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Agriculture (Wales) Act 2023

Section 1 – The sustainable land management objectives

17.Section 1 establishes four SLM objectives.

18.Subsection (2) provides that the first objective is to produce food and other goods in a sustainable manner. In practice, this is likely to require a focus on producing food and other goods in a way that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable, that promotes high standards of animal health and welfare and that safeguards the ability of future generations to do the same.

19.Subsection (6) provides that for the purposes of the first objective, factors relevant to whether food and other goods are produced in a sustainable manner include, among other things, the resilience of agricultural businesses within the communities in which they operate and their contribution to the local economy.

20.Subsection (3) provides that the second objective is to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

21.Mitigating climate change is likely to involve reducing climate change through the reduction of operational and embedded greenhouse gas emissions as well as maintaining and increasing the capacity of agricultural land to drawdown and sequester carbon. Operational emissions are those emitted through the carrying out of an action, and embedded emissions are those emitted by a product or material in its production and transportation (e.g. emissions from the production of fertiliser).

22.Adapting to climate change is likely to involve taking action to minimise the effects of climate change. These actions may include, for example, changes in practice to ensure the continued production of food and other goods, natural flood management measures and the use of trees to provide shade.

23.Subsection (4) provides that the third objective is to maintain and enhance the resilience of ecosystems and the benefits they provide. Maintaining ecosystem resilience may require active management of ecosystems and actions to prevent degradation. Enhancing ecosystem resilience may require, for example, measures such as habitat creation and changes in practice (e.g. actions relating to water quality).

24.Subsection (7) describes specific factors that (among others) are relevant to the resilience of ecosystems for the purposes of the third objective. Resilient ecosystems, for example, may be more biodiverse, which can help to slow and reverse biodiversity decline, and more adaptive to change, including the effects of climate change.

25.The benefits provided by resilient ecosystems can include, for example, clean air, clean water, enhanced carbon storage, improved soil health and the increased presence and effectiveness of pollinators.

26.Subsection (5) provides that the fourth objective is to conserve and enhance the countryside and cultural resources and promote public access to and engagement with them, and to sustain the Welsh language and promote and facilitate its use.

27.The fourth objective is about protecting, maintaining and improving cultural resources and the countryside, and promoting access and engagement with them. The countryside includes, for example, farmland and woodland, as well as the beauty of the natural environment. Cultural resources may include, for example, historic sites and buildings. This objective is also about sustaining the Welsh language, for example by supporting the people and communities that use the Welsh language, as well as promoting and facilitating the use of the Welsh language so as to raise awareness and opportunities for its use and proliferation.

28.Subsection (8) defines ‘cultural resources’ for the purposes of the fourth objective.

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Text created by the Welsh Government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of Senedd Cymru.


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