Hen Harrier Recovery
It has been an outstanding year for hen harriers in England with sixty chicks fledged from nineteen nests recorded by Natural England with a further five nests reported by the RSPB. This is a great success for the Hen Harrier Recovery Plan launched in 2016 including brood management which involved rearing chicks in captivity before releasing them back into the wild.
Back British Farming Day
9th September was Back British Farming Day with large numbers of MPs and celebrities expressing support for British farmers. Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer both wore wool or wheatsheaf lapel pins during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House whilst NFU President Minette Batters used the day to demand Parliament should have a final say on trade deals to ensure that imports do not undercut British environmental and animal welfare standards. A petition insisting that such imports are not allowed has attracted over one million signatories.
Wheat Prices Surge
Wheat prices have risen sharply in recent days as the very poor yields this harvest mean that there will be a home-grown shortage rather than an exportable surplus. The exchange rate has been a factor too, as sterling has fallen at the increasing prospect of no trade deal with the European Union. A week ago, feed wheat reached £170 per tonne, £50 up on a year ago. However, some exporting countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Canada and Australia have had much better harvests which will limit price gains.
Historic Solent Project
The Government has announced a £3.9 million grant for a project in Hampshire. There is a desperate shortage of housing in the area but development has stalled over fears of pollution, especially nitrates. Now developers will have to pay towards creating new wetlands, woodlands and meadows to prevent nitrates reaching the Solent’s rare wildlife and habitats.