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There may be turmoil ahead
2:20pm Friday 4th February 2011 in Land & Business
Weather damage to crops around the world - plus the influence of a weak pound - have further highlighted the need for food security and the importance of self sufficiency.
The weather of the last two winters has not only meant a satisfactory return to past cropping patterns but also appears to be good for wildlife and the ecology. I believe that Dorset’s growing reputation for quality foods provides clear opportunities for CLA members in agricultural and food processing businesses.
The early wintery conditions highlighted the importance of four wheel drive vehicles and their essential role in rural areas both for livestock and people.
Four wheel drive saved the day in many rural areas and I do think the extra tax on them is unfair and, in the light the need to cope with normal snowy and icy weather, should be ended.
On other issues the Government has made a welcome start on tackling Bovine TB and, while there is no logic in continuing to give badgers the legal protection of an endangered species, DEFRA’s proposals are the best on offer.
Natural England is determined that the route around Portland and Weymouth Bay should be in place by the Olympics, so Coastal Access will continue to be a burning issue in the County. The Branch, now with a seat on various county bodies, will continue to argue for an Olympic legacy, not least in broadband and mobile telephone coverage.
A new planning regime is to be tested in West Dorset this year and Government Offices, Regional Development Agencies and business support funding are being swept away. Will 2011 be the year of a Local Enterprise Partnership for Dorset, with business and local authorities working as equal partners to promote the local economy?
It is high time that rural areas, market towns and coastal industry received the priority they deserve and the CLA has an important part to play in ensuring that this is delivered.