30th April 2021


Rural Rap

WALMER CASTLE HAS RECEIVED TWO ENGLISH OAK TREES FROM THE PARISH COUNCIL AFTER HEARING OF NATIONAL SHORTAGE, reports the Kent Messenger.  The project began when the parish council heard an appeal from the French government for large mature English Oak beams to replace the timbers lost in the Notre Dame fire.  A survey then revealed that here in England the number of mature Oaks was in fact very low.  The council decided to help address that and approached Walmer Castle to see if they might have space.  The trees are now safely planted and on their 200 year journey to maturity.

ILLEGAL WASTE CARRIERS AND SCRAP METAL DEALERS WERE THE TARGET OF A WEEK OF ACTION OVERSEEN BY KENT POLICE’S RURAL TASK FORCE, reports Kent Police.  Sixteen scrap metal sites were visited by the team, with businesses across Medway, Dartford and Thanet checked.  A further 104 motorists, mostly waste carriers, were pulled over across the county.  The checks led to fines on three waste carriers in Dartford, Swale and Tunbridge Wells.  Two vehicles were seized.

AN ANIMAL RESCUE CENTRE FACES A £2,500 FINE IF IT CANNOT SILENCE ITS “UNREASONABLY” NOISY GEESE, reports the BBC.  The Happy Pants Ranch in Sittingbourne, which cares for 350 rescued or special-needs animals, has been bombarded with complaints.  The owner has been told she will be fined if she can’t quieten the geese and cockerels.  The animal sanctuary relocated to a 20-acre former farm off Iwade Road over Christmas, and grievances include “nuisance” bonfires, importing waste, a loud generator and tractor noise.

THE KENT COUNTY SHOW HAS BEEN POSTPONED, WITH NO NEW DATE GIVEN, reports the Kent Messenger.  One of the biggest events in Kent’s calendar, it was due to be held over a weekend in July at the Detling Showground, but will now be replaced with a scaled back show with a keen focus on farming and agriculture.  Detailed planning is underway to ensure a Covid compliant event.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS RESPONDED TO A PETITION TO CHANGE THE LAW TO INCREASE SENTENCING FOR HARE COURSING AND POACHING, reports Parliament UK.  13,100 signed the petition.  The response reads that “the Government deplores the cruel and illegal practice of hare coursing.  It is aware of the concerns raised.  Poaching (including hare coursing) is one of the UK’s six wildlife crime priorities.” The response notes the problems and distress that coursing causes for local communities, and writes that those convicted of such wildlife crimes can face significant penalties.  The Government writes that it is “aware of concerns that the maximum penalty should be increased and we will keep the matter under review.”

WASPS DESERVE TO BE VALUED AS MUCH AS BEES FOR THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO ECOSYSTEMS, reports Kent Online.  New research suggests that wasps regulate populations of arthropods, like aphids and caterpillars, that damage crops.  They are also expert pollinators, visiting 960 plant species including 164 that are completely dependent on wasps for pollination.  Pollinating by insects is vital for agriculture, and its economic importance has been valued at over $250bn per year.

DOG THEFT MAY HAVE RISEN BY UP TO 160% DURING THE PANDEMIC, reports BASC.  The group’s survey of 3,400 dog owners found that over 75% of respondents have already taken action by putting additional measures in place to protect their dogs over the past year.  Of those surveyed, 111 people stated that they had been the victim of dog theft (31 in the last two years – the same as in the whole of the previous decade).  Of these, fewer than half were reunited with their dogs and there has been only one conviction – though some cases are still classed as ongoing.   96% of dog owners are extremely or very aware of the risk of dog theft, and 80% are aware of a local dog theft in the last 12 months.  81% felt that the police do not have enough or the correct resources to tackle the problem,

OVER 75% OF DOG OWNERS HAVE TAKEN NEW ACTION TO PROTECT THEIR PET FROM THEFT, reports Farming UK.  Of those who have taken action, 5% are carrying various personal protection devices, including alarms and body camera.  BASC makes some suggestions on how to protect dogs, including keeping them inside the home where possible, keeping kennels near to the house and in sight, never leaving dogs alone in vehicles, using alarmed padlocks and tinted windows, installing gate sensors, motion sensor security lights and wifi cameras, refrain from posting images on social media, avoid advertising your dog with car stickers and signs, vary the time and route of dog walks, take regular photographs on your dog, and consider having them spayed.

THE LIB DEMS ARE CALLING FOR AN INDEPENDENT REGULATOR TO PROTECT BRITISH FOOD AND FARMING STANDARDS, reports Farming UK.  The Ten Minute Bill, put forward by tim Farron MP, seeks to ensure that food and agri imports meet UK standards.  The independent regulator would also have the power to force the government to meet its environmental and climate targets.  Tim Farron said: “my bill’s regulator would ensure that environmental protections and animal welfare standards cannot be undermined – protecting British farmers so they can support work to enhance our natural environment and cut emissions.”


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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