More time to bury dead livestock

The relaxation of laws that prevent farmers burying their livestock on their land is to be extended for a further week. Farmers called for the change to help them deal with the deaths of hundreds of animals following heavy snow.

Latest ITV News reports

Burial laws relaxed for another week 'following advice from vets'

The Natural Resources Minister says that following advice from vets and the Met Office it has become clear that "the current derogation for on-farm burial is still necessary for the time being."

But Alun Davies says "geographical coverage must remain closely targeted on the areas worst affected."

My officials are continuously gathering evidence from the ground, and I am reviewing the situation on a daily basis.

It is important that we understand the specific locational impacts of the snow, so that we can respond as necessary with focussed practical support for those farm holdings in most need.

We are ready to work with the farming unions on welcome initiatives such as fodder banks and fodder distribution networks.

– Alun Davies AM, Natural Resources Minister

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Relaxation of farm burial laws extended

Sheep being dug from under snow
Farmers in north Wales have been affected by last month's heavy snow Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

The relaxation of laws that prevent farmers burying their livestock on their own land is to be extended for a further week.

The Welsh Government announced last week that the EU regulations would be suspended for seven days, coming to an end this evening.

The extension means that the 'deragation' will last until 16th April.

Farmers called for the change to help them deal with the deaths of hundreds of lambs and ponies following heavy snow in north and mid Wales.

Natural Resources Minister to visit snow-hit farm

Alun Davies AM
Alun Davies has told ITV News he has no plans to offer more support to farmers affected by heavy snow. Credit: ITV Wales

Natural Resources Minister Alun Davies AM will visit a Powys farm today. He will hear first-hand the lengths farmers have had to go in battling the severe weather this winter.

The scale of the situation facing many farmers across Wales is unprecedented.

It is hoped the minister will be able to gain a further understanding of what those in the farming community have been up against.

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FUW: Disappointed that burial relaxation will only last seven days

The Farmers' Union of Wales has welcomed the relaxation of rules banning the burial or animals on farms as a 'step towards common sense.'

But the Union criticised the announcement that restrictions will come back into force in a weeks time.

Gwyn Williams, Area Officer at the FUW also told ITV News that the Welsh Government should consider how it could help support farmers financially.

Burial rule relaxation is a 'small step forward'

The Farmers' Union of Wales has welcomed the relaxation of rules banning the burial or animals on farms as a 'step towards common sense.'

But the Union criticised the announcement that restrictions will come back into force in a weeks time.

EU Regulations require farmers to pay collectors to remove and dispose of fallen stock.

We welcome this concession but have highlighted the fact that it does not cover all those who have been worst affected by the severe weather.

Many have lost hundreds of animals and tens of thousands of pounds, requiring them to pay further thousands to have dead animals removed because they cannot meet very strict guidelines.

We have urged the Welsh Government to take this into account and to apply the derogation for all areas of Wales which are affected.

– Emyr Jones, FUW president

'Too little too late' and 'disappointing' say opposition

Opposition parties in the Assembly have claimed that the Welsh Government has been too slow to react and has not gone far enough in its response to the impact of heavy snow on livestock farming.

The Welsh Government has been slow off the mark in dealing with this disaster and while this announcement is welcome, it is too little, too late. While the Rural Affairs Minister was tucking into his Easter eggs, Welsh farmers were trying to dig frozen carcasses out of feet-deep snow. Welsh Conservatives believe that a derogation should be granted in these exceptional circumstances to allow farmers to deal with fallen stock in an efficient and practical manner.

– Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs Antoinette Sandbach AM

I share the unions' severe disappointment, however, that there is to be no programme of direct financial aid. Of course farming is a business that is exposed to risk from the elements, and that will always remain the case. However, I would urge the Minister to be in listening mode when he meets representatives of the Welsh farming unions in the next couple of days. I look forward to meeting the Minister myself in Powys later this week to discuss the severe difficulties Welsh Livestock farmers are facing as a result of the extreme weather – and to press the case for assistance

– Liberal Democrat Farming and Food spokesperson William Powell AM
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