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Archive for November, 2014

What’s Happening With Fork 2 Fork?

10 Nov

I thought you might appreciate reading about a Freedom Of Information question on Fork2Fork, that was answered late October and listed in the Assembly Government’s Disclosure Log. The questions asked were:

1. Has this project been extended once more under SCES?

2. If this extension has been granted, what is the timescale and is there an end date?

3. What is the purpose of this further extension?

4. What additional funding has now been awarded?

I confirm that the Welsh Government holds information relating to your request. In relation to questions 1-3, these details are published on the Fork2Fork website. The information you have requested is therefore exempt under Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), information is reasonably accessible by other means.

Please visit: http://fork2fork.org.uk/fork2fork-new-phase-2014-15-announced-start-royal-welshweek

Regarding question 4, I have concluded that the information relating to the amount of money awarded is exempt from disclosure under Section 22 of the FOIA, information intended for future publication. Full reasoning for applying this exemption is detailed at Annex A. The information you have requested will be published later this year, likely in the Autumn.

Now isn’t it amazing what you can find on wag’s website if you have the time and more the inclination to do some digging? As to whether it’s much help, is another question!

As regards the additional funding, we are told that information is exempt from disclosure under Section 22 of the FOI, information intended for future publication. So to clarify fully for you:

22 Information intended for future publication.E+W+S+N.I.

This sectionnoteType=Explanatory Notes has no associated

(1) Information is exempt information if —

(a) the information is held by the public authority with a view to its publication, by the authority or any other person, at some future date (whether determined or not),

(b) the information was already held with a view to such publication at the time when the request for information was made, and

(c )it is reasonable in all the circumstances that the information should be withheld from disclosure until the date referred to in paragraph (a).

(2) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 1(1)(a) would involve the disclosure of any information (whether or not already recorded) which falls within subsection (1).

So to me that implies we’ll be told when everything is done and dusted, so no change there then.

So onto my next query, which is when is autumn in the civil service? Or more precisely what does ‘likely Autumn mean’? We’re now heading through the second week in November, and have we’ve had any news on this? Can I only assume that no-one has bothered checking out wag’s website to see if any news is there? I guess I can answer that one for you and it’s another no.

For nearly a decade I’ve been telling wag food and wag themselves that communication is the key, but wag food in particular has failed to take that message on board. Is it any wonder food producers are disgruntled with their food department? Wag food there to promote Welsh Food and Drink……………………………..really?

 
 

Pragmatic Approach to Cross Compliance Welcomed by NFU Cymru

07 Nov

 

Follows in full is a press release received today from NFU which might give a little hope to our farmers and indirectly help our Welsh food and drink producers:

NFU Cymru President, Stephen James, has welcomed the pragmatic approach adopted by

Deputy Minister for Food and Farming, Rebecca Evans, regarding changes to Cross Compliance requirements in Wales from 2015 following the announcement of the final decisions earlier this week.

Mr James said, “Whilst we have to acknowledge that not all decisions have gone in our favour, the robust arguments we have put forward have resulted in a number of the original proposals being dropped. From 2015, farmers will no longer be required to keep a Soil Assessment Record and proposals, in Cross Compliance, for the control of Invasive Non-Native Species, no first plough or no new drainage of organic or peat soils and the extension of hedgerow cutting and trimming requirements to include scrub, will not now be taken forward.

“We have also seen a more sensible approach being adopted than originally proposed to the requirements relating to minimum soil cover and protection of groundwater. 

“We are, however, concerned about the increased regulatory burden that will be placed on farmers in NVZ areas and are disappointed that the system of inspections and penalties was not the subject of this consultation.  As a Union we continue to call for a sanction regime that is more proportionate in its approach. 

“The Commission Regulations provide the opportunity for Welsh Government to set up an early warning system applying to cases of non-compliance of minor severity, extent and duration and it is vital that this is used it the fullest extent possible in Wales.

“Going forward it is clear that there are a number of worrying proposals which may result in amendments to the new Cross Compliance regime post 2015, including the review of the Slurry, Silage and Agricultural Fuel Oil Regulations together with plans to bring the maintenance of Public Rights of Way into Cross Compliance further down the line.”

Mr James ended, “Cross Compliance is an issue that affects every farmer in Wales so it is vital now that Welsh Government get updated Cross Compliance information out to farmers as soon as possible, as the new regime will be implemented from January 2015. Going forward NFU Cymru will continue to lobby forcefully to ensure that farmers here in Wales do not face more burdensome and costly conditions to unlock the Basic Payment Scheme than farmers elsewhere.”