The Welsh Conservatives have set out plans to split the Environment and Rural Affairs Department if they win power at the next Assembly election in May 2021.
The party’s Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs, Andrew RT Davies, outlined the proposals in his latest article for Farmers Guardian’s Brexit hub.
He said: “Brexit provides us with the chance to do things differently, and looking ahead to the 2021 Welsh Assembly Election, we will use this freedom to reset environmental protection, regulation and maintenance of natural resources throughout Wales, which has failed our industry.
“We would split the current Welsh Government Environment and Rural Affairs department and create separate ministries to tackle climate change and drive forward economic prosperity in rural communities, which has been so sorely lacking during the twenty years of Labour-run devolution.
“The income gap between English and Welsh farmers continues to widen, and for too long, Welsh Labour have sat on their hands while longstanding issues such as bovine TB, a lack of access to finance and a failure to support local procurement have held farmers back.”
Mr Davies also took aim at Natural Resources Wales (NRW), saying it had ‘systematically failed the people of Wales’.
In November 2018, he proposed the abolition of NRW after it was embroiled in a scandal over the sale of publicly-owned timber, which cost the taxpayer more than £1 million.
Rural groups also criticised the body for its controversial decision to ban game shooting on public land, against official advice.
Mr Davies’ call for a shake-up of Welsh Government departments comes after a successful election for the Conservatives in Wales.
Though the party still only has 14 seats in Westminster, compared to Labour’s 22, the Tories took seats across north Wales, as well as Bridgend in the south.