23rd April 2021


Rural Rap

A SOLAR FARM THE SIZE OF 125 FOOTBALL PITCHES HAS BEEN PROPOSED FOR RURAL LAND NORTH OF CANTERBURY, reports the Kent Messenger.  Located between Hoath and Chislet, the sprawling site would become the district’s biggest solar park if given the go-ahead.  Enso Energy, one of the UK’s largest renewable energy developers, is the firm behind the large scale scheme which would stretch across 250 acres of farmland.  The project is still in its early stages so the firm will not yet commit to how many thousands of panels will be installed, or how many homes would be powered as a result.

WILDCATS COULD RETURN TO ENGLAND FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OVER 200 YEARS, reports the BBC.  The Wildwood Trust plans to start a breeding project at its base in Herne Bay in Kent, while researchers look for a suitable release site.  The Trust said that the return of the predators “could help restore the balance in ecosystems.”  DEFRA said that, unlike with non-native species, a licence is “not currently required” to release wildcats in England.

WYE COLLEGE, THE FORMER AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE, IS TO BE CONVERTED INTO HOMES, reports Kent Online.  The 15th century former college will be converted, but other sites in the same village will remain undeveloped for now.  The approved section of the proposal will see part of the site converted into 38 homes through restorations and alterations.  Later structures will be demolished and replaced.

FARMERS HAVE SEEN A SURGE IN FLY-TIPPING, TRESPASS, HARE COURSING AND THEFT, reports Farmers Weekly.  A survey of nearly 2,000 famers across England and Wales has revealed the true extent and the devastating impact of rural crime.  Nationally, farmers reported facing average losses of £4,400 as a result of rural crime, and nearly 60% of respondents said they believed crime levels were rising.  54% of respondents felt that not enough police resources are devoted to tackling rural crime.

MPs ARE URGING THE GOVERNMENT TO SUPPORT BRITISH FARMERS THROUGH PUBLIC FOOD PROCUREMENT, reports Farming UK.  EFRA, the cross-party group, wants the government to update its “outdated” public food procurement standards, and says that the government is “missing the opportunity” to support small businesses, improve animal welfare and promote sustainability within public sector rules for buying food.  The group expressed disappointment that government Buying Standards have not, thus far, been used as a vehicle to support British farmers.

A CABINET RIGT HAS OPENED ON IMMIGRATION AND SEASONAL WORKERS, reports the Times.  Alistair Jack, the Scotland Secretary, and George Eustice, the Environment Secretary, have pushed for the government to increase the annual 30,000 quota of temporary work permits on offer for foreign fruit and vegetable pickers.  Michael Gove is also reported to be in favour of raising the cap to give farmers more flexibility to recruit from abroad.  However, the home secretary is believed to have pushed back at the attempts, insisting that employers look to the domestic workforce to fill vacancies.


RABI, Addington Fund, FCN, Forage Aid and RSABI, supported by the Prince’s Countryside Fund, have launched the Farming Help initiative.  The initiative is also being launched with the NFYFC, the NFU and the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust. 
FARMING HELP recognises that this will be an anxious time for many farmers and farming families and periods of poor health or self-isolation may result in temporary practical difficulties on farm.  For help drafting a contingency plan, for practical local help with livestock, shopping etc, or to discuss your concerns and anxieties,

Contact 03000 111 999 or visit www.farminghelp.co.uk

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