The Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) proposed by the Welsh Government continues to cause anger and has generated a number of protests throughout Wales. Hopefully Rural Affairs Minister, Lesley Griffiths, and Mark Drakeford will sit up and take note. It’s clear they are not taking Welsh farmers with them on this.

At the NFU Conference last week there was a fascinating presentation by Jack Bobo, Director of the Food Systems Unit at Nottingham University. He pointed out the challenge of feeding the world between now and 2050. World population will expand from 8 billion now, to 9.5 billion then; thereafter it is predicted to fall. Right now, a human dies of hunger every four seconds.

Reducing food production in Wales to plant trees on 10 per cent of our productive land, and dedicating a further 10 per cent to habitat clearly isn’t going to help meet this challenge. In fact, as Jack pointed out, it’s going to make it worse. Because the world needs that food, and so it will simply be produced elsewhere.

That elsewhere is likely to be South America, probably Brazil. More Amazon rain forest will be destroyed to achieve this, sacrificing one of the most bio-diverse environments on the planet. Meanwhile here in Wales family farms go bust because the bit of land that generated their profit has gone.

So SFS isn’t just a badly thought out and self-destructive scheme, but crazy as well. The same Net Zero groupthink that is happy to export our blast furnaces, now wants to export our farm production. That may possibly make Wales’ carbon ledger look better, but it will make no difference to the world environment; in fact, it will make it worse.

The guts will get ripped out of rural Wales and the only thing to be achieved is a bit of virtue signalling. There is still a chance to make your voice heard on this. Follow this link if you want to: www.campaigns.nfuonline­.com/page/142961/action/1

Energy production is all part of the same environmental debate, and it’s interesting to read peoples’ thoughts on these pages. To help feed all the hungry mouths on the planet most of us will agree that we need plenty of clean, green energy and preferably cheap too.

On shore wind fits the bill to some extent but no one wants turbines near them. Off shore wind solves that problem, but is much more expensive. And the electricity has to be brought ashore and distributed, but no one wants pylons either! We could put the cables underground, but again there is more cost involved. I think we have all become a bit unrealistic.

The fact is that energy generation comes at an environmental cost, however we do it. If we don’t want the lights to go out, we have got to accept that and seek the least-worst option. Just south of Bristol on the M5, you may have seen “new” pylons; to my mind they are much less intrusive that the traditional “Eiffel Tower” design.

It makes sense to explore ways to minimise the visual impact of the infrastructure we so urgently need. It might be a good thing to take a lead on here in Wales. A better use of money than 20mph signs?

Of course there is another solution staring us in the face. Small modular reactors at the old nuclear sites of Wylfa and Trawsfynydd would utilise existing pylon networks to get electricity into the grid. So that’s reliable, clean, green electricity with minimal aesthetic impact. It sounds like an idea worth exploring.

Renewables are great, but we still need dependable electricity generation. Tidal would achieve that to some extent, but we have chosen to ignore that option. So right now the choices are to continue with fossil fuel generation or go nuclear. The irony is that we import a lot of nuclear generated electricity from France. Yet again, we have exported the problem; just like steel making and food production.

It’s time for a big injection of reality. Virtue signalling isn’t going to feed a hungry planet or keep the lights on, but it is destroying Welsh investment and jobs and our children’s future.