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Welsh Assembly urges clearer definition of sustainable land management

Words: Roger Milne
Welsh farmland with wind farm

A clearer definition of sustainable land management in the principality is needed to protect both the natural environment and the people and businesses which earn a living from it.

That’s the conclusion of the latest report from National Assembly’s Environment and Sustainability Committee.
The committee members said a nationally agreed definition would bring clarity and certainty about what land managers and the planning system should deliver.
As part of its inquiry, the committee visited and took evidence from a number of farms, conservation bodies, national park projects and rural businesses. They also produced a map showing examples of best practice in Wales and further afield.
"Pinning down a definition of sustainable land management proved extremely difficult during our inquiry, but it was something everyone agreed was necessary to give land managers a firm footing from which to work," said committee chairman Alun Ffred Jones.
"What wasn't difficult to see was the number of excellent examples around Wales where the delicate balance between conservation and commercial enterprise is being sympathetically handled."
The committee has urged Welsh ministers to refine their definition of 'sustainable management'. The AMs say this should be done before the introduction of the Environment Bill, and preferably feature in the draft Bill the minister for natural resources and food has committed to providing by the end of this year.