A CAUTIOUS approach to future Welsh land policies has been applauded.

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed the Welsh Government’s announcement that it would ‘take the time to get right’ Wales’ post Brexit land management policies, and has emphasised the need to thoroughly investigate the implications of all proposals and scenarios.

Speaking at a farming conference in Birmingham earlier this month, Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths AM said the transition period to a new system “must be a real one, it must be well planned and it must take place over a number of years".

She added that "there is too much at stake economically, socially and environmentally to not get this right”.

Responding to her comments, FUW president Glyn Roberts said: “Within days of the June 2016 EU referendum, we had issued a call for a realistic post-Brexit transition period for farming, and for future policies to be developed slowly and investigated thoroughly, so the cabinet secretary's comments are naturally welcome.”

During her speech, Mrs Griffiths highlighted the need for clarity over UK funding arrangements for Wales, and that Wales should not lose a penny in rural funding, echoing calls made earlier in the day by the FUW president.

The cabinet secretary also gave assurances that she would “fight to protect funding returning to Wales from going elsewhere”.

She added: “We must continue this vital support, because I cannot think of another part of Welsh society which makes such a multi-faceted contribution to our nation.

"Farming is a vital part of the rural economy. It is the social anchor of our rural communities and farmers are the custodians of the land that underpins our natural environment.”

Mr Roberts added: “We welcome the commitment to fight to maintain Welsh rural funding and the recognition of the key role agriculture plays in delivering so much for Wales - comments which very much echo those made by First Minister Carwyn Jones in recent weeks when he talked of the need for a funding pot solely for agriculture and for it to be managed differently.

“It is for these reasons that we need to take our time and thoroughly examine the likely impacts of possible scenarios and options.”

During the speech, the cabinet secretary announced five core principles that underpinned her vision for a new Welsh land management policy.

These include keeping farmers on the land, ensuring Wales’ agricultural sector can be prosperous and resilient in a post-Brexit future and the fact that Wales must not turn its back on food production.

“We welcome these objectives - as the cabinet secretary has highlighted, we already deliver a broad range of public benefits, of which food is just one," said Mr Roberts.

“We need to make the most of the opportunities we have to improve what we already do, while also ensuring tools are in place to cater for possible adverse impacts of Brexit.”

The union president added: “The FUW has valued and seen the fruits of our recent work with the cabinet secretary and her wider team and we are pleased to see such significant progress.

"We look forward to continuing to work closely with the Welsh Government as we seek to protect the future of family farming in Wales.”