28th August 2020


Rural Rap

NORTH KENT HAS BECOME A HOTSPOT FOR INDUSTRIAL SCALE ILLEGAL WASTE MOVEMENTS, reports the CLA.  The Environment Agency has issued a warning that it has seen an increase in incidents of significant illegal waste movements across the South East, and particularly in North Kent.  “In one case, an industrials unit where 4,000-5,000 m3 of processed, shredded plastic waste and “trommel fines” waste had been illegally stored was removed in a matter of days…it is not known where that waste has been taken to.  Those involved have saved an estimated £1-1.5mof disposal costs.”  cla.org.uk/events/your-area/south-east/notices/industrial-scale-illegal-waste-movements

A KENT TREE IS AMONG THE CONTENDERS FOR ENGLAND’S TREE OF THE YEAR 2020, reports the BBC and the Guardian.  The Beech Tree in the Altar at Bayham Abbey grows atop the remains of a wall, ruined after the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII.  Members of the public are invited to vote for their favourite from the ten-strong shortlist, which also includes a sycamore laced with shoes, an oak bound in chains, and a 1,000 year old yew.  The Woodland Trust’s annual competition is intended to promote interest in trees, their value, and protecting them.  Voting is open on the Woodland Trust website until 24th September.
bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-53901298;   theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2020/aug/25/special-branches-the-nominations-to-be-englands-tree-of-the-year-in-pictures

STUDENTS AT HADLOW COLLEGE HAVE NOW BEEN TRANSFERRED TO NORTH KENT COLLEGE, reports the Kent Messenger.  Two colleges, which became the first in the country to enter educational administration, have been saved.  Students and education-related facilities at Hadlow College and the Tonbridge campus of West Kent and Ashford College have now been transferred to the management of North Kent College, which has campuses in Gravesend and Dartford.  It will expand the courses on offer at NKC, and includes an equestrian centre in Greenwich.  The move preserves both colleges’ long-standing heritage, ensuring that specialist land-based education remains within the Garden of England.   kentonline.co.uk/dartford/news/colleges-saved-from-administration-232277/

THE WORST WHEAT HARVEST IN 40 YEARS COULD PUSH UP THE PRICE OF BREAD, warns the Telegraph.  Heavy rain and flooding meant only 40% of wheat was planted last year, while this year’s droughts followed by summer rain have generated a poor quality crop.  The harvest crisis could push up the price of flour which is likely to have a knock-on effect on consumers.  The warning comes as the NFU encourages the Government to push food security higher up its agenda.  The NFU warns that poor soil conditions this year could also affect next year’s harvest.   telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/08/23/dismal-wheat-harvest-could-push-price-bread

THE GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN TOLD TO PRIORITISE FOOD SECURITY AS NEW FIGURES SHOW BRITAIN’S SELF-SUFFICIENCY IS JUST 64%, reports Farming UK and Farmers Weekly.  The 21st August was the notional date in the calendar that would see the country run out of food if it relied solely on domestic produce.  The UK is only 18% self-sufficient in fruit, 55% in fresh veg, and 71% in potatoes.  The NFU argues that being able to feed the population is “absolutely critical” for an island nation, and calls for a “horticulture revolution.”   fwi.co.uk/news/farm-policy/horticulture-revolution-needed-for-food-self-sufficiency

APPLICATIONS ARE BEING SOUGHT FOR TESCO’S FUTURE FARMER FOUNDATION, reports Farming UK.  The free 12-month career-focused programme is searching for young farmers between 20 and 35 to help build on their careers.  It is now in its sixth year, and over 300 young farmers from across the UK and Ireland have attended.  The programme seeks to develop young people’s future by building business skills, learning more about supply chains and finding out from industry experts what they need to know to be successful.  Applications should be completed by 25th October.    farminguk.com/news/tesco-s-future-farmer-foundation-now-open-for-applicants_56377.html


Do you farm near Bethersden and Pluckley?

The Upper Beult Farmer Cluster, a group of farmers who live and farm along the River Beult, is looking for new members.

It is free to join, and farmers can benefit from capital grants and money off ferric phosphate with Southern Water sponsorship.

Email mike.sims@cla.org.uk to get in touch.


KCC is seeking your views on spending priorities and the approach we should take to help us amend the 2020-21 budget.  The council is amending the budget due to additional spending and loss of income as a result of the pandemic. 
Responses will be considered by councillors at the full County Council meeting in September 2020. 
To contribute, please visit www.kent.gov.uk/budget 


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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