Let us return again to the subject of the countryside

No apologies for returning to the subject of the countryside and, more importantly in this case, farmland.

A recent position paper from the Sustainable Development Commission recommends that Defra should give greater urgency to updating its soil strategy and should give food production capacity a high priority in its planning. Whilst Professor John Beddington when speaking about the UK's future food security has forecast a 'perfect storm' arising from greater demand, stagnant production and climate change.

Defra and the Treasury have argued that the UK being a rich (relatively!) developed economy is in a strong position to buy sufficient food on world markets but this argument has been rejected by other countries notably USA and France whilst Scotland and Wales are looking at producing more food themselves rather than relying on other countries to supply them.

Forecasts suggest that Europe is less likely to be affected by climate change and water shortages than other continents however, this then leaves Europe in the position where they will be morally bound to produce food for those countries which are unable to supply themselves.

The Paper concludes that to continue to reduce food production when the UK has the soil, climate and the potential to grow more is inappropriate. "The loss of food growing land - to building, roads, 'development' -cannot be ignored. Soil is the most precious resource and everywhere needs to be kept in good condition to feed people."

Are you listening Broadland District Council? These people know what they are talking about and to consider building on farmland of any grade is plainly wrong and it is time to look elsewhere for your development land.


  1. It was Phil Kirby from Broadland District Council speaking at one of the public meetings in Rackheath who said that the UK imported 80% of its food - he was howled down and didn't seem to understand the irony (or should that be folly?)of what he had said!

  2. Fundamentally, the society which needs continual 'growth' to exist is unsustainable.
    At some point we need to teach a different perspective to our way of life and I do not mean faddish environmentalism.

  3. Funny, I thought one of your arguments against development was based on potential water shortages... now you're (conveniently) pointing out that "Europe is less likely to be affected by... water shortages..." Consistency, please.

  4. I am glad you find it funny.
    Never post on a website after 10.30. Too often what you write looks pretty foolish the next morning.

    If you do not understand the water issue I suggest you just go back and look at the reports coming from the UEA. The EA and the water companies.

    Anyway you took the point out of context by ignoring the remainder of the paragraph. That is NIMBYism of the worst kind.

  5. Hello Heracles

    Glad to see that you have joined us and have picked up the group theme.

  6. Every water authority in the UK has to have one of these. The one for Anglia Water, see http://www.anglianwater.co.uk/_assets/media/wrmp-sea-non-technical-summary.pdf states, among other things, the following:

    § Chemical and biological river water quality has improved over the last three years. However, both biological and chemical water quality for the region are below the national average, significantly below the national average in the case of chemical water quality where only 46% of rives are considered to be of ‘good’ quality as opposed to the national average of 64%.

    § In areas of the Anglian Water region surface waters are already fully committed during summer months, whilst some winter abstractions are no longer reliable. Likewise, groundwater is considered to be over licensed or over abstracted in some areas. The Anglian Water region has been classified as in serious water stress by the Environment Agency.

    How can anyone consider building thousands of houses in a region that has lower than average water quality in their rivers and is classified as being in serious water stress!