DISCUSSION on farming issues can be a problem for Powys County Councillors, as so many of them have agricultural interests and have to declare and interest.
On Wednesday, June 23, the Standards committee will look at an application for special dispensation, which if approved would open the door to allow farmers to stay and discuss issues associated with agriculture.
The application is being made by Plaid Cymru group leader, Cllr Elwyn Vaughan so that a motion he put forward last year on wool, can be debated.
Cllr Vaughan, said: “I would ask that the standards committee consider my request for special dispensation for all councillors who are farmers, or those closely related to the agricultural sector, to enable them to take part in any discussion surrounding my motion regarding wool.
“The motion places emphasis on facilitating innovation, adding value and
creating new enterprises using Welsh wool as done in New Zealand.
“Hence, whilst the overall aim is to boost the market and utilisation for wool, it does not directly relate or benefit any individual farmer and no direct link could be placed between the potential effects of this motion and the overall price of
wool, bearing in mind that wool is an international commodity and sold at open online auctions.”
Cllr Vaughan asked the committee to think about using the same principle for other similar motions for farming related matters.
Cllr Vaughan, said: “Should similar motions such as adding value to crops or food products, diversification or environmental changes such as rewilding or alike come forward, unless individuals have a clear direct benefit as result of that motion then that dispensation is automatically given.
“It makes a mockery for those that have an understanding of such matters not to be able to take part in a discussion although it’s clear they don’t benefit directly.”
His motion asked for the Mid Wales Growth Deal to: “Look at opportunities to add value to our agricultural products and specifically to work with the farming unions and the British Wool Marketing Board with a view of facilitating the establishment of the equivalent of WRONZ, Wool Research Organisation New Zealand in Mid Wales.”
It was supposed to be discussed at the annual council meeting at the end of November 2020.
Councillors who also farm, would have needed to declare an interest and leave the meeting, or ask the head of the legal service/monitoring officer, Clive Pinney to advise on their individual circumstances.
Following advice, Cllr Vaughan withdrew the motion to allow the standards committee to deliberate on giving the dispensation.
According to the council’s constitution, at least a quarter of the councillors need to be present for a meeting to be quorate.
This would be 18 (18.25) of the current 73 councillors.