Today I am announcing over £106 million of investment in our rural economy over the next three years. This will include a range of schemes which will support a number of Welsh Government priorities including:
- Woodland creation and restoration, a key step in tackling climate change.
- Building resilience into our natural resources and improving biodiversity, which underpin our wellbeing and quality of life.
- Supporting farm businesses to enhance their technical and environmental performance, improving their sustainability.
- Supporting food businesses, including a focus on business and supply chain productivity improvement and business resilience and delivering the food and drink sector Covid-19 Recovery Strategy.
Many aspects of the rural economy have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Welsh Government is alive to these impacts, which is why we are making this significant investment. In considering how to allocate this funding I have focused on our long term priorities outlined above. I am also clear that this investment must support a green recovery in Wales which safeguards the environment and allows our rural economy to thrive.
A full list of the schemes which will be funded is attached to this Statement as an annex.
These schemes will be funded through a combination of the EU Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 (RDP) and from entirely domestic funds. There is £53 million of funding available through the RDP and, as we know some projects from across the RDP will not spend all funding available to them, the programme will be over-committed to ensure we make full use of the resources available to us as we transition to wholly domestic rural support in the future.
It is important to ensure we make full and best use of all the resources available to Wales through European funding, which will be achieved for the RDP as a result of this commitment.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns I would be happy to do so.