Ben Lake, MP for Ceredigion, has warned that multinational companies are buying up Welsh farms to plant trees for forestry and carbon offsetting.

Mr Lake warned that farmers in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and south Powys have reported entire farms, some as large as 300 acres, have been purchased by major international companies in an effort to offset their carbon footprint. 

Carbon offsetting is a process by which environmentally damaging practices are mitigated by measures to enhance the environment.

Mr Lake believes that to protect the use of land, tree planting operations must be placed under the control of local communities. 

The Welsh Government today launched its own plan to boost the number of trees in Wales saying around 86 million trees need to be planted over the next nine years to achieve the ambition of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. 

However, Mr Lake has raised questions over the effectiveness of some carbon offsetting measures and their impact on rural Wales. 

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Ahead of leading a debate in the House of Commons on the purchase of agricultural land by large companies, Mr Lake said: “Tackling climate change should not be an opportunity for large companies to greenwash their emissions while continuing to emit millions of tonnes of CO2. 

“To be successful, tree planting projects must have local control, with rural communities working alongside the Welsh Government so that they benefit from this transition. We must not allow businesses to buy farms, allow rural communities and the Welsh language to be undermined for the sake of a greenwashed business-as-usual.” 

The UK Government is currently considering a new emissions trading scheme as a replacement for a European Union scheme the UK was signed up to prior to leaving the UK. 

The debate is due to take place from around 4.05pm and can be viewed here

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