Thursday, 14 January 2010

A veritable flurry of letters!

Thursday is always a big day for local papers in our part of Cambridgeshire. Today a veritable flurry of letters is worthy of filing on this blog.

First, from the Ely Standard, is this contribution:

"Don't oppose Vision

While I was touched by W Aitchinson's show of support for his old mate Mr Woollard, I felt it only fair to warn him not to hold his breath for the Government to stop Wicken Fen's far-sighted Vision. For they, like the majority of people in this region, support the NT's plan to create a much-needed green oasis in the heart of our fens. I for one think that Mr Woollard and his neighbouring farmers will continue to do a great job in supplying the food we need, but if you are really so concerned about under-production, perhaps you should tell your friend to stop wasting his time opposing this brilliant Vision and get back to his fields.

Ben Gibbs

Rather more pleasing was this, from the Ely Weekly News:

"Not sure Wicken Project is right

Sir, After having watched Jimmy Doherty's Global Harvest on BBC2 last week and his graphic demonstration of how only a tiny proportion of the Earth's soil is actually fertile and which we rely on to grow food for the global population, I found myself doubting even more whether the National Trust has got its priorities right regarding the Wicken Project. I am a National Trust member and believe in the overall aims of the trust, but I have always had a nagging doubt in the back of my mind regarding this project.

I am not a farmer but I have always considered farming an important part of our heritage and an industry which should be protected and not allowed to go to rack and ruin, like the other industries we once had in this country.

East Anglia is blessed with rich fertile soil and this country's population is rapidly increasing. Mother Nature will sort out re-flooding the fens in her own sweet time but in the meantime, people need to eat and farmers need to make a living.

Ms K Johnson

And this was also thought-provoking, as printed in the Newmarket Journal:

"The points made about the proposed Hatchfield Farm development have raised some interesting local issues, particularly regarding the potential impact on the horseracing industry.

However, there is a wider point from the national interest and this relates to the loss of productive agricultural land to construction and other activities.

With a predicted UK population increasing to 71 million people in future decades, it will be vital to protect the nation's food producing ability by ensuring that a suitable land base is maintained and not buried under large tracks of concrete.

Indeed, the chief government scientific adviser has described the scenario of a perfect storm by 2030 regarding the potential impacts and demands on global food production.

With central government targets it is a difficult balancing act for local authorities to meet their housing requirements while preserving the green belt status of an area, but there is increasing urbanisation and overcrowding in the south eastern corner of England.

Other specific local demands on land such as the Wicken Fen project and the expansion of the local horse stud farms, means that there could be a reduction by thousands of acres of suitable food producing soils in this area over the approaching years.

England is one of the most densely populated countries on the planet and whichever national government is in power, effective policies will need to be adopted to give the most beneficial and sustainable land use to help protect Britain's food security for future generations.

Lionel Murfet
Edinburgh Road

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