New figures show Wales has lost about 5,000 acres of county council tenanted land in the past decade.

Of the total tenancies currently offered, 61 per cent account for holdings of smaller than 50 acres, according to figures included in the ‘Annual Report on Local Authority Smallholdings in Wales’.

The report covers April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020, and is produced by the Welsh Government based on statistical information provided by Wales’ 22 unitary authorities.

As of March 31, 2020, the total area of land held by local authorities in Wales for smallholding purposes was just over 38,776 acres, of which about 32,371 acres were let as smallholdings with a house and/or buildings.

In contrast, the report from the previous 12-month period showed land held by local authorities was just over 38,719 acres, of which about 32,675 acres were let as smallholdings.

The data from the Welsh Agricultural Survey for June 2020 gives the total area of farms and common land in Wales as about 4.7m acres, meaning the smallholdings account for about one per cent of the land.

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The authorities recorded as owning the most land are Powys (10,717 acres), Isle of Anglesey (6,155 acres), Pembrokeshire (5,118 acres), Carmarthenshire (3,445 acres) and Gwynedd (2,997 acres).

The councils with the least land are Cardiff (45 acres), Bridgend (99 acres), Merthyr Tydfil (102 acres), Vale of Glamorgan (120 acres) and Caerphilly (252 acres).

Rhondda Cynon Taff reported owning no land for the second year in a row, and Ceredigion is shown as having zero acres, despite the 2019 report stating it owned about 700 acres.

According to the data, no authorities acquired land during these 12 months, matching the previous period. Meanwhile, eight authorities disposed of a total of 507 acres for £7.6m:

• Caerphilly 5.6 acres, £650

• Carmarthenshire 20 acres, no price recorded

• Conwy 83 acres, £631,220

• Denbighshire 12 acres, £350,000

• Flintshire 108 acres, £975,000

• Monmouthshire 242 acres, £1,569,250

• Pembrokeshire 20 acres, £757,000

• Powys 18 acres, £3,348,500.

The other 14 authorities were had no activities during the year.

In 2019, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Monmouthshire, Pembrokeshire, Powys and Wrexham collectively disposed of 300 acres for £5.2m.

During the period covered by the report, local authorities in Wales provided 949 smallholdings, of which 580 were smaller than 50 acres. There were 228 holdings between 50 and 100 acres and 141 were larger than 100 acres. There were 850 tenants, some renting multiple farms, with 947 tenancies across 949 holdings.

During 2019-20 there were 202 new tenancies granted, 10 to new entrants and 192 to existing tenants. Of the 54 tenancies terminated, 31 were by Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council.

In the previous year, 229 new tenancies were granted while 55 tenancies were ended.

According to the official statistics, in 2009, 14 local authorities owned and managed 43,750 acres of agricultural land as statutory smallholdings so during that 10-year period, about 5,000 acres, or a little over 11 per cent of the total area, has been lost.

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