Author Archives: NewsEdit

Farm Support Scheme Unveiled

The Welsh Government has published its latest plans for action to support the production of food, improve biodiversity, and strengthen the rural economy.  The Sustainable Farming Scheme: Outline proposal for 2025 is intended to be the key to a more resilient rural economy and environment.  Financial support options are set out at  The Minister’s statement is at

Payment rates are still undecided and the final Scheme will not be decided until further consultations have taken place next year.  There will be a transition period between current payments and those under the new Scheme.


The Second Homes Problem

Mark Drakeford and Adam Price have announced their joint proposals for dealing with the controversial second homes issue, aiming to balance the needs of residents to buy homes locally without unduly affecting the self-catering sectors of the tourism industry.  The programme announcement is at New package of measures to address high numbers of second homes | GOV.WALES.  Perhaps not a major issue in Monmouthshire, the measures include one that will allow councils to control changes from one type of accommodation to another.  Tourism and community interests continue to find the proposals inadequate for dealing with the problem of the unaffordability of housing for local people without penalising tourism businesses.  Tourism bodies recently petitioned the Senedd with proposals for exemptions to planned changes to the rules determining whether properties should pay business tax or council tax – Allow exemptions to the 182-day occupancy rule to reduce harm to real Welsh self-catering businesses – Petitions (

Historic Environment (Wales) Bill Introduced

Mick Antoniw MS, the Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution, introduced the Historic Environment (Wales) Bill into the Senedd Cymru on 4 July 2022. At around 200 pages, this will be one of the most substantial pieces of legislation ever considered by the Senedd and it will transform the protection and management of Wales’ historic environment.
In an accompanying written statement, he explained that the Bill represents an important step in the Welsh Government’s plans to improve the accessibility of Welsh law set out in The future of Welsh law: A programme for 2021 to 2026. The Bill is the result of the first project in an ambitious programme of legislative consolidation. As it stands, Wales’ historic environment legislation is a bewildering jumble of repeatedly amended provisions that even lawyers find confusing — a perfect subject for consolidation. It is, moreover, largely based on two Westminster statutes — the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 and the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
For full links to the Historic Environment (Wales) Bill and supporting documentation and further information on the background to the consolidation, visit the Historic Environment (Wales) Bill pages on the Cadw website.

County Population Rise Less Than Predicted

The 2021 Census has shown that Monmouthshire’s population rose by 1.8% 2011-2021, from 91,300 to about 93,000.  This rise is significantly less than the Office for National Statistics estimate for 2020 of nearly 95,170.

Newport experienced Wales’s greatest 2011-2021 rise – 9.5%, higher than Cardiff’s 4.7%.  The Forest of Dean rose by 6.1%.

With 26.0% aged 65 or over, Monmouthshire has Wales’s oldest population, confirming the County Council’s concerns about meeting the needs of the elderly.  Further Census data will become available in the coming months.  It will be interesting to see whether the Census figures cause a revision of the ONS population projections and how they influence local planning policy under a new administration.

New NRW Nature Grant Programme

A £2million funding pot designed to bolster community resilience by harnessing the power of nature is set to be launched by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) this summer.

The launch of the Resilient Communities Grant Programme stems from calls for a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic – a recovery which places a stronger focus on action for nature and a recovery that spreads to every part of society.   The Welsh Government’s declaration of a Climate and Nature Emergency has also galvanised communities, businesses and public bodies in Wales to work together to mitigate against and adapt to the impacts of climate change, now and in the future.

The Resilient Communities Grant will provide communities with the opportunities to restore and enhance nature in their local areas, particularly in Wales’ most disadvantaged communities, and those with little access to nature. Supporting the provision of more green space will also support the changes needed to make to society to respond to the challenges of the climate emergency and reverse the decline in biodiversity.

The Programme can provide 100% funding and applications are welcomed for amounts from £10,000 to £250,000. Applications can be made across different places and address multiple themes. Applicants who collaborate with other partners to submit joint applications are also warmly welcomed.

For further information on the Programme and the upcoming webinar, please visit: Natural Resources Wales / Current grant funding opportunities or contact

Well Done, Monmouthshire

With a recycling rate of 72.7% against a Welsh Government target of 64%, Monmouthshire was fourth in the league of counties for July-September 2021.  Rhondda Cynon Taff, Bridgend and the Vale of Glamorgan did better but Torfaen and Caerphilly were below the Welsh average.

Minister’s Solar Warning

Minister for Climate Change, Julie James, has reminded Chief Planning Officers that where Best and Most Versatile (BMV) agricultural land is identified within a proposed solar PV array development, considerable weight should be given to protecting such land from development, because of its special importance, and that, unless other significant material considerations indicate otherwise, it will be necessary to refuse permission.  Much of Monmouthshire farmland is in this category.

Have Your Say on How Wales is Run

The Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales would like you to join a national conversation about the way Wales is run.  They have been asked to look at how Wales could be run differently, while remaining an integral part of the United Kingdom.  They have also been asked to consider other options to strengthen Welsh democracy both within and outside the United Kingdom.  The Commission’s task includes reviewing current arrangements, looking at who has power over what, the current rules for how Wales is run, and whether these are the best ways of organising things.  Have your say: the constitutional future of Wales | GOV.WALES provides more information.  Users of this website may want to think particularly about environmental governance.

The Commission wants to maintain an ongoing conversation with citizens and stakeholders, and will be receiving views up until the summer of 2023. But they want your input to help shape their work programme, so please respond as soon as you can. To feed into thetr interim report in the autumn/winter of 2022, they will need to receive contributions by the end of July 2022.  Please send these to:

Return of the Barrage

An independent commission is being set up to assess tidal renewable projects in the Severn Estuary, including a barrage which could generate 7% of the UK’s electricity needs.  The commission has been given the go-ahead by the Western Gateway, a cross-border partnership stretching from Swansea in the west to Swindon in the east – covering a population of 4.4 million. The public-private partnership is seen as creating an economic powerhouse on a footing with the more established Northern Powerhouse and the Midlands Engine in England.

The last proposed barrage scheme, from a company called Hafren Power, proposed a 18 kilometre barrage from Lavernock Point in the Vale of Glamorgan to the Brean Peninsula on the English side of the estuary in Somerset. It had little support from then the Cameron Government. However, with the Welsh and UK Government seeking to reach net zero by 2050 – and the recent government agreement between Plaid Cymru and Labour seeking to bring that 15 years forward in Wales – a barrage could now be in a better position to get government backing in terms of energy security and its mitigation against rising levels on both sides of the estuary from climate change.  But it could take 15 years to achieve the potential of up to 7 per cent of the UK’s total energy needs.

Nature and Us Conversation

There seem to be many online consultations and surveys of late but this one from Natural Resources Wales is different.  NRW in collaboration with the Welsh Government has recently launched Nature and Us: a Wales-wide conversation about the future of our natural environment.  The Nature and Us website directs you to the survey and there are webinars too, starting on 23 March. The survey is in two parts, the first of which takes just a few minutes to complete and submit online. The second part provides an opportunity to tell them a bit more about what is important to you and the changes you think Wales needs to make.