AN agreement between S4C and the BBC Trust has been hailed as a "historic’’ one by Welsh Secretary David Jones.

The new partnership was announced today following public consultation over plans to fund most of S4C's activities from the BBC licence fee from April.

Some language campaigners balked at the plan, saying it would compromise the Welsh channel's independence.

But bosses have tried to allay those fears and said the new deal meant S4C would retain its editorial freedom.

Welsh Secretary David Jones said: "In November last year we welcomed the 30-year anniversary of S4C, which was a huge landmark for Welsh broadcasting.

"The news today that an agreement has been reached between the BBC Trust and S4C Authority provides the S4C with security and stability which will ensure they continue to grow and go from strength to strength.’’ Under the operating agreement, the BBC will contribute £76.3 million to S4C from the licence fee in 2013/14 - falling to £74.5 million by 2016/17.

Huw Jones, chairman of the S4C Authority, said it would secure "the major part’’ of S4C's funding until 2017.