Save rural life
TIME will tell whether the political upheavals that have taken place in 2016 are for good or bad, but, either way, it’s certainly been an extraordinary year. Our farmers have four years remaining under the Common Agricultural Policy and the subsidies that are provided for them by the EU. After that, the countryside as we know it will be in uncharted territory. Certainly, it will be different.
The British countryside has never been more popular. Walking remains the country’s numberone pastime and the growing popularity of TV programmes such as Countryfile and this magazine demonstrate that, as a nation, we’ve never been more in love with it. The danger is that the countryside we love today may disappear— it’s almost impossible to imagine it staying the same. Without subsidies, for instance, upland sheep farming will not be able to continue and, if we were to lose that industry, the stone walls and green fields that shape that part of our beautiful land would also disappear.
What we need is a proper debate on its future, involving all the various relevant bodies, so that the interests of rural Britain can be presented coherently to Government. If not, our landscape will be changed for ever. MH