Response to e-action from Welsh Conservative Party
Thank you for contacting **** **** regarding your concerns about the Welsh uplands.
I strongly believe in the importance of using Wales’s natural resources in a responsible manner, and believe that we all have a vital part to play in the protection of the Welsh countryside, as well as supporting our rural economy. Welsh Conservatives therefore support better education on the Countryside Code, so that all visitors to our rural areas are respectful and well-informed.
As tourism and agriculture are the main sources of income for Wales’s rural economy, we believe that, not only is diversification key through better infrastructure such as broadband, but those who tend and live in rural Wales should be given more support. However, after 22 years of Labour and Labour-led Governments, our rural communities’ needs have been routinely neglected. Rest assured, my colleagues and I in the Welsh Conservatives will continue to stand up for Welsh rural communities and custodians of our land at every opportunity.
I also wholeheartedly agree that Wales’s uplands must be protected, well-managed and enhanced. Where upland peatlands are left undisturbed, I know they play an important role in storing carbon, maintaining biodiversity and protecting against flooding. Sadly, many of Wales’s uplands and peatlands are also not in good condition, with some bogs even releasing CO2. Welsh Conservatives have therefore welcomed the National Peatlands Action programme in Wales, which is intended to help lock in carbon and reinvigorate vital habitats. However, I am concerned that the funding provided by the Welsh Labour Government – £5.75m over five years – lacks ambition. By comparison, in England, the UK Conservative Government is investing £640m to restore 35,000 hectares by 2025. I assure you that my colleagues and I in the Welsh Conservatives will press the Welsh Government to take similar action.
Finally, I also believe that it is vital to strengthen enforcement against the killing of raptors, as these birds play a crucial role in Wales’s ecosystem and must therefore be protected. While all wild birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and there are strong penalties already in place, raptor persecution should be identified as a wildlife crime priority. Therefore, my colleagues and I will continue to push the Welsh Government to work with the Home Office and establish a National Rural Crime Taskforce for Wales, which would support the reduction in wildlife crime.
I hope this reassures you and thank you again for taking the time to contact me.