Wednesday, 24 February 2010
Natural England for breakfast
Robin Tucker of Natural England must have known he would have a hard time at the NFU conference breakfast session on the uplands. I had a lot of sympathy for him. 7.30 am is too early for a fight. It was clear that members regard Natural England with suspicion and some resentment. Seeing them in charge of decisions about financial support for upland farmers makes them anxious. One accused them of acting like the SS and wanting to drive farmers from the hills so they could rewild large areas, which Tucker denied. What came over very loudly, is that farmers in the uplands want to produce food and hate the jargon of government organisations. Talk of 'ecosystem services' turns them off. That could be a lesson for us all.