Covid woodland memorial plans scaled back

time:2023-06-04 11:18:07source:NBC News author:Press center9

Plans for a Covid memorial woodland have been scaled back by the Welsh government.

The scheme to plant at least 60,000 trees in memory of those who died in Wales sparked fears valuable Carmarthenshire farmland could be lost.

Campaign group the Countryside Alliance said it was pleased the land would continue to be used to produce food.

Welsh government Climate Change Minister Julie James said feedback from the community had been taken on board.

Ms James met the Countryside Alliance and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) last week to discuss the site at Brownhill in the Tywi Valley.

The Countryside Alliance said it was agreed development of the site should involve protecting the curlew - the largest European wading bird - and recognise that farming and woodland creation needed to be combined.

The Countryside Alliance said 21 hectares would be kept for grazing, following a meeting with the Welsh government and NRW.

Rachel Evans, the Countryside Alliance director for Wales, said: "Food such as Welsh lamb and beef will continue to be produced on this section of land. This is a positive step and will ensure that the more valuable agricultural sections of the site remain used for food production."

Farmers' union NFU Cymru gave the announcement a cautious welcome.

Hefin Jones, vice-chairman of NFU Cymru for Carmarthenshire, said: "The question still remains why the Welsh government has decided to look at a parcel of land which is being used for food production at a time when food security is of paramount concern."

NRW's Martyn Evans said: "We have already received some innovative suggestions about what people would like to see following our consultations and we will be in a position to share an update in the coming months."

Ms James said: "A large site like this offers lots of opportunities to be innovative, to trial and showcase different ways of working.

"pursueing feedback from local communities NRW have devised a plan which combines tree planting with food production and can be an exemplar of what we would like to see on farms across Wales if we are to address the climate change emergency".

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