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Farmer writes: politicians and the environment
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Farmer writes: politicians and the environment

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Will Warham proposes asking the politicians who will be canvassing over the next few weeks about the environment, a subject they might not be expecting.
Will Warham proposes asking the politicians who will be canvassing over the next few weeks about the environment, a subject they might not be expecting.

You will no doubt have politicians on your doorstep shortly, looking for your vote. Perhaps you will be tempted to send them away with a '‘flea in their ear'’. A more positive position might be to ask them what they propose to do for the environment. They will probably not be expecting this.

Alternative energy

My first question, which is relevant to all farmers, concerns alternative energy. At present, it is not worth investing in small-scale wind power or in solar due to the lengthy payback time.

If a generous feed-in tariff existed, it would be a win-win scenario for the investor and, indeed, the country. This would translate into reduced oil and coal imports and eliminate the need to mine our remaining bogs.

Another alternative energy source is homegrown timber. Trees not only supply fuel, but help greatly in alleviating flooding.

At present, there is some legislation actively preventing some farmers from planting forestry.

They absorb rain in their leaves and needles and the understory prevents the rush of water to the watercourses.

At present, there is some legislation actively preventing some farmers from planting forestry. There is a law which states that in a clearfell situation, trees must be replanted. However, land value diminishes substantially where forestry is planted.

To date, there has been much chat about this dilemma, but no government has so far done the right thing. All it needs is a stroke of the ministerial pen.

Pollution

Pollution from transport is a problem affecting us all and one which ought to be taken more seriously. Is it not possible to make it really worthwhile investing in all-electric or hybrid vehicles? Greater VAT and road-tax reductions together with a generous grant would be steps in the right direction. A longer-term vision is more important than just an eye on the next election. Perhaps our new government might take steps to alter this?

Finally… the one day hedge-laying course date is now fixed to Saturday 27 February and details are on my website: Jamestownnaturereserve.com

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