The Tenant Farmers’ Association (TFA) has urged the Welsh Government to join Defra in consulting on changes to agricultural tenancy legislation in 2019.
In October, Defra Secretary Michael Gove promised he would deliver reforms ‘in parallel’ to the Agriculture Bill.
The pledge followed TFA criticism of the Government’s failure to include recommendations from the Tenancy Reform Industry Group (TRIG) in the legislation.
Now Defra has proposed holding a consultation on changes to tenancy law ‘early’ next year, with officials in discussions about whether the exercise should cover both England and Wales.
TFA Cymru chairman, Dennis Matheson, said: “Both the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 and Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995 cover both England and Wales and pre-date devolution.
“There is an urgent need to press ahead with tenancy reform in Wales to ensure the sector can participate in the new programmes outlined in ‘Brexit and our Land’ [the Welsh Government’s post-Brexit policy consultation].
“A joint consultation with Defra will provide a suitable platform for building a new policy framework for agricultural tenancies in Wales.”
Farmers in Wales have previously raised concerns about how the Welsh Government Brexit consultation failed to deal with tenancy issues – in particular how any future public goods scheme would be accessible to tenants.
The consultation included a question about whether Welsh Government would need to take action to ensure tenants can use any future support scheme, but no proposals for how that might be done.
Mr Matheson added: “We welcome the positive engagement we have had with the Cabinet Secretary and her officials and their understanding of the specific needs of the tenanted sector, but we must now see some concerted effort in making the necessary changes to the legislative framework.”