MORE than £1.3million of Welsh Government funding for tree planting has gone to applicants outside of Wales, according to Plaid Cymru.

The party’s spokesperson for agriculture and rural affairs, Cefin Campbell MS, has called this “brazen greenwashing” from speculators undertaking a “land grab” of Welsh farmland” to “ease their carbon conscience”.

The Glastir Woodland Creation scheme has been running since June 2015, during which there have been eleven funding ‘windows’.

Data obtained by Plaid Cymru shows that across the first nine windows, £1,306,561 of allocated funds went to applicants with addresses outside of Wales. This represents 14 per cent of all allocated funds. During the seventh window, this was as high as 25 per cent. Data for the last two windows has not yet been published.

Mr Campbell has previously spoken out against the purchase of Welsh family farms by multinational companies which not only sees the land lost for food production, but rural communities and culture under threat.

He added: “These latest figures from the Welsh Government confirm our fears that public money, through the Glastir Woodland Creation scheme, is pouring over the border from Wales to the pockets of multinational speculators who are undertaking a land grab of Welsh farmland to offset their own carbon footprint.

“This brazen ‘greenwashing’ might well ease the conscience of climate savvy multinationals, but this type of extractive economy is damaging to Wales – we’re losing family farms, the communities around them, and the means of food production. Our people are being replaced with trees, and what’s more – Welsh Government is funding it!

“I have long called for the Welsh Government to implement an approach which secures the delivery of the right tree, in the right place, for the right reason. With well over £1million pounds of public money having left the Welsh purse since 2015 to support these absentee landlords it is vital the Welsh Government acts urgently to protect Welsh communities from this increasingly worrying trend.”