A LABOUR Minister has been sharply criticised for refusing to attend a crucial meeting to hear farmers’ concerns with the Welsh Government’s controversial proposal to force them to forfeit land for tree planting. 

Last month saw thousands of farmers descend on the Welsh capital to protest at the Labour Welsh Government’s potential plan to force them to forfeit 20 per cent of their land for tree planting and other schemes. 

Recently Monmouth MP and Welsh Secretary of State David TC wrote to Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Rural Affairs, requesting a meeting to discuss farmers’ serious concerns. 

She has now replied, refusing to attend such a meeting. 

Mr Davies said: “It is absolutely disgraceful that the Labour Rural Affairs Minister is refusing a meeting with an elected representative, who represents a rural constituency, to hear farmers’ growing anxiety that her government has caused. 

“Farmers are horrified that 20 per cent of their land could be taken out of production for tree planting and other schemes.  

“But that isn’t stopping the Labour Welsh Government from hypocritically chopping down 850,000 tonnes of wood on land that they own every year to sell. A sensible approach going forward is for the Labour government to grow trees on their own land, rather than force farmers to give up prime agricultural land for this purpose.”