The First Decade List According to Key Subject Areas





Youth & Lifelong Learning

Older People

The Economy

Health and Social Care

Social Justice

Equality and Human Rights





Sport and Culture


The Welsh Language

Welsh Law

Wales and the World

Introduction to the 'What They've Done For Us'  list 




The First Decade

Welcome to Aled Edwards' "What They've Done For Us" Rural list. Written a little in the style of Monty Python's Life of Brian "What have the Romans done for us?"  the list aims to provide a reliable record of the distinctive Welsh policies brought about by devolution (1999-2009). Beyond underlining the distinctiveness of Welsh policies no substantive attempt is made here to evaluate the performance of Welsh Assembly Governments or to list the policies brought about by other UK legislatures but not adopted in Wales. The dates in brackets normally indicate when the development was announced by the Welsh Assembly Government through a press release.

Third Assembly 2007 - 2009

bullet Launched a consultation on the distinctive proposed Tuberculosis Eradication (Wales) Order 2009 under the Animal Health Act 1981. (April 2009).
bullet Launched a distinctive action plan to support local food and drink producers in Wales. (April 2009).
bullet Welcomed the successful outcome of negotiations in Brussels. Representations from the Welsh Assembly Government had secured a compromise on the regulations regarding fallen stock which allow on farm containment prior to disposal. (March 2009).
bullet Received welcome news as a request for derogation from the EU Nitrates Directive was agreed by the EU Nitrates Committee. Welsh Assembly Government officials had actively supported DEFRAs efforts in applying for the derogation and provided a robust scientific case to argue that environmental protection standards would not be put at risk. (March 2009).
bullet Asked Welsh Assembly Government officials to review the restrictions in place for scallop dredging, following increasing concerns about the level of fishing in Cardigan Bay. (February 2009).
bullet Distinctive proposals to linking bovine TB compensation payments to good farming practices and disease control measures were published (16 January) as part of the Welsh Assembly Government’s comprehensive programme of activity to eradicate bovine TB in Wales. (January 2009).
Wales was the first country in the UK to publish guidance on the welfare of dogs, cats and horses in a bid to inform people of the responsibility, time and cost involved in caring for an animal properly. (December 2008).
bullet The EU Council of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers reached agreement on the CAP health check process. The Welsh Assembly Minister for Rural Affairs attended the Council as part of the UK Ministerial negotiating team and said the agreement would provide a stable future for Welsh farming. (November 2008).
bullet Announced that the Welsh Assembly Government would assume full responsibility for the management and enforcement of sea fisheries in Wales. (September 2008).
bullet Announced a temporary exemption from the cross compliance requirement restricting vehicles on waterlogged soil in Wales. The exemption was aimed at helping farmers to complete their harvest. (September 2008).
bullet Announced moves towards establishing a community asset fund to allow communities to take over public buildings.  (June 2008).
bullet Announced a distinctive grant scheme to help first time buyers make their homes more energy efficient. (June 2008).
bullet The use of electric training aids, including shock collars, to be banned, because of concerns about unnecessary suffering to pet animals. (June 2008).
bullet Announced a distinctive plan of action to eradicate the infectious disease bovine TB in Wales, including a targeted cull of badgers in TB high incidence areas. (April 2008).
bullet Arranged for the Wales Audit Office to undertake an assessment of the overall impact of the improvements being made by the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority encompassing the planning services of the Pembrokeshire and Snowdonia National Park Authorities as well to help facilitate the sharing of good practice in this very important area. (March 2008).
bullet The distinctive Rural Development Plan for Wales was given the go-ahead by the European Commission’s Rural Development Committee, enabling the Welsh Assembly Government to take forward the plan’s actions to support rural Wales. (February 2008).
bullet Announced members of a group to advise the Welsh Assembly Government on the development of rural health services. (January 2008).
bullet Announced that the scheme to address potential welfare problems faced by lambs on Welsh hills which are usually produced for export to Europe would begin in October 2007 (October 2007).
bullet Announced that action was being being taken to sign new agreements for the acclaimed  Tir Gofal and Tir Cynnal agri-environment schemes. (July 2007).
bullet Announced that self-catering properties in Wales were to benefit from the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme effecting an estimated 2,870 self-catering businesses across Wales. (June 2007).

Second Assembly 2003 - 2007

bullet Welcomed the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which gives Wales powers to promote animal welfare and clarifies the responsibilities of animal owners and keepers. (October 2006).
bullet Announced plans for all Wales coastal path. (June 2006).
bullet A Welsh Assembly Government contingency plan covering a number of animal diseases, including avian influenza and foot and mouth disease, was published in March 2006. The plan outlined how any outbreaks of disease would be tackled. The Welsh plan complemented the UK plan outlying the systems, structures, lines of communication and decision-making processes in Wales. (March 2006).
bullet Launched a consultation on the strategic direction of rural development policy in Wales. (January 2006).
bullet Farmers in Wales were among the first in Europe to receive the new single payment. £110million was paid out on the first day allowed under European Commission rules. (December 2005).
bullet By September 2005 more than 5,000 farmers had already applied for the Welsh Assembly Government's Tir Cynnal entry-level agri-environment scheme. The European Commission (EC) Agricultural and Rural Structures Committee, known as the the ‘STAR’ Committee voted in favour of the Tir Cynnal proposals on 22 June 2005 and the formal letter of approval was issued from the Commission on 20 July 2005. The proposals for Tir Cynnal were submitted to the EC at the end of 2004 as part of the amendments to the Wales Rural Development Programme (RDP) for 2000-2006. (September 2005).
bullet The rules governing the use of agricultural land for motor sports during the ten month qualifying period for the Single Payment Scheme were modified to meet the concerns of farming and countryside industry. Officials were instructed to modify the guidance so that motor sports may take place for up to 28 days (during a farmer’s 10 month eligibility period)., on land used in support 2005 Single Payment claims. (May 2005).
bullet Welcomed news that the State Veterinary Service will become an Executive Agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on the 1st April 2005. Following the foot and mouth disease outbreak of 2001, both Defra and the Welsh Assembly Government reviewed the provision of professional veterinary services. The devolved administrations played a central role in the changeover of the SVS to an Executive Agency. (March 2005).
bullet Announced that Wales had signed a Charter on Genetically Modified Organisms with  European Regions Network partners at a meeting in Florence. The Charter, amongst other things, presses the European Commission to recognise the growing concerns of an increasing number of European regions about the threats to conventional and organic farming from the commercialisation of GM crops. Wales had a significant input into shaping this Charter, which binds together 20 European regions in ensuring the protection of traditional and organic farming. (February 2005).
bullet Published new guidance to help local authorities and police manage unauthorised camping in Wales. The guidance, produced jointly by the Welsh Assembly Government and the Home Office, provides best practice advice on managing incidents where people have camped on land without the landowner’s permission. (January 2005).
bullet The UK Government has gave the National Assembly full control of any future disease outbreaks in Wales, such as foot and mouth disease thus enabling Wales to function in the same manner as Scotland. (November 2004).
bullet Created Farming Connect to help farming families adapt, improve and re-think their businesses. It was announced in October 2004 that more than £20m in grants had been committed to projects aimed at securing farm businesses in Wales through Farming Connect. This, it was estimated,  would generate a total investment in the infrastructure of the Welsh farming industry of more than £54m. (October 2004).
bullet Established a Wales TB Action Group as recommended by the Environment, Planning and Countryside Committee’s inquiry into bovine TB. (October 2004).
bullet Launched a key document to help the Welsh public sector re-think the procurement of food. 'Food For Thought'. The Welsh Procurement Initiative's best practise document gives guidance on how to better engage with local SME food providers to deliver nutritious, sustainable, value for money services, in full compliance with relevant EU rules for procurement. (July 2004).
bullet Welsh Farmers were among the first in the UK to receive their 2003 Bovine Balance Payments. The payments were made from the earliest date permitted under European Commission regulations. (March 2004).
bullet Successfully managed Welsh Potato Ring Rot outbreak. (November 2003).
bullet Welsh Lamb was given official recognition by the European Commission as a premium protected brand. (July 2003).
bullet Welcomed the publication of an Outline Animal Health and Welfare Strategy for Great Britain. The Strategy, which had been prepared jointly by the Welsh Assembly Government, DEFRA and the Scottish Executive, sets out a vision to enhance animal health and welfare over the next 10 years. (July 2003).
bullet Welcomed the CAP reform package agreed by EU Agriculture Ministers as a significant step in supporting the sustainability of the Welsh farming industry. The Single Income Payment and compulsory modulation under which funds from direct CAP payments are targeted to support the environmental and rural development objectives were principles set out in the Welsh Assembly Government's document Farming for the Future. (June 2003).
bullet Announced the start of the second Welsh Ewe Genotyping Scheme (WEGS II). The three year scheme is available only to all National Scrapie Plan (NSP). members in Wales, and represents the latest strategy in the programme to eradicate scrapie from the GB breeding flock. (June 2003). The scheme included, from July 2004, a two year Artificial Insemination Service, administered by Hybu Cig Cymru, which aims to increase the numbers of scrapie resistant rams in Wales. There is no parallel for WEGS II in the rest of GB. (June 2003).

First Assembly 1999 - 2003

bullet Published the Welsh Foot and Mouth Contingency Plan. (April 2003).
bullet Announced that Organic Centre Wales would continue to act as a focus for organic matters in Wales for the following three years, with funding of £240,000 per year. The centre was established in 2000 for an initial three-year contact period. Organic Centre Wales is the first centre of its kind in Europe offering advice across the entire organic cycle from farmers to consumers. (March 2003).
bullet Between 2002 and 2004 the Welsh Assembly Government offered grants totalling £4.1m under the Post Office Development Fund to 106 post offices in some of the most deprived and isolated areas in Wales.
bullet Complemented the National Scrapie Plan’s ram genotyping scheme with a new scheme aimed at eradicating Scrapie from the Welsh flock.  Changes to the rules affecting some types of sheep covered by the National Scrapie Plan (NPS) were announced in September 2002.
bullet Began publishing the monthly rural issues magazine Gwlad in November 2001.
bullet Stated clearly that Lord Haskins’ comments, as head the government's recovery programme for England, concerning state hand-outs to farmers, were unhelpful and did not hold writ in Wales. (August 2001).
bullet Made sure that Wales’ LEADER+ Single Programming Document, supporting rural projects, was the first of the UK’s programmes to be approved by the European Commission and stated that rural development in Wales has benefited significantly from the European LEADER programme. (June 2001).
bullet Since 2001, placed animal welfare concerns into the thinking behind the Tir Mynydd Scheme by making payments area-based. The scheme moves financial support away from intensive farming and grants per animal.
bullet Provided matched funding to help the ARC Addington Fund distribute over £3.3 million to Welsh farmers during the 2001 foot and mouth crisis.
bullet Highlighted Welsh political frustration during the 2001 foot and moth crisis with the Intervention Board’s conduct of the welfare cull scheme and at not being able to follow Scotland’s lead in easing restrictions.
bullet Established an Independent Appeals Panel for farmers to adjudicate in matters relating to agricultural subsidies and to assist in reducing the burden of paperwork on farmers.
bullet Raised concerns, in the context of CAP reforms, on the impact of degressivity (a steady year by year reduction of subsidy) on Welsh farmers.
bullet Successfully argued the case of Welsh farmers in the changes to the financial support arrangements available under the Beef Special Premium Scheme (BSP). (December 2000).
bullet Funded the new Rural Stress Scheme to support grassroots organisations working with people suffering from stress in rural areas. (October 2000).
bullet Successfully made the case for the abolition of Dairy Hygiene Inspection Charges in 2000.
bullet Successfully made the case for the need to help reduce the burden of hygiene charges on smaller abattoirs. (March 2000).
bullet Criticised the Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers for accepting the recommendation that Milk Marque should not be allowed to expand its processing capacity. (August 1999).
bullet Mapped out a distinct future for Welsh Agriculture through the Assembly’s Farming for the Future document. Since 1999, Wales has had its own agri-food strategy which includes funding to develop and improve processing and marketing and covers dairy, lamb and beef and the organic sectors.