Thursday, 27 October 2011

UK Planning Reform Outrageous! UK Farming Land Not Fully Valued??

Before the end of October the world will have more than 7 Billion people. Each day the total population grows an extra 200,000. Each year an extra 80million! This is a major issue & there are serious questions about whether there will be sufficient food available. There is precious little good quality soil available for cropping & already energy crops are competing for available land area with food production. Another really difficult concern is the availability of good quality fresh water. Agriculture is already the major user of water & in some countries the water table has fallen dramatically partly due to climate change & partly due to excessive draw off for crops.
In the UK we are unbelievably blessed with excellent soils & a kind weather pattern that normally delivers adequate rain most of the year. Compared to the rest of the world the UK is in an amazing position for food production. 
Having recently visited Utah & Arizona which are mainly alpine deserts, California which has a very serious shortage of water & Australia where the vast area of the Centre Red has neither the soils nor the climate for highly productive agriculture….you start to realise how fortunate we are here in Britain.
Do the British really understand that favoured position or really appreciate our good luck in having such precious productive soil? Do the British appreciate the value & massive wealth we have within the topsoil…’s called Soil Organic Matter. Does the Government or Cabinet in any way indicate policies that encourage agriculture? Why isn’t agriculture leading the economic recovery because our farmers are certainly capable of an export food driven recovery? In fact if you look at the world we in Britain have a responsibility to help feed the world’s population.
Instead of positive export driven policies we have ridiculous changes to planning laws being proposed to “boost development & ramp up the housing industry”???? I have no qualms with making planning simpler but to have a “presumption of development” & to allow further development of Greenfield sites is both absurd & outrageous! Why in a country with incredible food production potential (with a world population short of food) does any government, not only allow further housing but encourage it beggars belief.
Why is there not an insistence that the inner cities be built up & not out? Cities like Cardiff & Melbourne, Australia have very successfully revitalised the CBD by bringing high rise apartments back into the central city. Neither UK nor the world can allow “extremely productive agricultural land” to be buried under housing.
Throughout the UK the developers are already sitting on undeveloped land banks. With the current Euro crisis there is every chance of a house price crash….so why push through reforms that will create more housing on Greenfield sites??
The Government says there are adequate safeguards to protect valued sites & sustainable housing. This is absolute rubbish. 
In our village a new development has been pushed through planning even though the village was totally against what was being proposed. The local council was terrified of the possible legal costs if the planning was not approved. So what are the safeguards?
What I can not understand is that the proposed changes are supported by the NFU. Why on earth would the National Farmers Union support reforms that will put housing on top of our precious agricultural land. Every pasture based dairy farmer tries to fully utilise his or her farm to its potential for annual pasture growth & grazing by dairy cows.
I think the topsoil in UK farm soils is an incredible asset that must be protected. As a country we already import far too much food & we are one of the biggest net importers of water (most of which is virtual water). I ask you, what do you think?
 Current UK Pasture Measurements 
Pasture growth Slowing dramatically as soil temps fall & daylight hours reduce. Some long awaited rain in Midlands but too late.
TheAverage Pasture Cover (kgsDM/ha) & Pasture Growth (kgsDM/ha/day)
Hereford AFC 2310, growth 23, demand 25, grazed 46% of farm since 1st Oct
Dorset, AFC 2270, Growth 20
Hereford, Well Done the ABs!
Ireland, Great match. Well Done ABs!
Brittany, France, It's a theft! So Close.
Brittany, France, Un match magnifique!
Taranaki NZ, Exhausted watching...shouldnt have been but good result!
Waikato, NZ, Bit too close for comfort very lucky to win.

1 comment:

  1. amazing french. See you on Sunday Isabelle