KENT AND MEDWAY WILL FACE THE TOUGHEST COVID CURBS WHEN LOCKDOWN ENDS, reports the BBC and Kent Online. The areas will be placed under Tier Three from 2nd December. This has triggered backlash from across the counties, as rural areas say that are being unfairly lockdown due to spiralling cases in urban centres. While most rural businesses will be allowed to operate, as all shops may reopen, pubs and restaurants will still only be able to offer delivery or takeaway, and indoor entertainment venues will remain closed.
CLASS A DRUGS AND POACHING EQUIPMENT HAVE BEEN SEIZED BY OFFICERS FROM THE RURAL TASK FORCE, reports Kent Police. This is part of ongoing action aimed at people involved in hare coursing. The effort involves the team patrolling rural areas commonly targeted by people hare coursing and communicating with residents via the Farm Watch social media messaging service. During a recent patrol the team stopped a Ford Focus in Marden. The driver was issued with a community protection warning as he had been involved in five separate incidents of hare coursing this autumn.
THE CHANCELLOR HAS BEEN CRITICISED FOR DOING NOTHING TO SPUR ON RURAL GROWTH, reports Farming UK. Rishi Sunak unveiled the spending plans for the year as the government prepares to battle the economic fallout of Covid. He told Parliament that nearly £400bn will be borrowed this year, a peacetime record. Pay rises for the public sector will freeze, infrastructure investment will total £100bn, and departmental spending will increase by 3.8%. But the rural sector has raised fears that the review did little to show that the government’s mantra of “building back better” will apply to the rural economy. The CLA noted that if the government took steps to close the 16% productivity gap between rural and urban, £43bn would be unlocked into the economy.
THE UK LAND MARKET SHOWED GOOD STRENGTH IN THE WAKE OF THE FIRST LOCKDOWN, reports Farming UK. H&H Land & Estates reports continued strength of the UK land market and plenty of lending activity. The backlog of activity as a result of lockdown has led to a build-up of transactions that has kept lending activity high throughout the year, despite the pandemic. Lending is being led by land purchase and refinancing requests, pointing to the trending growth in the agriculture land market since Covid.
FARMERS ARE BEING TOLD TO CHECK THEIR WASTE MANAGEMENT PROCESSES, reports Farming UK. This follows a rise in contaminated agricultural plastic waste being intercepted at shipping ports, bound for illegal export. This year numerous illegal shipments have been intercepted, including silage wrap, which were destined for countries around the world. The Environment Agency said that farmers and agriculture businesses have a “legal duty of care” to conduct checks on those who collect their waste.
MILDER WINTERS ARE BOOSTING THE SONGBIRD POPULATION, reports the Times. Goldfinches, wrens, blackcaps and nuthatches are among species that have increased substantially since 2013, as more survive into the spring when gardens, parks and the countryside are filled with their calls. Despite that, the overall trend for wild birds is still down. While 32% of the 140 species monitored increased from 2013-8, 37% declined and 31% showed little change. Corn buntings, grey partridges, turtle doves and tree sparrows are farmland birds that have fallen 80% since 1970. The number of greenfinches has halved since 2013 due to disease. Turtle doves have declined 98% since 1970, the lesser spotted woodpecker is down 44% since 2013, while the common crossbill and nightingale are down 33% and 27% respectively in the same period.
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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