2nd April 2021


Rural Rap

A CALL TO CHANGE LAWS COVERING THE INSTALLATION OF CARAVANS ON FARMLAND IN AONBs HAS BEEN DISMISSED BY GOVERNMENT, reports the Kent Mesenger (not online: contact info@ruralplc.com for full text)Concerned councillors wrote to the Housing Secretary last month after Mansfields pushed forward with plans to erect 20 static homes at its base outside Bridge.  Planning law states that agricultural firms can pitch caravans for seasonal workers on their land without requiring planning permission.  At Mansfields, each of the 20 caravans will cater for six people.  The Ministry replied to the councillors saying that there are no plans to change the law.  It said “the government is keen to support agricultural businesses and so ministers have no plans to remove the various permitted development rights which apply on farms.”

ALDINGTON POINT TO POINT IS TO TAKE PLACE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS ON 16TH APRIL, reports Aldington Races.  For the first time, the event will be streamed online on the day.  The point to point authority has given the go ahead to restart the sport, with amateur jockeys able to participate from 29th March.  Point to point racing is a key feeder to professional racing.  Only a small number of point to point races courses have agreed to run this shortened season, including Aldington.  This is due to the goodwill of the landowner, the organising team and local supporters, as well as the headline sponsors BTF and Furley Page.  The racing will be streamed online from drone and static cameras throughout, and there will be footage of interviews with trainers and jockeys.

A KENT COMPANY HAS FORMED A PARTNERSHIP DEAL WITH A NEW ZEALAND HOP GROWER, reports the Kent Messenger.  Totally Natural Solutions has joined forces with NZ Hops Ltd, enabling the Paddock Wood based company to develop a new range of dry hop extracts for use by brewers.  NZ Hops is a coop of 27 master growers in South Island, which is renowned as NZ’s sunniest region.  The TNS oil extraction processes give a product that can replace pellets or whole hops in the brewing process, without sacrificing taste.

A FARMER IS FACING REPEATED ACCUSATIONS OF LEAVING HIS CATTLE WITHOUT FOOD AND DEEP IN MUD, reports the BBC. The animal rights group Kent Animal Defenders, which filmed animals at the farm earlier this year, is providing support to a campaign which has seen more than 57,000 people have signed a petition calling for Oaks Farm to be closed down.  The local MP, Laura Trott, has also called for action from APHA.  The farmer, Craig Sargent, says he has done nothing wrong and his “cows have an idyllic life…and have complete freedom to wander around.”  Kent Trading Standard is monitoring the welfare of the animals.

WARNINGS ARE CIRUCLATED OF A SPIKE IN DOG ATTACKS AS MILLIONS OF “PANDEMIC PUPPIES” ARE SET TO VISIT THE COUNTRYSIDE FOR THE FIRST TIME, reports the CLA among others.  As dog attacks are already up 10% compared to last year; and fears are raised that as the ease in lockdown restrictions coincides with both Easter and the crucial lambing season, this could spiral further.

MANY FARM ANIMALS ARE INJURED OR KILLED EACH YEAR IN DOG ATTACKS, reports Farming UK.  The UK cost of such attacks was estimated to be £1.3m in 2020, a rise of over 10% year on year.  Even if dogs don’t make contact, the distress of the chase can also cause sheep to die, miscarry and separate lambs from their mothers.  64% of owners say they let their dog run free in the countryside, but half admit that their pet doesn’t always come back when called.

THE COMPULSORY HOUSING ORDER FOR POULTRY HAS BEEN LIFTED, reports Farming UK.  The risk of highly pathogenic bird flu exposure to poultry is now considered “low,” DEFRA has confirmed.  The risk from H5N8 incursion in wild birds has been reduced to low from medium, meaning that the disease is “rare but does occur.”  The housing measures were introduced in December.

A NEW WOODLAND CREATION SCHEME WHICH OFFERS RENT TO FARMERS IN RETURN FOR LONG-TERM LEASE IS LAUNCHING THIS WEEK, reports Farming UK.  The Woodland Partnership aims to create significant new areas of high-quality, biodiverse woodlands across England.  According to Forestry England, it requires limited financial investment, no forestry expertise and guarantees regular payments.  Applications are needed from a wide range of farmers who can offer a minimum of 50ha for a long-term lease of between 60 and 120 years.

BUTCHERS HAVE SEEN A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN VALUE IN YEAR ON YEAR SALES, reports Farming UK.  New analysis confirms that the public have returned to their high-street butchers.  Around 630,000 more households visited independent retail butchers in Britain compared to the previous year.  The public have spent nearly 50% more per shopping trip in the butcher compared to other retailers when purchasing meat.  The main driver for over 50% of respondents was quality, with 38% saying they wanted to support local businesses.

DEFRA PUBLISHED ITS FIRST ANNUAL REPORT ON RURAL PROOFING, reports the Countryside Alliance.  The rural lobbying group welcomed this inaugural report as it is an important starting point in shining the light on how policies in departments across government are designed and implemented with the needs of rural areas in mind.  In the past, rural proofing has been patchy and inconsistent and no one was held to account for lack of implementation.  The CA argues though that, while the report is a welcome starting point, it “still lacks the transparency of how rural areas have been considered in policy development and what measures have been implemented to ensure the policy works in rural areas.


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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