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Review of council owned farms and what investment needed to meet pollution regulations to commence

“ALL options” will be considered – including selling off county council-owned farms – as plans to deal with new pollution regulations are prepared.

Members of Ceredigion County Council’s corporate services overview and scrutiny committee agreed to restart its task and finish group focusing on the county farm estate as a detailed review of what work is needed to ensure new Welsh Government regulations on water pollution are met.

Committee chairman Cllr Keith Evans said at Wednesday’s (May 13) meeting “they are putting the problem on the shoulders of farmers” but more water pollution came from sewerage works and that should be dealt with first.

A detailed review of the council’s 12 farms, including nine which have existing or potential problems identified, will be carried out with a revenue cost to the service of £30,000.

Cllr Peter Davies called for the potential cost of improving these farms so that they meet 2024 targets should be noted in the annual accounts.

“We could be talking half a million pounds,” he said.

“I know one of the options is to sell the farms, which is rather controversial,” said Cllr Davies with Cllr Elizabeth Evans adding the message must be that the committee “supports our county farms and investment is needed.”

Cllr Keith Evans said that “all options available will be considered.”

Visits to all county farms have been carried out and some may “require significant structural work to remedy, whilst others would require a change in management systems,” a report to the committee states.

The farms are smaller in size and designed to provide an opportunity to start in agriculture, supporting young people as well as the Welsh language and culture.

Cllr Ifan Davies added:

“Not a lot of investment has been done in our farms so now a lot of work needs to be done.”

The amount of farmland making up the council estate totals 813.5 acres with the average farm size around 68 acres, including a beef farm which is held in trust by the council, not as a corporate asset.

A detailed review will be carried out and a report brought back for further consideration.

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