11th December 2020


Rural Rap

FRIDAYS EGG PRODUCER IS PLANNING A MULTI-MILLION POUND FREE RANGE DEVELOPMENT, reports Farming UK.  The company, already one of the leading producer-packers, has submitted plans for a 237-acre site near Marden.  The units on the site would house a total of 192,000 free range layers.  Three sheds, each housing 64,000 birds and built with the addition of winter gardens, will be built at a cost of £3m each.  There is local opposition from residents who claim the development could contaminate the river Beult with run-off from poultry waste.  However, as part of the scheme, Fridays intends to plant 20ha of new native species woodland and create a riverside walk along the bank of the river.

THANET DISTRICT COUNCIL HAS ORDERED A LAND OWNER TO REPLANT TREES AT A MUCH-LOVED WOODLAND NEAR BROADSTAIRS, reports the Kent Messenger.  40 trees and undergrowth in Park Avenue in Broadstairs were removed during clearance work at the site by Parkstairs Ltd without consent.  Parkstairs wrote to residents stating it was necessary H&S work due to some dead and dying trees.  Thanet Council say that 12 of those removed were considered protected by preservation orders from 1956 and 1985.   kentonline.co.uk/thanet/news/developer-ordered-to-replant-trees-239036/

THE OWNER OF A DOG THAT MAIMED AND KILLED LIVESTOCK HAS BEEN ISSUED WITH A CONTROL ORDER, reports Kent Police.  The man from Westerham admitted four counts of livestock worrying between 12 April and 5 August.  In one incident a sheep suffered a leg injury and on another occasion a goat was killed.  The dog must now be placed on a lead at all times when in public and is banned from the land where the attacks took place.

STOCKPILING FOR COVID AND POSSIBLE NO-DEAL BREXIT HAS PLUNGED FELIXSTOWE INTO TURMOIL, reports the Telegraph.  Factories are shutting, food could rot on the dockside, and Christmas presents may go undelivered as a perfect storm of Covid chaos and Brexit stockpiling batter the UK port system.  The FDF have warned that “ambient food” supplies stuck in thousands of lorries and containers are on the verge of passing their sell-by dates.  There are also backlogs in Dover at the Channel Tunnel with around an extra 2,000 trucks crossing daily, mostly towards the UK.   telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/12/08/food-rots-factories-shut-port-chaos-hammers-uk

UK FOOD AND DRINK EXPORTS HAVE FALLEN NEARLY 12%, reports Farming UK.  The new figures are raising fears that firms are facing an “immense dilemma” with both the end of the transition period and the pandemic.  In Q3 alone, exports fell nearly 12% to £5.5bn.  UK food and drink export to the EU were down 9.3% and 14.8% to non-EU markets.  The decrease was driven largely by the impact of Covid, claimed the FDF, with the closure of hospitality and travel sectors meaning a loss of sales into restaurants and bars.

FOOD PRICES WOULD RISE IN THE EVENT THAT BRITAIN FAILS TO REACH A TRADE DEAL WITH THE EU, reports the Times.  George Eustice insisted that the increases would be modest, but conceded that travel to the EU nations would become more complicated.  He insisted that the impact would be low – less than 2% as a result of tariffs – although it would be slightly higher on things such as beef and pork.  He said “the big drivers of food prices are FX rates, fuel costs and weather events.  Tariffs are a fairly modest element of the contribution to food prices.”  thetimes.co.uk/article/food-prices-will-rise-if-we-dont-strike-brexit-trade-deal-says-minister-7283bwrst

PRICES OF FRUIT AND VEG COULD INCREASE BY 4% IF THERE IS NO BREXIT DEAL, writes Farming UK.  Research by the Food Foundation suggests that new trade tariffs would be applied under such circumstances, pushing the price of fresh produce up by an average of 4%.  The report also suggest that tomatoes could become 9% more expensive.  The UK is heavily reliant on fruit and veg imports, currently importing around 65% of its total supply.  For a typical family of four, this would mean an increase of £25-28 a year to their fruit and veg bill.   farminguk.com/news/veg-prices-to-rise-by-4-in-event-of-no-deal-charity-warns_57138.html

THE PRIME MINISTER IS BEING URGED TO ENCOURAGE THE PUBLIC SECTOR TO BUY BRITISH, reports Farming UK.  Love British Food, a group promoting local food, says 85% of the current public sector budget for food procurement should be spent with local businesses and farmers.  The public sector – including schools and hospitals – currently purchases £2.6bn of food annually.   farminguk.com/news/encourage-public-sector-to-buy-british-campaigners-tell-pm_57136.html

SCIENTISTS WANT TO CREATE A PRODUCTION PIPELINE OF A TOMATO CROP ENRICHED WITH A PARKINSON’S DISEASE DRUG, reports Farming UK.  The move would give patients new access to one of the world’s most essential medicines.  The development of the GM tomato, led by British researchers, has implications for developing nations where access to pharmaceutical drugs is restricted.  The novel use of tomatoes has a natural source of L-DOPA also offers benefits for people who suffer adverse effects from the chemically synthesised form.  farminguk.com/news/tomato-crop-enriched-with-parkinson-s-disease-drug-created_57161.html

THE GOVERNMENT HAS UNVEILED A CASH BOOST OF NEARLY £4M TO REACH ITS TREE BUILDING TARGETS, reports Farming UK.  The target is to plant 30,000ha of new trees per year by 2025.  The fund consists of £2.5m for trees to be planted in urban and rural areas, with an aim to tackle climate change and create new habitats for wildlife.  A further £1.4m will be injected into the government’s Nature for Climate fund, which aims to plant 850,000 trees near rivers to help reduce flood risk.  Two components of the scheme – the Landscape Recovery and Local Nature Recovery – will pay farmers for woodland and tree planting.   farminguk.com/news/new-4m-fund-to-help-spur-on-mass-tree-planting_57139.html

NATURAL ENGLAND ARE OFFERING TO DESIGN, CREATE AND RESTORE PONDS ON YOUR LAND TO PROVIDE HABITAT FOR THE GREAT CRESTED NEWT.  This will be done at no cost to you.  Great crested newts have seen dramatic declines in their populations over the last 60 years.  It is believed that, since 1900, 50% of the UK’s ponds have been lost, reducing the availability of suitable newt habitat.  Natural England will carry out a survey to confirm the location is suitable for a great crested newt pond, arrange and fund any required checks or consents, design and create or restore ponds on your land, and provide and install fencing around the ponds, if needed.
For further information:
Ashford, Canterbury, Thanet, Swale: sarah.harrington-james@kent.gov.uk / 07850 715 596
Dover, Folkestone, Hythe: Steff D’Agorne rmcp@dover.gov.uk / 07864 608 825
Maidstone, Tonbridge and Malling, Medway: mark.pritchard@kent.gov.uk / 03000 414 822
Sevenoaks, Dartford, Gravesham: lucy.sawyer-boyd@kent.gov.uk / 07809 334 071
Tunbridge Wells: ian.johnstone@kent.gov.uk / 07740 185 368



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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