As the Agriculture Bill continues its Committee Stage in the House of Commons, the Rural Economy Committee of the House of Lords has been considering its impact on rural communities. Giving evidence, Neil Parish MP, Chairman of the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, described it as ‘a vast enabling Bill giving the Secretary of State enormous powers’ that had little detail, especially on the future of farming.
National Trust to cull Wild Boar
The National Trust has been criticised for its decision to cull wild boar on its Stourhead Estate. Renowned for its parkland with lakes, temples and other follies, the National Trust is responding to complaints from visitors who feel threatened by the increasing number of wild boar in the area. The Trust described it as a very difficult decision but the safety and wellbeing of visitors had to take precedence.
Wild Fire Emissions
Extreme wild fires, such as those causing such devastation in California, cause significant emissions of carbon dioxide, as much as 20% of all greenhouse emissions according to some scientists. They have warned that global temperatures might rise by as much as 3°C by the end of this century unless radical action is taken. In a classic chicken and egg situation, climate change causes wild fires which cause more global warming.
Neonicotinoids on Cereals
Following the ban by the European Commission of the use of neonicotinoid insecticides on all outdoor crops, senior scientists gathering at Rothamsted Research have warned of a potential catastrophic impact on cereal production. Viral diseases of cereals are spread by aphids which have been controlled in the past by neonicotinoid seed dressing, but there is little alternative once the ban takes effect. Pyrethroid sprays can be used, as they have been for decades, but there are fears of increasing resistance. Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus is the main concern with predictions of a significant loss of yield in the UK wheat crop equivalent to 4.5 million loaves of bread every day.