Current News 26-05-22

  • Written by Andrew Davis
  • Posted on May 26, 2022
  • Articles

Threat to Trees

Trees are at increasing risk from pests and diseases with a record number of infections in the past year, according to a recent survey.  Reports were up 25% on the previous year, the main issues being oak processionary moth and Chalara or ash dieback.  There is concern that new pests and diseases may be imported with plants coming in from abroad.  To counter these threats, the Forestry Commission has opened a new research centre at Alice Holt in Surrey.  Costing £5.8 million, it will bring together experts on pests and pathogens.

Sewage Discharges

Despite the outcry that met reports of vast quantities of raw sewage discharged into our watercourses, the Government is resisting regulation.  Water companies must record the frequency and length of spills but not the volume discharged, despite such a recommendation by the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee.  The Government says that such a requirement would be difficult and expensive.  Meantime, the Environment Agency has reported widespread and serious non-compliance with existing regulations with average raw sewage discharges of more than 1,000 times a day last year.

Early Payment of BPS

Defra has announced that the Basic Payment will be paid to farmers in England in two sums this year, with half in July and the remainder at the normal time in December.  George Eustice, the Secretary of State, said the 50% advance is in recognition of the pressure on cash flow caused by high input costs.  The lower rates of BPS, up to £30,000, was cut by 5% last year and a further 20% this year, with rates in the higher brackets reduced even more.

India bans wheat exports

India has announced a ban of the export of wheat as a temporary measure to ensure sufficient domestic supplies.  Although India is the world's second-biggest wheat producer, it is not a major exporter as most of its crop is sold on domestic markets, but it was planning to export a record ten million tonnes this year to alleviate shortages due to the war in Ukraine.  A heatwave and drought has hit crops and prospects for harvest downgraded.  However, this has come at a time of rapidly rising world wheat prices and the G7 countries have condemned the move as unhelpful.