Current News 17-02-22

  • Written by Andrew Davis
  • Posted on Feb 17, 2022
  • Articles

Plants flower early

Scientists at Cambridge University have analysed the first flowering dates of 406 species of plants and have found that they are about a month earlier than in 1986 due to rising temperatures.  But this may cause a ‘temporal mismatch’ as the life cycle of pollinating insects are adapting more slowly.  This means that plants may not be pollinated if they are in flower before the requisite insects are present and the pollinators may starve if the flowers are over by the time they emerge from winter.  Generalist pollinators may be fine as they have alternative hosts but some plants and insects are specifically reliant on each other.

New Countryside Code

There has been a lot of coverage in the media of the guidelines for farmers published to accompany the revised Countryside Code.  It is designed to help more people enjoy the countryside and to reduce potential conflict between them and farmers.  There is advice on keeping rights of way open and welcoming, suggestions that styles be replaced by self-closing gates and exhortation to farmers to be polite and friendly even when they encounter trespassers.  There is also guidance on the worrying of livestock by dogs with the plea that they should be shot only as a last resort.

WWF Report

A report from the conservation charity WWF says that British farmers must reduce production of meat and dairy by a third in the next ten years if targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are to be met.  This applies not just to ruminant animals due to their methane emissions but also covers pigs and poultry because the imports of soya to feed them causes deforestation and environmental degradation in countries such as Brazil.

Lump Sum Exit Scheme

Secretary of State for Defra, George Eustice, has announced that the long awaited Lump Sum Exit Scheme will open for applications in April.  Farmers are able to claim future Basic Payment as a lump sum in return for retiring, selling or renting out their land or surrendering their tenancy.  The lump sum will be calculated as the average Basic Payment for 2019 to 2021 times 2.35.  There will be a maximum limit of £100,000, equivalent to 430 hectares.  However, farmers have been warned that the tax implications are not yet known and are urged to hold off any application until they have been clarified.