Buckinghamshire’s rural businesses could look forward to a much better new year, if national and local government took action to solve some key issues for the countryside, says CLA Buckinghamshire branch chairman, David Briggs.
David Briggs owns a diversified farm business at Latimer, including pedigree Hereford cattle and commercial properties. He says his top five new year resolutions for Government would make a significant difference to many of the landowners, farmers and rural businesses represented by the CLA in Buckinghamshire.
- Brexit: We need clarity from Government about the future. There are important decisions to get right with regard to trade and transition and we need a dedicated strategy that targets investment at supporting farmers to be more resilient, productive and profitable.
- Fly-tipping: in the past year, there were 6,700 incidents of fly tipping reported in Buckinghamshire and this figure doesn’t even include cases of fly tipping on private land. Fly tipping is turning many areas of our countryside into an eyesore – prosecutions are few, the deterrents ineffective and the burdens and costs are on landowners. This has to change.
- Bureaucracy: we need far less bureaucracy in farming, especially for rural support grants & payments.
- Bovine TB: it is criminal that Bovine TB was almost eradicated in the 1960s and we can’t get on top of it now. We have not even developed a better detection test – we are still using the same test with all its false positives and false negatives – yet we continue to pay £100m compensation every year.
- Planning rules: according to CLA member research, nearly two thirds of rural landowners would build new homes to rent or buy if they had more confidence in the attitudes and processes of local planning authorities. Giving these small private developers greater certainty and support to navigate the planning system could all but end the acute shortage of housing in rural areas.
David Briggs adds: “There is much we can do as a sector to prepare for the challenges and opportunities ahead, especially as we get closer to Brexit, but we also need Government to provide us with the tools and support we need to prosper.”