DEAR EDITOR: The mind-boggling stupidity exercised by the Department of Agriculture with regard to ACRES hedge planting and the fireblight risk is truly astonishing given the ash dieback saga.

In January, we are told we can use imported stock in order to meet the deadline of March 2024 to get our planting done. Then, in late March, some bright spark decides to extend the deadline until 2025. Why was this not done before we had to use imported stock? Have they learnt nothing from the catastrophe that is the ash scandal? I have an infected ash plantation and have planted 300m of hedging with imported whitethorn in order to meet my 2024 deadline.