Current News 31-03-22

  • Written by Andrew Davis
  • Posted on Mar 31, 2022
  • Articles

Avian Flu

There will be no free range eggs in shops for the foreseeable future due to the avian flu epidemic.  Laying birds have to be kept indoors as a precaution to stop the spread of the disease so their eggs cannot be sold as free range.  Instead they will have to be sold as barn eggs.  Restrictions may ease when the bird migration season is over.  Meanwhile, there are significant outbreaks in western France where many game farms are situated.  This will severely limit the export to this country of partridge eggs and chicks, the majority of which come from France.  British game farms are unlikely to be able to fill the gap.

Badger Cull

An article published in Vet Record claims that the badger cull ‘cost a fortune and saved nothing’.  It was written by an ecologist and two vets from research using a variety of statistical approaches to analyse publicly available data.  However, Defra scientists refute the allegations, saying that the conclusions were drawn from flawed analysis to fit a preconceived outcome as all three are vociferous longstanding opponents of the cull.  Official Defra statistics show a significant decline in bovine tuberculosis in the cull areas.

Red Diesel

Red diesel is fuel that has been treated with a dye to distinguish it from DERV, the normal fuel.  It can be used in a number of industries and attracts a much lower level of duty, 11.14 pence per litre rather than 57.95.  On 1st April this year, the circumstances in which red diesel can be used legally will be tightened significantly, although most farming activities will still be allowed.  However, there has now been a cut in duty of around 1 ppl in line with the 5 ppl reduction in road fuel duty announced last week in the Chancellor’s Spring Statement.

Tree Planting

A recent report from the Parliamentary Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) Committee suggests that the Government’s ambitious tree planting targets will be missed by a wide margin unless there is much greater support.  Whilst most trees will be planted in Scotland, England is falling woefully behind its target of 10,000 ha of new planting each year by the end of this Parliament in 2024.  In 2019/20 only 2,300 ha were planted.