The Welsh Government is being urged to give more protection to farm tenants by scrapping Agricultural Holdings Act (AHA) tenancies following the first major review in nearly 25 years.

Organisations representing farm tenants want a radical shake-up of agricultural tenancy legislation in Wales, to make it easier for people to enter and exit the industry.

They want the government to set a timeline for change following the closure of a government consultation on this issue.

Proposals include removing the minimum age of 65 on retirement applications and the commercial unit test applied to possible successors.

Extending the category of close family relatives eligible to succeed to nieces, nephews and possibly grandchildren is being considered.

The government also consulted on whether AHA tenants should be given the right to assign a tenancy to a third party and whether landlords should be incentivised to offer farm business tenancies of 10 years or more by agreeing shorter termination procedures in specific circumstances.

The Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) had welcomed the consultation but wants the Welsh Government to agree a timeline for change.

TFA chief executive George Dunn said: “With major changes planned for the way farms will be supported post-Brexit, we need some commitment for legislating within the Agriculture Bill to deal with restricted tenancy terms that may prevent access to schemes for tenants and an assurance that payments will go to active farmers.”

As a devolved country, Wales is conducting its own review for the first time which could mean differences between tenancy legislation in Wales and England.

The TFA had wanted the consultation to include a review of the taxation framework that determines decisions about land ownership and occupation but this was not included. It has argued that landlords should only be able to obtain agricultural property relief from inheritance tax if they are letting their land for 10 years or more.

“This is a failure of joined-up government, and the Treasury must come to the table on this subject to make a real difference to the short-termism of farm business tenancies,” said Mr Dunn.

The CLA has responded to the consultations by arguing that the sector needs to move on from 'antiquated' AHA tenancies, and focus on actions that can deliver a real impact on the future of farming without requiring time-consuming legislation.