’n gwbl allweddol. Ni, gymaint â dwi’n gwybod, yw’r unig gynllun pori lleol yng Nghymru. Mae angen cynhorthwy ledled y wlad i sicrhau bod yna gynlluniau pori lleol yn ffyniannus trwy Gymru benbaladr. Ac mae eisiau cynhorthwy strategol i wneud hynny. Mae yna gorff o’r enw Pori Natur a Threftadaeth rŷch chi wedi bod yn ei ariannu ers rhyw dair blynedd i wneud y gwaith hwnnw. Dylai PONT gael ei ariannu  i’r dyfodol, y tymor canolig ac i’r tymor hir. Ac mae yna nifer o enghreifftiau lle y gall Lywodraeth Cymru greu isadeiledd i’r tymor canolig a'r tymor hir fydd yn sicrhau bod y buddsoddiad cyhoeddus yn un effeithiol.

I completely echo what Emyr has said. There is a need for that investment upfront, if you like, from Welsh Government to ensure that that investment is going to be effective and efficient. And I think that we've been through a period where there was pressure on the administrative costs of agri-environmental schemes, and that was having a detrimental impact on delivery of those schemes. If the resources are going to be used correctly, there is a need for advice, and there has to be a structure and infrastructure that are sufficient and effective enough to ensure that that investment is at its most effective.

A good example would be grazing in semi-natural habitats. We have in Pembrokeshire a local grazing scheme that ensures that some of our most fragile habitats are grazed, and the grazing is key in this. As far as I know, we're the only local grazing scheme in Wales. There is a need for assistance across the country to ensure that there are local schemes like these that are prosperous throughout the whole of Wales. And there is a need for strategic aid to do that. There is a body called Pori Natur a Threftadaeth that you've been funding for about three years to do that work. PONT should be funded into the future, into the medium-term future and longer term future. There are a number of examples where the Welsh Government can create infrastructure for the medium and longer term that will ensure that the public investment is an effective one.

So, just on that, because this is the type of advice I'm trying to get to the core of here. You indicate, Geraint, a particularly localised model of advice and supporting groups in a very local dynamic. I, at the start of my question, highlighted the old advice that ADAS used to offer, which was a very national sort of advice—one organisation offering it as a support package. You're most probably going to say a combination of the two, but do you believe that where money exists to support the development of those advice networks, it should be focused very locally rather than maybe going into some of the big consultancy firms who provide the broad brush approach of a national objective rather than a localised footprint?

If you go back to the old NAS, ADAS model, yes, it was a national infrastructure but delivered locally—each county had its own ADAS service, and that combination model, I think, is the one that would reap greatest dividend.

Yes. Just to say you're likely to need quite tailored approaches, depending on where you are. If you have a tailored approach, you're going to need tailored advice, and that's going to have to be delivered locally by someone who comes and understands the site and everything else and gets to know the landowner. Basic advice for basic work, complex local advice for tailored work.

11:45

Okay. If I can ask one final question: how should the success of the public goods scheme be monitored to improve biodiversity and are there any lessons we can learn from the Glastir monitoring and evaluation programme? Do you want to go first, Brendan?

Yes, shall I go? Okay. I think the first thing I'd say is patience. Some of these interventions take a long time before you yield results, especially where the land is quite degraded. So, the monitoring needs to happen over the long periods. I think in terms of the Glastir monitoring and evaluation programme and what was good about it was the re-surveying so that you could see trends over time. What it didn't do was capture rare species. So, as I was alluding to earlier, sometimes, you can create the right habitat, but the species populations don't increase. That could be due to predation, for instance, so you need to be monitoring those species specifically to understand whether you're actually delivering.

Welsh Water really haven't got a view on the Glastir issue; we're not close enough to it. But in terms of monitoring the success of this, we've got to make sure that we're targeting the applicants, who can be accountable for the measures they're putting in. You know, back to: can they measure the number of trees they're planting? Yes, they can. We can't expect them to be responsible for whether birds are migrating, et cetera.

And then it's that monitoring that Brendan's mentioned. We've got a really good baseline in terms of NRW's state of natural resources reporting. That framework is excellent in terms of trying to look, over time, and it is the patience piece—we're not going to turn things around overnight, this is a long-term future generations kind of effect.

Byddwn i'n ategu'r hyn mae Brendan a Steve wedi'i ddweud. Dwi'n credu bod monitro'n rhywbeth hirdymor. Dwi'n credu bod eisiau clymu monitro i mewn i'r monitro ehangach sy'n digwydd, felly bod monitro'r cynllun amaeth-amgylcheddol yn un mesur o nifer o fesurau o iechyd ein hamgylchedd ni yng Nghymru.

Pwynt arall byddwn i'n ei wneud ynglŷn â monitro yw, o fynd am y model amaeth-amgylcheddol allbynnau neu ganlyniadau, byddai gan berchnogion tir rôl i fonitro’u tir nhw a hwnnw, wedyn, yn clymu i mewn, neu’r data hynny’n gallu bwydo i mewn i data sets rhanbarthol a chenedlaethol. Dwi’n credu byddai bod yn rhan o fonitro iechyd yr hyn maen nhw’n ei wneud ar eu ffermydd yn grymuso ac yn fanteisiol i amaethwyr sy’n rhan o gynllun.

I would echo what Brendan and Steve have said. I do think that monitoring is a long-term issue. I think we need to tie in monitoring to that wider monitoring that's happening so that the monitoring of the agri-environment scheme is one measure of a number of measures of the health of our environment in Wales.

Another point that I would make regarding monitoring is that if we go for the agri-environment model of outputs or results, then landowners would have a role in monitoring their land and that, then, would tie in, or those data could feed in to the regional and national data sets. Being part of monitoring the health of what they're doing on their farms would empower and be beneficial to farmers that are part of a scheme.

Yr unig beth y buaswn i'n ategu ydy pa mor bwysig ydy hi i gael amaethwyr neu reolwyr tir i hunain-arfarnu os ydyn nhw'n llwyddiannus. Achos, mae hyder a pherchnogaeth yn bwysig.

The only thing I would add is how important it is to have farmers or land managers self-evaluate whether they're successful. Because confidence and ownership are important.

Okay. Thank you very much. Diolch yn fawr. It's been very helpful and illuminating, and we'll discuss what you've said after you leave, so thank you all very much indeed.

4. Papurau i'w nodi
4. Papers to note

We've got four papers to note. Correspondence from the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs to the Chair regarding the UK Government’s draft environment Bill and the Welsh Government’s proposals for environmental governance. Happy to note?

Additional correspondence from the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs to the Chair regarding the publication of the committee's report 'The impact of Brexit on fisheries in Wales'. Happy to note?

Correspondence from the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs to the Chair regarding the outcomes-based approach to the public goods scheme. Happy to note? And correspondence from the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs to the Chair regarding discussions with the fisheries and marine senior steering group in relation to the UK Fisheries Bill. Happy to note?

5. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42(vi) i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o gyfarfod heddiw ar gyfer eitemau 6 a 7
5. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 (vi) to resolve to exclude the public from items 6 and 7 of today's meeting

Cynnig:

bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).

Motion:

that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

Can I move a motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from items 6 and 7 of today's meeting? Agreed? Thank you.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 11:49.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 11:49.

Archwilio Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru